Sentinal [sic] - W-Salem [handwritten annotation] 'Tonic' for U. S. Hays Shares Hope in Ford Aug. 10, '74 [handwritten annotation]By GENIE CARR Sentinel Staff Reporter A longtime Democratic congressman who worked with, and against, Gerald R. Ford, said yesterday the new President will be "a good tonic for the country." Brooks Hays, former representative from Arkansas who was foiled in a comeback attempt when defeated in 1972 by Wilmer Mizell in the Fifth Congressional District of North Carolina, said by telephone from his home in Washington that Ford "is a fine man, a man of impeccable integrity. I think "it will be good for the nation to have a President who is respected as much as he is by Congress. That was one of Mr. Nixon's problems. "I don't mean we won't have cleavage, but it will always be with personal good will." Hays, who is chairman of the North Carolina Human Relations Commission, has maintained a home in the state since 1968 when he was appointed director of the ecumenical institute at Wake Forest Universty [sic]. Hays is a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and in 1973 accepted a part-time unsalaried position as lay minister in residence at the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church in Washington. He was one of 100 people asked by the Senate Watergate Committee to submit his thoughts on the long-range implications of the Watergate scandal. Hays, once a presidential aide himself (to President Lyndon B. Johnson), recommended that Congress take steps to limit the size and power of the White House staff.
During the interview yesterday, Hays praised Ford's even-tempered manner and his ability to get along with everyone. Although Ford represented a conservative district in Congress and was generally known as a conservative himself, Hays characterized him as a "'tolerant conservative - the kind that makes those on the other side wonder if they're right. He is so considerate of other peoples' feelings." Hays said he thought it would be "rash" to make predictions about what kind of president Ford will be, but he indicated he feels hopeful about. "I say it's rash to predict the character of his administration because any man is governed, sometimes to quite an extent, by the tone, feeling and attitudes of his own political party," Hays said. "I hope his party will let him exercise bold leadership.
"I think he is tremendously serious about his responsibility. His attitude at this stage reminds me of Mr. Truman's, attitude, one of humility. And I think that's good." Hays and Ford served about two decades in the House at the same time, Hays having been elected for the first time in 1942 and Ford in 1948. They sat on opposite sides, Hays said, "but there is a camaraderie that disregards party lines." Hays said that in response to some people's criticism that Ford "hasn't just towered above the ranks of statesmen," he would suggest that the new President may have "latent and hidden talents" that may come out now. Ford "has a penetrating mind," Hays said, and his very lack of "what some would say are colorful dramatics" may be what the country needs at this time.
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