Alternate History 🇺🇸 November 2, 1976: President Nelson Rockefeller wins election to full 4-year term and the aftermath

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Cooking up the timeline....

Sergeant Foley

Well-known member

Friday, November 5, 1976
White House, Washington, DC.


Friday, November 5, 1976: President Rockefeller meeting with United States Senator Jimmy Carter (D-GA) inside the Oval Office at the White House.

It had been less than three days after Election Day and President Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (who had ascended to the Presidency upon the assassination of then-President Gerald Rudolph Ford on September 5, 1975 in Sacramento, California) managed to pull off one of the miracles that nobody saw coming: first easily dispatching former California Governor Ronald Reagan in the Republican Party primaries, eventually clinching the nomination on June 8, 1976.

Second: Trouncing deeply-reviled Alabama Governor George Wallace (D) in the November general election on November 2, 1976 by a massive landslide victory (67% to 30%) carrying 45 out of 50 States and gaining surprising overwhelming support from African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans/Pacific Islander, Women, etc.,

On that same night, his nephew, Jay Rockefeller (D) was easily elected to the West Virginia Governorship in a landslide victory, which the President was joyful after speaking with him on the phone while watching the returns in a private suite at the Rockefeller Center in New York City, New York State with his family. Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller had done something nobody ever thought of: winning the Presidency in his own right by such an overwhelming mandate. But the road ahead wasn't going to be easy......

This was The American Republic!
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Sketch of the chapters: Fair warning this will be a long timeline
Sketch of the Timeline:
*Chapter 1:
#1 September 5, 1975: The day that altered the world.
#2 Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller becomes the 39th President of the United States.
#3 State Funeral festivities of President Gerald Rudolph Ford.
#4 National and International Headlines (Fall 1975).
#5 1975 Gubernatorial Elections.

Chapter 2:
1.) President Rockefeller delivers 1976 State of the Union Address
2.) National & International headlines (Spring 1976)
3.) Battle of the soul of the Republican Party: Reagan vs Rockefeller
4.) Democratic Party primary highlights
5.) Foreign policy hotspots of 1976

Chapter 3:
1.) National & International headlines (Summer 1976)
2.) 1976 Democratic Party National Convention in NYC, NY St
3.) 1976 Republican Party National Convention in Kansas City, MO
4.) National & International headlines (Fall 1976)
5.) Presidential & Vice Presidential debates
6.) 1976 Presidential campaign highlights

Chapter 4:
1.) Election Night: Tuesday, November 2nd, 1976
2.) Concession speech from AL Governor George Wallace (D) in Montgomery, AL
3.) Victory speech by President Nelson Rockefeller
4.) Ramifications of Rockefeller's victory
5.) Upcoming changes to the Rockefeller Cabinet

Chapter 5:
1.) January 12th, 1977: President Rockefeller addresses Joint Session of Congress
2.) Inauguration Day: January 20th, 1977
3.) Inaugural Parade & Inaugural Balls
4.) The Democrats & how they'll recover from choking a winnable election in 1976.
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The rout was on....
Prologue: Election Night: Cronkite
9:28 PM EST, Tuesday, November 2, 1976
CBS HQ, NYC, New York State


(1976 Presidential Election: 71% of the precincts reporting)
President Nelson Rockefeller (R-NY St)/Vice President Linwood Holton (R-VA): 55,829,773 (64.83%) [470 Electoral Votes] Declared Winner ✔
Alabama Governor George C. Wallace (D-AL)/United States Senator James E. "Jimmy" Carter (D-GA): 20,900,056 (32.8%) [67 Electoral Votes]

Watching the returns coming in across the country, Roger Mudd of CBS News was shocked at the margin "What the fuck?" he accidentally gaffed on a hot mic on the air while election returns showed President Rockefeller was running up the score. It became obvious to everyone this wasn't going to be a long night as many assumed. It was over quite quickly.

