Campaign Spot: Jimmy Carter's Bio (1976)

Campaign Spot: Jimmy Carter's Bio (1976)

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CARTER (voice-over): I'm a Southerner, and I'm proud of a heritage that shows concern for the working men and women who are the backbone of our great nation.

These are the people who are often cheated by an unfair system of government. These are the people forgotten by the present administration, while the influential and powerful get special favors. When I'm elected president, that will change.

MALE NARRATOR: We in the South can help, by voting for [with TEXT] Jimmy Carter: A leader, for a change.


"South," 1976 Democratic Presidential Campaign Committee, Inc., 1976

From Museum of the Moving Image, The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials 1952-2012. (accessed June 27, 2021).


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On August 9, 1974, after a Senate investigation revealed his direct involvement in the cover-up of the Watergate break-in, Richard Nixon became the first president in American history to resign from office. Nixon was succeeded by Gerald Ford, who had been appointed vice president after a bribery scandal forced Spiro Agnew’s resignation in October 1973. These scandals and the televised Watergate hearings, which resulted in the conviction and imprisonment of 25 Nixon administration officials, shattered the public's trust in the government. In a 1974 poll, 43 percent of respondents said that they had "hardly any" faith in the executive branch. As a result, the 1976 election was dominated by issues of integrity and character. Hoping to put the Watergate affair to rest, President Ford unconditionally pardoned Nixon in September 1974, but the move hurt Ford’s political standing. Ford won the Republican nomination only after fighting off a strong challenge from Ronald Reagan.

The Democrats nominated Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, a former naval officer and peanut farmer. Carter, who promised, "I will never tell a lie to the American people," ran a brilliant campaign as an outsider, offering a fresh change from Washington politics as usual.

"Leadership for a Change"

Jimmy Carter was campaigning to become the first president from the Deep South since 1849. His ads, created by Atlanta advertising executive Gerald Rafshoon, skillfully made use of his heritage. They portrayed him as honest, hardworking, untainted by Washington politics, and almost mythically connected to America’s agricultural past--a non-lawyer who knew the value of manual labor. His campaign is best summarized by the five-minute biographical spot that shows him in work clothes walking through a peanut field, and includes interviews with his colorful family.

Yet establishing a farming background was not enough to qualify a candidate for the presidency. As the campaign progressed, Carter was made to look more and more presidential. Having emphasized his southern roots in his early ads, Carter appeared in a series of spots, produced late in the campaign, in a formal indoor setting wearing a suit and tie.

"He’s Making Us Proud Again"

As a candidate, President Ford was in the unenviable position of being the incumbent at a time when Americans had lost their faith in the presidency. Not surprisingly, Ford’s ads pictured him as a different kind of leader from Richard Nixon. They consistently portrayed him as a regular guy and a nonimperial president. Spots filmed inside the White House showed him dressed casually, with an open collar and no tie. They also claimed that Ford was responsible for turning the country around and leading it out of the Watergate nightmare.

With the Vietnam war over, inflation beginning to ease, and the country in its bicentennial year, the Ford campaign produced a series of ads showing a montage of happy Americans accompanied by an upbeat song featuring the lyrics, "I’m feeling good about America, I’m feeling good about me."

Largely because of his pardon of Nixon, Ford found himself trailing in the polls through much of the campaign. As a result, the Republicans ran ads that capitalized on voters' doubts about the relatively unknown Jimmy Carter. In one series of man-in-the-street ads filmed in Atlanta, the Georgia voters who were presumably most familiar with Carter criticized his record as governor. Carter would use the same technique during his 1980 campaign against former California Governor Ronald Reagan.

Jimmy Carter Age, Affairs, Wife, Family, Biography, Facts & More

  • Does Jimmy Carter smoke?: No
  • Does Jimmy Carter drink alcohol?: Not Known
  • In 1976, Jimmy Carter became the 39th U.S. President, and at that time, he became the first U.S. President to be born in a hospital.
  • He comes from an impoverished background as his father was a peanut farmer and mother was a registered nurse.
  • At the age of 4, his family migrated to Archery (a rural town).
  • In his leisure time, he loved sitting with his father in the evening and listen to baseball games or politics on the battery-operated radio.
  • On June 5, 1946, Carter graduated from the US Naval Academy after completing the wartime program.
  • He was a bright student as he excelled in his studies and was among the top ten students in his class during his graduation time.
  • He flourished his family business of peanuts before climbing the political ladder of Georgia.
  • In 1962, he won the election to Georgia State Senate.
  • He ran for Governor for the first time in 1966, but lost to Lester Maddox.
  • On January 12, 1971, he was inaugurated as Georgia’s 76th governor.

