World leaders and friends of the former first lady react to Betty Ford's death
July 8th, 2011
09:53 PM ET

World leaders and friends of the former first lady react to Betty Ford's death

Condolences began pouring in soon after news broke about the death of Betty Ford, the widow of late President Gerald Ford and a co-founder of an eponymous addiction center in California. Here are some of those comments:

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

Throughout her long and active life, Elizabeth Anne Ford distinguished herself through her courage and compassion. As our nation’s First Lady, she was a powerful advocate for women’s health and women’s rights.  After leaving the White House, Mrs. Ford helped reduce the social stigma surrounding addiction and inspired thousands to seek much-needed treatment. While her death is a cause for sadness, we know that organizations such as the Betty Ford Center will honor her legacy by giving countless Americans a new lease on life.

Today, we take comfort in the knowledge that Betty and her husband, former President Gerald Ford, are together once more. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to their children, Michael, John, Steven, and Susan.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH

Laura and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Betty Ford.  We admired her as a First Lady and valued her as a friend.  She made countless contributions to our country, and we especially appreciate her courage in calling attention to breast cancer and substance abuse.  Because of her leadership, many lives were saved.  Tonight our prayers go out to Mrs. Ford's entire family.

NANCY REAGAN

I was deeply saddened this afternoon when I heard of Betty Ford’s death.  She has been an inspiration to so many through her efforts to educate women about breast cancer and her wonderful work at the Betty Ford Center. She was Jerry Ford’s strength through some very difficult days in our country’s history, and I admired her courage in facing and sharing her personal struggles with all of us.

My love and deepest sympathy go out to the entire Ford family at this very sad time.

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE H.W. BUSH

Barbara and I loved Betty Ford very much. She was a wonderful wife and mother; a great friend; and a courageous First Lady.   No one confronted life’s struggles with more fortitude or honesty, and as a result, we all learned from the challenges she faced.  The Betty Ford Center, which already has helped change the lives of thousands of people, will be her lasting legacy of care and concern.  We were proud to know her.  We were proud to call her a friend.  We will miss her very much.

FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER AND HIS WIFE, ROSALYNN

Rosalynn and I are saddened by the passing of Betty Ford, a close personal friend and our frequent partner in bipartisan efforts to improve mental health and substance abuse care in our nation. She was a remarkable political spouse, whose courageous candor helped forge a new era of openness after the divisiveness of the Vietnam War and Watergate. Also, as a tireless advocate for women’s rights and social justice, she helped to improve the lives and opportunities of countless women and children.  We extend our deepest sympathy to her family at this difficult time.

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Filed under: Betty Ford • Politics
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. HC360

    Why is everyone dying? Just buried a family friend today

    July 8, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff Frank ( R-Ohio)

    I heard in the wind, they're adding a new wing to the Betty Ford Center for blogging addictions.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff Frank ( R-Ohio)

    We'll miss you Betty. You taught the world a lot about strength and courage.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. HRH banasy

    Nicely put, Jeff Frank.
    I echo your sentiments.

    July 8, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. She was the Eleanor Roosevelt for my generation...I so admired Betty Ford...our country has lost a true spirit.

    Betty Ford was the Eleanor Roosevelt for my generation...her wisdom, kindness of spirit and forthrightness are so lacking in our country today. I loved and admired Mrs Ford.

    July 9, 2011 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  6. Nora Dunner

    She lived a long life and bow I know what the Betty ford clinic is

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYDll4wpznU&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    July 9, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mr. Fitz.

    Betty Ford was a trailblazer. Her openess and candor with her bout with breast cancer just weeks after her husband took office was responsible for bringing awareness to a disease that was never talked about, and enabling other women to feel able to talk about it openly and get the medical attention they needed. It has been written that after she went public, there was an increase in the number of mamograms. Her later struggles with alcohol and drug dependancy made it aware that no matter what your station in life and who you were, it could happen to anyone. She truly left the world a better place with her willingness to be open to discuss her struggles in the national spotlight. God rest your soul, Mrs. Ford. You will be missed.

    July 9, 2011 at 3:39 am | Report abuse |
  8. JUNJUN

    BETTY FORD, NANCY REAGAN, HILLARY CLINTON, JACQUELINE KENNEDY, and ELEANOR ROOSEVELT are the only TRUE WHITE HOUSE SPOUSES who have not lived under the shadow of their husbands, but forged a name for themselves while in the white House and made themselves household figures. Mrs. Michelle Obama is following in her footsteps but has a ways to go but shes working on it. May MRS. BETTY FORD rest in peace in a life heavily and duly lived.

    July 9, 2011 at 3:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. Jonathan Witerski

    This truly a loss for our country. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and loved ones. – Jonathan Witerski

    July 9, 2011 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
  10. Fernando Callejon

    Rest in peace dearest Betty!!

    July 9, 2011 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  11. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

    i will miss betty, we all knew she had one foot in the grave and the other was on a banana peel. she wasn't half bad for a ol crackeer

    July 9, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  12. HRH banasy

    arnold?!

    July 9, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mary needs to.....

    ...go take a nap.

    July 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Then don't post....

    ....if you don't want comments.

    July 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. If you don't like it.....

    .....lump it.

    July 9, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
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