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tv   Reel America A Time to Heal - Gerald Fords America  CSPAN  December 26, 2020 8:46am-9:07am EST

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little merit in the impatience of those who would abandon this imperfect world instrument because they dislike our imperfect world. for the troubles of a world organization merely reflect the troubles of the world itself, and if the organization is weakened, these troubles can only increase. we may not always agree with every detailed action taken by every officer of the united nations, but with every voting -- or with every voting majority, but as an institution, it should have in the future, as it has had in the past, since its inception, no stronger or more faithful member than the united states of america. [applause] ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] ♪
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>> august, 1974. a husband and wife share their changes --n about changes are happening in washington, d.c., changes that promised to transform their lives overnight. ♪ >> president nixon stunned the country today by admitting he held back -- >> he acknowledges that the transcripts say, as mr. nixon put it, at variance of what he told the american people. >> rumors of president nixon's imminent resignation swept washington and the world today. >> president nixon reportedly will announce his resignation tonight.
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>> i, gerald r. ford, do solemnly swear that i will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states. >> and will, to the best of my ability -- >> and will, to the best of my ability -- >> preserve, protect and defend -- >> preserve, protect and defend -- >> the constitution of the united states. >> the constitution of the united states. >> so help me god. >> so help me god. >> congratulations, mr. president. [applause] ♪ my fellow americans, our long national nightmare is over. i have not campaigned either for the presidency or the vice presidency. i have not subscribed to any partisan platform. i am indebted to no man and only
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to one woman -- my dear wife. i have not sought this enormous responsibility, but i will not shirk it. ♪ >> gerald ford brought to the oval office the values first learned in a very different place. grand rapids, michigan. born in 1913, he had lived a typical small town american life. his community was his classroom. pres. ford: grand rapids, when i was growing up, was a community that engendered family values. my parents, my mother and my stepfather, indoctrinated me in the importance of the family. but the whole community had the same viewpoint. >> the world first noticed gerry ford as a football player,
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strong for his age, and enthusiastic competitor and a , team player. attending the university of michigan in ann arbor, he would eventually become the wolverines' most valuable player and entertain offers from the pros. but he had already decided that his future lay in the courtroom, not the gridiron. he left ann arbor for yale in the fall of 1935. hired to coach boxing in football, it was not long before the faculty offered coach ford an opening in their law program. he was ready for the challenge, and, in 1941, gerry ford graduated in the top third of his class. returning home to grand rapids, he opened a law practice with his friend philip buchen. but their plans were interrupted by foreign dictators. and gerry ford, navy ensign,
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went off to war. for almost two years, the aircraft carrier monterey would take him across 40,000 miles of the pacific. his experience in 10 major battles would change his perception of the world and his nation's place it in. he had seen too much of the world to believe that it would go away or that america could bury her head in the sand. pres. ford: i always felt that i was a moderate to conservative republican. i felt very strongly that the united states had to have an internationalist foreign policy. >> ford, the internationalist, chose a -- for his headquarters in his uphill challenge of isolationist incumbent bartel jonkman. at stake was michigan's fifth district and the future of his party and his country.
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the red, white, and blue -- caught people's attention, and they listened to the energetic young lawyer and war veteran as he stumped the whole district, taking on the republican establishment. when the votes were counted in november 1948, ford had won the first of 13 terms in congress. and that's not all he won that year. betty bloomer warren would bring a grace and a spirit to the life they would share through the long years of politics. from his first day on capitol hill, congressman ford relished the work. in the course of 25 years in the house of representatives, the people's house, the man from grand rapids would earn the confidence of five presidents. although ford's easy and persuasive manner made him a valuable member of the republican team, in 1965, he again took on the establishment, this time defeating veteran gop leader charlie hallock. henceforth, gerald ford was a republican spokesperson with a national audience.
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each week, he and senate leader everett dirksen took the democrats to task. for eight years, ford worked hard to make the republican minority into a force to be reckoned with and to realize his own personal dream -- to serve as speaker of a republican house. but events ruled otherwise. in 1973, vice president spiro agnew resigned in disgrace. once more, ford's life took an unexpected turn. >> my fellow americans, i proudly present to you the man whose name i will submit to the congress of the united states for confirmation as the vice president of the united states, congressman gerald ford of michigan. [cheers] [applause] ♪ >> the new vice president was a reassuring figure whose obvious integrity aided republican
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candidates and a beleaguered president. but each day brought new revelations of wrongdoing in the nixon administration. the watergate scandal was coming to a climax. by the summer of 1974, nixon's impeachment was before the house. >> all those in favor, please signify by saying aye. all those no, no. >> aye. >> aye. >> aye. >> it was a time of anxiety for the american people. ♪ waso the vice president, it a time of anguish. he didn't know if the president would dig in and fight or resign. on august 9, 1974, it was settled. on the south lawn of the white house, a painful ceremony unfolded.
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♪ >> returning to their new home, nixon's successor reassured his wife, "we can do it." soon, he would reassure the nation. for gerald ford, there was no transition period. no time to settle into the world's most demanding job. pres. ford: when i took the oath of office and went back to the oval office, my desk was piled high with problems. we had an economic crisis. we had uncertainty with our allies and our adversaries. we had a lack of public trust in the government. i finally came to the conclusion that i had to get rid of mr.
