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Plane problems force Bill Clinton to miss Betty Ford's funeral

July 12, 2011 |  9:40 am

Bettyford

Former President Clinton will be unable to attend former First Lady Betty Ford's funeral Tuesday in Palm Desert after his plane was unable to take off due to mechanical problems.

Clinton was to fly from New York to Washington to meet his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and fly with her to the service, the Associated Press reported.

Spokesman Matt McKenna told the AP that the Clintons spoke by telephone and agreed that she should fly to the service without him rather than risk arriving late.

Along with First Lady Michelle Obama, former first ladies Hillary Clinton, Nancy Reagan and Rosalynn Carter will attend the service at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church. Former President George W. Bush also will attend, although his wife will not.

Tuesday's memorial will begin with a private family service in the late morning, followed by a second service for dignitaries and invited guests at 2 p.m. The Ford family has invited the public to pay their respects at the church from 5 p.m. to midnight.

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-- Kimi Yoshino

Photo: Betty and Gerald Ford hug in the White House in December 1974. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

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