Gerald R. Ford

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Gerald R. Ford, the only President and Vice President of the United States who served without being elected to either office, died December 26, 2006, at the age of 93. [1] Gerald Rudolph Ford, born July 14, 1913, was the 38th (1974-1977) President of the United States.


The following was adapted from the Gerald R. Ford article in the Wikipedia.

Ford was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 24 years (1949-1973), where he served on the Warren Commission, and became Minority Leader of the House. When Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned during Richard M. Nixon's presidency, Nixon appointed Ford (with the approval of the U.S. Senate) to take his place. When Nixon then resigned in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Ford ascended the presidency and proclaimed that, "Our long national nightmare is over." Ford gave Nixon a 'blanket' pardon for his dealings in the Watergate scandal - which also forgave anything else Nixon might have ever done.[2]

The economy was a great concern during the Ford administration. In response to rising inflation, Ford went before the American public on television in October, 1974 and asked them to "whip inflation now" (WIN); as part of this program, he urged people to wear "WIN" buttons. However, many perceived this as simply a gimmick without offering any effective means of solving the problem.[3]

In the aftermath of Watergate, the Democrats scored major gains in both the House and the Senate in the 1974 elections. Ford and Congress battled over legislation, with Ford vetoing scores of Democrat-supported bills.

The economic focus began to change as the country sank into a recession, and in March, 1975, Ford and Congress signed into law income tax rebates to help boost the economy.

Ford also faced a foreign policy crisis with the Mayaguez Incident. In 1975, shortly after the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia, Cambodians seized an American merchant ship, the Mayaguez, in international waters. Ford dispatched Marines to rescue the crew, but the marines landed on the wrong island and met unexpectedly stiff resistance just as, unknown to the US, the Mayaguez sailors were being released. Several American soldiers were killed in the fighting.

It is believed that Ford's pardoning of Nixon, along with the continuing economic problems, may have cost him the election in 1976. His campaign may also have been hampered by a strong challenge that year for the nomination in his party by Ronald Reagan.

R. Doug Lewis, who is now executive director of the Election Center, managed Ford's 1976 campaign in Texas.[4]

Ford was from Michigan and played football for the University of Michigan.


External links

  • Executive Advisory Board, Heart of America Foundation, accessed September 8, 2008.