Lead: After the dark days of Watergate and White House scandal, the nation needed a lift. It found one in the person of one of the most popular and refreshing of its First Ladies, Betty Ford.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: On the way to the helicopter taking the Nixons into exile in August 1974, Pat Nixon warned her successor that she would grow to hate the red carpets that attended life in the White House. Betty Ford never did. She was one of the most interesting and bracing First Ladies, whose friendliness, candor and outspoken honesty became a lightning rod for carping critics, but gained her a level of popularity rare among the long line of Presidential ladies.