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    Anecdotal Observations On History & Politics

    Entries in Ford (3)


    Gerald Ford, President, Male Model: Vintage Cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine in Color

    President-to-be Gerald Ford worked as a male model in his late 20's and was featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan in April of 1942 in his Navy Uniform. Here is a color image of that cover of Ford and his girlfriend at the time, which was previously available only in black and white:

    Ford was not credited for posing for the illustration, but as luck would have it he met his future wife, Elizabeth Bloomer, while working as a model.

    Bonus photo: Gerald Ford campaigning on an elephant in Michigan shortly after the above cover shoot, in 1950.


    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? 


    FDR's Cigarette Dispenser

    After he became paralyzed from the waist down, Franklin Roosevelt took residence in Warm Springs Georgia where he tried to reverse the debilitating effects of polio. While there, he designed a mechanical system of levers and pulleys to be installed into his Ford, allowing him to drive the car without the use of his legs. The vehicle functioned well, allowing FDR to drive again -- a pass-time he enjoyed thoroughly, despite a history of being quite hazardous on the road. Knobs on the dash allowed him to accelerate and brake, but an additional device allowed him to enjoy his other favorite pass-time: smoking cigarettes. 

    The device next to FDR's steering wheel in the pictures below actually dispensed pre-lit cigarettes -- no need to fumble for matches or a lighter: