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Gerald Ford released from hospital

Ex-president, 92, had routine tests, aide says

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Gerald Ford attends the 2000 National Republican Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Gerald Ford

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Former President Gerald R. Ford was released from a hospital Tuesday night after undergoing what an aide called routine tests.

Ford, 92, has been suffering from a cold, but he went to the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California, for tests that have been scheduled for some time, said the 38th president's chief of staff, Penny Circle.

Circle would not say what kind of tests were being conducted, but said that Ford is as healthy as any 92-year-old.

Ford was hospitalized in 2003 after suffering a dizzy spell while playing golf in 96-degree weather.

He also suffered a mild stroke during the 2000 Republican National Convention.

Three other past presidents are living: George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

Before taking the country's helm, Ford was a gifted athlete and played for two national championship football teams at the University of Michigan in 1932 and 1933.

He was offered spots on two professional teams -- the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers -- but instead took a position as a boxing and football coach at Yale University, where he was admitted to law school in 1938.

Ford joined the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1942, and had a brush with death during World War II, when he was almost swept overboard during a typhoon in the Philippine Sea in 1944.

After Ford's discharge as a lieutenant commander in 1946, his stepfather, a Republican leader, encouraged him to take on GOP Rep. Bartel Jonkman for the nomination to the U.S. House of Representatives. He won the nomination and later the general election and took congressional office in 1948.

He proved popular with his constituents, who re-elected him 12 times between 1949 and 1973, each time by a margin of more than 60 percent.

His inclusion among the Young Turks -- a group of young, progressive House Republicans who wanted to oust the older GOP leadership -- propelled him to top House positions and earned him a spot on the Warren Commission, charged with investigating the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Ford is the last living member of the Warren Commission.

Despite his loyal support for Richard Nixon and high expectations, Ford was never named a vice presidential candidate, but when Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned in 1973 after pleading no contest to income tax evasion charges, Ford became Nixon's No. 2 man.

In 1974, Ford assumed the Oval Office after Nixon resigned under threat of impeachment amid the Watergate scandal. Ford took office with the words: "My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over," and then made pardoning Nixon one of his first acts. Many people say that doomed his 1976 campaign and handed the presidency to Carter, who served one term as president.

Ford said that he pardoned Nixon solely because the cloud of drawn-out impeachment proceedings would have prevented the country from tending to more important business, but the voters disagreed, and Carter defeated Ford in his only attempt to become an elected president.

The Michigan Republican is the only president to serve without being elected by the voters to the presidency or vice presidency.

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