- For the submarine, see USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23).
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. (born October 1, 1924), an American Democratic party leader, was the 39th President of the United States (19771981) and the Nobel Peace laureate in 2002. Previously, he was the Governor of Georgia (1971-1975). He was a dark horse who surprised all observers by winning the Democratic nomination in 1976 and defeating incumbent Gerald Ford in a close 1976 presidential election. Surveys of scholars and specialists rank him well below average on the list of Historical rankings of United States Presidents.
As president his major accomplishments included the creation of a national energy policy and the consolidation of governmental agencies. He enacted strong environmental legislation; deregulated the trucking, airline, rail, finance, communications, and oil industries, bolstered the social security system; and appointed record numbers of women and minorities to significant government and judicial posts. In foreign affairs, Carter's accomplishments included the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal Treaties, the creation of full diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, and the negotiation of the SALT II Treaty. In addition, he championed human rights throughout the world and used human rights as the center of his administration's foreign policy.
The Iranian hostage crisis was seen by critics as a devastating blow to national prestige; Carter struggled for 444 days to release the hostages. A failed rescue attempt led to the resignation of his Secretary of State Cyrus Vance. The hostages were not released until the day Carter left office, five minutes after Ronald Reagan's inauguration.
The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan marked the end of dιtente, and Carter moved to the right, boycotted the Moscow Olympics, and began to rebuild American military power. He beat off a primary challenge from Senator Ted Kennedy, but was unable to reduce soaring interest rates and inflation rates, or lower unemployment. The "Misery Index", his favored measure of economic well-being, rose 50% in four years. He feuded with the Democratic leaders who controlled Congress, and was unable to reform the tax system or to implement a national health plan. He was defeated by Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980.
After 1980 Carter assumed the role of an elder statesman and international mediator, using his prestige as a former president to further many causes. He founded the Carter Center as a forum for issues related to democracy and human rights. He has also traveled extensively to monitor elections, conduct peace negotiations, and establish relief efforts. In 2002, Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize for his "efforts to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development." Carter has continued his decades-long active involvement with the charity Habitat for Humanity, which builds houses for the needy.
Carter descended from a family that had resided in Georgia for several generations. His great-grandfather, Pvt. L. B. Walker Carter (18321874) served in the Confederate States Army in the Sumter Flying Artillery, seeing considerable action at the Battle of Gettysburg.
Jimmy Carter, the first president born in a hospital, was the oldest of four children of James Earl and Lillian Carter. He was born in the Southwest Georgia town of Plains and grew up in nearby Archery, Georgia. Carter was a gifted student from an early age, who always had a fondness for reading. By the time he attended Plains High School, he was also a star in basketball and football. He was greatly influenced by one of his high school teachers, Julia Coleman. Ms. Coleman was handicapped by polio. She had encouraged young Jimmy to read War and Peace; he was disappointed to find that there were no cowboys or Indians in the book. Carter mentioned his beloved teacher in his inaugural address as an example of someone who beat overwhelming odds.
Carter had three younger siblings. His brother, Billy (1937-1988), caused some political problems for him during his administration. His sister, Gloria (1926-1990), was low-key and was famous for collecting and riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles. His other sister, Ruth (1929-1983), became a well-known Christian evangelist.
He attended Georgia Southwestern College and Georgia Institute of Technology, and received a B.S. degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1946. Carter was a gifted student, and finished 59th out of his Academy class of 820. Carter did post-graduate work, studying nuclear physics and reactor technology at Union College. He married Rosalynn Smith in 1946.
Carter served on submarines in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets. He was later selected by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover for the U.S. Navy's nuclear submarine program, where he became a qualified nuclear engineer. Rickover was a demanding officer, and Carter was greatly influenced by him. Carter later said that next to his parents, Admiral Rickover had had the greatest influence on him. There was a story he often told of being interviewed by the Admiral. He was asked about his rank in his class at the Naval Academy. Carter said "Sir, I graduated 59th out of a class of 820". Rickover only asked "Did you always do your best?" Carter was forced to admit he had not, and the Admiral asked why. Carter later used this as the theme of his presidential campaign, and as the title of his first book, "Why Not The Best?". Carter loved the Navy, and had planned to make it his career. His ultimate goal was to become Chief of Naval Operations.
Upon the death of his father in 1953, however, Carter resigned from the Navy and took over and expanded his family's peanut farming business in Plains. There he was involved in a farming accident which left him with a permanently bent finger.
From a young age, Carter showed a deep commitment to Christianity, serving as a Sunday School teacher throughout his political career. Even as President, Carter prayed several times a day, and professed that Jesus Christ was the driving force in his life. Carter had been greatly influenced by a sermon he had heard as a young man, called, "If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" 
After World War II, he and Rosalynn started a family. They had three sons, (John William, born in 1947; James Earl III, born in 1950; and Donnel Jeffrey, born in 1952), and a daughter (Amy Lynn, in 1967).
Early political career
Carter started his career by serving on various local boards, governing such entities as the schools, hospital, and library, among others. In the 1960s, he served two terms in the Georgia Senate from the fourteenth district of Georgia.
His 1962 election to the state senate, which followed the end of Georgia's County Unit System (per the Supreme Court case of Gray v. Sanders), was chronicled in his book Turning Point: A Candidate, a State, and a Nation Come of Age. The election involved corruption led by Joe Hurst, the sheriff of Quitman County. This included people voting in alphabetical order and dead people voting. It took a challenge of the fraudulent results for Carter to win the election. Carter was reelected in 1964, to serve a second two-year term.
