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Ford Told Reporter Friendship With Nixon Affected Pardon


Myra Bronstein
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12/29/06

Ford Told Reporter Friendship With Nixon Affected Pardon

Former President Ford once called himself Richard Nixon's only real friend.

Now audiotapes reveal that the friendship between the two former presidents was even closer than once thought, and that friendship played a role in Ford's decision to give Nixon a blanket pardon in the Watergate scandal.

These new tapes give insight into why Nixon chose Ford to be vice president and why Ford pardoned Nixon. They come on top of revelations Thursday that Ford was very much against the Iraq War even though he publicly defended it.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos spoke with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, who revealed Ford's true feelings about Iraq, about the former president's private personality versus his public one.

Woodward said he learned from Ford's private files and Nixon tapes that had not previously come to public attention that Ford and Nixon were extremely close friends.

A phone call from Nixon to Ford reveals the depth of their relationship.

Ford: Hello?

Nixon: Just wanted to express my appreciation for your note.

Ford: Anytime you want me to do anything under any circumstances. ... You give me a call.

Ford Stood by Nixon's Side

Most of the literature about Ford and Nixon suggests that when Nixon chose Ford to be his vice president, the two didn't know each other all that well -- Nixon made his choice based on the assumption that Ford was certain to get confirmed.

"That's what's in the historical record. That's what I thought quite frankly," Woodward said. "But then when you listen to these tapes. ... There's one moment where Nixon is almost begging Ford to go get support from Congress during Watergate. ... He literally says to Nixon, 'We will support you morning, noon and night.'"

Nixon: Tell the guys. ... To get off their ass and start fighting back.

Ford: You've got a hell of a lot of friends up here, both Republican and Democrat, and don't worry about anyone being sunshine soldiers or summer patriots.

Ford pardoned Nixon amid great controversy in 1974. At the time he said he did it to move the country forward, but Woodward believes friendship played a role, too.

"There was a personal element in pardoning Nixon. He felt he was lifting some sort of stigma," Woodward said.

In fact, that's exactly what Ford told Woodward in an interview.

"I looked upon him as my personal friend, and I always treasured our relationship," Ford said. "And I had no hesitancy about granting the pardon. ... I didn't want to see my real friend have the stigma."

Copyright � 2006 ABC News Internet Ventures

Gee, here I thought a president took an oath to uphold the constitution, not to help criminal pals avoid prison.

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12/29/06

Ford Told Reporter Friendship With Nixon Affected Pardon

Former President Ford once called himself Richard Nixon's only real friend.

Now audiotapes reveal that the friendship between the two former presidents was even closer than once thought, and that friendship played a role in Ford's decision to give Nixon a blanket pardon in the Watergate scandal.

These new tapes give insight into why Nixon chose Ford to be vice president and why Ford pardoned Nixon. They come on top of revelations Thursday that Ford was very much against the Iraq War even though he publicly defended it.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos spoke with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, who revealed Ford's true feelings about Iraq, about the former president's private personality versus his public one.

Woodward said he learned from Ford's private files and Nixon tapes that had not previously come to public attention that Ford and Nixon were extremely close friends.

A phone call from Nixon to Ford reveals the depth of their relationship.

Ford: Hello?

Nixon: Just wanted to express my appreciation for your note.

Ford: Anytime you want me to do anything under any circumstances. ... You give me a call.

Ford Stood by Nixon's Side

Most of the literature about Ford and Nixon suggests that when Nixon chose Ford to be his vice president, the two didn't know each other all that well -- Nixon made his choice based on the assumption that Ford was certain to get confirmed.

"That's what's in the historical record. That's what I thought quite frankly," Woodward said. "But then when you listen to these tapes. ... There's one moment where Nixon is almost begging Ford to go get support from Congress during Watergate. ... He literally says to Nixon, 'We will support you morning, noon and night.'"

Nixon: Tell the guys. ... To get off their ass and start fighting back.

Ford: You've got a hell of a lot of friends up here, both Republican and Democrat, and don't worry about anyone being sunshine soldiers or summer patriots.

Ford pardoned Nixon amid great controversy in 1974. At the time he said he did it to move the country forward, but Woodward believes friendship played a role, too.

"There was a personal element in pardoning Nixon. He felt he was lifting some sort of stigma," Woodward said.

In fact, that's exactly what Ford told Woodward in an interview.

"I looked upon him as my personal friend, and I always treasured our relationship," Ford said. "And I had no hesitancy about granting the pardon. ... I didn't want to see my real friend have the stigma."

Copyright � 2006 ABC News Internet Ventures

Gee, here I thought a president took an oath to uphold the constitution, not to help criminal pals avoid prison.

I hear you Myra! I liked the part where he said "I didnt want to see my friend have the stigma"?? Like he wasnt going to have that shadow [the whole Watergate affair] following him around for the rest of his life! All of the publicity everyone has been hearing about Ford, and what a great man he was all of his life, Ive yet to hear anything about what a skunk he was, especially during the WC! Just my opinion FWIW.

thanks-smitty

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12/29/06

Ford Told Reporter Friendship With Nixon Affected Pardon

Former President Ford once called himself Richard Nixon's only real friend.

Now audiotapes reveal that the friendship between the two former presidents was even closer than once thought, and that friendship played a role in Ford's decision to give Nixon a blanket pardon in the Watergate scandal.

These new tapes give insight into why Nixon chose Ford to be vice president and why Ford pardoned Nixon. They come on top of revelations Thursday that Ford was very much against the Iraq War even though he publicly defended it.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos spoke with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, who revealed Ford's true feelings about Iraq, about the former president's private personality versus his public one.

Woodward said he learned from Ford's private files and Nixon tapes that had not previously come to public attention that Ford and Nixon were extremely close friends.

A phone call from Nixon to Ford reveals the depth of their relationship.

Ford: Hello?

Nixon: Just wanted to express my appreciation for your note.

Ford: Anytime you want me to do anything under any circumstances. ... You give me a call.

Ford Stood by Nixon's Side

Most of the literature about Ford and Nixon suggests that when Nixon chose Ford to be his vice president, the two didn't know each other all that well -- Nixon made his choice based on the assumption that Ford was certain to get confirmed.

"That's what's in the historical record. That's what I thought quite frankly," Woodward said. "But then when you listen to these tapes. ... There's one moment where Nixon is almost begging Ford to go get support from Congress during Watergate. ... He literally says to Nixon, 'We will support you morning, noon and night.'"

Nixon: Tell the guys. ... To get off their ass and start fighting back.

Ford: You've got a hell of a lot of friends up here, both Republican and Democrat, and don't worry about anyone being sunshine soldiers or summer patriots.

Ford pardoned Nixon amid great controversy in 1974. At the time he said he did it to move the country forward, but Woodward believes friendship played a role, too.

"There was a personal element in pardoning Nixon. He felt he was lifting some sort of stigma," Woodward said.

In fact, that's exactly what Ford told Woodward in an interview.

"I looked upon him as my personal friend, and I always treasured our relationship," Ford said. "And I had no hesitancy about granting the pardon. ... I didn't want to see my real friend have the stigma."

Copyright � 2006 ABC News Internet Ventures

Gee, here I thought a president took an oath to uphold the constitution, not to help criminal pals avoid prison.

I hear you Myra! I liked the part where he said "I didnt want to see my friend have the stigma"?? Like he wasnt going to have that shadow [the whole Watergate affair] following him around for the rest of his life! All of the publicity everyone has been hearing about Ford, and what a great man he was all of his life, Ive yet to hear anything about what a skunk he was, especially during the WC! Just my opinion FWIW.

thanks-smitty

Ford's pardon of Nixon is one of those things that can never be justified. You can review the history of the presidential pardon, you can look at precedence, you can review the original bullxxxx for why Ford pardoned Nixon, and 'new and enlightening material' that may come to light - the fact of the matter is that it simply should not have been within Ford's power. Nixon should have been processed. The damaging precedent established by this non-elected President by disrupting the judicial process smacks of a total perversion of every ideal upon which this Country was founded - particularly with respect to the balance of power.

There should be a proper examination of why the cables went out - "Upon receipt you are instructed to no longer accept direct orders from Top Hat' prior to Nixon's impeachment. I would appreciate the opportunity to review Nixon's pardons - I can't find them anywhere. And IMO, the power of the Presidential Pardon should be severely curtailed - Clinton should have been enough to create the justification of clarifying this questionable power and it's potential for abuse. Only Jesus knows who may qualify for dubbya's list.

- lee

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