SALEM, Mass. -- Former President Gerald R. Ford told a crowd at Salem State College Thursday the only problem facing the nation is unemployment and that would slowly come to an end.
Ford said the national election results were a 'split decision' that would 'move both political parties toward the center.'
The loss of seats in the House of Representatives will 'weaken or destroy the coalition among Reagan Republicans and Southern Democrats in the House,' he told the crowd of about 1,000 people at the kick-off of a new lecture series.
Ford said House Speaker Thomas 'Tip' O'Neill will have 'a kind of control in the House to be in a strong bargaining position with Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker and Reagan.'
At a news conference before the speech, he said he didn't believe the election was a repudiation of Reaganomics. The 'economic chaos' Reagan inherited from Jimmy Carter required strong medicine, he said.
'The only problem is unemployment and I believe that slowly but surely it will come to an end,' he told the college crowd.
Ford, who became the 38th president after Richard Nixon resigned Aug. 9, 1974, also said he is against the proposed freeze on nuclear weapons at current levels, saying the freeze would only tie Reagan's hands in negotiations with the Soviets.