In 1966, at the end of his career as a state senator, he flirted with the idea of running for the United States House of Representatives. His Republican opponent dropped out and decided to run for Governor of Georgia. Carter did not want to see a Republican as the governor of his state, and in turn dropped out of the race for Congress and joined the race to become Governor. Carter lost the Democratic primary, but drew enough votes as a third place candidate to force the favorite, Ellis Arnall, into a run-off, setting off a chain of events which resulted in the election of Lester Maddox.
For the next four years, Carter returned to his peanut farming business and carefully planned for his next campaign for Governor in 1970, making over 1,800 speeches throughout the state.
During his 1970 campaign, he ran an uphill populist campaign in the Democratic primary against former Gov. Carl Sanders, labeling his opponent "Cufflinks Carl". Although Carter had never been a segregationisthe had refused to join the segregationist White Citizens' Council, prompting a boycott of his peanut warehouse; and he had been one of only two families which voted to admit blacks to the Plains Baptist Church  he "said things the segregationists wanted to hear," according to historian E. Stanly Godbold. Carter did not condemn Alabama firebrand George Wallace, and Carter's campaign aides handed out photographs of his opponent, showing Sanders associating with black basketball players.  Following his close victory over Sanders in the primary, he was elected Governor over Republican Hal Suit. (This would later come back to haunt him during his 1980 re-election)
In his inaugural speech, Carter surprised the state and gained national attention by declaring that the time of racial segregation was over, and that racial discrimination had no place in the future of the state. He was the first statewide office holder in the Deep South to say this in public (such sentiments would have signaled the end of the political career of politicians in the region less than 15 years earlier, as had been the fate of Atlanta mayor Ivan Allen Jr., who'd testified before Congress in favor of the Voting Rights Act). Following this speech, Carter appointed many blacks to statewide boards and offices; he hung a photo of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the State House, a significant departure from the norm in the South. 
Carter bucked the tradition of the "New Deal Democrat," attempting a retrenchment in favor of shrinking government. An environmentalist, he opposed many public works projects. He particularly opposed the construction of large dams for construction's sake, opting to take a pragmatic approach based on a cost-benefits analysis.
While Governor, Carter made government efficient by merging about 300 state agencies into 30 agencies. One of his aides recalled that Governor Carter "was right there with us, working just as hard, digging just as deep into every little problem. It was his program and he worked on it as hard as anybody, and the final product was distinctly his." He also pushed reforms through the legislature, providing equal state aid to schools in the wealthy and poor areas of Georgia, set up community centers for mentally handicapped children, and increased educational programs for convicts. At Carter's urging, the legislature passed laws to protect the environment, preserve historic sites, and decrease secrecy in government. Carter took pride in a program he introduced for the appointment of judges and state government officials. Under this program, all such appointments were based on merit, rather than political influence.
(World Book Encyclopedia)
In 1972, as Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota was marching toward the Democratic nomination for president, Carter called a news conference in Atlanta to warn that McGovern was unelectable. Carter criticized McGovern as too liberal on both foreign and domestic policy. The remarks attracted little national attention, and after McGovern's huge loss in the general election, Carter's attitude was not held against him within the Democratic Party.
After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Georgia's death penalty law in 1972, Carter signed new legislation to authorize the death penalty for murder, rape and other offenses and to implement trial procedures which would conform to the newly-announced constitutional requirements. This law was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1976.
In 1974, Carter was chairman of the Democratic National Committee's congressional and gubernatorial campaigns.
1976 Presidential Campaign
- Main article: U.S. presidential election, 1976
Carter began running for president in 1975 almost immediately upon leaving office as governor of Georgia. When Carter entered the Democratic Party presidential primaries in 1976, he was considered to have little chance against nationally better-known politicians. When he told his family of his intention to run for president, he was asked, "President of what?" However, the Watergate scandal was still fresh in the voters' minds, and so his position as an outsider, distant from Washington, DC, became an asset. The centerpiece of his campaign platform was government reorganization.
Carter was the darkest "dark horse" to win the presidential nomination of a major party since 1940. He became the front-runner early in the Democratic race, winning the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. But the primary season was well under way before many analysts would admit he was a serious candidate. He won by a brilliant two-prong strategy. In the South, which liberal Democrats had tacitly conceded to Alabama segregationist George Wallace, Carter ran as a moderate favorite son. When Wallace proved to be a spent force, Carter swept the region almost unopposed. In the North, Carter appealed largely to conservative Christian and rural voters and had little chance of winning a majority in most states. But in a field crowded with liberals, he managed to win several Northern states by building the largest single bloc. Initially dismissed as a regional candidate, Carter proved to be the only Democrat with a truly national strategy, and he eventually clinched the nomination.
An examination of media coverage of the 1976 presidential campaign, however, provides strong evidence that Carter's nomination resulted from the Establishment media support which he enjoyed. As Lawrence Shoup noted in his 1980 book The Carter Presidency And Beyond:
"What Carter had that his opponents did not was the acceptance and support of elite sectors of the mass communications media. It was their favorable coverage of Carter and his campaign that gave him an edge, propelling him rocket-like to the top of the opinion polls. This helped Carter win key primary election victories, enabling him to rise from an obscure public figure to President-elect in the short space of 9 months."
As late as January 26, 1976, Carter was the favorite candidate of only 4% of Democratic voters, according to the Gallup Poll. Yet "by mid-March 1976 Carter was not only far ahead of the active contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, he also led President Ford by a few percentage points," according to Shoup.
