Wednesday, December 27, 2006

President Gerald Ford, RIP

Statement by Mrs. Betty Ford:
"My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald R. Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, has passed away at 93 years of age. His was a life filled with love of God, his family, and his country."
From AP:

The nation's 38th president, and the only one neither elected to the office nor the vice presidency, died at his desert home at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday.

"His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country," his wife, Betty, said in a statement.

Ford was the longest living former president, surpassing Ronald Reagan, who died in June 2004, by more than a month.
Bush on Ford:
President Bush on Wednesday remembered former President Gerald Ford as a "man of complete integrity who led our country with common sense and kind instincts" and helped restore faith in the presidency after the Watergate scandal.

"On Aug. 9, 1974, he stepped into the presidency without ever having sought the office," Bush said. "He assumed power in a period of great division and turmoil. For a nation that needed healing and for an office that needed a calm and steady hand, Gerald Ford came along when we needed him most."

Martin Schram reflects on Ford in an article just one month ago:
Ford became America's 38th president and, most importantly, America's first never-elected president & the only person whose name never even appeared on a presidential ballot before taking the presidential oath. While his presidency was just two years and five months long, it was no mere historical blip. He was uniquely suited for the challenge he inherited & calming the nation after the implosion of a presidency, vice presidency and administration of criminals.

When Vice President Spiro Agnew was proven to be a crook and resigned, President Richard Nixon appointed Ford as veep. Nixon, already trapped in his Watergate web of lies and deceits, figured that the lightly regarded Ford would be insurance against his own impeachment. (It was neither Nixon's first nor worst miscalculation.)

Just eight months later, Nixon resigned, fleeing sure impeachment and conviction; and Ford became president. In his presidency, Ford traveled to China and to a U.S.-Soviet strategic arms summit in Vladivostok. South Vietnam collapsed on his watch. And, of course, he pardoned Nixon. But Ford may have met his greatest challenge and performed his greatest service to the nation on Aug. 9, 1974, the day he took the oath of office.

In his inaugural address in the East Room, President Ford famously told a shaken nation: "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works . . ." In his speech, he also spoke a line that I've always liked best & because, in its simplicity, it summed up all that was wrong with the Nixon White House and all that would be needed to make things right: "I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together . . ." It was true that day and it is every bit as true today. It is why we always will appreciate Jerry Ford.

More links:
White House Bio
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum has collected some Ford quotes.
Hot Air: "stone cold mack-daddy Prez"
Paul Mirengoff of Power Line (has also posted an old campaign add):

My favorite Ford moment came in his 1975 state of the union address when he declared, "the state of the union is not good." Do you think we'll ever hear another president make a statement like that when his party has controlled the White House for an extended period?

The Ford family is in our prayers today. God speed President Ford.

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