When Ford granted that pardon to his predecessor Richard Nixon, it was not a purely political decision, ABC's George Stephanopoulos revealed, it was personal too. Ford, a Congressional colleague of Nixon from the 1940s, called Nixon "a treasured friend." Ford told The Washington Post's Bob Woodward that he considered himself to be Nixon's "only real friend." Concluded Stephanopoulos: "This cuts against the conventional wisdom that this was just a relationship of political convenience."
Ford was less enthusiastic about his Republican successors, according to NBC's in-house historian Michael Beschloss, who previewed a Newsweek interview with Ford for Andrea Mitchell's In Depth report. Ford was "sure" that he could have beaten Carter if Ronald Reagan had agreed to campaign for him in Ohio, Louisiana and Mississippi in 1976. He "knows damn well" that George Bush, the father, is pro-choice on abortion, despite his public pro-life stance. And Ford felt "uncomfortable" at the GOP's rightward drift at the 1992 Convention.
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