After expressing a pro-Carter bias in a series of editorials during the first two months of 1975, the New York Times began publishing "numerous favorable articles on Carter" which included a "special 6-part series by political reporter Christopher Mydon" while "no other candidate rated a special series," Shoup observed in his 1980 book.
In November 1975, the Times printed an article, titled "Carter's Support In South Is Broad," which attempted to create a bandwagon effect, although "Carter's `broad support' in the South was, in actuality, very narrow until months after the Times article", according to Shoup. The following month, the Times continued to promote Carter's candidacy by publishing a cover story on him in the December 14, 1975 New York Times Magazine of its Sunday edition. Shoup argues that "The Times coverage of several other candidates during this period, just before the Iowa caucuses, stands in sharp contrast to the favoritism shown Carter."
In addition to promoting Carter's 1976 candidacy by printing puff-pieces about him and articles that belittled his Democratic Party opponents during the primary season, the Times apparently also chose not to focus on Carter's ties to David Rockefeller's Trilateral Commission. As Shoup observed in his 1980 book:
"Carter's close ties with David Rockefeller, the Eastern Establishment, and Trilateral Commission--certainly known to many New York Times writers--were...never reported...In fact, the absence of reporting on Carter's connections led one distinguished panel of judges to label `Jimmy Carter and the Trilateral Commission' to be the best censored story of 1976, the most important story during that year that the entire American media system systematically failed to cover."
Time magazine also promoted Carter's candidacy. According to Shoup, "Time's coverage of Jimmy Carter's campaign for the White House was even more favorable than that of the New York Times" and notes that "It was Time which first focused national attention on Carter in 1971 by running a cover of him." When Carter announced his candidacy in December 1974, Time published a feature on him which "was full of positive comments about the candidate." Shoup points out that by this time "Carter had become a friend of fellow Trilateral Commissioner Hedley Donovan, editor-in-chief of Time." A year later Time continued to promote Carter's candidacy by publishing an article which was titled "Taking Jimmy Seriously."
The Wall Street Journal also "found Carter the most attractive of the Democratic candidates", printed a favorable article about him in July 1975 and argued in a March 1976 editorial that "Carter was the best of the Democratic candidates", according to Shoup. "During the second half of 1975 when very few Americans had even heard of Jimmy Carter", the U.S. television networks also began promoting Carter's candidacy, according to Shoup's The Carter Presidency And Beyond book.
In the general election, Carter started with a huge lead over President Gerald Ford, but Ford steadily closed the gap in the polls. The cause of this erosion appeared to be public doubt about such a little-known candidate. But Carter hung on to narrowly defeat Ford in November 1976. He became the first contender from the Deep South to be elected president since 1848. His 50.1% of the popular vote made him one of only two Democratic Party Presidential Candidates to win a majority of the popular vote since Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1944.
The Carter Administration's foreign policy is most remembered for the Iran hostage crisis, for the peace treaty he brokered between the states of Israel and Egypt with the Camp David Accords, for the SALT II treaty brokered with the Soviet Union, for the Panama Canal Treaties which turned the canal over to Panama, for creating full diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China following Richard Nixon's lead, for placing human rights as the center of his foreign policy, and for an energy crisis. He was much less successful on the domestic front, having alienated both his own party and his opponents, through what was perceived as a lack of willingness to work with Congress much as he had in his term as Governor. Even so, he was successful in deregulating several industries, consolidating governmental agencies, creating a national energy policy and the Departments of Energy and Education, bolstering the social security system, appointing record numbers of women and minorities to government and judicial posts and enacting strong legislation for environmental protection, doubling the size of the National Park Service.
When the energy market exploded, an occurrence Carter desperately tried to avoid during his term, he was planning on delivering his fifth major speech on energy. However, he felt that the American people were no longer listening. Instead, he went to Camp David, and for ten days met with governors, mayors, religious leaders, scientists, economists, and general citizens. He sat on the floor and took notes of their comments and especially wanted to hear criticism. His pollster told him that the American people simply faced a crisis of confidence because of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Vietnam War, and Watergate. His Vice President, Walter Mondale, strongly objected and said that there were real answers to real problems; it did not have to be philosophical. On July 15, 1979, Carter gave a nationally-televised address in which he identified what he believed to be a "crisis of confidence" among the American people. This has come to be known as his "malaise" speech, even though he did not use the word "malaise" anywhere in the text:
I want to talk to you right now about a fundamental threat to American democracy.... I do not refer to the outward strength of America, a nation that is at peace tonight everywhere in the world, with unmatched economic power and military might.
The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our nation. 
Carter's speech, written by Chris Matthews, was well-received , although some viewed it as too much like a sermon. But the country was in the midst of a weak economy dominated by OPEC-caused double digit inflation, and many citizens were disappointed that it appeared no concrete solutions were being proposed by the President. Two days after the speech, Carter asked for the resignations of all of his Cabinet officers, and ultimately accepted five. Carter later admitted in his memoirs that he should have simply asked only those five members for their resignation. By asking the entire cabinet, it looked as if the White House was falling apart. With no visible efforts towards a way out of the malaise, Carter's poll numbers dropped even further.
On 1 October 1979, President Carter announced before a television audience the existence of the Rapid Deployment Forces (RDF), a mobile fighting force capable of responding to worldwide trouble spots, without drawing on forces committed to NATO. The RDF was the forerunner of CENTCOM.
Amongst Presidents who served at least one full term, Carter is the only one who never made an appointment to the Supreme Court.
