With the passing of 38th President Gerald Ford, many are examining how a fateful Daily News affected the New York City's economic recovery in the 1970s and Ford's own re-election hopes.
The city neared bankruptcy in 1975, and when Mayor Abe Beame asked Ford for federal aid, Ford refused to bail out the city, taking a hard line that mobilized "New York’s civic, business and labor leaders to rally bankers in the United States and abroad, who feared their own investments would be harmed if New York defaulted on its debt," according to the NY Times. And two months later, Ford did provide $2.3 billion in federal aid to the city. From the Daily News:
Felix Rohatyn, one of the chief architects in steering the city through the fiscal crisis, described Ford as a "hugely decent and nice person."
Rohatyn said Ford was poorly served by a slew of advisers - including Alan Greenspan, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld - in his initial handling of New York's fiscal crisis.
"New York City was going to be their symbol of what could happen if you let liberalism take hold in a big city," Rohatyn said.
He said the President relented just days before the city planned to file bankruptcy.
"He did change his mind, which is a tough thing to do for a political leader," Rohatyn said. "And for that we owe him a great deal."
Further, many believe that if NYC had gotten the earlier aid package, the city would never have recovered.
And the Daily News has a look at how the headline was created. The managing editor, the late William Brink, told the New Yorker, "What I wanted to do was to get across the idea that Ford hadn't just declined to help us, he had in effect consigned us to the scrap heap." Brink's earlier ideas were "Ford Refuses Aid to City" and "Ford Says No to City Aid," until he came upon a five-word headline that might be the best ever (this side of Wacko Jacko heads).
Even though The News endorsed him for President in 1976, the headline and Ford's dismissive attitude swayed enough voters to give Jimmy Carter New York State's 41 electoral votes.
Had Ford carried the state, he would have carried the election.
The Daily News has a PDF of the front page and article from October 30, 1975.