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Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library


Encyclopedia of the American Presidency

Leonard W. Levy
Louis Fisher

Volume 2
Simon & Schuster
New York

FORD, GERALD R. (b. 1913), thirty-eighth President of the United States (1974-1977). Gerald Rudolph Ford--popularly known as "Jerry"--was the first President to reach the White House through the procedure established by the Twenty-fifth Amendment, promulgated in 1967. He fell narrowly short of election to a full term in 1976. Ford's tenure was briefer than that of any but four Presidents, and the shortest among the nine Vice Presidents who have filled out the term of a President. His administration produced no landmark legislative enactments or era making foreign policy triumphs. Yet he restored the legitimacy of the presidency after the scandal-torn Nixon administration, contributed to gradual reduction of international tensions, and dealt effectively with surging inflation and the worst economic recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Probably his greatest achievement, as the title of his memoir, A Time to Heal, suggests, was to begin the process of closing wounds to national confidence and cohesion left by more than a decade of domestic political turmoil and draining military involvement in Southeast Asia.

 Youth and Prepresidentia1 Career. Ford was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on 14 July 1913, son of Leslie King, a wool trader, and Dorothy Gardner King, and was christened Leslie King, Jr. Two years later the marriage broke up and the young mother took her son to live with her parents in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She soon met and married Gerald R. Ford, proprietor of a small paint manufacturing business. Her son's name was changed to Gerald R. Ford, Jr., though the senior Ford did not legally adopt him until several years later.

Ford retained no conscious memory of his mother's first marriage, which he later learned had been stormy, and was not told that he was adopted until he was "twelve or thirteen." His only encounter with his biological father came when he was seventeen and Leslie King, passing through Grand Rapids on a car trip, stopped at a diner where Ford was employed as a part-time short-order cook and introduced himself--a meeting that Ford later described as deeply traumatic.

Ford seems otherwise to have enjoyed a secure childhood and early youth in a typical middle-class, midwestern, small-city environment. The Fords were Episcopalians, which set them a bit apart from the prevailing Dutch Calvinism of Grand Rapids in the 1920s. The senior Ford met financial difficulties during the depression, but young Jerry won a full scholarship to the University of Michigan. At Michigan, from which he graduated in 1935, he played center on the varsity football team, being named to a national all-star team in his senior year. He considered becoming an economist but doubted that he could make a good living at it and decided to study law instead. He was admitted to Yale Law School and graduated in 1941 in the top quarter of his law school class.

Ford began practicing law in Grand Rapids, where he soon became active in the locally dominant Republican Party. In the years preceding America's entry into World War II, Ford had shared the isolationism then popular in the Midwest and warmly championed by Grand Rapids' most celebrated citizen, Senator Arthur Vandenberg. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Ford joined the navy as an ensign. Wartime service in the Pacific convinced him that "the United States. . . could no longer stick its head in the sand as an ostrich." He returned to Grand Rapids in 1946 an "ardent internationalist."

With quiet encouragement from Vandenberg, who had also been converted during the war to internationalism, Ford entered the 1948 Republican primary for the U.S. House of Representatives and easily defeated the incumbent. He went on to victory in the general election. While running for Congress, Ford courted and married Betty Warren, a local beauty.

In the House, Ford was named to the powerful Appropriations Committee; he specialized in military matters and acquired a thorough knowledge of the federal budget. In 1959, Ford participated in the coup by which Charles Halleck of Indiana ousted Joseph Martin of Massachusetts as House minority leader.

Ford and his associates, however, soon became dissatisfied with Halleck's alliance with conservative southern Democrats, which they believed was blocking development of the Republican Party in the South and undercutting traditional Republican support for progressive civil rights legislation. After the 1964 election, in which Republicans suffered heavy losses in the House accompanying Barry Goldwater’s landslide defeat by Lyndon B. Johnson for the presidency, Ford challenged Halleck for the minority leadership. Ford won by a vote of 73 to 67.

As minority leader, Ford pursued courses of fiscal conservatism, moderate progressivism on domestic issues such as civil rights and education, and foreign policy internationalism. After Richard M. Nixon's election as President in 1968, Ford regarded himself as floor leader for the administration as well as leader of the House minority. On a number of domestic issues, such as welfare reform, he loyally supported the administration's relatively progressive proposals rather than following his own more conservative instincts. By forming shifting coalitions with conservative, moderate, and even liberal Democrats he was able to achieve passage of parts of Nixon's domestic program (which sometimes were later blocked in the Senate.)

