The Blog

The Underappreciated President

Gerald R. Ford, 1913-2006.

1:00 PM, Dec 27, 2006 • By FRED BARNES
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Every year since he left the White House in 1977, Ford held a dinner in Washington in which he gathered with officials from his administration. Not only were reporters who covered him invited, they showed up as well. My wife and I always did.

The last time I talked to Ford was several years ago. He called me after reading a piece I'd written for the Wall Street Journal, a piece that mentioned Hillary Clinton. Into his 90s, Ford kept up with politics and he had an insight about her that he wanted to pass on. I was flattered he called.

Ford had spent time with Hillary Clinton in the mid-1990s when she and President Clinton visited him at his vacation home in Vail, Colorado. He found her a bit scary but also very formidable. He was more impressed with her than with her husband, or at least I got that impression. She was someone to watch, he said, a woman with a political future. And of course he was quite right.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.