Gerald Ford and Albert Gore: A Comparison and Contrast of the United States Presidency

Gerald Ford and Albert Gore were two very different presidents. Gerald Ford was a Republican and Albert Gore was a Democrat. Gerald Ford was from Michigan and Albert Gore was from Tennessee. Gerald Ford was in office for two years and Albert Gore was in office for eight years.

Gerald Ford was the 38th president of the United States. He was in office from 1974 to 1977. Gerald Ford was the first president to be appointed, rather than elected. He became president when Richard Nixon resigned. Gerald Ford is perhaps best known for his pardon of Nixon.

Albert Gore was the 45th vice president of the United States. He was in office from 1993 to 2001. Albert Gore is perhaps best known for his work on climate change. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his work on climate change.

The walls of Richard Nixon’s presidency were closing in on him as he sat in the Oval Office, a beaten Richard Nixon. President Nixon had been so exhausted by the Watergate Scandal that some people worried he would take his own life. Leon Jaworski was closing in on Nixon, and he had gotten White House recordings and transcripts that Nixon knew would send him to jail. Several months earlier, Vice President Spiro Agnew stepped down, and Nixon nominated longtime friend and Congressman Gerald Ford to replace him. 

Gerald Ford was the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. Gerald Ford was not Gerald R. Ford Jr., his name was Leslie Lynch King Jr. His mother changed his name to Gerald Ford after his parents divorced when he was 2 years old. Gerald Ford’s Presidency would be one of healing and repairing relationships in Washington, but also a time where many decisions were made that would come back to haunt him during his own election campaign. 

Albert Gore was born in Washington D.C., the son of a United States Senator from Tennessee. Albert Gore attended Harvard University where he graduated with honors with a degree in government. After graduation Albert Gore enlisted in the Army and served as an infantry journalist in Vietnam. When he returned from Vietnam Albert Gore worked as a reporter for The Tennessean. Albert Gore’s first foray into politics was when he ran for the United States House of Representatives in 1976 and won. In 1984 Albert Gore ran for Senate and won again. He would serve as the junior senator from Tennessee until he resigned to run for president in 1992.

Gerald Ford was the first un-elected Vice President, taking office after Spiro Agnew resigned in disgrace. Gerald Ford was also the first President to pardon a former president, Richard Nixon, which caused Gerald Ford’s popularity to plummet. Gerald Ford also oversaw the evacuation of Americans from South Vietnam as the communist North Vietnamese Army closed in on Saigon. Gerald Ford is often criticized for his handling of the economy, which was in a recession during his time in office. Gerald Ford also faced challenges from within his own party, as many Republicans were not happy with his pardoning of Nixon.

Albert Gore was the first sitting Senator to be elected Vice President since John C. Calhoun in 1824. Albert Gore was a vocal critic of the Reagan Administration’s handling of the economy and foreign policy. Albert Gore was also a strong advocate for environmental protections and climate change awareness, an issue that would come to define his political career. Albert Gore’s biggest accomplishment as Vice President was helping to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement, which lowered trade barriers between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Albert Gore would later run for president in 2000, but narrowly lose the election to George W. Bush.

Gerald Ford and Albert Gore served as Vice President during very different times. Gerald Ford became Vice President during the Watergate Scandal and was tasked with healing the divisions in Washington. Albert Gore became Vice President during the economic boom of the 1990s and was a strong advocate for environmental protections. Both men would go on to run for president, but only Albert Gore would win his party’s nomination. Gerald Ford and Albert Gore represent two very different paths that a Vice President can take.

When I look at the picture and listen to Ford’s comments, it appears he was unprepared for this seat. In numerous speeches, Ford acknowledged as much. After a successful impeachment in the House, the Clinton administration faced impeachment by the Senate. The possibility that Joe Biden and Al Gore would inherit the presidency was very real in light of these two events. 

For Albert Gore, he was the Vice President during one of the most prosperous periods in American History. Gore was a key player in many of President Clinton’s successes including welfare reform and a balanced budget. 

Although Gerald Ford and Albert Gore served as Vice President during very different times, there are some similarities between the two. Both men took office after their predecessor had been impeached, Gerald Ford for Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal and Albert Gore for Bill Clinton’s involvement in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. 

In both cases, the outgoing President left office with high approval ratings, Nixon with a 61% approval rating and Clinton with a 65% approval rating. Interestingly enough, both men were also seen as potential candidates for their party’s nomination in the next Presidential election, Gerald Ford in 1976 and Albert Gore in 2000.

Of course, there are also some key differences between Gerald Ford and Albert Gore. The most obvious difference is that Gerald Ford was never actually elected to either the Presidency or the Vice Presidency, he assumed both roles after Nixon resigned and Spiro Agnew resigned respectively. 

On the other hand, Albert Gore was elected to both roles, albeit with Bill Clinton as his running mate. Another key difference is that Gerald Ford faced a struggling economy when he became President while Albert Gore inherited a booming economy from Bill Clinton. Lastly, Gerald Ford was only in office for 2 years while Albert Gore served 8 years as Vice President.

Looking at Gerald Ford and Albert Gore’s time as Vice President, it is clear that they faced very different challenges while in office. Despite this, they both remained key figures in their respective administrations and left a lasting impression on the American people.

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