CBS Evening News Anchor Walter Cronkite had gotten the official confirmation via earpiece "Ok, I'll get to that right now," he said before the commercial breaks was finally finished. "Good evening everyone. The time is 9:28 PM Eastern Standard Time here at the CBS News Election Headquarters in New York City. After analyzing exit polls, polling data and early voting rerurns from across the country, CBS News can now prohect that incumbent President Nelson Rockefeller has won his first full four-year term in a resounding landslide victory, easily defeating the Democratic Party nominee, Alabama Governor George Wallace. I am being told that Ed Bradley is live reporting from the Jefferson Davis Hotel in Montgomery, Alabama where Governor Wallace is expected to deliver his concession speech but not until all of the votes have been counted."
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Inspiration and Appreciation
Inspiration of doing this timeline: I've been inspired by KingSweden24 of Bicentennial Man of AH; my cousin @49ersfootball of The Cursed American Presidency; @WolfBear @Buba @bintananth @The Immortal Watch Dog for their encouragement and support as I push along this very long timeline.

Some installments will include lots and I do mean LOTS of Personal PoV's from various parts of the world. I will also include several Personal PoV's from typical beautiful damsels in distress.

Note that it will be super LONG, enjoy! 😎
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September 5, 1975: The day America was Altered!
Chapter 1: September 5, 1975: The Day the World Stopped.....
10:20 AM PST, Friday, September 5, 1975
Sacramento, California


Chaos following the shooting.

The decision was made. Squeaky Fromme decided a few days earlier that President Gerald Rudolph Ford needed to be stopped by any means necessary. However, from the bright red dress she chose to wear on that day, it was quite obvious she would be standing out in the crowd. Nobody would ever think in a million years that the Charlie Manson devotee would ever pose a threat to the President, who was just in office for barely a year (having assumed the Presidency on August 9, 1974 following Nixon's resignation in disgrace due to the Watergate Scandal). The President was out of Washington, DC for a couple of days, making several appearances across the country promoting the upcoming Bicentennial celebrations of America's Independence Day while at the same time, squeezing a couple of campaign fundraisers for his reelection campaign as many Ford loyalists realized that the battle for the 1976 Republican nomination against former California Governor Ronald Reagan (R) would be very ugly and downright bitter....

Now back to the circumstances leading up to September 5, 1975: President Ford had already made a few stops in Seattle, Spokane, Washington and Portland, Oregon before making a final swing through Sacramento, California: the President was still bristling with lots of energy. The former college football player from the University of Michigan was a very physically active man and insisted (despite pleas from senior staff members to consider riding in the Presidential limousine) on walking down the street from the Senator Hotel (where he was staying overnight) to the State Capitol building in downtown Sacramento, where he was scheduled to meet with California Governor Jerry Brown (D).

He had no idea of the danger awaiting him.......

Fromme had quickly become a follower of the infamous Charlie Manson and his sadistic cult. Even though she didn't participate in the Tate-LaBianca murders of 1969, Squeaky's presence in the following trial had caused a stir when she and other Manson followers had carved X's into their foreheads (don't ask me how, but I think it was creepy).

More troubles continued to follow Squeaky as she was questioned for a murder of one of the Aryan Nations' neo-Nazi members after it was revealed he had been in talks with law enforcement. She wasn't charged with the murder, but once again: she managed to slip through the cracks. It was during this time that Squeaky and a few other Manson associates moved to Sacramento in order to be closer to Charlie, who was serving his prison sentence at the Folsom prison. Word on the street is that Manson had given Squeaky the order to kill the President of the United States. She had no choice, but follow orders....

Here came the moment! Armed with a Colt M1911 holstered to her thigh, Squeaky slipped once again (how did this nutjob got through the cracks is beyond me) into the crowd of well-wishers. Hearing cheers from the crowd, "I have to do this for Charlie. It's my duty. Time to send a message to the government!" had arose as the presidential entourage began shuffling out of the Senator Hotel, and within a matter of seconds, the target (President Ford) was already in sight. A gaggle of Secret Service agents began pushing through the throngs of well-wishers in the crowd as State Troopers from the California Highway Patrol had formed a human chain in order to keep the bulk of the large masses away.

Squeaky's heart started pounding quick as adrenaline flowed all throughout her body; she locked eyes with the 38th President of the United States, and he in turn locked eyes with the attractive young strawberry blonde in the obvious bright red dress. He moved with his hand extended to grasp her hand for a handshake, but instead of reaching out to shake his hand, Squeaky reached into that red dress.....

