Just 26 days after becoming First Lady, Betty Ford has held her first press conference. During the 30-minute session with 142 reporters and photographers in the State Dining Room of the White House, she said that she wants to help the Equal Rights Amendment campaign, and favors abortion rights.
Today’s full-fledged news conference was an unprecedented move by a First Lady. Eleanor Roosevelt held 348 press conferences during her White House years, but they were far more informal, and open to women only, as a way of helping them get ahead in a male-dominated profession.
Though she doesn’t intend to get involved in partisan political issues, Ford does want to encourage women to play an active role in politics. There is, of course, one exception to her non-partisan role, and she left no doubt that she’ll be campaigning for President Ford’s election to a full, four-year term in 1976.