A major issue for President Carter was inflation, caused especially by continued high levels of government spending and the rising price of imported oil, which was the major source of energy for many industries. Carter added the United States Department of Energy as a new cabinet-level department. The first head of the department was James R. Schlesinger. Carter installed solar power panels on the roof of the White House, a wood stove in the living quarters, ordered the General Services Administration to turn off hot water in some facilities and requested that Holiday decorations remain dark in 1979 and 1980. The Holiday decorations were turned on by his successor, Ronald Reagan, and the solar panels and the wood stove were removed.
It is popularly believed that Carter appeared in a sweater to urge citizens to turn down their thermostats and conserve energy. In fact the sweater had nothing to do with energy use. He wore a sweater on inauguration day and every time he addressed the nation, to establish an informal, common man image.
The inflation caused interest rates to rise to unprecedented levels (above 12% per year). The prime rate hit 21.5 in 1979, highest in history. The rapid change in rates led to disintermediation of bank deposits, which sowed the seeds of the Savings and Loan crisis. Investments in fixed income (both bonds, and pensions being paid to retired people) were becoming less valuable. With the markets for U.S. government debt coming under pressure, Carter appointed Paul Volcker as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board; Volcker replaced G. William Miller who left to become the Secretary of the Treasury. Volcker took actions (raising interest rates even further) to slow down the economy and bring down inflation, which he considered his mandate. He succeeded, but only by first going through a very unpleasant phase where the economy slowed down, causing a rise in unemployment, prior to any relief from the inflation. The stagnant growth of the economy (causing unemployment), in combination with a high rate of inflation, has often been called stagflation, an unprecedented situation in American economics.
On a more successful note, Carter signed legislation bolstering the Social Security system through a staggered increase in the payroll tax and appointed record numbers of women, blacks, and Hispanics to government and judiciary jobs. Carter enacted strong legislation for environmental protection. His Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act created 103 million acres (417,000 km²) of national park land in Alaska. He was also successful in deregulating the trucking, rail, airline, communications, oil, and finance industries.
President Carter initially departed from the long-held policy of containment toward the Soviet Union. In its place Carter promoted a foreign policy that placed human rights at the forefront. This was a break from the policies of several predecessors, in which human rights abuses were often overlooked if they were committed by a nation that was allied with the United States. The Carter administration ended support to the historically U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua, and gave millions of dollars in aid to the nation's new Sandinista regime after it rose to power by a revolution. The Sandinistas were themselves neither Communists nor a dictatorial regime, but they had contacts with Marxist movements operating in Honduras and El Salvador. They had other close ties (in terms of weapons, politics and logistics) with Cuba, and Carter showed a greater interest in human and social rights than in the historical conflict with Cuba.
Carter continued his predecessors' policies of imposing sanctions on Rhodesia, and, after Bishop Abel Muzorewa was elected Prime Minister, protested that the Marxists Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo were excluded from the elections. Strong pressure from the United States and the United Kingdom prompted new elections in what was then called Zimbabwe Rhodesia. Carter was also known for his criticism of Alfredo Stroessner, Augusto Pinochet, the apartheid government of South Africa, and other traditional allies.
Carter continued the policy of Richard Nixon to "normalize" relations with the People's Republic of China granting full diplomatic and trade relations, thus ending official relations with the Republic of China (though the two nations continued to trade and the U.S. unofficially recognized Taiwan through the Taiwan Relations Act). Carter also succeeded in having the Senate ratify the Panama Canal Treaties, which handed over the canal to Panama. This treaty helped relations with Panama.
Carter's proudest accomplishment during his Presidency was the Camp David Accords. The Camp David Accords were a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt, which was negotiated by President Carter. Carter invited Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to Camp David to work on the negotiations. At one point, Sadat wished to go home. Carter informed him he was hurting a friend and this could hurt relations with their countries and personally, so he stayed. At another point, Begin was adamant about going home. Carter then signed photographs of himself and addressed each one to one of Begin's grandchildren. Begin then agreed to stay because he wanted peace for his grandchildren and all future generations of Israeli children. To this date, there is peace between the nations of Israel and Egypt.
A key foreign policy issue Carter worked laboriously on was the SALT II Treaty. SALT stood for the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks and were negotiations being conducted between the United States and the Soviet Union. The work of Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon saw the creation of the SALT I treaty, but Carter wished to further the reduction of nuclear arms. It was his main goal, as was stated in his Inaugural Address, that nuclear weaponry be completely vanished from the face of the Earth. Carter and Leonid Brezhnev, the leader of the Soviet Union, reached an agreement and held a signing ceremony. However, because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan late in 1979, the treaty was never ratified. Even so, both sides honored their commitments laid out in the negotiations.
In December 1979, USSR invaded Afghanistan, after the pro-Moscow Afghanistan government placed by a 1978 coup was overthrown. There are many theories as to why the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Some believed the Soviets were attempting to expand their borders southward in order to gain a foothold in the region. The Soviet Union had long lacked a warm water port, and their movement south seemed to position them for further expansion toward Pakistan and India in the East, and Iran to the West. The Carter administration, and many Republicans and Democrats alike, feared that the Soviets were positioning themselves for a takeover of Middle Eastern oil. Others believed that the Soviet Union was fearful that the Muslim uprising would spread from Iran and Afghanistan to the millions of Muslims in the USSR. After the invasion, Carter announced the Carter Doctrine: that the US would not allow any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf. Carter terminated the Russian Wheat Deal, a keystone Nixon Detente initiative to establish trade with USSR and lessen Cold War tensions. The grain exports had been beneficial to people employed in agriculture, and the Carter embargo marked the beginning of hardship for American farmers. He also prohibited Americans from participating in the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, and reinstated registration for the draft for young males. Carter and Zbigniew Brzezinski started a $40 billion covert program of training Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In retrospect, this contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Critics of this policy blame Carter and Reagan for the resulting instability of post-Soviet Afghani governments, which led to the rise of Islamic theocracy in the region, and also created much of the current problems with Islamic fundamentalism. However, some right-leaning historians attribute Afghanistan's instability to a combination of factors resulting from the Soviet invasion and the decade long occupation.
