In an appearance on NBC's "Today" show, Sara Jane Moore said she was "misled" and "mistaken" in trying to assassinate Ford in September 1975.
Moore, 80, said she still believes that if she had not tried to kill Ford during a San Francisco motorcade, someone else would have.
"It was a time people don't remember. We had a war in this country, the Vietnam War," Moore said. "This is going to sound a little strange, but I really thought that it would trigger a new revolution. We were saying the country needed to change, the only way it was going to change was a violent revolution. I genuinely thought that this might trigger that new revolution in this country."
Moore spent 32 years in prison before receiving mandatory parole at the end of 2007. She will remain under supervision for at least five years.
She said she hopes to write a book about her life.
"One gets tired of being thought of as a kook, a monster, an alien," she said. "I'm a human being."