News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Ford was right man at right time for U.S. presidency

Some might say Gerald Ford stumbled into the job of leader of the free world. If that is true, it was a fortuitous fall.

Mr. Ford, the 38th and only unelected president in our nation's history, died this week at age 93.

Mr. Ford took office after President Nixon resigned in the middle of the Watergate scandal. Mr. Nixon had earlier hand-picked Mr. Ford, then House Republican leader, after former Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned in a bribery scandal.

Mr. Ford was the right man at the right time.

Mr. Ford was as open and straightforward as Mr. Nixon was tightly controlled and conspiratorial. Mr. Ford led in a low-key manner and relied on his faith to help him make the right decisions.

After pardoning Mr. Nixon, Mr. Ford told the country: "I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your president by your ballots. So I ask you to confirm me with your prayers."

While the pardon probably cost Mr. Ford the 1976 presidential election, it was the right thing for a nation that needed healing rather than the turmoil of a White House scandal.

Mr. Ford was a family man, a man of faith. He chose a life of public service over offers of personal fame and wealth as a professional football player.

He led the country through a difficult time, and the nation benefited from the selfless, difficult decisions he made.

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