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US pays tribute to ex-President Ford

Washington pays tribute to former President Gerald Ford at a state funeral hailing him as a leader who helped heal America's divisions after the Watergate scandal.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2007 23:13 IST
Reuters

Washington paid tribute to former President Gerald Ford at a state funeral on Tuesday, hailing him as a leader who helped heal America's divisions after the Watergate scandal.

President George W Bush headed a list of dignitaries, including former presidents George HW Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, who gathered at Washington's National Cathedral to pay last respects to Ford, who died on December 26 at age 93.

"Time and again he would step forward and keep his promise even as the dark clouds of political crisis gathered over America," the elder Bush said in a eulogy.

Ford held office for 2-1/2 years after Richard Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, having been implicated in a cover-up of a break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate office complex in Washington.

Ford stirred lasting controversy by granting Nixon a blanket pardon for any crimes he may have committed -- a move that helped Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, beat him in 1976.

The elder Bush said Ford had "instantly restored the honour of the Oval Office and helped America begin to turn the page on one of our saddest political chapters."

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