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If v.p. steps down . . .

WASHINGTON — If Vice President Dick Cheney's health problems left him unable to remain in office, the 25th Amendment to the Constitution would require the president to nominate a new vice president, who would take office upon being confirmed by a majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The first person chosen vice president under this procedure was Gerald Ford, whom Richard Nixon selected to replace Spiro Agnew, who resigned Oct. 10, 1973, after pleading no contest to a federal bribery charge.

Ford himself resigned as vice president on Aug. 9, 1974, to become president upon Nixon's resignation the same day under pressure from the Watergate scandals. Ford selected New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller as his vice president, the second and last chosen under the 25th Amendment procedure.