While Carter was fishing, a hissing swamp rabbit made its way on to the canoe; Carter batted it away with a paddle. A lighthearted anecdote became a massive negative PR campaign: “Bunny Goes Bugs: Rabbit Attacks President” —Julian Zelizer

Sep 10, 03:39 AM

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Photo: A swamp rabbit (Sylviligus aquaticus), bane of President Carter’s re-election.  

Jimmy Carter: A maverick politician from Georgia who rode the post-Watergate wave into office, but whose term was consumed by economic and international crises A peanut farmer from Georgia, Jimmy Carter rose to national power through mastering the strategy of the maverick politician. As the face of the "New South," Carter's strongest support emanated from his ability to communicate directly to voters who were disaffected by corruption in politics. But running as an outsider was easier than governing as one. 

Once in power, Carter faced challenges in sustaining a strong political coalition, as he focussed on policies that often antagonized key Democrats—whose support he desperately needed. By 1980, Carter stood alone in the Oval Office as he confronted a battered economy, soaring oil prices, American hostages in Iran, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Carter's unpopularity enabled Ronald Reagan to achieve a landslide victory, ushering in a conservative revolution. However, during Carter's post-presidential career, he has emerged as an important voice for international diplomacy and negotiation, remaking his image as a statesman for our time