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Ford hospitalized with pneumonia

Former president being treated with intravenous antibiotics
Former President Ford, 92, was hospitalized in December for tests.


Gerald Ford
U.S. House of Representatives

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Former President Ford is being treated for pneumonia, two days after being admitted to a hospital in Rancho Mirage, California, his office said Monday.

"He is doing well and resting comfortably," said Penny Circle, Ford's chief of staff.

The 92-year-old former president was admitted to Eisenhower Medical Center on Saturday and has been receiving intravenous antibiotics, Circle said.

Ford was hospitalized briefly in December for unspecified tests, but his spokeswoman said at the time that the former president was in good health for his age.

He also was hospitalized in 2003 after suffering a dizzy spell while playing golf in 96-degree heat. He also suffered a mild stroke during the 2000 Republican National Convention.

Ford became the 38th president of the United States in August 1974, when the Watergate scandal forced Richard Nixon to resign.

Ford had become vice president in October 1973 when Nixon's original vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned and pleaded no contest to bribery, conspiracy and extortion charges.

Ford sought the presidency in his own right in 1976, but lost to former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter.

Ford had assumed the Oval 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.

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.

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