House Republican Leader and Mrs. Gerald Ford are a happy couple, leaving the White House on October 12,1973, after President Nixon tapped him to be vice president. Ford is the first man ever nominated to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of an incumbent vice president. Photo by Scott Stewart/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Oct. 13, 1973 (UPI)- House Republican Leader Gerald R. Ford, on his way to certain and swift confirmation by Congress as the 40th vice president of the United States, said today he would not use the office as a stepping-stone to the presidency.
"I have no intention of being a candidate for any political office in 1976. I say that as forcefully as I can," Ford told newsmen after arriving at his Capitol office at 8 a.m.
Asked what if he were to assume the presidency through some misfortune during the next three years, Ford said: "That is so speculative, it's such a contingency. Really I don't...it's my firm determination...I have no intention of running for political office in 1976."
Ford said he talked with former Vice President Agnew following the announcement last night but did not care to discuss either Agnew's troubles or his future.
Ford said when he returned home at about 11 p.m., he had a message from Agnew and returned the call.
"He was very complimentary and congratulated me," Ford said. "I wished him and his family the best."
As Ford met with members of the congressional press galleries, the Senate and House met in rare Saturday morning sessions to receive President Nixon's formal nomination of his new Vice President-designate. No major congressional battling over his nomination is expected.
After 25 years in Congress and nearly nine years as a House leader, Ford also is expected to have no problem surviving the thorough FBI investigation ordered into his background in the wake of the scandal that forced the resignation of Vice President Spiro T. Agnew.
While Nixon stressed the need for a strong vice president, Ford is known here primarily as a good trouper-loyal to the President and his policies-and as a middle-of-the-road Republican who gets along with conservatives and liberals in the party.
Senate Republican Leader Hugh Scott (Pa.) said Ford's nomination "Dissolves any difficulties we might have expected with the Congress. The Senate will still want a hearing. The House will whip it through."
Nixon picked Ford over more prominent, and probably stronger, Republican figures because he presents fewer problems.
Former Democrat John B. Connally Jr. of Texas would have encountered difficulty winning congressional approval.
California Gov. Ronald Reagan would have aroused hostility among liberals within the GOP as well as among Democrats.
New York Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, although acceptable to Congress and popular among fellow governors, still had the aura of liberalism that might have offended Republican conservatives.