“You could tell when Jerry Ford was getting mad because his muscles would start to show as he clamped down on his pipe and then he’d get a red spot under each eye on each cheek and I reached that stage.”
Former Vice President and Ford’s Chief of Staff, Dick Cheney, recalled the first stop of the 1976 presidential election. Sure, Russell, Kansas was V.P. choice Bob Dole’s hometown, it was out in the middle of nowhere and Cheney thought it was a bad idea.
“We landed in a corn field outside town and had to walk up Main Street to get to Bob Dole’s house but there were thousands of people everywhere. But as we landed the president reached over and tapped me on the knee and said, ‘I knew it, Dick. I told you we’d get a crowd.’”
Stories pleasing to the Amway Grand audience as well as historical footnotes as told by White House speechwriter, Ben Stein.
“He probably had more legislative experience than any president, accept maybe Lyndon Johnson, and he learned to size people up. And he learned whether they could be trusted or they would keep their word, whether they would do what they said they would do. And I mean, as I say in the media, people portrayed him as a person of limited ability, but he knew the legislative process incredibly well and it’s a very intricate, complex process.”
Bob Scheiffer was CBS White House correspondent. “I also think he just liked politics. Which, you know, we seem Washington now seems people with people that I don’t know why they’re there? They don’t seem to like politics. They don’t seem to like each other. You kind of wonder why they went through the trouble? I think he was comfortable with himself, number one, but he also liked doing what he was doing.”
Comfortable as husband and father, son Steven Ford recalled Saturday mornings when dad gave mom a break and took the kids to Capitol Hill.
“And this is the old typewriter days and he’d say, ‘I want you to type a letter to your mother and tell her how much you love her and how good a mother she is. And after you finish that you can go out and play in Statuary Hall.’ And we were just little kids and go play hide-and-go-seek in the Rotunda and Statuary Hall. Now that was dad and those were great fond memories.”
Tuesday, a ribbon cutting at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential museum unveiling the newest exhibit, Growing Up Grand which explores what’s described as the President’s foundational years.
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