Former President Gerald R. Ford has died at 93

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacNut, Dec 26, 2006.

  1. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10949314/
    Gerald R. Ford, who picked up the pieces of Richard Nixon’s scandal-shattered White House as the 38th and only unelected president in America’s history, has died, his wife, Betty, said Tuesday. He was 93.

    “My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age,” Mrs. Ford said in a brief statement issued from her husband’s office in Rancho Mirage. “His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country.”

    He was the longest living president, followed by Ronald Reagan, who also died at 93. Ford had been living at his desert home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., about 130 miles east of Los Angeles.

    Ford was an accidental president, Nixon’s hand-picked successor, a man of much political experience who had never run on a national ticket. He was as open and straight-forward as Nixon was tightly controlled and conspiratorial.

    He took office minutes after Nixon flew off into exile and declared “our long national nightmare is over.” But he revived the debate a month later by granting Nixon a pardon for all crimes he committed as president. That single act, it was widely believed, cost Ford election to a term of his own in 1976, but it won praise in later years as a courageous act that allowed the nation to move on.

    The Vietnam War ended in defeat for the U.S. during his presidency with the fall of Saigon in April 1975. In a speech as the end neared, Ford said: “Today, America can regain the sense of pride that existed before Vietnam. But it cannot be achieved by refighting a war that is finished as far as America is concerned.” Evoking Abraham Lincoln, he said it was time to “look forward to an agenda for the future, to unify, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

    Ford also earned a place in the history books as the first unelected vice president, chosen by Nixon to replace Spiro Agnew who also was forced from office by scandal.

    He was in the White House only 895 days, but changed it more than it changed him.

    Even after two women tried separately to kill him, the presidency of Jerry Ford remained open and plain.

    Not imperial. Not reclusive. And, of greatest satisfaction to a nation numbed by Watergate, not dishonest.

    Even to millions of Americans who had voted two years earlier for Richard Nixon, the transition to Ford’s leadership was one of the most welcomed in the history of the democratic process — despite the fact that it occurred without an election.
     
  2. Blackheart macrumors 6502a

    Blackheart

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  3. mac-convert macrumors 6502a

    mac-convert

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    Gerald Ford will go down in history as the only President we had who was never elected into the office - neither the Vice Presidency nor the Presidency - for those who don't remember.
     
  4. Flowbee macrumors 68030

    Flowbee

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    First James Brown, then Gerald Ford. Who'll be number three? (they always seem to happen in threes)
     
  5. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    This was mentioned in the article. Jerry Ford will also be remembered as the only president to conk somebody on the head with a golf ball. Politics aside, I think most of us who lived through this period will likely recall him somewhat fondly. After the Nixon horror story, he was at least a sincere and decent character, and even provided the nation with a bit of unintentional comic relief at a time when we really needed it.
     
  6. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    Peter Boyle was the first, so the trio is complete :(
     
  7. ShovelHead84 macrumors member

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    My heart is heavy…

    But my first thought, and it is a high tribute to the man his memory, was what the U.S., the world, would be like if in his 1974 bid for the Presidency he had not been defeated by the infamous Jimmy Carter. I struggled in the Armed Forces during that time and I can tell you it was a struggle lost. The damage that man did to this country is still being measured: one of the Iranians that held hostage Americans in Iran is running the country now and will himself gain infamy when he nukes Israel.

    Gerald Ford healed a wounded country. His methods at the time not without controversy even from within his own party.

    Given the penchant of the media his most repeated legacy in the next few days will be of his many missteps, taken literally. He was even while in office called a klutz and was ridiculed repeatedly by Saturday Night Live.

    He may have been the only President that suffered two assassination attempts. Not wounded but shot at twice (if memory serves).

    What will not be ignored cannot be ignored: he was one with the common man approachable and never seemed among the elite.

    His recognition as a great American more than a great Republican was illustrated throughout his tenur but perhaps is best epitomized by his acceptance of a Kennedy Medal of Freedom. He himself said it was among his most cherished awards.

    I do so wish that the media would correct their referral to the President as an All-American from Michigan: he was all-America. Perhaps a picky foul but nonetheless grating to someone who is aware of the distinction.

    Rest in Peace, Mr. President and thank you for your service to our Country.
     
  8. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    A stand up kind of guy that found himself thrust into a situation that he could have never foreseen. I remember that period of time very well and it's hard to describe the anxiety we all felt between the end of the war, the Watergate scandal, the Cold War, Spiro Agnew and then the resignation of Nixon himself. Not many people could have stepped into the middle of that and held things together like Ford did.
     
  9. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    Nicely put.

    This is sad news. He was an honorable man who took over the reins of the country in a very difficult time. His sterling strength of character got the country moving forward again.

    Rest in Peace, President Ford.
     
  10. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    I always saw him as an honest person. Had forgotten he was originally named Leslie Lynch King, Jr.
     
  11. Sayhey macrumors 68000

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    Ex-President Ford dies

    From AP:

     
  12. sushi Moderator emeritus

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    Uh, maybe because the topic (President Ford's death) is a current event and not a political debate! ;)
     
  13. skwert macrumors member

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    this is really big deal where i live, grand rapids michigan. he actually grew up right down the street from my house, and he's got about one of everything named after him, museum, airport, highway, etc. he was a great, honest guy. sad to see him go.
     
  14. zimv20 macrumors 601

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    wow, first frank stanton, then james brown, now gerald ford. all in 3 days. weird.

    i hope betty and family are coping well.
     
  15. sushi Moderator emeritus

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    My prayers are with them.

    My mom had semi emergency surgery yesterday (Christmas day).

    Makes one appreciate the simple things in life like one's health, family & friends. :)
     
  16. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    holy cow. i hope she's doing well.

    i spent xmas '94 in the hospital, not the most pleasurable of experiences.
     
  17. sushi Moderator emeritus

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    She's doing fine. Thanks for the thought! :)

    Not a fun experience I am sure.
     
  18. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

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    Wow, I had no idea he was 93. I always thought he would die in the 2010's for some reason.
     
  19. Sayhey macrumors 68000

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    Not quite sure how a President's life isn't a political matter, but regardless it has been consolidated into the poly forums now.

    Compared to the current occupant of the Oval Office the guy was a brilliant leader, but I can never forget his pardon of Nixon and those silly WIN buttons. He also brought both Rumsfeld and Cheney into his White House. That's come back to haunt us. Still as Presidents go, he wasn't the worst.
     
  20. pianoman macrumors 68000

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    Gerald Ford was an honest man who always kept in mind who he was serving: the common person. May he be remembered fondly by all who knew him and those who he served.
     
  21. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

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    Let's not use the death of Ford as an excuse to attack the "infamous" Jimmy Carter. It's inappropriate, speculative and debatable, and this is not the time for any of that.

    IJ, younger members may not remember that "comic relief", but aside from the golf ball story, I recall him tripping down a helicopter ramp. There may've been others. Chevy Chase made a good living for a few years playing Gerald Ford, doing pratfalls over the office furniture in the White House. :D

    Sayhey, I remember the WIN buttons: Whip Inflation Now. Worked, too. :rolleyes:

    All joshing aside, I think he was neither a great president nor a bad one. Whether he "healed" the country was questionable after he granted Nixon the pardon. But he was not an idealogue. Would that more people from his party followed his lead.
     
  22. princealfie macrumors 68030

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    Hmm... I won't speculate.
     
  23. zimv20 macrumors 601

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    1. frank stanton, 24th
    2. james brown, 25th
    3. gerald ford, 26th
     
  24. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

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    Chase pulled some enormous and memorable headers over a lectern doing his Ford routine. I can't honestly remember how many graceless moments Ford had beyond the famous stumble and the golf ball incident, but I don't think they ever harmed his reputation, even as comics like Chevy Chase poked fun mercilessly. I might be in minority, but I think Ford judged the nation's mood correctly when he pardoned Nixon.
     
  25. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

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    Yes, he wanted us to "get past" the whole Nixon-Watergate thing. You could argue quite credibly on either side of the issue of whether this was the right thing to do.

    Then again, there are those who subscribe to the theory that the whole Clinton witchhunt was payback for what happened to Nixon, which suggests that a lot of people didn't get over Watergate. And of course, scholars will be debating this stuff for years and years to come.
     

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