As internal opposition to American military involvement in Vietnam became increasingly intense during the early 1970s, Ford led a coalition of hawks in the House that repeatedly blocked efforts by the dovish majority in the Senate to establish a fixed date for final American withdrawal from Southeast Asia. In June 1973, however, as support for continuation of the Vietnam War dwindled even among House Republicans, Ford joined the Senate minority leader, Hugh Scott, in pressuring Nixon into agreeing to terminate American combat activities in Southeast Asia by the middle of August.

Ford's highest political ambition had been to become Speaker of the House. When the Republicans failed to make significant gains in the House in 1972 despite Nixon's landslide re-election, he concluded that his party was unlikely to win control of the House in "the foreseeable future." He decided he would run once more for reelection and then retire from the House at the end of 1976.

Succession to the Presidency. In October 1973, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, as part of a plea bargain to escape prosecution for bribery charges, resigned. Meanwhile, investigation of the Watergate Affair had begun.

Nixon nominated Ford to succeed to the vice presidency--apparently largely because he believed Ford would be easily confirmed. He was right. On 6 December 1973, Ford was sworn in as Vice President.Ford entered the vice presidency convinced that efforts to impeach Nixon would fade, and that he would carry out his planned retirement from public life at the end of 1976. Events proved otherwise. On 9 August 1974, Nixon, on the verge of impeachment, resigned, and Ford succeeded to the presidency.

The most controversial act of Ford's presidency--which may have cost him election to a full term­-occurred only four weeks after his administration began. On Sunday, 8 September, after attending church services, he announced that he had granted a "full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses" committed while President.

Skeptical commentators and many ordinary citizens have speculated, without evidence, that Ford must have made some kind of deal with Nixon, or with Nixon's chief of staff Alexander Haig, to issue the pardon in return for smooth succession to the presidency. Ford's own explanation in his memoir was that he was convinced that a trial of Nixon would last at least two years, dividing the nation and sapping vital governmental energies, including his own. Along with these practical considerations, an important factor was probably the one he mentioned when the pardon was granted: he believed that Nixon "and his loved ones have suffered enough."

The Ford Team. During his first months in the White House, Ford, following advice of a kitchen cabinet of former House colleagues and business lobbyists, moved to replace the tight hierarchical structure through which Nixon had managed the presidency with a looser staff structure, under which several top assistants would have easy access to the President. Donald Rumsfeld, who had been serving as ambassador to NATO, took Haig's place as White House Chief of Staff, but many Nixon appointees stayed on in secondary positions on the White House Staff--largely because competent replacements could not readily be found. Robert Hartmann, a former journalist who had been Ford's principal assistant in the House, became chief speechwriter and political counselor--not answerable to Rumsfeld.

For the vacant vice presidency Ford nominated Nelson A. Rockefeller, recently retired after three-and-a-half terms as governor of New York, and leader of the Republican Party's progressive wing. Rockefeller, who had three times sought the presidency himself, accepted Ford's nomination on condition that he be given a large role in formulating and directing domestic policy. Both congressional liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, who had never forgiven Rockefeller for leading the opposition to Goldwater at the 1964 Republican convention, took advantage of the vice presidential confirmation hearings to subject the nominee to prolonged interrogation and to probe details of the Rockefeller family fortune. Rockefeller was not confirmed until near the end of December 1974.

The new Vice President brought with him an extensive staff of governmental specialists, most of whom had formerly served him in New York. But Rumsfeld, who believed Rockefeller had been promised too much authority, had by then solidified his position in the White House, and the Vice President never was able to play the major role in domestic policy he had expected.

Throughout Ford's presidency acrimonious feuds tore the White House staff, delaying decisions and disrupting administrative efficiency. This was partly because of the necessarily quick and fairly haphazard way in which the staff was assembled after Nixon's resignation. But it also reflected Ford's administrative style, formed in Congress, where consensus takes precedence over efficiency. Hartmann, who knew Ford as well as anybody, later said that the President used squabbles among his staff to prevent action on matters on which he had not yet focused his attention.

