Al Gore Would've Done the Same for You, Bill!

CounterPunch sitka at
Wed Aug 11 16:13:06 PDT 1999

[i doubt if this reflects hrc's sentiments at the time?]

Clinton Says Ford Ended Watergate 'Nightmare'

By Arshad Mohammed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Clinton bestowed the

nation's highest civilian award on former President Gerald Ford

Wednesday and praised him for ending the "long national

nightmare" of Watergate.

Ford and seven others received the Presidential Medal of Freedom

at a White House ceremony that recognized the former president

for steadying the nation when he took power 25 years ago this

week as President Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace at the height

of the Watergate scandal.

"Steady, trustworthy, Gerald Ford ended a long national

nightmare," Clinton told several hundred people gathered in the

White House East room before placing the gold medal tied with a

blue-and-white ribbon around the former president's neck.

Ford, who spent a quarter century representing Michigan in the

Congress, was plucked from relative obscurity when he was

chosen as Nixon's vice president and took up a position that

Clinton said "imposed on him ... the awesome responsibility of piloting our nation through the

stormy seas of Watergate."

Ford, accompanied by his wife Betty, told reporters after the ceremony that he could not help

remembering Aug. 9, 1974, the day that Nixon resigned and he took the oath of office.

"I couldn't avoid those reminiscences," Ford told reporters in the White House driveway. "It was

a monumental day ... 25 years ago. It was a unique situation as far as the country was

concerned. I hope it never happens again."

Ford was widely criticized at the time for pardoning Nixon, but his act has since been seen by

some observers as a crucial step in laying the trauma of Watergate to rest.

In presenting Ford with the medal, Clinton also recognized his role in ending the Vietnam War

and in signing the Helsinki Treaty on Human Rights, which the U.S. president said helped to

hasten the end of Communism.

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