The main conflict between human rights and U.S. interests came in Carter's dealings with the Shah of Iran. The Shah had been a strong ally of America since World War II, and was one of the "twin pillars" upon which U.S. strategic policy in the Middle East was built. However, his rule was strongly autocratic, and he went along with the plan of the Eisenhower administration to depose Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953. Though Carter praised the Shah as a wise and valuable leader, when a popular uprising against the monarchy broke out in Iran, the Carter administration did not intervene.
The Shah was deposed and exiled. Many have since connected the Shah's dwindling U.S. support as a leading cause of his quick overthrow. Carter was initially prepared to recognize the revolutionary government of the monarch's successor, but his efforts proved futile.
On 22 October 1979, Carter out of humanitarian concerns allowed the deposed Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi into the United States for political asylum and medical treatment; the Shah left for Panama on 15 December 1979. In response to the Shah's entry into the U.S., Iranian militants seized the American embassy in Tehran taking some 100 Americans hostage. The Iranians demanded (1) the return of the Shah to Iran for trial, (2) the return of the Shah's wealth to the Iranian people, (3) an admission of guilt by the United States for its past actions in Iran, plus an apology, and (4) a promise from the United States not to interfere in Iran's affairs in the future. Though later that year the Shah would leave the U.S. and die in Egypt, the hostage crisis continued and dominated the last year of Carter's presidency, even though almost half of the hostages were released. The subsequent responses to the crisis, from a "Rose Garden strategy" of staying inside the White House, to the unsuccessful attempt to rescue the hostages, were largely seen as contributing to defeat in the 1980 election.
Carter lost the Presidency by a landslide to Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election. The popular vote went approximately 51% for Reagan, and 41% for Carter. However, because Carter's support was not concentrated in any geographic region, Reagan won 91% of the electoral vote, leaving Carter with only six states and the District of Columbia. Independent candidate John Bayard Anderson, drawing liberals unhappy with Carter's policies, won seven percent of the vote and prevented Carter from taking traditionally Democratic states, like New York, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts.
In their televised debates, Reagan taunted Carter by famously saying, "There you go again." Carter hurt himself in the debates when he talked about asking his young daughter, Amy, what the most important issue affecting the world was. She said it was nuclear proliferation and the control of nuclear arms. Carter said that the point he was trying to make was that this issue affects everyone, especially our children. However, he phrased it as if he were taking political advice from his 13-year-old daughter, which led many to ridicule him.
A public perception that the Carter Administration had been ineffectual in addressing the Iranian hostage crisis may have contributed to his defeat. Although the Carter team had successfully negotiated with the hostage takers for release of the hostages, an agreement trusting the hostage takers to abide by their word was not signed until January 19, 1981, after the election of Ronald Reagan. The Iranians did not release the hostages until five minutes after the inauguration of President Reagan. The hostages had been held captive for 444 days, and their release happened just minutes after Carter left office. However, Reagan asked Carter to head to Germany to greet the hostages.
In 1982, a small book by James B. Stewart esq. appeared that gave insight into the timing of these events. The Partners: Inside Americas Most Powerful Law Firms begins with Stewarts insider description of the negotiation process for the release of the hostages. Though short, the chapter laid out clearly what had happened behind the scenes. After the hostages were taken, President Carter issued, on November 14, 1979, Executive Order 12170 - Blocking Iranian Government property http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/executive-orders/1979.html, which was used to freeze the bank accounts of the Iranian government in US banks, totaling about $8 billion US at the time. This was to be used as a bargaining chip for the release of the hostages. The Iranians then changed their demand to return of the Shah and the release of the Iranian money. Through informal channels the Iranian government started negotiations with the banks then holding the money. The banks took over negotiations for the release of the hostages, not the U.S. State Department. When the Shah died of cancer in the summer of 1980, the Iranians wanted no more to do with the hostages and changed their demands to just the release of the hostages in exchange for the return of their money. Why the deal was not struck at that point is never explained, as it was the exact same deal that the Iranians received in January of 1981. The hostages were finally released with the signing of Executive Orders 12277 through 12285 releasing all assets belonging to the Iranian government and all assets belonging to the Shah found within the United States and the guarantee that the hostages would have no legal claim against the Iranian government that would be heard in U.S. courts, http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/executive-orders/1981-carter.html. Shortly after the publication of The Partners, accusations of an "October Surprise" were leveled against the Reagan Administration. No witnesses were ever found who had anything to report, but Congress investigated the matter and showed the story was based on a hoax. (The hoax depended on William Casey being in Madrid on a day he was in London, so the entire set of allegations fell apart.)
A small blow to Carter's campaign came when he was widely mocked for an encounter with a rabbit while fishing on a farm pond. A swimming swamp rabbit, perhaps ill or fleeing from a predator, attempted to board the President's small boat. Carter shooed the creature away with his paddle. Several months later, Carter's Press Secretary Jody Powell mentioned what he viewed as a "mildly amusing incident" to reporter Brooks Jackson over tea. Shortly thereafter, the story appeared on the front page of The Washington Post and was reported on the evening news of all the major television networks.