Most members of Nixon's Cabinet at first remained in place. Some of the stronger individuals among these, such as Secretary of the Treasury William Simon and Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, had grown used to operating almost autonomously during the final chaotic months of Nixon's presidency. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, who also functioned as director of the National Security Council within the White House, was a celebrated international figure. Ford initially allowed many policy decisions by Cabinet secretaries that, in other administrations, would have required White House clearance.

By fall 1975, however, Ford had determined that the time had come to draw more authority back into the White House, and to change the executive branch lineup in a way that would put more of his personal stamp on policy. On 2 November, Ford announced that Rumsfeld would replace Schlesinger, whose public arrogance and clumsy relations with Congress had increasingly nettled the President, as Secretary of Defense, and that George Bush, whom Ford had made American representative in Beijing, would replace William Colby, a Schlesinger ally, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Richard Cheney, Rumsfeld's young assistant, became White House chief of staff. Elliot Richardson, who had resigned as Attorney General in 1973 rather than carry out Nixon's order to fire the Watergate special prosecutor, was named Secretary of Commerce. Kissinger, while remaining Secretary of State, was required to yield his role as director of the National Security Council to his assistant, Brent Scowcroft. Finally, and most painfully, Ford informed Rockefeller that conservative opposition dictated that he choose a different running mate for the Republican ticket in 1976.

The Cabinet with which Ford entered the election year was probably stronger than any of Nixon's, and somewhat more weighted toward the moderate-to-progressive side of the Republican Party. Edward Levi, president of the University of Chicago, had become Attorney General to repair the damage suffered by the Department of Justice during the Watergate affair. Simon provided a strong conservative voice at the Treasury. The major service departments were led by vigorous constituency advocates, notably Richardson at Commerce, Carla Hills at Housing and Urban Development, and William Coleman at Transportation.

Relations with Congress. The 1974 midterm congressional elections, held under the shadow of Watergate, had produced large Democratic gains. The Democratic majority in the House rose to just over the two-thirds needed to pass bills over the President's veto. The Democratic majority in the Senate, though not quite so overwhelming, was more than enough to dominate legislative business.

Ford's long experience in Congress and his friendly personal relationships with Democratic leaders in both houses gave him tactical advantages that Nixon had lacked. The bitter antagonism that had developed between Nixon and the Democratic majorities in Congress never took hold under Ford. But fundamental differences over economic policy produced a series of pitched legislative battles.

Ford vetoed more bills relative to time in office, an average of 26.4 a year, than all but three Presidents: Grover Cleveland, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry S. Truman. Most of the vetoes by Cleveland, Roosevelt, and Truman, however, had been of private bills, passed at requests by members of Congress to deal with particular problems of individual constituents. All but five of Ford's sixty-six vetoes were of bills dealing with substantive policy issues.

Many of Ford's vetoes were delivered against major appropriations bills, passed by the Democratic Congress to counter the deep recession of 1974-1976. Such budget-breaking expenditures, the President argued, would set off a new round of inflation. Other vetoes were used to protect the Executive Powers of the President, under attack after Watergate, and to uphold the administration's positions in foreign policy and energy policy. Despite the huge Democratic majorities in Congress, Ford, by maintaining relative unity among the Republican minority and shrewd bargaining with approachable Democrats, was able to block attempted overrides of all but twelve of his vetoes.

Domestic Policy. The Ford administration's domestic policy agenda, though including a number of positive initiatives, was devoted mainly to combating the economic scourges of inflation and recession and to dealing with the energy crisis that had begun with the Arab oil embargo of 1973.

When Ford entered the presidency, consumer prices were rising at an annual rate of more than 12 percent--the first time since the 1940s the national economy had reached the frightening level of double­digit inflation. Nixon's experiment with wage and price controls had not only failed but also had helped build inflationary pressures that were now exploding in the economy. On 8 October 1974, Ford proposed in a speech before Congress that to reduce inflation there be a one-year 5 percent surcharge on corporate and personal income taxes and a deep cut in federal spending. (The message was best remembered for the President's much derided suggestion that citizens join the fight against inflation by wearing WIN-Whip Inflation Now-buttons.)

Before Congress could give serious consideration to Ford's program it had become clear that the more pressing threat to the economy was the recession that had begun early in 1974 and suddenly accelerated in the fall. Gross national product fell 7.5 percent in constant dollars during the fourth quarter and by December unemployment had risen to 7.2 percent.