Taking out her pistol and within a matter of micro-seconds raised the pistol upwards towards the President. This was her chance in sending a message. This was her sacrifice. In a slow-motion moment, the leader of the free world stood face-to-face with the woman who was there to not only kill him but alter the course of American history. President Ford didn't even have time to realize the danger he was facing.....

Without any hesitation, Squeaky aimed at the target and pulled the trigger. BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG, BANG!


President Ford collapsing into the arms of Secret Service agents after being hit just seconds before a sniper shot struck him in the backside of his head...
One of the Secret Service agents heard the gunshots, even though it dropped like a pin drop that abruptly stopped the sea of cheers and applause. He turned around fast from the well-wishers to see Squeaky shooting the President four times: three in the chest and once in the abdomen, seeing the President collapse, then horror before his very eyes, seeing the horrific head shot (it was a second shooter who fired the fifth shot from a balcony somewhere in the area), which blew out the backside of the President's head: causing lots of blood and brain matter to splatter all over everyone: several Secret Service agents and some well-wishers in the crowd, causing a young teenage girl to scream at the sight of brain matter all over her dress. Agent Larry Buendorf attempted to push Squeaky into the ground and grab the gun away from her, but she managed to punch him in the left side of his stomach, grabbing back her gun and firing at Buendorf three times. One of the California State Troopers had then ran towards the commotion in order to stop Squeaky, who shot him as well twice in the left shoulder as she ran away, which didn't last long before two Secret Service agents aggressively slammed her to the ground, pinning her hard as she was being handcuffed.

Squeaky was satisfied with what she did "I did it. I sent a message to the government and I did it for Charlie" smiling while she was being put into a police vehicle. In the meantime, Secret Service agents repeatedly tried speaking with President Ford, who was unconscious (it was real bad regarding the severity of the gunshot wounds) inside the ambulance as paramedics worked furiously to save his life. "Let's go to the fucking hospital now dammit" one of the Presidential Secret Service detail agents snapped as the ambulance followed by accompanying vehicles such as the Secret Service drove fast all the way toward Mercy General Hospital.
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Walter Cronkite & the story of his life
The Breaking News Story of his life.....
1:56 PM EST, Friday, September 5, 1975
CBS News Headquarters, New York City, New York State

Regular programming across the country was interrupted such as the television soap opera "As The World Turns" with these haunting words: "This is CBS News. Please stay tuned for a special report...." Over at CBS News Headquarters in New York City, CBS Evening News Anchor Walter Cronkite had gotten notification on what had just occurred in Sacramento, while at the same time, motioning the camera crew and production staff to hold off while he was speaking on the phone with White House Chief of Staff Richard B. Cheney (who was in Washington, DC at the White House) and was getting more information on the serious situation, the phone call lasted more than 20+ minutes. After hanging up the phone, Cronkite informed everyone watching on the situation: "Good afternoon. This is a CBS News' Special Report. You might want to excuse me for being a little bit perplexed as I had gotten off the phone with White House Chief of Staff Richard Cheney, who had just informed me that, please bear with me as I am getting this information out, that a shooting had occurred on the grounds of the California State Capitol in downtown Sacramento and there has been official confirmation that President Ford has been wounded by this shooting, where he was scheduled to have a meeting with California Governor Jerry Brown (D) inside the Governor's Office on the first floor of the State Capitol.

At 10:20 AM PST, President Ford was greeting a group of well-wishers in the front row of the crowd when someone dressed in a bright red dress pointed a gun at the President and opened fire, hitting the President three times in the chest and once in the abdomen. I am told that Bob Schieffer is in Sacramento with more detailed information. Bob, what can you tell us?

