In 1975, I guess, on a European trip, Gerald Ford had been keeping a busy schedule. (He) had a late night in Spain and an early morning getting up to go to Austria. (He) arrived there about nine o'clock in the morning – it was rainy. He had to be tired and he was walking down these slippery, rain soaked stairway off of Airforce One. A couple steps from the bottom, (he) tripped and fell. And, it was so embarrassing to watch because, of course, it just made him look like a clumsy oaf, and he wasn't. I mean he was the most, I would think, athletic of all of the Presidents that I covered. He was an All-American football player at Michigan and he was a good golfer. I'd seen him out drive Jack Nicholas (that's going some!) And (pause)—you know, he had bad knees; he was tired; he slipped; he fell; and it's irretrievable. It's one of those moments that you cannot recover from. "Mr. President, how was your trip?" I mean it brings new meaning. And that was sad, but there it is. It's on film. And, it's also on every front page of every newspaper around the world. It's on television everywhere. And it's a bad rap. But, it happened. And that's the nature of the beast. You're in the spotlight. And whatever you do as President is going to make news.
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