In his 1975 state of the union message Ford reported to Congress: "The state of the union is not good." To overcome the growing recession the President proposed, in place of the tax surcharge he had called for a few months earlier, a $16 billion tax cut. To offset the inflationary effects of the tax cut, Ford recommended a moratorium on new federal programs and a ceiling on domestic spending.

The Democratic majority in Congress responded, as unemployment rose to a peak of 8.9 percent in May, by pushing through appropriations far in excess of those called for in the administration's budget and passing a tax cut almost 50 percent greater than that proposed by Ford. Using the veto weapon, Ford turned back many of the spending increases and held out for a tax bill closer to his own recommendation.

Ford coordinated the administration's approach to economic matters through an Economic Policy Board he set up in the White House under the direction of William Seidman, an old friend from Grand Rapids whom he had brought to Washington while he was Vice President. The Economic Policy Board was chaired by Treasury Secretary Simon, and included the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Greenspan, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, James Lynn, and the heads of several other relevant departments and agencies. Simon emphatically re-enforced Ford's conservative instincts on economic policy. Lynn and his deputy, Paul O'Neill, carried on much of the day-to-day trench warfare against growth in federal spending. Greenspan provided intellectual analysis and rationalization that played a major role in guiding administration policy.

The growth of federal entitlement programs, giving individuals and states and localities legal rights to income, Greenspan argued, was driving up federal expenditures with dire consequences for the nation's economic future. Fighting recession through the familiar means of massively increasing federal spending, he maintained, would worsen this potentially disastrous trend. Greenspan rejected the conventional wisdom that there was a trade-off between inflation and recession. Inflationary government spending, he claimed, while it might bring short-term relief, would plant the seeds for an even worse bout of recession within a few years. In December 1975, as Congress prepared to adjourn for the year, Ford and the Democratic leadership agreed to a compromise through which the President accepted the Democrats' proposed tax cut in return for a promise to restrain federal spending. When Congress returned in 1976, with the economy little improved, the barrage of budget-breaking appropriations was resumed with little regard for the December agreement. But Ford at least had increased moral force with which to support his vetoes.

The recession that began in 1974 was made even more onerous for consumers by the huge increase in gas and oil prices that had followed the 1973 Arab oil embargo (imposed as retaliation for American support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War.) Though the embargo had been lifted in March 1974, the international price of oil, set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), remained ten times what it had been only five years before.

The power of OPEC, almost everyone agreed, made it essential that the United States become "energy independent," or at least greatly reduce its dependence on foreign oil. Ford in his 1975 state of the union message proposed to approach this goal by decontrolling the price of domestically produced oil and increasing fees on imported petroleum, coupled with a windfall profits tax on oil companies. The result, Ford conceded, would be even higher gas and oil prices, but domestic production would be stimulated.

The Democratic leadership in Congress rejected Ford's plan, arguing that it would hurt consumers while further enriching big oil companies, and proposed in its place a package of import quotas and tax incentives for production of more fuel efficient automobiles. Arguing between the two sides continued through 1975, with Democratic members of Congress from the oil-producing states generally supporting the administration.

Vice President Rockefeller entered the fray with a plan, prepared by his staff of economists and lawyers, to create a $100 billion government corporation, which he called the Energy Independence Authority (EIA), to provide loans and guarantees to private companies developing new domestic energy sources. EIA was hotly opposed within the administration by Simon, Greenspan, and Lynn, and more quietly by Rumsfeld, on grounds that it would be enormously costly and violated principles of free-market economics. Ford nevertheless submitted the plan to Congress-but did almost nothing to promote its enactment.

In December 1975, Ford agreed to sign legislation passed by the Democratic majority in Congress that temporarily rolled back prices of domestically produced oil. Inreturn Congress gave the President authority to carry out gradual decontrol of prices of all petroleum products over a forty-month period. Simon, privately, and many conservatives outside the administration, publicly, were harshly critical of Ford, claiming he had given in because he feared the political effects of rising fuel oil prices in New Hampshire at the time of the presidential primary in February 1976. By the end of 1976, however, Ford had about half-completed the process of decontrolling petroleum prices. On the day before he left office in January 1977, he ordered elimination of most remaining controls--an action quickly rescinded by the incoming Carter administration.

Beside abolishing many controls on petroleum prices, Ford proposed economic deregulation of the railroad, aviation, and trucking industries, and created a regulatory reform task force to identify other areas in which deregulation would be economically and socially desirable. Only railroad deregulation had been achieved by the time Ford left office, but the groundwork had been laid for other regulatory reforms later carried out under Carter.