[Schieffer from CBS affiliate station in Sacramento reporting on the shooting, other developments]

Thank you Bob, please keep us informed on the latest updates. I am told that President Ford was driven by ambulance to Mercy General Hospital, where he is currently undergoing emergency surgery by surgeons and doctors, who are working very hard to save his life. Now I am told we appear to have video of the incident at Capital Park at the California State Capitol Grounds in downtown Sacramento, so we're going to play the video right now:
[Full video showing Squeaky Fromme shooting President Ford multiple times; Secret Service agents and other law enforcement officers throwing Fromme to the ground, one of whom pinning her very hard while the crowd of well-wishers are screaming, ducking for cover due to the gunfire.]
That was some video footage from the CBS local affiliate out of Sacramento, where it does appear that President Ford was hit by gunfire and from what we're getting, I am sorry, but we have confirmation from Bob Scheiffer that a Secret Service agent and one California State Trooper were hit multiple times by gunfire. Sources out of Sacramento confirm that there is maximum security surrounding Mercy General Hospital and the surrounding area of Sacramento has been on lockdown with security ranging from the United States Secret Service (who are guarding the hospital), California Highway Patrol including the Sacramento Police Department and Sacramento County Sheriff's Department. We can also confirm that the California National Guard has been deployed on the orders of Governor Brown.... [Talking to someone in the production staff via earpiece] Ok, I understand, let me report on that right now...."
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Breaking News Alerts from CBS News Special Report: September 5, 1975
2:56 PM EST, Friday, September 5, 1975

*[No commercial breaks as the CBS News Special Report continues]:
Cronkite: "Here are the latest developments on what has transpired. I am told by sources close to the White House that the Presidential Cabinet has invoked the 25th Amendment, officially naming Vice President Rockefeller as the Acting President until further notice as new developments on President Ford's condition remains unknown at this time. When we last checked, President Ford was undergoing emergency surgery at Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, where CBS News' Bob Schieffer is live out in Sacramento reporting on the ongoing situation out there and until we can get more confirmation on anymore updates, we will let you know."

11:57 AM PST, Friday, September 5, 1975
KXTV-TV Sacramento, California


Schieffer: "Walter, I am here in the newsroom of our CBS affiliate, KXTV-TV Sacramento, where the situation at Mercy General Hospital is getting more precarious as we cannot confirm or deny rumors if President Ford's condition has deteriorated due to the severity of his gunshot wounds. Now in regards to what's happening here in Sacramento; downtown is officially on locked down including the surrounding areas of the city as well as the suburbs due to about 5,000 California National Guardsmen patrolling the streets, having been deployed by California Governor Jerry Brown (D) including more reinforcements on the way as military tanks are going through the Capitol City. I am being told that the United States Secret Service, FBI agents including Sacramento Police Department are interrogating the shooter, who CBS News can identify as Lynette Fromme, nicknamed "Squeaky". Here's more information: Fromme is a member of the infamous Manson family cult led by serial killer Charlie Manson.
I am told by the Sacramento Bee, who's reporting that Fromme, the shooter, was dressed in a bright red robe I think and was pretty obvious to spot out in the crowd as she opened fire on the President and two others, possibly more. One of the witnesses said they saw a rifle being pulled back inside of a window from a balcony at one of the buildings but couldn't be sure to officially verify, as we cannot confirm it either. I don't want to cause people to panic on that.....CBS News Washington Bureau Correspondent Bernard Shaw is live from our Washington, DC Bureau with more updated information on the Presidential Cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment, which named Vice President Rockefeller as the Acting President due to President Ford being incapacitated..."

[Shaw reporting from the Washington DC Bureau of CBS News].
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September 5, 1975: The flash apparently official!
Friday, September 5, 1975


The Honorable Gerald Rudolph Ford
(July 14, 1913-September 5, 1975)
38th President of the United States
(August 9, 1974-September 5, 1975)
40th Vice President of the United States
(December 6, 1973-August 9, 1974)
Member, US House of Representatives from Michigan's 5th Congressional District
(January 3, 1949-December 6, 1973)
Chair of the House Republican Conference
(January 3, 1963-January 3, 1965)
Leader of the House Republican Conference
(January 3, 1965-December 6, 1973)
House Minority Leader
(January 3, 1965-December 6, 1973)

Cronkite (who abruptly interrupted his interview with Michigan Governor William Milliken (R), who was live from Lansing during their discussion on President Ford's political career and years of public service): "I sincerely apologize Governor Milliken but let me interrupt you for just one second, and I emphasize that this is just one news agency, now this is an unconfirmed report, but the Associated Press has reported that President Ford has died. Once again, that is a report from the Associated Press, I want to repeat there has NOT been any official confirmation of such report by CBS News and I refuse to report officially at this time until CBS News gets more credible information. Now this is just one news agency reporting this, where no other news agency has confirmed it.... We will have to go into a commercial break for only 60 seconds until we get official clarification on the situation in Sacramento and what the incapacity of President Ford will have on the United States and the entire world. This is Walter Cronkite at CBS News Headquarters from New York City, we'll be back in a moment.

