The strangely mysterious and romantic atmosphere of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. gets a thorough and hilarious demythologization in "A Mole's Eye View of the Ford White House," recollections of Nixon and Ford speechwriter John R. Coyne Jr. in the December American Spectator.
Coyne was summoned to a meeting one morning shortly after the resignation, for a briefing by Milton Friedman, Ford's chief speechwriter.
"Ford, he told us very seriously suffered something called 'swimmer's breath,' the result of this affliction being an inability to make it all the way through a long sentence without drawing a shuddering gasp somewhere in the middle. Also, said Friedman, Ford was a very slow reader. So where it took, say, 10 to 12 pages of speech text to get Nixon through 20 minutes, Ford needed only five or six.
"Further, explained Friedman, Ford had trouble with long or unfamiliar words or phrases, tending to get them tangled in his tongue. Ford's problems with words were to become legendary, as when he mentioned the disease 'sickle cell Armenia'; introduced Elliot Richardson as 'Elliot Roosevelt'; referred to the 'great people of Israel' in a toast to Anwar Sadat; praised the 'ethnic of honest work' in New Hampshire; and pronounced holocaust as 'holy coast.' Perhaps the single best one came at a White House breakfast, where he announced that Daniel Moynihan's successor at the United Nations 'will follow the same policy of challenging some of the Third and Fourth World powers, calling a spade a spade'."