The 1976 Presidential Election was very interesting for several reasons, because it was the first Presidential Election. Between an incumbent President, who wasn't elected to the Presidency or Vice Presidency in Gerald Ford, who was appointed to Vice President, after Vice President Spiro Agnew. Resigned and then became President after President Richard Nixon resigned due to Watergate and it was the first Presidential Election after the Watergate Scandal and Congressional Democrats gained. Big in Congress in 1974 as a result and were flying high going into 1976, with a fairly united party around Jimmy Carter, who was a fairly Liberal Governor, especially as Governor of Georgia. The Republican Party was divided between President Ford and Ronald Reagan, almost completely divided between the two of them, a big reason why Governor Carter went into the conventions. That summer with around a thirty point lead, plus President Ford wasn't very popular, due to the pardoning of President Nixon in 1974 and an economy that was recovering from the 1974-75. Recession and that was recovering slowly, that would only get worse in the late 1970s, so this was a big opportunity for Democrats in 1976.
What we got from this debate, was a clear choice and two different visions of where we should go forward. As a country, between a real Conservative Republican in Gerry Ford and a Moderate Liberal Democrat in Jimmy Carter, two people who were interested in moving the economy forward but doing it. In a Fiscally Responsible way, because they were both worried about the high deficit, inflation and interest rates and we were just two years after President Nixon resigning. Due to Watergate and just four years after the Watergate Scandal broke and the question was where would we go from here and how do we bring trust and respect back to the Federal Government. Gerry Ford was a very good, respectful man and honest man but he pardoned perhaps the most corrupt and one of the. Most unpopular Presidents we've ever had, I agree with the pardon but President Ford knew when he pardoned Dick Nixon, that he would pay a heavy price for it, which is exactly what he did and. Was still paying that price in 1976.
I think this debate was pretty even and no clear winner, except for the gaffe that President Ford made. Regarding Eastern Europe, saying that the Soviet Union didn't control Eastern Europe and didn't haven't over influenced those Communist Republics, which of course is wrong and President Ford. Knew that, he probably meant to say that these countries wouldn't become part of Russia, under a Ford Administration but thats now what he said and he looked out of touch as a result.