Gerald Ford (with funds cut off, declared the US war ended April 23, 1975)...Gerald Ford governed the nation in a difficult period. Though president for only 895 days (the fifth shortest tenure in American history), he faced tremendous problems. After the furor surrounding the pardon subsided, the most important issues faced by Ford were inflation and unemployment, the continuing energy crisis, and the repercussions—both actual and psychological—from the final "loss" of South Vietnam in April 1975. Ford consistently championed legislative proposals to effect economic recovery by reducing taxes, spending, and the federal role in the national economy, but he got little from Congress except a temporary tax reduction. Federal spending continued to rise despite his call for a lowered spending ceiling. By late 1976 inflation, at least, had been checked somewhat; on the other hand, unemployment remained a major problem, and the 1976 election occurred in the midst of a recession. In energy matters, congressional Democrats consistently opposed Ford's proposals to tax imported oil and to deregulate domestic oil and natural gas. Eventually Congress approved only a very gradual decontrol measure.
Ford believed he was particularly hampered by Congress in foreign affairs. Having passed the War Powers Resolution in late 1973, the legislative branch first investigated, and then tried to impose restrictions on, the actions of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). In the area of war powers, Ford clearly bested his congressional adversaries. In the Mayaquez incident of May 1975 (involving the seizure of a U.S.-registered ship of that name by Cambodia), Ford retaliated with aerial attacks and a 175-marine assault without engaging the formal mechanisms required by the 1973 resolution. Although the actual success of this commando operation was debatable (39 crew members and the ship rescued, at a total cost of 41 other American lives), American honor had been vindicated and Ford's approval ratings rose sharply. Having succeeded in defying its provisions, Ford continued to speak out against the War Powers Resolution as unconstitutional even after he left the White House.