On Aug. 5, 1980, the Saudi rulers welcomed Saddam Hussein to Riyadh for his first state visit to Saudi Arabia, the first for any Iraqi president. Saudi Prince Fahd claimed that President Carter, apparently hoping to strengthen the U.S. hand in the Middle East and desperate to pressure Iran over the stalled hostage talks, gave clearance to Saddam's invasion of Iran. On September 22, 1980, with the green light from Carter, Saddam Hussein invaded Iran and began a bloody trench war that would last almost a decade and kill one million people. See: Iran-Iraq war
In 1977, Bert Lance, Carter's director of the Office of Management and Budget, resigned after past banking overdrafts and "check kiting" were questioned by the U.S. Senate. However, no wrongdoing was found in the performance of his duties.
During Carter's administration, diplomatic recognition was switched from the Republic of China to the People's Republic of China, a policy continued into the 21st century. In response, Congress passed the Taiwan Relations Act.
- Carter supported the Indonesian government even while it denounced the violation of human rights in East Timor.
Allegations of a secret agreement between the Reagan campaign and the Iranians to delay the release of the American hostages held in Iran until after the 1980 Presidental Election. October surprise conspiracy.
Administration and Cabinet
|Vice President||Walter F. Mondale||19771981|
|State||Cyrus R. Vance||19771980|
|Treasury||W. Michael Blumenthal||19771979|
|G. William Miller||19791981|
|Benjamin R. Civiletti||19791981|
|Interior||Cecil D. Andrus||19771981|
|Commerce||Juanita M. Kreps||19771979|
|Philip M. Klutznick||19791981|
|HEW||Joseph A. Califano, Jr.||19771979|
|HHS||Patricia R. Harris||19791981|
|Education||Shirley M. Hufstedler||19791981|
|HUD||Patricia R. Harris||19771979|
|Neil E. Goldschmidt||19791981|
|Energy||James R. Schlesinger||19771979|
|Charles W. Duncan||19791981|
Since his unsuccessful bid for re-election, Carter has been involved in a variety of national and international public policy, conflict resolution, human rights and charitable causes through the Carter Center. He established the Carter Center the year following his term, and currently chairs the center with his wife Rosalynn. The center also focuses on world-wide health care including the campaign to eliminate guinea worm disease. He and members of the center are sometimes involved in the monitoring of the electoral process in support of free and fair elections. This includes acting as election observers, particularly in Latin America and Africa.
Carter was the third U.S. president, after Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, to receive the Nobel Peace Prize award. In his Nobel Lecture, Carter told the European audience that U.S. actions after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the 1991 Gulf War, like NATO itself, was a continuation of President Wilson's doctrine of collective security. 
Since leaving the Presidency, Carter has written 20 books, all successful.
In 1994, Carter went to North Korea at the behest of President Clinton during a period of rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula that were caused by North Korea's expulsion of investigators from the International Atomic Energy Agency and that country's threat to begin processing spent nuclear fuel. Carter met with North Korean President Kim Il Sung resulting in the signing of the Agreed Framework, under which North Korea agreed to stop processing nuclear fuel, in exchange for a return to normalized relations, oil deliveries and two light water reactors to replace its graphite reactors. North Korea did not abide by this agreement and concealed its violation.
Though the Agreed Framework negotiated by Jimmy Carter was widely hailed at the time as a diplomatic achievement, it soon became apparent that despite their promises to Carter, North Korea had no intention of stopping its nuclear weapons program. In 2005, North Korea announced that it had nuclear weapons.
In 2001, Carter blasted President Clinton's controversial pardon of Marc Rich, calling it "disgraceful" and suggesting that Rich's contribution of $520 million to the Democratic Party was a factor in Clinton's action.
Carter visited Cuba in May 2002, meeting with Fidel Castro and was allowed to address the Cuban publc on national television, a speech which he wrote and pressented in Spanish. This made Carter the first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since Castro's 1959 revolution. Carter while President, did not lift the trade embargo against Cuba, in which he had the power to do so.
In March 2004, Carter roundly condemned George W. Bush and Tony Blair for waging an unnecessary war "based upon lies and misinterpretations" in order to oust Saddam Hussein. He claimed that Blair had allowed his better judgment to be swayed by Bush's desire to finish a war that George H. W. Bush (his father) had started.
In June 2005, Carter urged the closing of the Guantanamo Bay Prison in Cuba, which has been the centerpoint for recent claims of prisoner and Muslim holy book Quran abuse.
Not all Carter's efforts have gained him favor in Washington; President Clinton and both Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush were said to have been less than pleased with Carter's "freelance" diplomacy in Iraq and elsewhere. Critics of Carter's diplomatic efforts (during and after his presidency) generally concede that Carter is honest and well intentioned, but consider him to be naive about less scrupulous foreign leaders. In fact many historians have cited him as likely the worst president in modern times.
On November 22, 2004, New York Republican Governor George Pataki named Carter and the other living former presidents (Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton) as honorary members of the board rebuilding the World Trade Center.
Because he had served as a submariner (the only president to have done so), a submarine was named for him. The USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23) was named on April 27, 1998, making it one of the very few U.S. Navy vessels to be named for a person still alive at the time of the naming. In February 2005, Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter both spoke at the commissioning ceremony for this submarine.
Carter is a University Distinguished Professor at Emory University and teaches occasional classes there. He also teaches a Sunday School class at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. Being an accomplished amateur woodworker, he has occasionally been featured in the pages of Fine Wood Working magazine, which is published by Taunton Press.
