President & Mrs. Ford were in the audience and cheered along with the delegates..
Reagan had considered Ford as VP. It was thankfully shot down as a constitutional nightmare. Eventually, Ford pushed for Bush to be the VP nominee.
By 1980, President Ford was extremely popular. I guess that 4 years of Pres. Carter will do that to any Republican, specially the one he narrowly defeated in 1976.
By the way, 1980 was the result of something that started in 1976, or the day after President Ford lost the election.