[Following commercial breaks and during the commercial breaks: Cronkite was on the phone with Bob Schieffer who was in Sacramento informing him on the latest developments; he was also on the phone with White House Chief of Staff Richard Cheney, who was in Washington, DC].

We are back from a commercial break. CBS News can officially confirm from Sacramento, California, the flash apparently official. President Ford died during emergency surgery at Mercy General Hospital at 1:30 PM Pacific Standard Time, 4:30 PM Eastern Standard Time: just about some 16 minutes ago (Cronkite trying to hold it together to avoid crying and clears his throat).... Vice President Rockefeller was notified on the news during an emergency meeting at the White House and has been taken to an undisclosed location, we don't know where he's headed but CBS News can confirm that in a few hours, he will be taking the oath of office to be officially sworn in as the 39th President of the United States.

I once again report, the Associated Press as well as CBS News both officially confirm that President Ford has been assassinated. A moment of silence for Gerald Rudolph Ford, the 38th President of the United States."

[Silence as CBS News shows President Ford's official photograph then the Presidential Seal is shown afterwards].
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List of US Presidents since Harding
(List of US Presidents since Harding)
29.) Warren Gamaliel Harding (R-OH): 29th President from March 4, 1921-August 2, 1923**: Died in office
30.) Calvin Coolidge (R-MA): 30th President from August 2, 1923-March 4, 1929
31.) Herbert Clark Hoover (R-CA): 31st President from March 4, 1929-March 4, 1933

32.) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (D-NY St): 32nd President from March 4, 1933-April 12, 1945**: Died in office
33.) Harry S. Truman (D-MO): 33rd President from April 12, 1945-January 20, 1953

34.) Dwight David Eisenhower (R-KS): 34th President from January 20, 1953-January 20, 1961
35.) John Fitzgerald Kennedy (D-MA): 35th President from January 20, 1961-November 22, 1963***: Assassinated
36.) Lyndon Baines Johnson (D-TX): 36th President from November 22, 1963-January 20, 1969

37.) Richard Milhous Nixon (R-CA): 37th President from January 20, 1969-August 9, 1974*: Resigned in disgrace due to the Watergate Scandal
38.) Gerald Rudolph Ford (R-MI): 38th President from August 9, 1974-September 5, 1975***: Assassinated
39.) Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (R-NY St): 39th President since September 5, 1975
Chapter 1: Betty
1:46 PM EST, Friday, September 5, 1975
Family Quarters (3rd floor), White House
Washington, DC.

December 8, 1974: First Lady Betty Ford and daughter, Susan sharing the Presidential chair inside the Oval Office during happier times.

"I am so sorry Betty. I am sorry...." the mournful words uttered by White House Chief of Staff Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney when he informed First Lady Betty Ford the awful news out of Sacramento that Jerry was gone. Desperately pouring herself a glass of brandy, she drank it fast and after a couple of more helpings to the brandy, the impact of Cheney's mournful notification came within a strong, aggressive force than she had anticipated and the reality began to sink in for Betty very quickly that her husband of 27 years was not coming home....

"JERRY!" Betty cried on the floor of the First Lady's private office, "OH MY GOD NOT MY JERRY" she continued to wail and cry non-stop as Cheney put his head down in mournful shame. Watching this scene before them: US Defense Deputy Secretary William P. Clements and his wife, Rita Crocker Clements: the scene of seeing the now-former First Lady of the United States crying and wailing in front of them had knotted their stomachs of the scene before them. Rita joined Betty on her knees, wrapped her arms around her and comforted her. For William, of course, he wept a little bit, then got himself together fast by clearing his throat and while this was going on, the government had to be kept running so he went downstairs from the Family Quarters of the White House, heading towards the Cabinet Room and informed several of the Presidential Cabinet Secretaries of the sad news, "It's official out of Sacramento. President Ford has been assassinated."

