Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald R Ford: 1913-2006

Former President Gerald R Ford died this evening. He was the longest-living US President (he passed Ronald Reagan in November of this year.)

President Ford was the only person to serve as both Vice President and President without ever being elected to either position.

He appointed George H W Bush Ambassador to China and Director of the CIA. Donald Rumsfeld served as Secretary of Defense. Rumsfeld had previously served as Fords tarnsition team leader and Chief of Staff. When Rumsfeld was appointed Secretary of Defense, the new chief of staff was Dick Cheney, who later served as Ford's campaign manager in 1976.

His comeback in the 1976 election, having been down 35 points and losing by 2, is especially remarkable given the political climate of the time.

Other facts about President Ford, so you can astound your coworkers today around the water cooler:

* Ford, Clinton and Franklin D. Roosevelt are the only three former Presidents who did not have full siblings (no president has been a true only child).
* Gerald Ford was the 37th President to be born as well as the 38th to serve, and the 37th to die. Richard Nixon was 36th born, 37th to serve, and the 35th to die. John F. Kennedy was the 38th President born, 35th to serve and the 31st to die. Ronald Reagan was the 35th President born, 40th to serve, and 36th to die. Four of the 41 presidents are still living, former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and current president George W. Bush.
* Ford is the only U.S. President since Herbert Hoover to not be named Time Magazine's Person of the Year during his term.
* Ford was once a cover model for Cosmopolitan Magazine.
* Ford died on the 34th anniversary of the death of another U.S. President, Harry S. Truman.


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