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Former President Gerald Ford hailed as selfless leader who led nation through strange chapter

Former President Gerald Ford hailed as selfless leader who led nation through strange chapter

President George W. Bush hailed Gerald R. Ford for his administration's honor. His former opponent, President Jimmy Carter, called him "a man of highest integrity." The daughter of Richard Nixon, the man Ford replaced in the White House and pardoned, described him as "an honorable and dedicated public servant."
Nancy Reagan hailed Ford for his dedication to the country.
In the uncertain days after the Watergate scandal, those qualities were enough.
"With his quiet integrity, common sense and kind instincts, President Ford helped heal our land and restore public confidence in the presidency," President Bush said in a statement from his Texas ranch Wednesday. "The American people will always admire Gerald Ford's devotion to duty, his personal character and the honorable conduct of his administration."
Ford, who died Tuesday at 93, was remembered for getting and keeping the country on course in shaky times.
"An outstanding statesman, he wisely chose the path of healing during a deeply divisive time in our nation's history," Carter said Wednesday. "He frequently rose above politics by emphasizing the need for bipartisanship and seeking common ground on issues critical to our nation. I will always cherish the personal friendship we shared."
Though one of his most significant moves _ pardoning President Nixon for any crimes committed in office _ was widely derided at the time, many have since come to see it as a gesture that healed the country as much as it hurt Ford's aspirations to be elected president in 1976.
Nixon's daughter, Patricia Nixon Cox, offered her "heartfelt sympathy" to the Ford family, saying, "History will honor Gerald Ford as a good man who became the respected leader of the Free World in unique times."
"My father had deep respect for Gerald Ford as an honorable and dedicated public servant," Cox said.
Former first lady Nancy Reagan, whose late husband mounted a challenge to Ford in the Republican presidential primaries in 1976, praised Ford for his service to the nation during and after his time in office.
"His accomplishments and devotion to our country are vast, and even long after he left the presidency he made it a point to speak out on issues important to us all," she said.
Although Ford had moved to California after leaving the White House, his ties to his native Michigan remained strong, and in his boyhood home of Grand Rapids a steady stream of people lit candles, draped flags and placed flowers Wednesday at a makeshift shrine outside the Gerald R. Ford Museum. The museum opened condolence books for visitors to sign in the vestibule.
"The country was in scandal and war and he used the opportunity to heal the country and become one of the most important people in history," Joseph B. Niewiek, 31, a used car lot owner from Grand Rapids, said as he lit a candle at the museum.
"President Ford made Michigan proud as he led our nation through one of the most challenging times in our history. Our prayers go out to his family," said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat
The New York Stock Exchange honored Ford with two minutes of silence before the start of trading Wednesday morning.
Nationwide, Democrats and Republicans alike recalled Ford's willingness to work across party lines.
"President Ford was one of the kindest, most sincere elected officials whom I have known and with whom I have worked," said longtime Sen. Robert Byrd, a West Virginia Democrat.
"No man could have been better suited to the task of healing our nation and restoring faith in our government," California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said.
Vice President Dick Cheney served as Ford's chief of staff.
"In that troubled era, America needed strength, wisdom, and good judgment, and those qualities came to us in the person of Gerald R. Ford," Cheney said in a statement. "When he left office, he had restored public trust in the presidency, and the nation once again looked to the future with confidence and faith."
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On the Net:
http://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/


Updated : 2021-05-15 06:14 GMT+08:00