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article imageGerald Ford's Candid Comments on Fellow Presidents

By geozone     Jan 12, 2007 in World
The former president permitted his hometown newspaper, the Grand Rapids Press, to ask him any question they wanted on one condition--his answers would not be published until following his death.
For over 25 years, Ford spoke about how he felt and though some of his views changed over time, he always spoke honestly and without reservation.
So just how did he rate those who preceded and followed him in the Oval Office? According to Ford, Jimmy Carter was nothing short of a domestic and economic disaster and the worst president during his lifetime. In later years, he softened that view somewhat.
He considered Richard Nixon to have been the best president of the 20th century on foreign policy with Truman and Harding tied for second. As for Ronald Reagan, Ford said he "`was probably the least well informed on the details of running the government of any president I knew." He also felt Reagan received far more credit than he deserved for ending the Cold War.
He rated Clinton as a highly skilled salesman who overall was an average president. His character flaws and political mistakes would be balanced by the good he achieved. But he never felt Clinton would make the right choice when the chips were down because of his lack of willpower to meet a crisis headon.
Ford thought more highly of Lyndon Johnson's accomplishments than those of Kennedy's, despite what the press thought.
As for George Bush, Ford called him a a good president but declined to rate Bush Jr., feeling he did not know enough about the current president to fairly assess him.
Finally, what Ford had to say about Gerald Ford: "I assumed the presidency in a very traumatic period in American history. We had a terrible distrust by the American people of their government because of Watergate and Vietnam...Because of my background, my reputation, we calmed things down and restored confidence in the federal government. That doesn't mean people agreed with me. At least they trusted me."
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