Active in local Republican politics as a young man, Ford was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1948 and in 1965, became the House minority Leader. He was nominated to be vice-president of the United States by Richard Nixon in October 1973 following the resignation of the scandal-scarred Spiro Agnew from that office. Ford's nomination was confirmed by Congress, and Ford was sworn in a Vice-President on December 6. Eight months later, Ford assumed the presidency upon the resignation of Nixon as a result of the "Watergate" scandal. Ford thus became the first person to ever hold that office without first winning election to either the presidency or vice-presidency. Shortly after becoming President, in the face of the continuing investigation and possible prosecution of Nixon, Ford pardoned Nixon for any federal crimes he may have committed during his presidency. Ford was defeated for reelection in the 1976 campaign against Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter largely because of his pardon of Richard Nixon and his perceived mismanagement of the U.S. economy which led to high levels of unemployment and inflation.