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  1. #1
    Piggybank Cop's Avatar
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    Former President Ford dies

    Former president took over during depths of Watergate scandal
    BREAKING NEWS
    The Associated Press
    Updated: 12:21 a.m. ET Dec 27, 2006
    LOS ANGELES - Gerald R. Ford, who picked up the pieces of Richard Nixon’s scandal-shattered White House as the 38th and only unelected president in America’s history, has died, his wife, Betty, said Tuesday. He was 93.

    “My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age,” Mrs. Ford said in a brief statement issued from her husband’s office in Rancho Mirage. “His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country.”

    The statement did not say where Ford died or list a cause of death. Ford had battled pneumonia in January 2006 and underwent two heart treatments — including an angioplasty — in August at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

    He was the longest living president, followed by Ronald Reagan, who also died at 93. Ford had been living at his desert home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., about 130 miles east of Los Angeles.

    Ford was an accidental president, Nixon’s hand-picked successor, a man of much political experience who had never run on a national ticket. He was as open and straight-forward as Nixon was tightly controlled and conspiratorial.

    He took office minutes after Nixon flew off into exile and declared “our long national nightmare is over.” But he revived the debate a month later by granting Nixon a pardon for all crimes he committed as president. That single act, it was widely believed, cost Ford election to a term of his own in 1976, but it won praise in later years as a courageous act that allowed the nation to move on.

    The Vietnam War ended in defeat for the U.S. during his presidency with the fall of Saigon in April 1975. In a speech as the end neared, Ford said: “Today, America can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam. But it cannot be achieved by refighting a war that is finished as far as America is concerned.” Evoking Abraham Lincoln, he said it was time to “look forward to an agenda for the future, to unify, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

    Ford also earned a place in the history books as the first unelected vice president, chosen by Nixon to replace Spiro Agnew who also was forced from office by scandal.

    He was in the White House only 895 days, but changed it more than it changed him.

    Even after two women tried separately to kill him, the presidency of Jerry Ford remained open and plain.

    Not imperial. Not reclusive. And, of greatest satisfaction to a nation numbed by Watergate, not dishonest.

    Even to millions of Americans who had voted two years earlier for Richard Nixon, the transition to Ford’s leadership was one of the most welcomed in the history of the democratic process — despite the fact that it occurred without an election.

    After the Watergate ordeal, Americans liked their new president — and first lady Betty, whose candor charmed the country.

    They liked her for speaking openly about problems of young people, including her own daughter; they admired her for not hiding that she had a mastectomy — in fact, her example caused thousands of women to seek breast examinations.

    And she remained one of the country’s most admired women even after the Fords left the White House when she was hospitalized in 1978 and admitted to having become addicted to drugs and alcohol she took for painful arthritis and a pinched nerve in her neck. Four years later she founded the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, a substance abuse facility next to Eisenhower Medical Center.

    Ford slowed down in recent years. He had been hospitalized in August 2000 when he suffered one or more small strokes while attending the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

    The following year, he joined former presidents Carter, Bush and Clinton at a memorial service in Washington three days after the Sept. 11 attacks. In June 2004, the four men and their wives joined again at a funeral service in Washington for former President Reagan. But in November 2004, Ford was unable to join the other former presidents at the dedication of the Clinton presidential library in Little Rock, Ark.

    In January, Ford was hospitalized with pneumonia for 12 days. He wasn’t seen in public until April 23, when President Bush was in town and paid a visit to the Ford home. Bush, Ford and Betty posed for photographers outside the residence before going inside for a private get-together.

    The intensely private couple declined reporter interview requests and were rarely seen outside their home in Rancho Mirage’s gated Thunderbird Estates, other than to attend worship services at the nearby St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert.

    In a long congressional career in which he rose to be House Republican leader, Ford lit few fires. In the words of Congressional Quarterly, he “built a reputation for being solid, dependable and loyal — a man more comfortable carrying out the programs of others than in initiating things on his own.”

    When Agnew resigned in a bribery scandal in October 1973, Ford was one of four finalists to succeed him: Texan John Connally, New York’s Nelson Rockefeller and California’s Ronald Reagan.

    “Personal factors enter into such a decision,” Nixon recalled for a Ford biographer in 1991. I knew all of the final four personally and had great respect for each one of then, but I had known Jerry Ford longer and better than any of the rest.

    “We had served in Congress together. I had often campaigned for him in his district,” Nixon continued. But Ford had something the others didn’t, he would be easily confirmed by Congress, something that could not be said of Rockefeller, Reagan and Connally.

    So Ford it was. He became the first vice president appointed under the 25th amendment to the Constitution.

    On Aug. 9, 1974, after seeing Nixon off to exile, Ford assumed the office. The next morning, he still made his own breakfast and padded to the front door in his pajamas to get the newspaper.

    Said a ranking Democratic congressman: “Maybe he is a plodder, but right now the advantages of having a plodder in the presidency are enormous.”

    It was rare that Ford was ever as eloquent as he was for those dramatic moments of his swearing-in at the White House.

    “My fellow Americans,” he said, “our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works. Our great republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.”

    And, true to his reputation as unassuming Jerry, he added: “I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots. So I ask you to confirm me with your prayers.”

    For Ford, a full term was not to be. He survived an intraparty challenge from Ronald Reagan only to lose to Democrat Jimmy Carter in November. In the campaign, he ignored Carter’s record as governor of Georgia and concentrated on his own achievements as president.

    Carter won 297 electoral votes to his 240. After Reagan came back to defeat Carter in 1980, the two former presidents became collaborators, working together on joint projects.

    Even as president, Ford often talked with reporters several times a day. He averaged 200 outside speeches a year as House Republican leader, a pace he kept up as vice president and diminished, seemingly, only slightly as chief executive. He kept speaking after leaving the White House, generally for fees of $15,000 to $20,000.
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  2. #2
    Willowdared's Avatar
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    He was a good man, and a good president.

    May he rest in peace.
    Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.

    Do not puff, shade, skew, tailor, firm up, stretch, massage,
    or otherwise distort statements of fact.
    FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley

  3. #3
    Terminator's Avatar
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    Now nothing is older than dirt. RIP.

  4. #4
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    RIP, President Ford.

  5. #5
    Piggybank Cop's Avatar
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    Quotes About Former President Ford

    By The Associated Press
    The Associated Press
    Updated: 1:09 p.m. ET Dec 27, 2006
    Comments about former President Gerald R. Ford, who died Tuesday at 93:

    "The American people will always admire Gerald Ford's devotion to duty, his personal character and the honorable conduct of his administration." _ President George W. Bush.

    ___

    "An outstanding statesman, he wisely chose the path of healing during a deeply divisive time in our nation's history. He frequently rose above politics by emphasizing the need for bipartisanship and seeking common ground on issues critical to our nation." _ Former President Jimmy Carter.

    ___

    "To his great credit, he was the same hard-working, down-to-earth person the day he left the White House as he was when he first entered Congress almost 30 years earlier." _ Former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    ___

    "Jerry Ford was, simply put, one of the most decent and capable men I ever met. ... Most of all, I will remember him as a devoted family man and a man of honor who never stopped serving this country he loved so deeply." _ Former President George H.W. Bush.

    ___

    "History will honor Gerald Ford as a good man who became the respected leader of the Free World in unique times." _ Patricia Nixon Cox, daughter of former President Richard Nixon.

    ___

    "He was a friend to everyone who met him. He had no enemies." _ Former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., Ford's 1976 running mate.

    ___

    "Jerry was warm gentle, friendly, pleasant courteous individual. He never used bad language, he loved his family, his kids and above all else he loved Betty." _ Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who served with Ford in the House.

    ___

    "Jerry loved his country, his family and his religion. No other man I know of had so much affection for his family." _ Former Defense Secretary Melvin Laird.

    ___

    "I worked in President Ford's Justice Department and was struck by his steady leadership, honesty, and sense of responsibility to his country. He was a true profile in courage." _ Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

    ___

    "Thirty-two years ago, he assumed the nation's highest office during the greatest constitutional crisis since the Civil War. In that troubled era, America needed strength, wisdom, and good judgment, and those qualities came to us in the person of Gerald R. Ford." _ Vice President Dick Cheney.

    ___

    "Our country was fortunate to have such a man dedicated to public service who performed his responsibilities with distinction. President Ford was a unifier, a statesman, and more importantly, he was an everyman instead of a typical Washington politician. He was one of us." _ House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.
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  6. #6
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    Ford Only President to Be Park Ranger

    By JOHN HEILPRIN
    Associated Press Writer
    The Associated Press
    Updated: 1:59 p.m. ET Dec 27, 2006
    WASHINGTON - Feeding the bears at Yellowstone National Park is a thing of the past. But in the summer of 1936, it was one of former President Gerald R. Ford's jobs as a seasonal park ranger.

    Ford's stint at the park that summer 70 years ago, when he turned 23, makes him the only U.S. president ever to have served as a park ranger in the National Park Service, the service said.

    ord, the nation's 38th president, died Tuesday at the age of 93.

    He was "a darned good ranger," his supervisor, Canyon District Ranger Frank Anderson recalled. Ford himself called it "one of the greatest summers of my life."

    While at Yellowstone, Ford was assigned as an armed guard on the bear-feeding truck _ a job that Ford often enjoyed recalling when telling stories to his family, according to the National Park Service.

    Among his other duties that summer was to welcome arriving dignitaries at the park's Canyon Hotel and Lodge. He once told his supervisor that it was "undemocratic and un-American to give special attention to VIPs."

    But in those days before World War II, long before Ford became a VIP himself, the future president enjoyed "everything we rangers had to do," said Wayne Repogle, his roommate that summer. One aspect he particularly liked, Repogle recalled, were the daily checks for the make, model, state and license number of every car around between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.

    It took most of the rangers about two hours of running around to list the 150 to 200 licenses parked there. Ford, who played football, saw it as a great opportunity to keep fit.

    When he became president, Ford added 18 new areas to the national park system.

    ___

    On the Net:

    National Park Service photo of Ford: http://www.nps.gov/pub_aff/refdesk/GRFord.jpg
    We are the thin blue line
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  7. #7
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    President Ford also turned down an opportunity to be a Green Bay Packer. He was offered a position by Curly Lambeau to join the team for the extravagant salary of $200.00 per game.
    For the morning will come. Brightly will it shine on the brave and true, kindly upon all who suffer for the cause, glorious upon the tombs of heroes. Thus will shine the dawn.

    Winston Churchill

 

 

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