Carter has also participated in many ceremonial events such as the opening of his own presidential library and those of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton. He has also participated in many forums, lectures, panels, funerals and other events. Most recently, he delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Coretta Scott King.
Carter has been a prolific author. He has written the following:
- Why Not the Best? (1975 and 1996)
- A Government as Good as Its People (1977 and 1996)
- Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President (1982 and 1995)
- Negotiation: The Alternative to Hostility (1984)
- The Blood of Abraham (1985 and 1993)
- Everything to Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life (1987 and 1995), with Rosalynn Carter
- An Outdoor Journal (1988 and 1994)
- Turning Point: A Candidate, a State, and a Nation Come of Age (1992)
- Talking Peace: A Vision for the Next Generation (1993 and 1995)
- Always a Reckoning (1995), a collection of poetry, illustrated by his granddaughter
- The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer (1995), a children's book, illustrated by his daughter
- Living Faith (1996)
- Sources of Strength: Meditations on Scripture for a Living Faith (1997)
- The Virtues of Aging (1998)
- An Hour before Daylight: Memories of a Rural Boyhood (2001)
- Christmas in Plains: Memories (2001)
- The Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (2002)
- The Hornet's Nest (2003), a historical novel and the first work of fiction written by a U.S. President
- Sharing Good Times (2004)
- Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis (2005)
- Califano, Joseph A., Jr. Governing America: An insider's report from the White House and the Cabinet 1981
- Jordan, Hamilton. Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency. 1982
- Lance, Bert. The Truth of the Matter: My Life in and out of Politics. 1991
- Bourne, Peter. Jimmy Carter: A comprehensive biography from Plains to post-presidency. 1997
- Brinkley, Douglas. 1996. "The rising stock of Jimmy Carter: The "hands on" legacy of our thirty-ninth president". Diplomatic History 20: 505-29.
- Dumbrell, John. The Carter presidency: A re-evaluation. Manchester University Press 1995.
- Gary Fink and Hugh Davis Graham, eds. The Carter presidency: Policy choices in the post-New Deal era University Press of Kansas. 1998.
- Andrew R. Flint; "Jimmy Carter: The Re-emergence of Faith-Based Politics and the Abortion Rights Issue" Presidential Studies Quarterly. Volume: 35. Issue: 1. 2005. pp 28+.
- Gillon, Steven M. The Democrats' dilemma: Walter F. Mondale and the liberal legacy Columbia University Press. 1992.
- Glad, Betty. Jimmy Carter: In search of the great White House W. W. Norton. 1980.
- Hahn, Dan F. "The rhetoric of Jimmy Carter, 1976-1980". In Essays in presidential rhetoric, edited by Theodore O. Windt and Beth Ingold, 331-65. Kendall/Hunt. 1992.
- Hargrove, Erwin. Jimmy Carter as president: Leadership and the politics of the public good Louisiana State University Press. 1988.
- Jones, Charles O. The Trusteeship Presidency: Jimmy Carter and the United States Congress. 1988.
- Jordan, William J. Panama Odyssey. 1984.
- Kaufman, Burton I. The Presidency of James Earl Carter, Jr. 1993.
- Kucharsky, David. The Man from Plains: The Mind and Spirit of Jimmy Carter. 1976
- Ribuffo, Leo P. "God and Jimmy Carter" in Transforming faith: The sacred and secular in modern American history, edited by Myles L. Bradbury and James B. Gilbert, pp 141-59. Greenwood Press. 1989
- Ribuffo, Leo P. . "'Malaise' revisited: Jimmy Carter and the crisis of confidence". in The liberal persuasion: Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and the challenge of the American past, edited by John Patrick Diggins, 164-85. Princeton University Press. 1997
- Herbert D. Rosenbaum and Alexej Ugrinsky, eds. The presidency and domestic policies of Jimmy Carter, (1994) pp, 83-116. Greenwood Press.
- Schram, Martin. Running for president, 1976: The Carter campaign (1977)
- Strong, Robert. "Recapturing leadership: The Carter administration and the crisis of confidence" Presidential Studies Quarterly 1986. 16 (Fall): 636-50.
- Strong, Robert. Working in the world: Jimmy Carter and the making of American foreign policy Louisiana State University Press. 2000.
