Events at the Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum, 2016

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Leah Wright Rigueur

Between the Lines: The Republican Party at a Racial Crossroads
November 16


ANN ARBOR--Leah Wright Rigeuer, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, opened her presentation by recounting her earlier research at the Ford Library, funded by a travel grant from the Ford Presidential Foundation, and how her findings within the Library's archival collections enriched her dissertation and her subsequent work in the field. She described the remarkable responses to President Ford's nomination of William T. Coleman to a cabinet position in the administration of a party not known for engaging or including the African American community. She went on to describe the historic evolution of African American voters in the Democratic and Republican parties and described three waves of Black Republican activity between 1936 and 1980. She noted that during his first eight months in office, President Ford met with more African Americans than any prior president. However, despite Ford's personal actions as president, these were often countered by actions by the Republican Party. Her detailed presentation was followed by excellent questions from the audience, which continued through the reception and well beyond.

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Michael A. Cohen

American Maelstrom: The 1968 Election and the Politics of Division
November 1

ANN ARBOR--Michael Cohen, author and Boston Globe columnist, spoke at the Library before a capacity audience about his new book, American Maelstrom: The 1968 Election and the Politics of Division, which chronicles the drama and impact of this watershed election that in many ways set the stage for the next half century of American politics. During his well-received and timely talk, Mr. Cohen highlighted the central issues and candidates at the heart of the 1968 election and drew parallels with our current electoral and political landscape. The fully engaged audience asked many questions during the question and answer session and continued the dialogue with our speaker during the book signing and reception following the program.

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EJames Rosebush

True Reagan: What Made Ronald Reagan Great and Why It Matters
October 18

ANN ARBOR--James Rosebush presented a fascinating talk at the Ford Library regarding his new book True Reagan: What Makes Ronald Reagan Great and Why It Matters. He provided the rapt audience with insights gleaned from six years working in very close proximity to President and Mrs. Reagan, serving simultaneously as "point man" managing the President's favorite domestic program fostering public-private partnerships while also serving as Chief of Staff to the First Lady. He referred to Presidents Ford and Reagan as rivals in politics but brothers in leadership, sharing Midwestern values, temperament, character and education.

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Linda Greenhouse

The President and the Justice: A Look at the Legacy of John Paul Stevens
September 15

ANN ARBOR--Yale Law School professor Linda Greenhouse spoke at the Ford Library on September 15 in commemoration of Constitution Day. A very attentive overflow crowd heard Ms. Greenhouse discuss President Ford's nomination of Justice John Paul Stevens to the U.S. Supreme Court and his amazingly fast confirmation process. She opened with a quotation from a letter President Ford wrote in 1975 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Justice Stevens' appointment: "I am prepared to allow history's judgment of my term in office to rest, if necessary, exclusively on my nomination 30 years ago of Justice John Paul Stevens to the U.S. Supreme Court." Greenhouse went on to describe his many contributions to the court, noting that he tended to offer nuance and was not doctrinaire in his views.

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Joel Goldstein

The White House Vice Presidency: The Path to Significance, Mondale to Biden
May 5

ANN ARBOR--Professor Joel Goldstein of the St. Louis University School of Law addressed an overflow crowd at the Ford Library on May 5 regarding his new book, The White House Vice Presidency: The Path to Significance, Mondale to Biden. Professor Goldstein described the Founding Fathers' initial visions for the position, and shared numerous anecdotes of how various individuals have viewed the role over the past 200 years. After years of conflicting expectations on the part of former presidents and the vice presidents themselves, Goldstein explained how the position has now become very powerful and essential to the implementation of the president's agenda and U.S. relationships with foreign leaders.

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Luke Nichter

A Decade with the Nixon Tapes: What We've Learned and What We Have Yet to Learn
April 12

ANN ARBOR--Dr. Luke Nichter spoke to an overflow audience at the Library about his experiences researching the Nixon tapes, which involved listening to nearly 3,000 hours of publicly released recordings over the past decade. In his talk, Dr. Nichter discussed the challenges of working with the Nixon tapes, the impact of the tapes on the later careers of those who were unwittingly recorded, and provided a truer sense of what is actually on the tapes beyond the better known Watergate-related recordings. Dr. Nichter also played two audio clips featuring then House Minority Leader Gerald Ford.

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David Priess

The President's Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to Americas Presidents from Kennedy to Obama
March 22

ANN ARBOR-- Dr. David Priess, spoke to an overflow audience at the Library about his new book, The Presidents Book of Secrets: The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to Americas Presidents from Kennedy to Obama, which examines how Presidents receive the most sensitive intelligence reporting and analysis in the world through the President's Daily Brief (PDB). During his talk, Dr. Priess introduced the audience to the personalities of those who produced and read the PDBs, the process of its creation and delivery, and the role played by the PDB in the daily work of national security at the highest level for more than 50 years.

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Ralph Vartabedian

Decay in America's Nuclear Arsenal
February 26

ANN ARBOR--Ralph Vartabedian, co-recipient of the 2014 Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense spoke to an attentive audience at the Library about the current state of America's nuclear arsenal. Mr. Vartabedian, National Correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, provided an historical overview of America's nuclear arsenal from its inception during World War II to our present post-Cold War world, presenting insights into the many facets of the nation's aging nuclear complex. He also discussed the potential threats posed by the nuclear programs of such countries as Russia, China, North Korea, and India in today's changing world.

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