  • He was elected as the President of the United States on November 2, 1976, by winning 297 electoral votes against Ford with 241.
  • On January 20, 1977, the Inauguration ceremony of Jimmy Carter as 39th President of the United States took place.

  • In 1978, just three days before his birthday, he blew out the candles on his birthday cake presented by the Democratic Nation Committee.
  • He was Time’s Magazine Person of the Year for 1976.
  • Jimmy is the second oldest president alive after George H. W. Bush.
  • He went to Cuba on a three-day visit and met Cuban President Raul Castro.
  • He is a fitness freak and loves jogging.
  • In September 1991, Jimmy Carter gave a speech addressing ” The present role of United Nations in Changing the World” in New York City.
  • He was honored with the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2002.

  • On July 7, 2015, he released his autobiography, “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety.”
  • He underwent a surgery on August 3, 2015, in which he got a small mass removed from his liver.
  • Recently, Carter was admitted to a hospital in Winnipeg, Canada after suffering from dehydration while working outdoors for Humanity and was released the following day.
  • Here’s a brief biography of Jimmy Carter’s life :

Jimmy carter and accomplishments - Jimmy carter and childhood

Jimmy Earl Carter was the thirty-ninth president of the United States. He was born on October 1, 1924. He defeated Gerald Ford to become the President from 1977 to 1981. His biggest achievement was winning the Nobel Peace Prize in the Year 2002. Carter also served as the Georgia State Senator and the governor of Georgia from 1971 to 1975. Before that he was a peanut farmer and a naval officer in the Navy. More.

James Earl Carter, better known as Jimmy Carter, was the thirty-ninth President of the United States. He was born on October 1, 1924 to James Carter Sr. and Bessie Lillian Gordy Carter. He had two sisters and one brother. He was married to Eleanor Rosalyn Smith and had three sons and one daughter with her. His daughter, Amy, was born at the White House. His father was a public official. More.

James Earl Carter&rsquos family lived in America for several generations. They came to America from England in the 1630s, and witnessed many of America&rsquos biggest struggles. They lived in Georgia all their lives, and Jimmy Carter&rsquos parents, Earl and Lillian Carter, owned a peanut farm, a warehouse, and also a store outside the town. They lived in Plains, Georgia. More.

James Carter was the thirty-ninth President of the United States. He was a Georgian by birth, and his family lived there for several generations. He went to the local public school in the town of Plains. The United States presidential election that was held in 1976 made James Carter as the President Elect. This came after President Richard Nixon resigned owing to his involvement in the Watergate scandal. More.

Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan participated in only one debate during the 1980 election. The main subject of the debate was the issue of the hostage situation in Iran where the American Embassy was bombed. Topics like arms control, energy crisis, social security and other programs were also discussed at length in the same platform. More..

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Jimmy Carter on Abortion

Yet back in the seventies, the parties had not yet sorted themselves out on the rival issue of abortion. So in 1976, many pro-life and socially conservative Americans could be found conscientiously voting for the Carter-Mondale ticket, thinking they were voting pro-life. And Marcus and I did more than that we helped on his campaign, handing out fliers and making phone calls. Source: Core of Conviction, by Michele Bachmann, p. 58 , Nov 21, 2011

No federal funding for abortions

One of my best-remembered and most often quoted remarks came in July 1977, when I defended my lack of support for federal funds to be used for abortions among poor mothers, even though wealthier women could afford to have their pregnancies terminated. Without any careful forethought, I responded to a question on this issue by saying, "Life is often unfair." Source: Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter, p. 72 , Sep 26, 2006

Minimize abortions, but no constitutional amendment

CARTER: I think abortion is wrong. I don't think the Government ought to do anything to encourage abortion, but I don't favor a constitutional amendment on the subject. But short of a constitutional amendment, and within the confines of a Supreme Court ruling, I will do everything I can to minimize the need for abortions with better sex education, family planning, with better adoptive procedures. I personally don't believe that the Federal Government ought to finance abortions, but I draw the line and don't support a constitutional amendment. I honor the right of people to seek a constitutional amendment on abortion, but I won't actively work for its passage.

FORD: I support the Republican platform which calls for a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortions. Source: The Third Carter-Ford Presidential Debate , Oct 22, 1976

The Afghan invasion

In December 1979, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in response to the assassination of the Soviet-backed Afghan leader, Nur Mohammad Taraki. The invasion effectively ended an existing détente between the U.S. and USSR.