- White, Theodore H. America in search of itself: The making of the president, 1956-1980. 1983
- Witcover, Jules. Marathon: The pursuit of the presidency, 1972-1976 1977
President Carter has been fortunate to receive many honors throughout his life. Among the most significant honors were the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Others include:
- LL.D. (Honorary) Morehouse College, 1972; Morris Brown College, 1972; University of Notre Dame, 1977; Emory University, 1979; Kwansei Gakuin University, 1981; Georgia Southwestern College, 1981; New York Law School, 1985; Bates College, 1985; Centre College, 1987; Creighton University, 1987; University of Pennsylvania, 1998
- D.E. (Honorary) Georgia Institute of Technology, 1979
- Ph.D. (Honorary) Weizmann Institute of Science, 1980; Tel Aviv University, 1983; Haifa University, 1987
- D.H.L. (Honorary) Central Connecticut State University, 1985; Trinity College, 1998
- Doctor (Honorary) G.O.C. Universite, 1995
- Silver Buffalo Award, Boy Scouts of America, 1978
- Gold medal, International Institute for Human Rights, 1979
- International Mediation medal, American Arbitration Association, 1979
- Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolent Peace Prize, 1979
- International Human Rights Award, Synagogue Council of America, 1979
- Conservationist of the Year Award, 1979
- Harry S. Truman Public Service Award, 1981
- Ansel Adams Conservation Award, Wilderness Society, 1982
- Human Rights Award, International League for Human Rights, 1983
- World Methodist Peace Award, 1985
- Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, 1987
- Edwin C. Whitehead Award, National Center for Health Education, 1989
- Jefferson Award, American Institute of Public Service, 1990
- Philadelphia Liberty Medal, 1990
- Spirit of America Award, National Council for the Social Studies, 1990
- Physicians for Social Responsibility Award, 1991 Aristotle Prize, Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, 1991
- W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, 1992
- Spark M. Matsunaga Medal of Peace, US Institute of Peace, 1993
- Humanitarian Award, CARE International, 1993
- Conservationist of the Year Medal, National Wildlife Federation, 1993
- Rotary Award for World Understanding, 1994
- J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding, 1994
- National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award, 1994
- UNESCO Fιlix Houphouλt-Boigny Peace Prize, 1994
- Great Cross of the Order of Vasco Nunιz de Balboa, 1995
- Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Award, Africare, 1996
- Humanitarian of the Year, GQ Awards, 1996
- Kiwanis International Humanitarian Award, 1996
- Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, 1997
- Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Awards for Humanitarian Contributions to the Health of Humankind, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, 1997
- United Nations Human Rights Award, 1998
- The Hoover Medal, 1998
- International Child Survival Award, UNICEF Atlanta, 1999
- Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1999
- William Penn Mott, Jr., Park Leadership Award, National parks Conservation Association, 2000
- Nobel Peace Prize, 2002
On one occasion, when Jimmy Carter was asked if there was anything in life he regretted, he replied: "Yes, the time that I stole from the collection plate as a young boy!"
In 1976 Playboy magazine published a controversial interview in which Carter admitted to having lusted in his heart for women other than his wife. This was widely satirized, and cut into his support among women and evangelicals.
He was the first president to make public statements in support of gay rights. In California in the late 1970s, voters were facing a law which would have banned gays and lesbians (and heterosexuals that endorsed gay rights) from working in the school system. At a speech in California, Carter urged voters to reject the bill. Incidentally, former California governor Ronald Reagan, who later defeated Carter, also opposed the bill. In the early days of the Carter campaign, Carter had promised to oppose discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but backed off on the pledge when he won the Democratic Party nomination. The Carter White House had the first official visit by a gay rights organization, and allowed a group of gay veterans to participate in an official ceremony for the Vietnam War Memorial. During his unsuccessful reelection campaign, the Carter campaign competed with the Ted Kennedy campaign for the support of the gay rights organizations. However, the Carter administration's tepid support of gay rights did not please liberal Democrats (who felt Carter was too moderate on the issue) or the socially conservative Christians that Carter had previously courted and would help elect Ronald Reagan.
In Leary, Georgia on January 6, 1969, Carter saw a UFO, which was most likely the planet Venus. Robert Sheaffer concluded that Carter had seen the planet Venus. Later, during his presidential campaign, Carter promised to release the truth about any alleged UFO cover-up.
A fan of professional wrestling, Carter stated his favorite grappler was Mr. Wrestling II.
- He is very close friend of his predecessor Gerald Ford, despite the fact that he defeated him in 1976 presidential election.
- U.S. Presidential Election, 1976
- U.S. Presidential Election, 1980
- The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia
- Jimmy Carter Library and Museum
- USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23)
- U.S. Health Reform Under Carter
- History of the United States (19641980)
- History of the United States (19801988)
- Biography, via whitehouse.gov
- Biography via ourgeorgiahistory.com
- Biography, via geocities.com
- Navy Years, via submarinehistory.com
- Inaugural Address of Jimmy Carter via re-quest.net
- State of the Union Addresses: 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981 (written message) at UCSB's American Presidency Project
- Audio recordings of Carter's speeches, via Michigan State University
- Nobel lecture, Oslo, Norway (10 December 2002)
- About the malaise speech, via PBS
- The 1980 October Surprise
- "The U.S. President was here" about Carterpuri, a village in Haryana, India named after President Carter
- Instruments of Statecraft: U.S. Guerrilla Warfare, Counterinsurgency, and Counterterrorism, 1940-1990 Chap. 3 The Carter Years
- Carter's hand written UFO sighting report of 1969
- Carter's church and Sunday school teaching schedule
- More information about the "killer rabbit" incident
- Works by Jimmy Carter at Project Gutenberg
- Jimmy Carter at The Internet Movie Database
- Jimmy Carter's thoughts on Earth Day 2006
- ^ Lieutenant James Earle Carter, Jr., USN - Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy, October 19, 1997
- ^ "Jimmy Carter", Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia 2005, accessed March 18, 2006
- ^ People & Events: James Earl ("Jimmy") Carter Jr. (1924-) - American Experience, PBS, accessed March 18, 2006
- ^ Carter, James Earl, Jr. - Encyclopedia Americana, accessed March 18, 2006
- ^ Transcript - "Crisis of Confidence" speech, July 15, 1979
^ Clymer, Adam (July 18, 1979). "Speech Lifts Carter Rating to 37%; Public Agrees on Confidence Crisis; Responsive Chord Struck Speech Lifts Carter Rating to 37% Big Impact Found Some Would Buy Bonds Big Gain in the South More Encouragement". New York Times: A1.
Democratic Party Presidential Nominee
1976 (won), 1980 (lost)
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
United States Order of Precedence
As of 2006
George H. W. Bush
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