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Ford Becomes President

Published: 1974
Play UPI Radio 1974
Gerald Ford is sworn in as President of the United States on August 9, 1974, after President Richard Nixon resigned due to the Watergate Scandal. Mrs. Betty Ford looks on as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Warren Burger, administers the Oath. The event was held at the White House. (UPI Photo/Gerald Ford Library/Files)
Announcer: At 11:35 on the morning of August the 9th, Nixon's resignation was delivered to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. At 12:00 noon, Nixon was flying to his home in San Clemente, California when Gerald Ford was sworn as the 38th President of the United States. On August the 9th, 1974, Gerald Ford became the first President of the United States not elected by the people he would serve. His swearing-in took place shortly after Richard Nixon left the White House grounds.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger: "I, Gerald R. Ford, do solemnly swear … "

President Gerald R. Ford: "I, Gerald R. Ford, do solemnly swear … "

Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger: " … that I will faithfully execute … "

President Gerald R. Ford: " … that I will faithfully execute … "

Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger: " … the Office of President of the United States … "

President Gerald R. Ford: " … the Office of President of the United States … "

Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger: " … and will to the best of my ability … "

President Gerald R. Ford: " … and will to the best of my ability … "

Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger: " … preserve, protect and defend … "

President Gerald R. Ford: " … preserve, protect and defend … "

Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger: " … the Constitution of the United States … "

President Gerald R. Ford: " … the Constitution of the United States … "

Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger: " … so help me God."

President Gerald R. Ford: " … so help me God."

Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger: "Congratulations, Mr. President."

President Gerald R. Ford: "Before closing, I ask again your prayers for Richard Nixon and for his family. May our former President, who brought peace to millions, find it for himself. May God bless and comfort his wonderful wife and daughters, whose love and loyalty will forever be a shining legacy to all who bear the lonely burdens of the White House."

Announcer: For Gerald Ford, it was the peak of his 25-year political life. He seemed to be a welcome panacea to people who had learned to mistrust those in office. When he was nominated for a Vice-President a year earlier, he was subjected to the most intense investigation ever given a U.S. politician; there was no question of his integrity.

The inauguration of Ford to the Presidency meant the country was without a Vice-President. So on August the 20th, Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller, former Governor of New York, to fill that post. Rockefeller's financial affairs, his political campaigns and philosophies, were sifted and probed by a Congressional interrogation. The most controversial issues raised were his financial gifts and loans of $2.5 million to friends and political allies and the publication of a book which he sanctioned. The book was critical of his gubernatorial opponent in 1970, Arthur Goldberg, former Supreme Court Justice. Rockefeller apologized for having had anything to do with the publication of the damaging book.

Nelson Rockefeller: "In regard to the financing of the book on Mr. Justice Goldberg, let's face it: I made a mistake. I made a hasty, ill-considered decision in the middle of a hectic campaign in 1970. I've already apologized to Mr. Justice Goldberg publicly and privately, and I want to take this opportunity to apologize publicly to my brother, Laurance, for having gotten him involved in an undertaking which is out of character for the family."

Announcer: But despite the investigation, the disclosure of monetary gifts and the admitted mistake of the Goldberg book, Rockefeller's nomination was certain by year's end, and for the first time in history the United States would have both a President and a Vice-President who were not elected by the people.

© 1974 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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