Beginning in July 1979, the U.S. was providing advice and nonlethal supplies to the mujahideen rebelling against the Soviet-backed regime. After the invasion, National Security Advisor Brzezinski advised Carter to respond aggressively to it. So the CIA and U.S. allies delivered weapons to the mujahideen, a program later expanded under Reagan.

Afghan rebels examine a Soviet-built armored personnel carrier and scores of other military vehicles left behind when the Mujahedeen fighters overran a Soviet-Afghan garrison. AP Photo/Joe Gaal

Carter’s move effectively engaged the Soviets in a proxy war that began to bleed the Soviet Union.

By providing the rebels with modern weapons, the U.S. was “giving to the USSR its Vietnam war,” according to Brzezinski: a progressively expensive war, a strain on the socialist economy and an erosion of their authority abroad.

Carter also imposed an embargo on U.S. grain sales to the Soviets in 1980. Agriculture was the USSR’s greatest economic weakness since the 1960s. The country’s unfavorable weather and climate contributed to successive poor growing seasons, and their heavy industrial development left the agricultural sector underfunded.

Economist Elizabeth Clayton concluded in 1985 that Carter’s embargo was effective in exacerbating this weakness.

Census data compiled between 1959 and 1979 show that 54 million people were added to the Soviet population. Clayton estimates that 2 to 3 million more people were added in each subsequent year. The Soviets were overwhelmed by the population boom and struggled to feed their people.

At the same time, Clayton found that monthly wages increased, which led to an increased demand for meat. But by 1985, there was a meat shortage in the USSR. Why? Carter’s grain embargo, although ended by Reagan in 1981, had a lasting impact on livestock feed that resulted in Russian farmers decreasing livestock production.

The embargo also forced the Soviets to pay premium prices for grain from other countries, nearly 25 percent above market prices.

For years, Soviet leaders promised better diets and health, but now their people had less food. The embargo battered a weak socialist economy and created another layer of instability for the growing population.

Carter's First Term (1977-81)

January 1977 - Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus appoints a placeholder to Church's Senate seat in January 1977 with the intention of running for it in the next special election himself. Carter's initial Cabinet appointments are the same as in OTL except for Secretary of the Interior, which goes to former Oregon Gov. Tom McCall instead of Andrus.

September 1977 - Carter gives Church unprecedented leeway as a vice president, especially in foreign affairs. Accordingly Vice President Church plays a key role in negotiating the Panama Canal Treaties. Although the treaties provoke significant outrage on the right, they prove to be not as politically explosive as they were in OTL. Throughout Carter's presidency, Church is commonly considered the administration's "brains" on foreign policy. Carter effectively acknowledges this in a post-presidential biography.

September 1978 - As in OTL, Egypt and Israel sign the Camp David Accords, but credit is initially given to Vice President Church, so they're initially called the "Church Accords." Church, Carter, Begin and Sadat all downplay the accounts.

October 1978 - Claiming he was "just doing his job," Vice President Church famously refuses the Nobel Peace Prize. It goes to Mother Teresa instead.

November 1978 - Andrus defeats Rep. Steve Symms in a special Senate election in Idaho to finish the final two years of Church's term. Andrus is easily re-elected to full terms in 1980 and 1986.

June 1979 - As in OTL, Carter signs the SALT II treaty with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev in Vienna, Austria.

July 1979 - Carter drafts but never delivers the infamous "Malaise Speech." Instead he opts for a more standard (and therefore less memorable) energy policy speech for a nationwide telecast.

Late 1979 - Thanks in part to a slumping economy, Carter's popularity is weak throughout 1979 and early 1980. Sen. Ted Kennedy considers challenging Carter in the 1980 primaries but ultimately declines to run, reportedly out of respect for Church, who was a good friend of his brothers John and Robert. Through 1979 and into early 1980 Carter trails Reagan, the likely GOP nominee, in most polls.

April 1980 -  In a dramatic impromptu nationwide address which later comes to be viewed as the definitive moment of his presidency, President Carter announces Operation Eagle Claw, a daring raid to rescue the hostages in the American embassy in Iran, was a stunning success. As such, Iran is not nearly as contentious a campaign issue as it is OTL. Carter's approval ratings surge and Reagan's poll lead vanishes. Most post-Eagle Claw polls show a statistical dead heat.

