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Gerald R. Ford

July 14, 1913 - Dec. 26, 2006 State: Michigan Religion: Episcopal Marriage: Elizabeth "Betty" Anne Bloomer Warren Military service: During World War II, he served in the Navy, rising from ensign to lieutenant commander. While on the USS Monterey, a light aircraft carrier, he took part in virtually all the major battles in the South Pacific. Party: Republican Term: Aug. 9, 1974 - Jan. 20, 1977 Vice president: Vacant 1974; Nelson Rockefeller, 1974-1977 Highlights of presidency: In September 1974, Ford granted "a full, free and absolute pardon" to former President Richard Nixon "for all offenses against the United States which he ... has committed or may have committed or taken part in" during his term in office. The pardon was greatly criticized at first but in hindsight has been seen as the healing device Ford intended it to be. He offered clemency for the tens of thousands of Vietnam-era draft evaders. The Helsinki Agreement in 1975 eased East-West tensions among 35 nations -- the West officially recognized East European boundaries, and the East relaxed travel and communications restrictions with the West. Ford refused to lend federal funds to financially strapped New York City until the city raised taxes and cut spending. He then extended $2.3 billion in short-term loans. Ford escaped two assassination attempts within 17 days in September 1975, both by women. Did you know? Ford attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He was once a model and a park ranger. He turned down offers to play football for the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Ford was right-handed but wrote with his left hand. Ford also served as a member of the U.S. House, 1949-1973; House minority leader, 1965-1973; and vice president, 1973-1974. He is the only president who was not elected to either the presidency or vice presidency. He had another swimming pool dug at the White House after Nixon had filled it in. Ford was the first president to visit Japan while in office and the first whose parents were divorced. Ford is the longest-lived president at age 93.
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