Wednesday, December 27, 2006

President Gerald Ford Dies At 93

President Gerald R. Ford, who picked up the pieces of Richard Nixon's scandal-shattered White House as the 38th and only unelected President in America's history, has died, his wife, Betty, said. He was 93. The statement, by Betty, did not say where President Ford died or list a cause of death. President Ford had battled pneumonia in January 2006 and underwent two heart treatments, including an angioplasty, in August at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He was the longest living President, followed by President Ronald Reagan,who also died at 93.Ford was an accidental President, President Nixon's hand-picked successor, a man of much political experience who had never run on a national ticket. President Ford took office minutes after President Nixon resigned in disgrace over the Watergate scandal. But he revived the debate over Watergate a month later by granting President Nixon a pardon for all crimes he committed as President. That single act, it was widely believed, cost Ford election to a term of his own in 1976, but it won praise in later years as acourageous act that allowed the nation to move on. The Vietnam War ended during his presidency with the fall of Saigon in April 1975. He was in the White House only 895 days, but changed it more than it changed him.