Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Gerald Ford v. Evel Knievel

“Ford Pardons Nixon” read front-page headlines nationwide on September 9, 1974. The previous day, President Gerald Ford formally granted Richard Nixon a “full, free, and absolute” pardon for “all offenses against the United States.” The same day as the pardon, Evel Knievel failed to clear the Snake River Canyon. Much to Evel's dismay, Ford's surprise announcement bumped Evel's Snake River fiasco as the day's lead story. Evel put his own spin on the events in a 1997 Ralph magazine interview: “He told me, Gerald Ford personally, that he waited until that day because he knew that I would have so much publicity that he wouldn't get so much steam over the pardoning.”

Um, okay. The graphic here is stolen from the Onion book Our Dumb Century (Three Rivers Press, 1999). According to the story, Ford made a 1976 vow that "the US would put a man on the other side of Idaho's Snake River Canyon by 1978." Ford budgeted $14 billion to the project, "citing the need to stay ahead of the Soviets in the field of daredevilry."

Brilliant.
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