American Politician, 38th President of the United States
Gerald Ford, fully Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr., Orig. name Leslie Lynch King, Jr.
American Politician, 38th President of the United States
An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history; conviction results from whatever offense or offenses two-thirds of the other body considers to be sufficiently serious to require removal of the accused from office.
I am a little late getting around to it, but confession is good for the soul. I have sometimes voted to spend more taxpayer's money for worthy Federal projects in Grand Rapids, Michigan, while I vigorously opposed wasteful spending boondoggles in Oklahoma. [Laughter] Be that as it may, Mr. Speaker, you and I have always stood together against unwarranted cuts in national defense. This is no time to change that nonpartisan policy.
I guess it just proves that in America anyone can be President.
I would hope that understanding and reconciliation are not limited to the 19th hole alone.
My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor Him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy. As we bind up the internal wounds of Watergate, more painful and more poisonous than those of foreign wars, let us restore the golden rule to our political process, and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate.
The Declaration was not a protest against government but against the excesses of government. It prescribed the proper role of government to secure the rights of individuals and to effect their safety and their happiness. In modern society, no individual can do this all alone, so government is not necessarily evil but a necessary good. The framers of the Constitution feared a central government that was too strong, as many Americans rightly do today. The framers of the Constitution, after their experience under the Articles, feared a central government that was too weak, as many Americans rightly do today. They spent days studying all of the contemporary governments of Europe and concluded with Dr. Franklin that all contained the seeds of their own destruction. So the framers built something new, drawing upon their English traditions, on the Roman Republic, on the uniquely American institution of the town meeting.
There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe — and there never will be under a Ford administration... The United States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of the Soviet Union.
As a man of the Congress, let me reaffirm my conviction that the collective wisdom of our two great legislative bodies, while not infallible, will in the end serve the people faithfully and very, very well.
I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers. And I hope that such prayers will also be the first of many. If you have not chosen me by secret ballot, neither have I gained office by any secret promises. I have not campaigned either for the Presidency or the Vice Presidency. I have not subscribed to any partisan platform. I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman — my dear wife — as I begin this very difficult job.
I had a lot of experience with people smarter than I am.
I would like to deny all allegations by Bob Hope that during my last game of golf, I hit an eagle, a birdie, an elk and a moose.
Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.
The exclusive right to declare war, the duty to advise and consent on the part of the Senate, the power of the purse on the part of the House are ample authority for the legislative branch and should be jealously guarded. But because we may have been too careless of these powers in the past does not justify congressional intrusion into, or obstruction of, the proper exercise of Presidential responsibilities now or in the future. There can be only one Commander in Chief. In these times crises cannot be managed and wars cannot be waged by committee, nor can peace be pursued solely by parliamentary debate. To the ears of the world, the President speaks for the Nation. While he is, of course, ultimately accountable to the Congress, the courts, and the people, he and his emissaries must not be handicapped in advance in their relations with foreign governments as has sometimes happened in the past.
Things are more like they are now than they have ever been.
As I look into the faces that fill this familiar room, and as I imagine those faces in other rooms across the land, I do not see members of the legislative branch or the executive branch or the judicial branch, though I am very much aware of the importance of keeping the separate but coequal branches of our Federal Government in balance. I do not see Senators or Representatives, nor do I see Republicans or Democrats, vital as the two-party system is to sustain freedom and responsible government.
I am not a saint, and I am sure I have done things I might have done better or differently, or not at all. I have also left undone things that I should have done. But I believe and hope that I have been honest with myself and with others, that I have been faithful to my friends and fair to my opponents, and that I have tried my very best to make this great Government work for the good of all Americans.
I had pro offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, who were pretty hard up for linemen in those days. If I had gone into professional football the name Jerry Ford might have been a household word today.
If Lincoln were alive today, he'd be turning over in his grave.
Obviously, it's a great privilege and pleasure to be here at the Yale Law School Sesquicentennial Convocation. And I defy anyone to say that and chew gum at the same time.
The founding of our Nation was more than a political event; it was an act of faith, a promise to Americans and to the entire world. The Declaration of Independence declared that people can govern themselves, that they can live in freedom with equal rights, that they can respect the rights of others. In the two centuries that have passed since 1776, millions upon millions of Americans have worked and taken up arms when necessary to make that dream a reality. We can be extremely proud of what they have accomplished. Today, we are the world's oldest republic. We are at peace. Our Nation and our way of life endure. We are free.
This Congress, unless it has changed, I am confident, will be my working partner as well as my most constructive critic. I am not asking for conformity. I am dedicated to the two-party system, and you know which party I belong to. I do not want a honeymoon with you. I want a good marriage.
As I rejected amnesty, so I reject revenge. I ask all Americans who ever asked for goodness and mercy in their lives, whoever sought forgiveness for their trespasses, to join in rehabilitating all the casualties of the tragic conflict of the past.
I am not asking for conformity. I am dedicated to the two-party system, and you know which party I belong to. I do not want a honeymoon with you. I want a good marriage. I want progress, and I want problem-solving which requires my best efforts and also your best efforts. I have no need to learn how Congress speaks for the people. As President, I intend to listen. But I also intend to listen to the people themselves — all the people — as I promised last Friday. I want to be sure that we are all tuned in to the real voice of America.
I have a basic philosophy: When I meet somebody, even somebody who I've been warned is not a very nice person, my approach is there must be something nice in that person. And if you get to know the nice part of the individual, then you develop a relationship and a friendship that is invaluable. And I say with great emphasis: Everybody I've ever met, you can find something good about them. And I think that is a trait we ought to embellish and appreciate rather than discard.
If you have not chosen me by secret ballot, neither have I gained office by any secret promises. I have not campaigned either for the Presidency or the Vice Presidency. I have not subscribed to any partisan platform. I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman my dear wife as I begin this very difficult job.