"A government big enough to give us everything we want is a government big enough to take from us everything we have."
Gerald R. Ford, the nation's first unelected vice president and then its first unelected president, has died, his wife, Betty, said late yesterday. He was 93.
When Gerald R. Ford took the oath of office on August 9, 1974, he declared, "I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances.... This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts."
It was indeed an unprecedented time. He had been the first Vice President chosen under the terms of the Twenty-fifth Amendment and, in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, was succeeding the first President ever to resign.
Ford was confronted with almost insuperable tasks. There were the challenges of mastering inflation, reviving a depressed economy, solving chronic energy shortages, and trying to ensure world peace.
Ford's major contribution as president was probably in providing a sense of stability and continuity of the office in the aftermath of the Watergate turmoil and the Nixon resignation.