Repost of a post from 2009:
I watched a Betty Ford documentary last evening on PBS and became reacquainted with the strong, well grounded First Lady who was not afraid to speak her mind. Looking back on her life, I now realize how important she was to the women's movement. Betty Ford spoke out in support of abortion, staunchly supported the ERA, was very public about her breast cancer and not only admitted to the world her addiction to drugs and alcohol, but started a clinic which she participated in, giving strength to those afflicted with the same disease.
In today's political climate, it was almost mind boggling to watch this down to earth couple going about their very real lives. No staging, teleprompters, phony promises, arrogant stances, Greek columns or organic arugula grown on the White House south lawn. In fact, after President Ford was sworn in (upon Nixon's resignation), the family lived in the same home they had lived in for years, cooking and cleaning and parenting, until Nixon's belongings could be removed from the White House and the Ford family moved in.
If you have a chance to watch this on your PBS station, I highly recommend it. Betty Ford really was the real deal and a remarkable women.