Photos published Aug. 19-21, 1975

A little more than a year after assuming office, President Gerald Ford spent just 14 hours in the Twin Cities, but covered plenty of ground while he was here.

The president arrived late on a Monday night and was welcomed by several dignitaries of both parties. So many, in fact, that first-year congressman Rep. Tom Hagedorn was told by a fellow Republican that "this is about as exclusive as a public farm auction."

Soon after landing, Ford was whisked away to the Hotel Sofitel in Bloomington, where a crowd had gathered inside and outside the hotel. After shaking plenty of hands, he eventually retired to his sixth-floor suite — which cost $85 a night — but not before emerging from the balcony to give his signature arms-raised salute to a cheering crowd.

Ford's whirlwind trip continued the next day as he addressed the 57th annual convention of the American Legion in Minneapolis, where he highlighted foreign policy and his commitment to "keeping America's defenses second to none." He also stopped at a rally of 700 Republican workers; spoke to the Elephant Club, a group of Minnesota Republicans who contributed at least $500 a year; and squeezed in a photo session with about 80 candidates running for local offices.


Ford's visit was intended to bolster the Republican Party's efforts to rebuild in Minnesota, traditionally a blue state.

Charles Slocum, the Republican state chairman at the time, told a Minneapolis Tribune reporter, "He has demonstrated a certain honesty, a certain candor, a certain openness that makes Republicans feel better about being Republicans."

But campaigning was on his mind, too: The president had breakfasts scheduled with major donors within the Republican Party, and also with 96 newspaper and broadcasting executives who had a voice in endorsing candidates.

Ford, who moved into the White House upon Richard Nixon's resignation, didn't win in 1976, and he remains the only U.S. president who was never elected to the office.

Nicole Hvidsten