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    Gerald R. Ford Superb Autograph Letter Signed: "I believe we did a good job particularly when you measure it against the Carter Administration who have given us terrible inflation, high interest rates & a probable recession."

    Signed: "Jerry Ford", one page, 6.25" x 8.5". Rancho Mirage, California, April 16th [1979]. To Fred Edgerton. In full: "Dear Fred: Your letter of Dec 5th reached my desk several weeks ago & I thank you for your continuing support. I believe we did a good job particularly when you measure it against the Carter Administration who have given us terrible inflation, high interest rates & a probable recession. I am not a candidate however, and do not plan to be one. I have not said 'never' as circumstances might require a review in the months ahead. It was wonderful to hear from you & please give my very best to my many friends. Sincerely.."

    Frederick Edgerton (1916-1991) was a prominent Republican and County Treasurer of Allegan County, Michigan, just southwest of Grand Rapids, Gerald R. Ford's hometown.

    On October 10, 1973, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned and, pursuant to the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, President Nixon nominated his successor, House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in on December 6, 1973. When it became apparent that the President would be impeached as a result of the Watergate scandal, Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, and Vice President Ford became President. On September 8, 1974, President Ford pardoned Nixon "for all offenses against the United States which he...has committed or may have committed or taken part in" while President. At the time, public opinion was against the pardon, but as the years passed, it became clear to many that Ford did the right thing at the right time. In 2001, former President Ford received the Profile in Courage Award from the John F. Kennedy Library, singling out for praise his pardon decision. Ford later said he believed the pardon was a major factor in his failure to win the 1976 election which was won by Jimmy Carter, 297-240 electoral votes.

    In this letter, Ford mentions issues which the Republicans brought up in the 1980 presidential campaign: "terrible inflation, high interest rates & a probable recession." Fred Edgerton had undoubtedly written to his friend about seeking the 1980 nomination for President. Ford mentions Edgerton's letter was dated December 5th. It couldn't have been 1977; Carter hadn't even been President for one year. Edgerton couldn't have written it on December 5, 1979, which would mean that Ford's reply (this letter) was penned on April 16, 1980. It couldn't have been written on April 16, 1980, because, by then, Republicans had already held presidential primaries or caucuses in Iowa, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Connecticut, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Louisiana. Reagan won all except Massachusetts and Connecticut which was won by George H.W. Bush. The other announced Republican candidates had already dropped out of the race; Bush dropped out in May. Ford writes that he is "not a candidate" but "circumstances might require a review in the months ahead." Ford couldn't have written this in 1980 because by April 16th, Ronald Reagan had the 1980 nomination practically sewn up. Therefore, Ford's letter must have been written on April 16, 1979.

    The cover story of the July 28, 1980, issue of "Newsweek" reported that on the morning of the second day of the Republican National Convention, July 15, 1980, "the powerful elders of the Republican Party paid calls on nominee-to-be Ronald Reagan...they all mentioned making Gerald Ford the party's Vice Presidential candidate...'These guys all say there may be a chance Ford would accept,' [Reagan] told a group of aides. 'Maybe we're missing a bet if we don't ask him. What have we got to lose?' Thirty-one hours later, a weary Gerald Ford came to Reagan's suite. As the Republican convention blared from a color television in the living room, Ford clamped an arm around Reagan's shoulder and solemnly walked with him into an adjoining room. 'This isn't right for me and it isn't right for you,' Ford said at last. 'I can do more for you as a former President campaigning for the ticket than being on the ticket.'" That evening, Reagan was nominated for President on the first ballot. The next day, July 17, 1980, George H.W. Bush was nominated for Vice President.

    Good content ALsS of Ford are scarce. This letter comparing his administration to his successors and not ruling out another bid for the presidency, is in extra fine condition. It is accompanied by the original Rancho Mirage envelope bearing Ford's printed frank, and would be an excellent addition to a political or presidential collection. From the Gary Grossman Collection.


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