There hasn't been a whole lot mentioned about Gerald Ford lately, or Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neil for that matter. I don't think either of them have been forgotten, but Ford doesn't stand out in history books as much more than the first non-elected President or vice-President during a time when America was reeling from Watergate and the Nixon era. 1975 was still shaky ground for a lot of people and we were in the midst of a recession. And O'Neil is probably best remembered as the one almost perpetually in a state of battle with Reagan.
But in 1975 the talk was about the 1976 elections and what were the chances of Ford's re-election (or official election if you want to get technical). As was evidenced by this Face The Nation episode from July 29, 1975, O'Neil didn't see the possibilities.
Marya McLaughlin (CBS News): “Mister Ford, um . . I take it that you don’t think he’s the niftiest President we’ve ever had.”
Tip O’Neil: “I don’t think that President Ford has a chance of being re-elected, even though the polls at this time show about fifty percent.”
MacLaughlin: “Why do you say that?”
O’Neil: “Well uh . . maybe it’s a hackneyed phrase but, let me say this, his philosophy and his thinking is such that he would bring you back to the Dark Ages. He’d bring you back to the days of the high button shoes, the lamp lighter, the celluloid collar. The days of McKinley. That was just twenty five years in Congress being against . .he’s an affable, friendly fellow. His philosophy is about as far to the right as you can get. He came to the Congress with no plan as far as the economy is concerned. He came to the House with no plan as far as housing is concerned. I just can’t imagine Gerry Ford being re-elected as President of the United States because the economy . . . the campaign will be on the economy and the economy will not be good. Any turn in the economy that has happened up to date is because of the actions of the Democratic Party and sticking the tax bill down his throat.”
At least part of his predictions were right. The part about Ted Kennedy . . .well.