Later on, it's revealed Carter largely acted without Vice President Church's or Secretary of State Cyrus Vance's input. Both Church and Vance are upset over this. Vance nearly resigns, but stays on, saying in private, "Because it obviously worked. Carter is a lucky bastard."

Also in private, Church simply says, "Mr. President, please don't do something like that again without talking to me first."

May 1980 - Fresh off his Eagle Claw triumph, Carter cuts off diplomatic relations with El Salvador after it becomes clear a government death squad assassinated Archbishop Óscar Romero in March. He also specifically orders the CIA to stay out of the country, allowing the Salvadoran Civil War to end six years sooner than it did OTL. The move slightly boosts Carter's standing with Catholic and Hispanic voters. Meanwhile unrest in nearby Nicaragua continues as in OTL, creating profound consequences later.

October 1980 - According to most news outlets, Carter and Reagan draw in the presidential debates, but Church decisively defeats former UN ambassador George H. W. Bush in the vice presidential debate.

November 1980 - Carter and Church narrowly defeat the Reagan/Bush ticket 291 electoral votes to 247. An independent candidate, former Rep. John Anderson, polled upwards of 10 percent in some states. Anderson is widely seen to have siphoned off key swing state moderate votes from Republicans. This is especially true in the ultimately decisive state of Illinois (Anderson's home state), which Carter/Church wins by a margin of less than one percent. As the OTL "Reagan Wave" never really materializes, Democrats retain and hold the Senate throughout the 1980s with a reduced majority.

After 1980 - Although the Bush family remained influential behind the scenes in Republican politics in the coming years, after the 1980 loss neither Bush nor his sons emerged as serious presidential candidates.

Campaign Spot: Jimmy Carter's Bio (1976) - HISTORY

The forced resignations, separately, of both President Nixon and Vice President Agnew, left President Ford the first President ever not elected to national office. Ford did not have the support that most incumbent Presidents enjoyed. The rising right-wing of the party was especially unhappy with Ford, and Governor Reagan of California chose to challenge Ford for the Republican Presidential nomination. Reagan challenged Ford in all of the primaries. Ford and Reagan arrived at the convention with nearly the same number of delegates. Ford, however, managed to carry the convention on the first ballot. The convention accepted Ford after he agreed to nominate Senator Dole, of Kansas, as his Vice Presidential running mate. Dole was favored by the right-wing of the party.

The Republican platform, however, reflected the views of the Reaganites: increased defense spending, retention of the Panama canal, opposition to busing and abortion. The Democratic nominee, Governor Carter, of Georgia, was an almost total unknown. Carter started out early and campaigned in each and every primary. Eventually, Carter won so many delegates that he was unbeatable.

The 1976 general election campaign began with Ford trailing by over 30 points. Ford challenged Carter to a series of debates. Ford performed well during the first debate and managed to cut Carter’s lead by 10 points. In the second debate, Ford made a significant mistake by saying that Eastern Europe was free from Soviet domination. This campaign also included the first debates between vice-presidential candidates, pitting Dole against Mondale. Mondale came off as the winner of that debate.

Jimmy Carter got into trouble after giving a Playboy interview in which he talked candidly about “desire in his heart.” Carter campaigned as an outsider intent on cleaning up Washington. Carter won the election by a very narrow margin over Ford, thanks to his support from the South, labor, blacks and white ethnics.

About Us

Jimmy Carter (James Earl Carter, Jr.), thirty-ninth president of the United States, was born October 1, 1924, in the small farming town of Plains, Georgia, and grew up in the nearby community of Archery. His father, James Earl Carter, Sr., was a farmer and businessman his mother, Lillian Gordy Carter, a registered nurse.

He was educated in the public school of Plains, attended Georgia Southwestern College and the Georgia Institute of Technology, and received a B.S. degree from the United States Naval Academy in 1946. In the Navy he became a submariner, serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific fleets and rising to the rank of lieutenant. Chosen by Admiral Hyman Rickover for the nuclear submarine program, he was assigned to Schenectady, New York, where he took graduate work at Union College in reactor technology and nuclear physics and served as senior officer of the pre-commissioning crew of the Seawolf, the second nuclear submarine.

On July 7, 1946, he married Rosalynn Smith of Plains. When his father died in 1953, he resigned his naval commission and returned with his family to Georgia. He took over the Carter farms, and he and Rosalynn operated Carter’s Warehouse, a general-purpose seed and farm supply company in Plains. He quickly became a leader of the community, serving on county boards supervising education, the hospital authority, and the library. In 1962 he won election to the Georgia Senate. He lost his first gubernatorial campaign in 1966, but won the next election, becoming Georgia’s 76th governor on January 12, 1971. He was the Democratic National Committee campaign chairman for the 1974 congressional and gubernatorial elections.