Ford proposed a number of domestic service initiatives, including catastrophic health insurance for persons over sixty-five, federal support for economic renewal of depressed zones in inner cities, and consolidation of so-called categorical grants to states and localities into a few broad, largely unrestricted "revenue sharing" grants for services such as health care and education. Democrats in Congress, expecting election of a Democratic President in 1976, gave most of these scant attention.

Ford's approach to domestic policy issues was basically conservative, in the sense of emphasizing freedom of the private economy and assigning primary responsibility for performance of most domestic government services to the states and localities. But he saw an important role for the federal government in responding to public needs that were not being fully met by the private sector or the states and localities. At the start of the 1976 general election campaign he announced that in a full term he would devote more attention to improving federal participation in dealing with "quality of life" concerns such as housing, education, health care, protection against crime, and recreation.

 Foreign Policy. During the early months of his presidency, Ford gave almost free rein to Secretary of State Kissinger in directing foreign policy. Perceptions among both the American public and foreign leaders of Kissinger's mastery in conducting international relations, and Ford's awareness of his own limited experience in the field, made it prudent for the President to appear for a time to defer to his Secretary of State.

To the end of Ford's term Kissinger's role in formulating and carrying out foreign policy remained centra1. But as the President's confidence grew he began asserting himself more on international affairs. On his numerous trips abroad he developed warm relationships with leaders of allied powers, particularly James Callaghan in Britain, Helmut Schmidt in West Germany, and Valery Giscard d'Estaing in France, and achieved footings of wary mutual respect with the communist rulers of the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. After the Cabinet shakeup in the fall of 1975, Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense played an important part in shaping foreign policy. Scowcroft as director of the National Security Council proved not to be Kissinger's pawn, as many had expected, and exerted considerable behind-the-scenes influence. Simon at the Treasury was influential in forming international economic policy.

During the winter of 1975, communist armies swept over South Vietnam and Cambodia, taking advantage of the withdrawal of most American support forces after 1973. Ford asked for a fresh infusion of American aid but the Democratic majority in Congress refused. On 29 April 1975, Ford ordered evacuation of the last American troops from Saigon and the South Vietnamese government capitulated to the communists. "This action, " the President said, "closes a chapter in the American experience."

Ford continued Nixon's policies of maintaining close ties within the Western alliance and moving toward more harmonious relations with the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. He set out, however, to reverse the decline in military spending that had taken place under Nixon. As a result of cuts in American defense expenditures, he observed, the international military balance was shifting toward the Soviet Union.

During 1975 and early 1976 Kissinger negotiated with the Soviets for a more comprehensive treaty limiting production and deployment of nuclear weapons, SALT (STRATEGIC ARMS LIMITATION TALKS) II. Rumsfeld, speaking for the Pentagon military establishment, insisted on better terms for the United States than Kissinger believed were obtainable. Ford, largely because of concern that conservative criticism of the administration's alleged softness toward the Soviet Union was building support for the rival presidential candidacy of Ronald Reagan, ultimately sided with Rumsfeld and the Pentagon. SALT II was put off to another day.

In November 1974, Ford met in Vladivostok with Soviet leaders, and in December 1975, traveled to China where he took the measure of the communist leadership succeeding the aged Mao Tse-tung. In August 1975, Ford joined Soviet Communist Party boss, General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, and leaders of other European nations in signing the Helsinki accords, ratifying the boundaries of European countries established at the end of World War II and vaguely committing signators to facilitate the free international movement of people and ideas--a charter much criticized by conservatives, who claimed that Ford and Kissinger had in effect accepted Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.

The administration, largely at the instigation of Kissinger, gave increased attention to developing nations. In April 1976, Kissinger, who formerly had assumed the indefinite continuation of white-minority rule in southern Africa, announced in Zambia that the United States would work to install black-majority governments in Rhodesia (later Zimbabwe) and by implication South Africa. The following month the Secretary of State at a United Nations conference in Kenya called for creation of a world resources bank. In September 1976, Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith accepted Kissinger's proposal for transition to a black majority government.

Within the United Nations the United States fought, unsuccessfully, in November 1975, against a resolution sponsored by developing and communist-bloc countries equating Zionism with racism. In the Middle East the United States in 1975 served as midwife to an interim agreement between Israel and Egypt, and in 1976 sought, with little success, to end the civil war in Lebanon.

