Ford grades presidents: Carter a 'disaster'
Yet reading the article it is clear that this is hardly the actual case, and that Ford's opinion of Carter changed as the bitterness of the latter's election faded into the background with time.
In 1981, Ford said: "I think Jimmy Carter would be very close to Warren G. Harding. I feel very strongly that Jimmy Carter was a disaster, particularly domestically and economically. I have said more than once that he was certainly the poorest president in my lifetime."
That's the headline, but look further:
But two years later, he praised Carter's performance on the Panama Canal treaty, China and the Middle East. And in 1998, he said Carter "will be looked on as a better president than some comments we hear today."
"He was a very decent, fine individual," Ford told the paper. "There were no major mistakes. There just weren't a lot of exciting results."
It should be noted, as is reflected by Carter speaking at Ford's funeral (the final and most intimate one) that the two of them, unknown to many of us had become close personal friends over the years. Hardly an uncommon occurrence, Truman and Eisenhower were close post-World War II, then very distant and peeved at each other in the 1950s as they went separate political paths, only to reconcile in the wake of the Kennedy Assassination and the funeral of Herbert Hoover.
Yet the most negative possible headline about Carter is chosen for this story. Nice.