April 23, 2006 -- President Ford criticizes outspoken retired generals. After Richard Nixon's Defense Secretary Melvin Laird stepped forward to defend embattled Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and criticize the retired Army and Marine Corps generals who have called for Rumsfeld's dismissal, former President Gerald Ford issued a statement defending Rumsfeld. Ford cited Rumsfeld's "creativity, vision, and courage." Rumsfeld served as Ford's Defense Secretary. Ford, who is 92, did not distinguish himself with his selection of many current neocon office holders as key members of his own administration. In addition to Rumsfeld at the Pentagon, Ford chose Dick Cheney as his Chief of Staff and George H. W. Bush as his CIA director. It was the senior Bush who used his position in the CIA to lay the ground for much of scandals that would plague the Reagan administration, including nurturing Latin American drug supply lines that would later be significant in the Iran-Contra caper.
When it comes to Gerald Ford, one of the most notorious "yes men" members of the Warren Commission, President Lyndon Johnson summed him up succinctly. Johnson said of Ford, the then-House GOP Minority Leader, "He's a nice guy, but he played too much football with his helmet off" and, "He is so dumb he can't fart and chew gum at the same time."