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Last Updated: Monday, 1 January 2007, 20:54 GMT
Bush pays Ford his last respects
Laura and George Bush pay their respects by the coffin
Mr and Mrs Bush have just returned from their Texas ranch
US President George W Bush and his wife Laura have paid their last respects to ex-President Gerald Ford as he lies in state in Washington's Capitol building.

Thousands of people have braved the rain to file past the flag-draped coffin on New Year's Day, the third day of the lying in state.

Mr Bush will give a eulogy at a Washington funeral service on Tuesday.

Mr Ford's casket will then go to Grand Rapids, Michigan, for burial near his presidential library on Wednesday.

As part of the Washington ceremonies, Mr Ford's body will be transferred to a place just outside the Senate chamber ahead of the funeral service, in the National Cathedral.

Mr Ford died on 26 December aged 93, the longest-living US president.

'Integrity'

One of Monday's visitors to the Capitol, 56-year-old John Erb from Alexandria, Virginia, said he had been in the Army during Mr Ford's administration.

He said he had come to pay his respects because "it's part of the old commander in chief thing."

Two of Mr Ford's sons, Jack and Steven, greeted some of the Americans who filed past the casket and honour guard on Sunday.

Bob Dole, Mr Ford's vice-presidential running mate in 1976, was among those who attended.

Gerald Ford in 1974
I think what he brought back to the White House was integrity, trust
Jack Oslund, mourner

Mr Ford took office after Richard Nixon quit over the Watergate scandal in 1974.

He served for two years but lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976, a year after the US accepted defeat in the Vietnam War.

Many mourners at the Capitol remembered his most difficult decision - pardoning Nixon of any crimes committed during his presidency, a decision analysts say probably cost him the 1976 election.

One attendee, John Banks from Georgia, told the Associated Press: "I thought when he pardoned Nixon he stood up and did what the country needed, not what would further his political career."

Another mourner, Jack Oslund of Virginia, said: "I think what he brought back to the White House was integrity, trust."

In an interview with the Washington Post, conducted shortly before his death and published on Sunday, Mr Ford expressed regret over the Vietnam War.

"I hope we never live through another era like that in American history. The answers were very evasive. The results were very disillusioning," he said.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
President Bush pays his respects



SEE ALSO
Gerald Ford: Life in pictures
27 Dec 06 |  In Pictures
Ford longest-living US president
13 Nov 06 |  Americas
Gerald Ford in hospital for tests
13 Oct 06 |  Americas
US ex-President Ford in hospital
16 Aug 06 |  Americas
Doctors confident of Ford recovery
03 Aug 00 |  Americas

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