Two hours earlier, the East Room had been the setting for Richard Nixon's farewell speech to his Cabinet and the White House staff. In the interim, pictures of Nixon and his family and scenes from his triumphant Peking and Moscow visits had disappeared from the corridor leading to the Oval Office. They were replaced by pictures of Gerald Ford and his family. Now the East Room was filled again with 250 guests, a few of them still red-eyed from weeping at the emotional Nixon farewell. But there...

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