The Ford File and Its Surprises

The former President recalls that surreal moment 25 years ago

Twenty-five years ago last Sunday night, there were thousands of people in Lafayette Park, eager witnesses to the final act of Richard Nixon's tortured presidency. Many of them were weeping, others cheering. Dan Rather was sitting on a chair, under spotlights, in mordant tones announcing the end of a political world.

Most others on that Aug. 8, 1974, were searching the facade of the nearby Old Executive Office Building and wondering behind which of the lighted windows sat Vice President Gerald Ford, who the next day would become the most powerful man in the world, a man who last week thought...

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