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Gerald Ford on Civil Rights

President of the U.S., 1974-1977; Republican Rep. (MI)


Would choose woman V.P. if he could do it over

Was the country ready for a woman as Vice President? There was no doubt in my mind that Anne Armstrong was capable. A Texas business executive and rancher, she had risen to become vice chairman of the Republican National Committee. She had served as Nixon's White House counselor, never once being tainted by Watergate, and later she had been an outstanding ambassador to Great Britain.

But what a gamble it would be! This would be the sort of dramatic announcement that would electrify the country. It might reverse our party's slide in the polls. Surveys indicated that she would gain us votes from people who don't normally back Republicans, but she would also cost us more of our traditional support than any other potential nominee. She came close. Very close. Naming her was something I really wanted to do, but I found myself drawing back every time I thought about it. (In retrospect, if given the opportunity to make that decision again, I might have said, "Damn the torpedoes" and gambled on Anne.)

Source: A Time To Heal, by Gerald Ford, p.402-403 , Aug 16, 1976

Face up to gay rights as a serious problem

Q. Mr. President, I wonder if you would clarify your position on the subject of civil rights for gay people in America.

A. Civil rights for what?

Q. For gay people, with respect to hiring, employment, and housing. And secondly, if you were elected President, how would you hope to eliminate some of the discrimination that gay people in America live under?

A. I recognize that this is a very new and serious problem in our society. I have always tried to be an understanding person as far as people are concerned who are different than myself. That doesn't mean that I agree with or would concur in what is done by them or their position in society. I think this is a problem we have to face up to, and I can't give you a pat answer tonight. I just would be dishonest to say that there is a pat answer under these very difficult circumstances

Source: Q&A at Everett McKinley Dirksen Forum in Peoria (APP #185) , Mar 5, 1976

Endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment

Blacks and other minorities felt-with some justification-that Nixon hadn't cared about their problems at all. I telephoned Rep. Charles Rangel (D, NY), who was chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and invited him to bring his colleagues by. (Our meeting, he said later, was "absolutely, fantastically good.") I held a similar session with 13 Congresswomen who were endorsing the Equal Rights Amendment. When I signed a proclamation backing the measure myself, even Bella Abzug smiled.
Source: A Time To Heal, by Gerald Ford, p.139-140 , Aug 13, 1974

Delay court-ordered busing until all appeals exhausted

Rep. Ford co-sponsored H.R.1993: A bill to amend the Education Amendments of 1972 to re-emphasize the intent of Congress with respect to busing.
Source: Bill sponsorship archives from the Library of Congress , Jan 15, 1973

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Civil Rights.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Gerald Ford.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Gerald Ford.
Other past presidents on Civil Rights: Gerald Ford on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

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V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
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Page last updated: Mar 16, 2014