Gerald Ford's would-be assassin breaks silence

The woman who fired a gun at President Gerald Ford in 1975 and spent the next 32 years in prison said in an interview today that she believed the country would change only through a violent revolution.



Sara Jane Moore told NBC's "Today" that she now realizes that her actions were "wrong ... a serious error."

The appearance was Moore's first TV interview since she was released on parole in late 2007, NBC said.

In September 1975, Moore, then around 45, fired on Ford as he waved to a crowd in San Francisco. A man near her knocked the pistol out of her hand and the shot went astray. It was the second failed attempt on Ford's life in less than three weeks.

Moore was sentenced to life in prison but released on parole in December 2007. She has lived in an undisclosed location since then.

It was during the long years in prison, she said, that "gradually I began to realize that I had let myself be used. ... I definitely think that it was wrong. I think I was misled. I think I was mistaken. I think I made a serious error."

Moore, who had been loosely associated with leftist groups in California, said she "wasn't prepared" for the things she learned about the extent of poverty and other problems.

"It was a time that people don't remember. You know, we had a war ... the Vietnam War, you became — I became — immersed in it," Moore said Thursday.

"We were saying the country needed to change. The only way it was going to change was a violent revolution. I genuinely thought that (shooting Ford) might trigger that new revolution in this country."

On politics, she said she now knows she was hearing only one side of the story. "We thought San Francisco was the world, and it wasn't."

Asked by NBC's Matt Lauer why she was doing the interview now, she said, "I think that one gets tired of being thought of as a kook, a monster, an alien, something like that. ... There has been a lot of curiosity. I thought, OK, let's do it."

As for the people in the town where she's now living, who would learn about her past through the interview, "I hope they're OK with it."

Just 17 days before Moore's attack, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a follower of cult murderer Charles Manson, tried to kill Ford in Sacramento, California. A Secret Service agent grabbed her after she aimed a pistol at the president. Fromme, now 60, is serving a life sentence at a federal prison in Fort Worth, Texas.

Ford died of natural causes on 26 December 2006.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer

£27500 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketers / Sales - Home Based - OTE £23,500

£19500 - £23500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced B2B Telemarketer wa...

Recruitment Genius: Showroom Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This global company are looking for two Showro...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor