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    Ford Dumps Rocky, Picks up Dole for '76

    President Gerald Ford dropped Vice President Nelson Rockefeller for Senator Bob Dole a full year before the 1976 general election after much deliberation. Disguised as a "decision of his [Rockefeller's] own," Ford was concerned that Rockefeller might cause him to lose support amongst the conservative wing of the party, thus threatening his nomination at the '76 RNC. It was a decsion that he later came to regret, as Thomas DeFrank reported in his 2007 book Write It When I'm Gone (which, to the consternation of his publisher, was originally titled Write It When I'm Dead). Saying he was, "embarrassed that I didn't tell the hard right-wingers that Rockefeller had done a good job and would be a good vice president for a four-year period," Ford bowed to the pressure from his cabinet.  

    What's more interesting is that it was his chief of staff at the time, Donald Rumsfeld, who pushed President Ford the hardest to replace the veep -- which DeFrank contends was namely because Rumsfeld hoped to replace Rocky himself. While Dole was an acceptable candidate, it was in his VP debate against Walter Mondale in which he crudely remarked that World War I, WWII, Korea and Vietnam were all "Democrat Wars":

    While Ford survived a convention challenge against Ronald Reagan (who had previously run a low-key battle for the GOP nom against Nixon and Rockefeller in 1968 -- a little discussed fact), he would eventually lose the 1976 general election to Gov. Jimmy Carter. Confessing to his own "cowardice" in his memoirs, Ford's politically expedient move begs the question: is it ever prudent to drop a sitting vice president? 

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