When Watergate Was Shut: Woodward Recalls Ford Pardoning Nixon

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By: E&P Staff

Among those who knew the late President Ford, or covered his presidency, the name of Bob Woodward stands out because of his Watergate reporting — which helped hasten Richard Nixon out of office.

So, it was natural to find Woodward on The Washington Post’s Web site this afternoon, reflecting on Ford’s controversial pardon for the legally vulnerable ex-president in September, 1974.

Woodward explains, “The reverberations from that decision may well have cost Ford his presidency in the next election. In the first week after the pardon, his public approval rating plummeted from 71 percent to 49 percent. Jerry terHorst, Ford’s press secretary and friend of 25 years, resigned as a matter of conscience.

“Ford had been in office only a month. The pardon came as a surprise — to Congress and the public — and it unleashed a wave of outrage and suspicion. Had there been a deal between Nixon and Ford promising a pardon in exchange for Nixon’s resignation?”

Woodward then lays out a lengthy account, which “attempts to answer that question, comes from official documents, interviews with key players, contemporaneous handwritten notes, memoirs written by participants and conversations with Ford himself.”

The entire article can be found at www.washingtonpost.com.

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