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nixon's past problems and spend 100% of my time on the problems facing the american people as a whole. and the only way to do that was to pardon mr. nixon, get all his problems out of the white house, so that my concentration could be on the economy, diplomatic problems, military problems, including how we could end the conflict in vietnam. there were some in the congress who said that i had made a deal with mr. nixon in order to become president, and, in return, i would grant him a pardon. that was a total inaccurate fabrication. the only way that i could put it on the record, under oath, was to respond to a request by the house committee on the
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judiciary to go up to capitol hill and lay out the facts. so at the request of the chairman of that committee and the chairman of the subcommittee, i went up to capitol hill and testified, under oath, that there was no deal, that the decision was made strictly on what was best for the american people. >> on the third floor of the white house, he is a husband and father first before he's president. pres. ford: betty's contribution to history during our time in the white house, and afterwards, was her total dedication, her frankness, her real strong belief in equal rights for women , her handling of her breast cancer surgery.
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>> gerry and betty ford were committed to honesty. it was their legacy from grand rapids. it would be their example for america. their children became adults before the eyes of the nation, living in the most famous and least private house in the land. the fords endured publicity and controversy on the strength of an abiding love. always a skilled negotiator, the president employs his talents a long way from the halls of congress. pres. ford: when i became president, i found that mr. nixon had made a commitment with mr. brezhnev of the soviet union that he would have a meeting vladivostok to negotiate relations between soviet union and the united states. when i was in congress, i was one of the experts on military funding, military programs,
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including a program that we had in the united states for our nuclear weapons across the board. so when i agreed to carry out the commitment to meet with mr. brezhnev, i was fully prepared, because of this background, to sit down at the negotiating team with him to argue how the two nations could mutually reduce the nuclear threshold. threshol. it was a major challenge that i think turned down to -- turned out to be a successful negotiation. strokes,er broad -- helsinkid: the accord was the final blow took him in his marxism behind the iron curtain. to get mr. brezhnev and the other comeliness leaders to
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agree that human rights was a right for our people on a worldwide basis was a major accompaniment. was no question that the ford administration had a major thect on the collapse of soviet union and his warsaw pact allies. >> he would also invite many leaders to the white house. these became the elegant moments when the length between nations, between millions of people who would never meet, are focused on the relationships between few individuals. the forms became the host and hostess of an entire nation. as president, he had the pain of ordering the evacuation of saigon, and the pleasure of presiding over our greatest national celebration, the american bicentennial.
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>> july 4, 1976 was a heyday across the land in every community every city, from san , francisco and the west coast to new york city on the east coast. i am sure the american people who were alive, the tall ships of new york harbor, the various other celebrations in philadelphia and in washington, d.c., it was a man with a sent it wasion in america -- a magnificent expression in america of our happiness that our democracy, under a constitutional government, had worked. >> gerald ford's own future would be advanced by the republican convention, but only after he had been back a -- beaten back a divisive challenge in the primaries from conservative champion ronald reagan of california. >> mr. chairman, delegates and
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alternates to this republican convention, i am honored by your nomination, and i accept it. [cheers] we will wage a winning campaign in every region of this country, from the snowy banks of minnesota to the sandy plains of georgia. [applause] ♪ badly trailing democratic candidate jimmy carter in the polls, ford knew he had his work cut out for him. >> he was a very good governor, and he had broad views on a number of national and international problems and challenges. but again, it was a race of an outsider against the establishment in the nation's capital. and because of watergate under nixon, because of the war in vietnam during the kennedy,
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johnson, nixon period, outsiders had some advantage. they could be very critical of the national scene, because they had not been a part of it. >> betty ford and the rest of the family would all pitch in. together they reached out to touch the nation. the president have yet to receive the mandate that comes with victory at the polls, it was a goal he fervently hoped to attain. election night, 1976. >> that is the way it stands. electoral votes, president ford, 1037. two more than he needed. jimmy carter -- the next president of the united states. >> in the end, he fell short by less than the local percentage points, yet he had won far more
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than he had lost. on a crisp january day in 1977, the new president's first words expressed profound gratitude to the man from grand rapids for healing a divided nation. in two and a half years gerald , ford had restored the presidency to the people of the united states. indeed it is no exaggeration to say that he gave us back our government. in the season of doubt he restored our faith in our leaders and in ourselves. >> when i look back, i think the american people, whether everybody agreed with my policies or not, they knew they had a new leader with a different part of you who restored integrity and trust in their national government. [applause] >> he had always been an optimist, and saying goodbye to washington, his home for a quarter century, he would characteristically look to the future with hope and with confidence. pres. ford: my fellow americans.
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i once asked you for your prayers, and now i give you mine. may god guide this wonderful country, its people and those that lead them. best those they have chosen to lead them. may our third century be and blessed with brotherhood, so that we can all who come after us may be the humble servants of the peace. amen. good night, and god bless you. [applause] ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy, visit] [captions copyright national
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