Among those present in the Cabinet Room was US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who wanted to personally give Betty his condolences (which he went upstairs to do so) and asked "Is there anything I can do to comfort you or the family?" Rumsfeld asked. Betty tried to get the words out, but mouthed "thank you" as she was still drunk from the heavy brandy she had been drinking among other factors going on. For Rumsfeld, he also knew deep down that incoming President Rockefeller was likely to remove him at the Pentagon and sources circulated across Capitol Hill speculated that Rockefeller was expected to name Clements as Rumsfeld's successor (pending following the Ford State Funeral festivities).

Cheney himself, also knew his job was likely on the chopping block as well (more on that later), but he had to keep things going as soon as he went back to his office and had private reflections on the entire situation "Why didn't I go on the trip with him to make sure security was strong over there?" (in reference to Sacramento).
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Impromptu Inauguration of the 39th President: Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller
President Rocky
6:38 PM EST, Friday, September 5, 1975
US Senate Chambers, US Capitol
Washington, DC.

President Rockefeller delivering his Inaugural Address as the 39th President of the United States on live television.

As soon as the time of death was officially declared at Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, California, the nuclear football was quickly confiscated by the Secret Service: this marked the end of Gerald Ford's presidency and the beginning of Nelson Rockefeller's. For Rockefeller, the former four-term New York State Governor and 41st Vice President, his road to the White House didn't come through electoral triumph but tragedy and other roadblocks. His previous White House dreams in 1960, 1964 and 1968 were dashed by Nixon and Goldwater respectively. When Rocky resigned as New York State's 48th Governor on December 18, 1973 after 14 years in the New York State Executive Mansion in Albany, most people assumed his political career would be over. However, being appointed as Ford's Vice President in the Fall of 1974 revived his floundering political career, where during his nearly ten months as Vice President, Rockefeller had clashed with several members of the Ford administration, particularly White House Chief of Staff Richard Cheney and US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, both of whom took great joy in blocking, humiliating or even undermining Rockefeller from having any input on domestic policy, foreign policy, or anything else. Rumor was that Ford was being pressured to dump Rockefeller off the ticket in favor of a more conservative running mate for 1976, but some political analysts wondered if Rockefeller was going to have his political career flounder again in sad disgrace due to the problems and struggles he was facing as Vice President and some even wondered if there was any White House campaign or "Fire in the Belly" run in him. Fate struck again, Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was now the 39th President, a job he had wanted since childhood. Now he had to remain so.....

Squeaky Fromme's four bullets were graced by luck and precision, with each shot: she made a direct hit to the abdomen and chest. The second shooter (who's on the run when I last checked) fired the fifth and sixth shots, one of which blasted out the backside of the head. It caused lots of blood, brain matter to splatter all over everyone in the crowd including security detail, the President died within hours during emergency surgery at Mercy General Hospital. With multiple shots, the history of the United States of America had been altered by an assassin, with Ford joining the ranks of Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy. Never had a woman made such an impact on American politics, which was going to have huge implications and ramifications going forward. It was according to political analysts and historians, the first loudest political statement in the era of the Equal Rights Movement.

Meanwhile over inside the US Senate chambers of the US Capitol, President and First Lady Rockefeller including US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger marched into the floor of the United States Senate in silence as there was quiet, polite and respectful applause upon their entrance. All of America and the entire world watched as the Chief Justice swore into office the man, who finally achieved the title of President, the 39th person to have done this.
Burger: "Mr. President, are you prepared to take the Oath of Office?"
Rockefeller: "Yes I am"
Burger: "Please put your left hand on the Rockefeller family Bible, raise your right hand and repeat after me your Oath of Office.
I, Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, do solemnly swear..."
Rockefeller: "I, Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, do solemnly swear..."
Burger: "that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States"
Rockefeller: "that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States"
Burger: "and will to the best of my ability...."
Rockefeller: "and will to the best of my ability..."
Burger: "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Rockefeller: "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Burger: "So help me God."
Rockefeller: "So help me God."
Burger: "Congratulations Mr. President."
Rockefeller (shaking hands with Burger): "Thank you very much for doing this Mr. Chief Justice."

