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December 26, 2006
Gerald Ford Passes

CNN and FOX is now reporting that Gerald Ford has died (via Michelle Malkin). No links yet, but CNN is covering it wall to wall at the moment.

We can expect plenty of analysis of Ford's impact on American politics, but to me he will always be the Accidental President. Plucked from near-obscurity to be Nixon's VP in the wake of Spiro Agnew's resignation, he never appeared at ease in the glare of presidential scrutiny. He soon garnered an undeserved reputation as a klutz, thanks to Chevy Chase, but in truth he was a star athlete. His was the first presidency to get defined by video bites and cheap shots, but unfortunately he was not the last.

His first action as President pretty much ensured his defeat in the 1976 election. He pardoned Richard Nixon, an act that still inspires debate among people all along the political spectrum. Critics accused him of conspiring with Nixon to let him off the hook in exchange for the Presidency after Nixon knew he would have to leave. Nor was that his only brush with conspiracy theorists. Ford was a member of the Warren Commission that insisted that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Most Presidents try to find a little more immortality after they leave office, but Ford mostly shunned the limelight. He kept to himself, spending time with his wife Betty and their family rather than chase after the press or attend splashy public events. He received visitors and kept mentally alert, but his physical health began to fail a few years ago. He surpassed Ronald Reagan as the oldest former President in American history earlier this year, but none thought he would live much longer than that.

Gerald Ford may have been at the center of more than one controversy, but he left with his reputation as an honest man more or less intact. Unlike Jimmy Carter, he never felt the need to campaign for affection or respect; it came to him naturally. He did an admirable job leading the nation during one of the worst times in our history. Our prayers go out to his wife Betty and their entire family in their grief, and we hope our respect follows him into the next life. Godspeed, Mr. President.

UPDATE: George Bush has a written statement on Ford's death out now.

Also, I forgot to note another odd tidbit of the Ford presidency -- he was the only President to survive two serious assassination attempts. Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme and Sara Jane Moore both attempted to shoot him from close range with handguns within three weeks in autumn 1975. Moore fired a shot but got thwarted by a quick-thinking bystander, who hit her arm as she fired; Fromme forgot to load the firing chamber before she pointed the gun at Ford. Both women continue to serve life sentences.

UPDATE II: Here are some links: Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, AP. I assume that most news agencies had their obituaries updated frequently in the past few months.

UPDATE III: See-Dubya at Hot Air calls him the best President of the 1970s, a brilliant example of damning with faint praise. I believe him to be a good President for the times, but a man who would not have won the office otherwise -- nor would he have pursued it. Also, Rick Moran has a touching remembrance of Ford at Right Wing Nuthouse.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 26, 2006 10:58 PM

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» RIP Gerald Ford from Musing Minds
Breaking - former President Gerald Ford has died at age 93. May The Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. Our prayers are wi... [Read More]

Tracked on December 26, 2006 11:20 PM

» President Gerald Ford, RIP from The Political Pit Bull
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» President Gerald Ford, RIP from The Political Pit Bull
Former President Gerald Ford passed away tonight at the age of 93. Here's the full obituary being run by Yahoo! News/AP: Gerald R. Ford, who picked up the pieces of Richard Nixon's scandal-shattered White House as the 38th and only... [Read More]

Tracked on December 27, 2006 12:02 AM

» Gerald Ford Has Passed Away from Blue Star Chronicles
Gerald Ford, the 38th President of the United States has passed away at the age of 93 years. [Read More]

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» Former President Gerald Ford Dies At 93 from The Moderate Voice

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» President Gerald Ford, RIP - 1913-2006 from Gun Toting Liberal ™
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» Former President Gerald Ford Dies At 93 from The Moderate Voice

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» Former President Gerald Ford Dies at 93, July 14, 1913 - December 26, 2006 from Webloggin
President Ford will be remembered for grace and poise as he filled the most important role in U.S. government at a time when the nation was divided. He was welcomed by most in a nation that was in turmoil after Watergate and the war. ... [Read More]

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» Former President Gerald Ford dead at 93 from The Florida Masochist
Alex at SOTP reminds us this excellent Ford quote. "I ask that we stop refighting the battles and the recriminations of the past. I ask that we look now at what is right with America, at our possibilities and our potentialities for change and ... [Read More]

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» President Gerald R. Ford Dead at 93 from Blogs of War
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» A Farewell to Ford from The Random Yak
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» Necrofagia from The Right Nation
Con il cadavere di Gerald R. Ford ancora caldo, Bob Woodward scrive sul Washington Post un articolo vergognoso, al solo scopo di utilizzare la morte del 38 presidente degli Stati Uniti per screditare l'amministrazione Bush. Niente di nuovo sul front... [Read More]

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» GERALD FORD DEAD AT 93 from Texas Hold 'Em Blogger
Former President Gerald Ford has died at the age of 93, according to his wife, former First Lady Betty Ford. “My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has p... [Read More]

Tracked on December 29, 2006 11:53 PM

» GERALD FORD DEAD AT 93 from Texas Hold 'Em Blogger
Former President Gerald Ford has died at the age of 93, according to his wife, former First Lady Betty Ford. “My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has p... [Read More]

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