GERALD FORD - 1913-2006
STAR-BULLETIN / APRIL 1982
President Gerald Ford clapped his hands with then-state Sens. D.G. "Andy" Anderson and Pat Saiki during a Hawaii event on April 25, 1982. CLICK FOR LARGE
Visit didn't help Ford win Hawaii
The presidential trip in 1975 preceded his narrow election loss
Gerald Ford gave a major policy speech at the East-West Center on the 34th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, during his only visit to Hawaii as president.
Ford stopped here on his way back to the mainland from China, Indonesia and the Philippines.
He first spoke at the USS Arizona Memorial on the morning of Dec. 7, 1975.
At a second speech that day at the East-West Center, Ford outlined six points of what he called a "new Pacific Doctrine," calling for normalization of relations with China, economic cooperation and healing in Indochina, and affirming that the U.S. relationship with Japan was "a pillar of our strategy."
Ford also held Hawaii up as "an island star in the American firmament which radiates the universal magic of aloha."
A year later, Hawaii voters went for Jimmy Carter by a slim margin of 3,686 -- the last time Hawaii played a key role in a presidential election.
If Ford had won in Hawaii and Ohio, where he also lost by just a few thousand votes, he would have been elected president.
After his term, Ford visited the state to help Republican candidates for office.
D. G. "Andy" Anderson remembers that Ford spoke in Hawaii in 1982, when Anderson ran for governor as a Republican with Patricia Saiki as his running mate for lieutenant governor.
"We were always gracious and grateful for his coming to help two Hawaiians," Anderson said last night. "They (national GOP figures) would always come to help keep the Republican party alive."
Miriam Hellreich, the Hawaii Republican Party national committee woman, remembers Ford from another visit.
"He was just a very gentle and down-to-earth man," Hellreich said. "It was very fortunate for the country that we had him take over at the time he did."
STAR-BULLETIN / APRIL 1982
Richard S.H. Wong, left, then president of the Hawaii State Senate, chats with Republican Sen. D.G. "Andy" Anderson and former President Gerald Ford before Anderson announces he will run against Gov. George Ariyoshi. CLICK FOR LARGE
Hellreich said Ford took time at the GOP reception to talk to each person who came to see him.
She was struck that Ford, who was getting on in years, talked about playing golf every day during his visit.
"Everyone was commenting on how good a shape he was in," Hellreich said.
Gov. Linda Lingle issued a written statement last night expressing sympathies to Ford's family on behalf of the state.
"Our 38th president served his country well. During his time in the Oval Office, President Ford helped America begin its healing from the tumultuous era of Vietnam and Watergate, he also brought security to the world by curbing the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union," Lingle said.
"President Ford was a great American. He will surely be missed," she said.
Hawaii Republican Orson Swindle, a former Federal Trade Commissioner, remembered Ford as "a fine man. It's a great loss for the country."
Swindle had two unsuccessful runs for U.S. representative in 1994 and 1996, when Ford visited Hawaii to endorse him.
"I remembered my first reaction was when he came off the elevator, I was very impressed -- he was a big man, a tall man," said Swindle, now senior policy adviser for the Washington, D.C., law firm Hunton & Williams. "He was very impressive in his physical appearance."
Swindle, a retired Marine who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, remembered returning to the states in 1973 and seeing the country in disarray during the Nixon administration.
"I was trying to readjust to normal life, and it was a traumatic time for the whole country, particularly for us," Swindle said.
"I thought his role was just extraordinary. He just filled a need for the country. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say an unkind word about him, because he was such a honorable person."
Former Hawaii Gov. George Ariyoshi, a Democrat, remembered Ford for his bipartisanship. Ariyoshi was governor when Ford was president.
"I remember very clearly that when they wanted to have a news conference at the airport, his only requirement was that I be present and sit next to him," Ariyoshi said. "It was not a matter of whether a person was Democratic or Republican, he was that kind of leader."
Ariyoshi also said his pardon of Nixon was controversial but appropriate for it's time.
"The way he conducted himself was exceptional," Ariyoshi said. "The pardon (of Nixon) was very controversial, but at the time, many people also felt it brought closure for the unfortunate circumstances the nation was in."