The crowd let out a polite round of applause as Rocky kissed his wife, Happy. Soon afterwards, the 39th President began his short, impromptu Inaugural Address:

Rockefeller: "Chief Justice Burger, members of Congress, reverend clergy, my lovely wife, Happy and my six children including many members of my family, who I sees sitting in the seats over there in the Senate balcony up there to watch this transfer of power. My fellow Americans...

First on behalf of the American people, let me give my personal condolences to the Ford family on the loss of a great American, who served this country during World War II in the United States Navy, then continued serving his country in the US House of Representatives representing Michigan's 5th Congressional District for 24 years including serving as Chairman of the House Republican Conference, House Minority Whip and House Minority Leader before serving as our 40th Vice President of the United States before eventually ascending to the nation's highest office as our 38th President. I want everyone here to join me in observing a moment of silence honoring the memory and legacy of President Gerald Ford, will you please join me in a moment of silence as we shall never forget the 38th President of the United States....


My fellow Americans. This is the first televised address before all of you as the 39th President of the United States. In the course of twelve years, we've seen the assassination of two presidents within twelve years apart, the resignation of another in disgrace then the pardoning of a disgraced former president, the rage has been building up towards our leadership. And while, I had disagreements with the White House on specific key issues, I sincerely understand where people with different viewpoints come from. But why in the world did this have to go too far? Regardless of your thoughts or opinions of President Ford or his policies, President Ford was an honest, great man and also a great American patriot. I hereby declare, that as President, I will do the very best I can to finishing President Ford's goal of leading America past the horrors and disgrace of Watergate.

I understand that you didn't come here to listen to a long, boring speech, so I am going to make this address short. I want the American people to know that I will be a President of ALL the people whether they're White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, or from the North, Midwest, East Coast, West Coast or from the South. I am the President for all Americans and I pledge to everyone listening that I will work hard everyday and every night ensuring that I will be a good steward in making our economy prosperous for everyone, getting people back to work, pursuing peace and stability all over the world and making sure this great country of ours is a true beacon of light for the entire world.

I will NOT let you down. Thank you very much for listening and God Bless the United States of America."
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Betty brings Jerry back from Sacramento
Bringing Jerry back from California
12:27 AM EST, Saturday, September 6, 1975
Andrews Air Force Base
Prince Georges County, Maryland


Air Force One arrives early Saturday morning at Andrews AFB as Secret Service agents take President Ford's casket out of the scissor truck.

Less than several hours after being notified by Cheney that Jerry was gone, Mrs. Ford wasted no time and decided to head towards California to retrieve the late President's remains and return to Washington, DC. She went aboard a USAF plane along with her daughter, Susan, who decided to join her mother at the last minute to avoid the onslaught of the press from CBS, NBC, ABC and other national and international TV networks arriving at the White House. During this time, Nelson Rockefeller had already been sworn into office as the 39th President inside the US Senate chambers of the US Capitol (the same place where he took office as Vice President on December 19, 1974) and delivered a short inaugural address.

Upon arriving in Sacramento, the former First Lady was escorted all the way to Mercy General Hospital (where security was strongly tight around the clock) and then walked into the private morgue room, where the body of her beloved husband of 27 years, Gerald Rudolph Ford the 38th President of the United States, was inside one of the coolers. One of the emergency surgeons opened up the cooler: uncovered the white sheet and showed her the body of her late husband: "My Jerry! Oh My God. My Jerry!" she cried and kissed her husband's forehead as she identified him before collapsing into the arms of one of the Secret Service agents, who helped her to a chair outside the hallway while arrangements were being made to return to Washington, DC aboard Air Force One for the last time.

At 5:00 PM PST, Betty Ford, her daughter Susan including an entourage of personal close friends and others took Jerry (who was in a bronze casket) out of Mercy General Hospital and a motorcade of vehicles arrived at McClellan AFB in Sacramento, CA where a group of Secret Service agents carried the casket of the 38th President into Air Force One, placing it into the private cabin at the back of the plane. At 6:00 PM PST, Air Force One left Sacramento for the long trip to Washington, DC., where they arrived at around 12:27 AM EST at Andrews AFB in Prince Georges County, MD, where the body was taken out of Air Force One via scissor truck, placed into a hearse and driven to Bethesda Naval Hospital for a private autopsy while Betty and Susan remained at Bethesda for several hours before returning to the White House.
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