FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Former president Gerald Ford said Thursday the 'selfish personal objectives' of Lebanese political leaders prevented the United States from achieving a long-sought peace in the Middle East.
Ford also told reporters at a Fairfield University news conference that the long and costly presidential election process should be reformed.
Ford spoke to reporters before giving the 10th John M. Olin Lecture at the school.
At the news conference, the former president said he believed the Reagan administration was correct in pulling U.S. military troops out of Lebanon.
'The Lebanese leaders could not give up their selfish personal objectives, so it was proper for the United States to pull out,' he said.
Ford, who served in the U.S. House for 25 years before becoming vice president, criticized Congress for attempting to limit U.S. military presence in the Middle East by invoking the War Powers Resolution.
'Congress should be consulted, fully kept informed but should not formulate and execute foreign policy,' he said.
The War Powers Resolution, which says presidents must notify Congress when American troops face a combat situation, 'is a handicap to the president both in maintaining and achieving peace,' he said.
Adopted in 1973 after the Vietnam War, the resolution also says the president must withdraw American troops within 60 days unless Congress gives specific authorization to keep them where they are.
Ford also called for reforms in the presidential election process, saying the primary process is too long and too costly.
He suggested holding regional primaries between April 1 and June 30 of the election year, and making it illegal for a candidate to receive any money before January 1 of that year.
Ford became vice president after Spiro T. Agnew resigned, and succeeded Richard M. Nixon in the White House after Nixon resigned August 9, 1974. He lost his electoral bid for the presidency in 1976 to Jimmy Carter.