The 1976 Election. Soon after he became President, Ford decided that he would be a candidate for election to a full term in 1976. He expected to have little trouble securing the Republican nomination and was therefore startled by Ronald Reagan's success in gathering support among conservative Republicans in 1975 for an insurgent candidacy. From December 1975, when a national poll showed Reagan leading Ford among Republican voters, until the Republican national convention in August 1976, administration policy was deeply affected by eagerness to appease the Republican right. Drawing on support from party regulars and moderates and from some conservatives like Barry Goldwater who resisted rejecting an incumbent President, Ford eked out a narrow victory over Reagan at the convention. He chose as his vice presidential candidate Senator Robert Dole of Kansas, who had backing among conservatives and was strong in the midwestern farm belt where Ford feared defections like those that helped defeat Thomas E. Dewey in 1948 (the year of Ford's first election to the House).

Association of the Watergate scandal with the Republican Party and the continued weakness of the economy in early 1976 seemed to give the Democrats a clear advantage at winning the presidency. Former Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia capitalized on the desire among many voters to find a leader in no way connected with the scandals, assassinations, and debates over the Vietnam War that had plagued national politics during the prior ten years. Carter won the nomination at the Democratic national convention in July. At the end of the convention a national poll found Carter leading Ford by 33 percentage points.

Ford's general election campaign began with his presiding over the bicentennial celebration on 4 July 1976. Ford and his campaign manager, James A, Baker III, thereafter ran a skillful campaign designed to associate the President with national pride and reviving public confidence in the nation's future. Unemployment began to fall. Ford's insistence on treating inflation as the number one enemy seemed to be working.

During the early fall Ford steadily gained on Carter. The economic recovery stalled in September but growing doubts among the electorate over Carter's qualifications to be President continued to shift support to Ford. In the first televised debate between the candidates in Philadelphia on 23 September, Ford came out clearly ahead in public perceptions. But in the second debate in San Francisco on 6 October on foreign policy, which was thought to be Carter's area of greatest vulnerability, Ford stumbled into asserting that there was "no Soviet domination of eastern Europe" (partly through confused language but probably also because of lingering resentment over the charge that he had sold out Eastern Europe at Helsinki). This blunder, richly highlighted by the media, revived concern among many voters that Ford might not quite be up to the presidency. The third debate in Williamsburg on 22 October ended inconclusively.

On election day, 2 November, Carter won 50.1 percent of the popular vote to 48 percent for Ford, producing a margin for Carter in the Electoral College of 297 to 240 (one elector voted for Reagan). A shift of 9,000 votes in Ohio and Hawaii would have kept Ford in the White House (though still well behind in the popular vote.) Though disappointed at the result, Ford took satisfaction that he had almost closed the gap in what had seemed an impossible race, while refusing to increase government spending for an economic quick fix in the election year. By the time he left office in January 1977, the economic recovery was back on track and annual inflation had fallen below five percent.

After leaving the presidency Ford busied himself in a number of political, educational, and sporting activities. In 1980 he briefly considered joining the Republican ticket as Reagan's running mate before negotiations on this improbable match collapsed on the night of Reagan's nomination.

Ford's administration helped lay the foundation for the swing to more conservative governmental policies carried out under Ronald Reagan and George Bush in the 1980s. His most important contribution to political life, however, was his association of honor and decency with the presidency at a time when public confidence in all national institutions was severely strained.



Ford, Gerald R. A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford. 1979.

Hartmann, Robert T. Palace Politics: An Insider's Account of the Ford Years. 1980.

Hyland, William. Mortal Rivals: Superpower Relations from Nixon to Reagan. 1987.

Nessen, Ron. It Sure Looks Different from the Inside. 1978. Osborne,John. White House Watch: The Ford Years. 1978.

Porter, Roger B. Presidential Decision Making: The Economic Policy Board. 1980.

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Gerald R. Ford. 6 vols. 1974-1977.

Reichley, A. James. Conservatives in an Ag!J.:jlf Change: The Nixon and Ford Administrations. 1981. Simon, William E. A Time for Truth. 1978. Thompson, Kenneth W., ed. The Ford Presidency: Twenty-Two Intimate Perspectives of Gerald R. Ford. 1988.



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Last Updated: August 10, 2005