Rich Galen

Under Section 3 of the 25th amendment, whenever the President makes a written declaration to the Speaker of the House and the President pro tem of the Senate ''that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,'' the President's powers and duties are transferred to the Vice President, who becomes the Acting President.

• When President Ronald Reagan underwent surgery in 1985 he, at 10:32 AM temporarily transferred power, via just such a letter, to Vice President George H.W. Bush for the brief period when he was under general anesthetic He reclaimed power at about 7:22 PM that evening.

• As it happened, the Mullings Director of Standards & Practices and I were in Washington on the evening of August 8, 1974 when Richard Nixon announced his resignation, and we had a copy of the Washington Post from the next day "NIXON RESIGNS" for many years.

• When we decided to leave Ohio, we chose to move to Washington largely on the basis of the extraordinary activity and excitement that had engulfed the Nation's Capital on that day.

• If not for the 25th Amendment there would have been, for the ninth time in US History, no sitting Vice President and, under the terms of the Presidential Succession act of 1947, the Democratic Speaker of the House, Carl Albert (D-OK) would have become President of the United States.

• As President Ford said upon his becoming President:

"Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor Him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy."

• Rest well, Gerry Ford, in the presence of that higher Power.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at