- NAME: Gerald Ford
- OCCUPATION: Lawyer, U.S. President, U.S. Vice President, U.S. Representative
- BIRTH DATE: July 14, 1913
- DEATH DATE: December 26, 2006
- EDUCATION: University of Michigan, Yale Law School (Yale University), University of Michigan Law School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Omaha, Nebraska
- PLACE OF DEATH: Rancho Mirage, California
- Full Name: Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr.
- AKA: Gerald R. Ford Jr.
- AKA: Gerald Ford
- AKA: Gerald Rudolph Ford
- Originally: Leslie Lynch King Jr.
- AKA: Leslie Lynch King
- AKA: Leslie King
- AKA: Jerry Ford
- AKA: Gerald R. Ford
Best Known For
Gerald Ford became the 38th president of the United States following Richard Nixon's resignation, in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal.
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Declining a suggestion to run for the Senate in 1954, Ford's long career as a congressman encompassed work on foreign policy, the military, spending, the space program and the Warren Commission.
Although he served as House minority leader, Ford's ambition to be speaker of the House seemed out of reach and, thusly, the congressman was contemplating retirement following his 13th term in the House concluded in 1976. The changing political atmosphere of the '70s would dictate otherwise,
On October 10, 1973, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned under allegations of income tax evasion and bribery. Two days later, President Richard Nixon nominated Gerald Ford to take his place, under the provisions of the Constitution's 25th Amendment, and in two months, Ford was sworn in as the country's 40th vice president.
Over the ensuing months, investigations into Nixon's involvement in the Watergate scandal sped up, culminating with Nixon's resignation on August 8, 1974. One day later, on August 9, 1974, Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States.
The following month, President Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon—a move that hung like a shadow over Ford's longstanding reputation for integrity. That same month, Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer, and subsequently underwent a radical mastectomy.
Ford's early presidency marked a state of tumult for the nation, with downfalls including a seriously ailing economy (and an almost bankrupt New York City), an essential defeat in the Vietnam War, rocky foreign relations and an energy crisis. In addition to that, around this time, two assassination attempts, by Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme and Sara Jane Moore, were made on Ford's life.
Following in Nixon's footsteps with China, Ford was the first U.S. president to visit Japan, but he is often remembered as clumsy, ironic given his athletic prowess, due to several trips, falls and gaffes that were immortalized in parody by Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live.
Gerald Ford died on December 26, 2006, at home in Rancho Mirage, California, at the age of 93—the oldest any president has lived to date. Named in his honor are a presidential library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a museum in Grand Rapids, but both are eclipsed in renown by the Betty Ford Rehabilitation Clinic in California.
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