Thursday, December 28, 2006


So Gerald Ford is dead and I still do not know about his place in history. Anytime a person dies, one must feel some sorrow and look back fondly at that person. However, Gerald Ford PARDONED Richard Nixon. Let's think about this for a second, a president of the United States either committed or had people commit illegal activities. And the person who takes over for him lets him get away with it.

In a television broadcast to the nation, Ford explained that he felt the pardon was in the best interests of the country and that the Nixon family's situation "is an American tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must."

During his tribute to Ford, current President Bush (who knows a little something about illegal activities) mentioned that Ford "helped heal our land and restore public confidence in the presidency". Rather ironic that Bush made these statements considering that in a 2004 interview with Bob Woodward, Ford said that Bush "made a big mistake" with their justifications for the Iraq war. What is even more interesting is that these anti-Bush comments did not come to light until after Ford died. Apparently, Ford requested that Woodward not publish the interview until Woodward had written a planned book about Ford or until he died.

Anyway, getting back to Ford's pardoning of Nixon, a lot of political pundits believe that Ford doing that is what cost him the re-election. He ended up losing to Jimmy Carter in 1976. However, some believe that it wasn't really Ford's idea to pardon Nixon in the first place.

You have to remember that Ford's ascension to the presidency was a rather bizarre one. Spiro Agnew was Nixon's original Vice President. He resigned, while in office, after he was charged with tax evasion. Nixon than nominated Ford to take over as VP. Soon after taking over that role, White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig advised Ford that Nixon was probably going to end up taking the fall for the Watergate scandal. In other words, Ford would soon end up being the 38th president of the United States.

According to Bob Woodward's book Shadow, Ford becoming President and the pardon of Nixon was part of a backroom deal between Ford, Nixon and Haig. In the same conversation where Haig advised Ford about what was going on with Watergate, he also advised the three options there were to protect Nixon from jail time. (1) Nixon could pardon himself and resign, (2) Nixon could pardon his aides involved in Watergate and then resign, or (3) Nixon could agree to leave in return for an agreement that the new president would pardon him. It looks like Ford went with option #3. Interestingly enough, Ford's first press secretary and close friend Jerald terHorst resigned his post in protest after the announcement of President Nixon's full pardon.

Top 5 most famous guests of the Betty Ford Center-Rehab Facility.
1. Elizabeth Taylor
2. Jerry Lee Lewis
3. Mary Tyler Moore
4. Johnny Cash
5. Chevy Chase



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