Former President Ford dies at 93


For a Free Scotland
RANCHO MIRAGE, California (CNN) -- Former President Gerald Ford, who became president in 1974 after the resignation of Richard Nixon, died Tuesday at age 93.
Ford, the oldest surviving former U.S. president, died Tuesday, his wife, Betty Ford said. The former first lady's statement did not say where he died or give a cause of death.
"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," she said in a statement from Ford's office in Rancho Mirage. "His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country."
The nation's 38th president spent several days in the fall of 2006 at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage for medical tests. At the time of his release, on October 16, his chief of staff, Penny Circle, said he would "resume normal activities."
In August, he was discharged from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, after undergoing an angioplasty procedure to reduce or eliminate blockages in his coronary arteries. Doctors also implanted a pacemaker to improve his heart performance.
He is survived by his wife; three sons, Michael, Jack and Steven; and a daughter, Susan.
President Bush issued a statement saying that he and first lady Laura Bush were "greatly saddened" to hear of the former president's death.
"President Ford was a great American who gave many years of dedicated service to our country," Bush said. "On August 9, 1974, after a long career in the House of Representatives and service as vice president, he assumed the presidency in an hour of national turmoil and division. With his quiet integrity, common sense, and kind instincts, President Ford helped heal our land and restore public confidence in the presidency.
"The American people will always admire Gerald Ford's devotion to duty, his personal character, and the honorable conduct of his administration. We mourn the loss of such a leader, and our 38th president will always have a special place in our Nation's memory. On behalf of all Americans, Laura and I offer our deepest sympathies to Betty Ford and all of President Ford's family. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them in the hours and days ahead."

Time Lord

Gerald Ford holds the unique distinction of having never been elected to either of the highest offices in the land (vice-president and president), yet holding both of them. Ford was an excellent choice to replace Spiro Agnew, who had resigned the VP, because Dems and Repubs both respected him. At the time, Watergate was still going on, and it was turning out that the "third rate burglery" at the Watergate was just the tip of the iceberg re: Nixon and his dirty tricks. Nixon was sacrificing all the men who had been loyal to him in order to keep himself in office, but it was becoming clear that Nixon was involved up to his eyeballs. There is still a question about whether Nixon knew that Ford would pardon him before he resigned. Ford had hoped that a pardon would heal things, and that Nixon would be contrite. Neither happened. It cost Ford the election in 1976, and allowed Nixon to go on saying he was innocent of wrongdoing ("When the President does it, it's not illegal").

Ford was a good man at a time of turmoil. It's a shame he didn't let Nixon be tried for his crimes, found guilty, and then pardoned him.