President Jimmy Carter

On December 12, 1974, he announced his candidacy for president of the United States. He won his party’s nomination on the first ballot at the 1976 Democratic National Convention, and was elected president on November 2, 1976.

Jimmy Carter served as president from January 20, 1977 to January 20, 1981. Significant foreign policy accomplishments of his administration included the Panama Canal treaties, the Camp David Accords, the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel, the SALT II treaty with the Soviet Union, and the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. He championed human rights throughout the world. On the domestic side, the administration’s achievements included a comprehensive energy program conducted by a new Department of Energy deregulation in energy, transportation, communications, and finance major educational programs under a new Department of Education and major environmental protection legislation, including the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

Books & Accomplishments

Mr. Carter is the author of 32 books, many of which are now in revised editions: Why Not the Best? 1975, 1996 A Government as Good as Its People, 1977, 1996 Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President, 1982, 1995 Negotiation: The Alternative to Hostility, 1984, 2003 The Blood of Abraham: Insights into the Middle East, 1985, 1993, 2007 Everything to Gain: Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life, written with Rosalynn Carter, 1987, 1995 An Outdoor Journal: Adventures and Reflections, 1988, 1994 Turning Point: A Candidate, a State, and a Nation Come of Age, 1992 Talking Peace: A Vision for the Next Generation, 1993, 1995 Always a Reckoning, and other Poems, 1995 The Little Baby Snoogle-Fleejer, illustrated by Amy Carter, 1995 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: A Novel of the Revolutionary War, 2003 Sharing Good Times, 2004 Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis, 2005 Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, 2006, 2007 Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease, Building Hope, 2007 A Remarkable Mother, 2008 We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work, 2009 White House Diary, 2010 Through the Year with Jimmy Carter: 366 Daily Meditations from the 39th President, 2011 as general editor, NIV Lessons from the Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter, 2012 A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power, 2014 The Paintings of Jimmy Carter, 2014 A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety, 2015 The Craftsmanship of Jimmy Carter, 2018 and Faith: A Journey for All, 2018.

In 1982, he became University Distinguished Professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and founded The Carter Center. Actively guided by President Carter, the nonpartisan and nonprofit Center addresses national and international issues of public policy. Carter Center staff and associates join with President Carter in efforts to resolve conflict, promote democracy, protect human rights, and prevent disease and other afflictions. The Center has spearheaded the international effort to eradicate Guinea worm disease, which is poised to be the second human disease in history to be eradicated.

President Carter and The Carter Center have engaged in conflict mediation in Ethiopia and Eritrea (1989), North Korea (1994), Liberia (1994), Haiti (1994), Bosnia (1994), Sudan (1995), the Great Lakes region of Africa (1995-96), Sudan and Uganda (1999), Venezuela (2002-2003), Nepal (2004-2008), Ecuador and Colombia (2008), and the Middle East (2003-present). Under his leadership The Carter Center has sent 107 election-observation missions to the Americas, Africa, and Asia. These include Panama (1989), Nicaragua (1990), China (1997), Nigeria (1998), Indonesia (1999), East Timor (1999), Mexico (2000), Guatemala (2003), Venezuela (2004), Ethiopia (2005), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (2006), Nepal (2008), Lebanon (2009), Sudan (2010), Tunisia (2011), Egypt (2011-2012), Kenya (2013), Mozambique (2014), Guyana (2015), Myanmar (2016), and Liberia (2017).

The permanent facilities of The Carter Presidential Center were dedicated in October 1986, and include the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum, administered by the National Archives. Also open to visitors is the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains, administered by the National Park Service.

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter volunteer one week a year for Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that helps needy people in the United States and in other countries renovate and build homes for themselves. Since 2007, President Carter also has served as a member of The Elders, a group of independent global leaders. He teaches Sunday school and is a deacon in the Maranatha Baptist Church of Plains. For recreation, he enjoys fly-fishing, woodworking, and swimming. The Carters have three sons, one daughter, nine grandsons (one deceased), three granddaughters, five great-grandsons, and eight great-granddaughters.

On December 10, 2002, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2002 to Mr. Carter “for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development”.

Watch the video: Jimmy Carter Democratic 1976 Campaign Ad Dream