January 19, 2006

Ex-President Ford to get more hospital treatment

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former U.S. President Gerald Ford
will not be released as expected on Thursday from the hospital
where he is being treated for pneumonia, but his illness was
not life threatening, his spokeswoman said.

Ford, 92, had been due for release from Eisenhower Medical
Center in the California desert community of Rancho Mirage on
Thursday but instead was kept overnight again by doctors,
spokeswoman Penny Circle said in a written statement.

"President Gerald R. Ford remains a patient at Eisenhower
Medical Center for continuing respiratory therapy using
treatment measures that are not easily available at home,"
Circle said.

"The president is getting out of bed, reading the
newspapers and eating well. He is in a good mood and wanting to
return home," she said. "His condition is not life

He was admitted last weekend to the hospital, where he was
treated with antibiotics.

Ford, who took office in 1974 after Richard Nixon resigned
amid the Watergate scandal, also spent time in the hospital in
December for what his office said were routine tests.

He suffered a mild stroke in 2000, and was hospitalized
briefly in 2003 after suffering dizzy spells while playing golf
in the desert heat near Palm Springs, California.

Nixon named Ford as vice president to replace Spiro Agnew,
who stepped down to avoid prosecution on corruption charges.

Speaking of Watergate when he took office as the 38th U.S.
president, Ford vowed, "Our long national nightmare is over."
Yet trouble dogged him for more than two years until he lost
the 1976 presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.

Ford stirred controversy by granting Nixon "a full, free
and absolute pardon" for any crime he may have committed in

Ford's 2 1/2-year term included two assassination attempts,
the Cambodian seizure of the U.S. freighter Mayaguez, the fall
of South Vietnam, constant fights with Congress and a
clumsiness that made him a butt of jokes.

Ford later served on corporate boards and toured the
lecture circuit before retiring to Rancho Mirage, near Palm
Springs, about 90 miles east of Los Angeles.