Saturday, 6 October 2018


Sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the 1976 US presidential campaign for the first time saw more than one televised debate among the contenders and challenger Georgia governor Jimmy Carter and incumbent Gerald Ford (the first president not having been elected to office, having replaced Richard Nixon’s vice-president Spiro Agnew when he resigned and then Nixon himself as president when Nixon resigned in lieu of impeachment, pardoning his old boss afterwards) agreed to a series of three debates: one on domestic policy, one on foreign policy and one on the audience’s choice of topics.
After a fairly good showing when speaking on home issues, Ford stumbled and never recovered on geopolitics during the second debate, held on this day, 6 October 1976, announcing that “There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe,” adding that there never will be under a Ford administration. The vacillating pander of Trump’s relentless stumping and preening with the refrain “there was no Russian collusion” and “collusion is not a crime” has a strange echo of Ford’s words—perhaps too not so innocently offered.