“She’s the one I’m going to marry,” Jimmy Carter said of Rosalynn Smith after their first meeting. But things didn’t go exactly as planned. “I asked Rosalynn to marry me,” he said, “and she turned me down.” Not willing to lose the girl with whom he corresponded while away as a student at the United States Naval Academy, ending letters with “I.L.Y.T.G.,” for “I Love You the Goodest,” Carter persisted. They were married one month after his graduation.
Born James Earl Carter Jr. on October 1, 1924, he was elected the 39th President of the United States. Carter entered the White House with a sense of promise, critical of inflation that worsened under his administration. The nation’s economic problems – added to the administration’s failure with negotiations for the release of hostages held at the American embassy in Iran – led to the loss of his 1980 bid for reelection.
Similar to Carter, Barack Obama’s poor start in office, following a triumphant entrance, has led to a sense of malaise with Americans, who are unhappy about feeling “exhausted.” Unemployment has increased under the Obama administration, due to a focus on reforming health insurance at the expense of American workers.
But unlike Carter, failure in current negotiations will not provide an opportunity for the next administration to succeed in solving the many problems that would come with Iran succeeding in effort, despite Obama’s incompetence. A nuclear-armed Iran is not an option that American national security can risk.
He might not be remembered as the overall best president in United States history, but Jimmy Carter is a great man.
Jimmy Carter, Sharing Good Times (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004).
Scott Kaufman, Rosalynn Carter: Equal Partner in the White House (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2007).
Dan T. Carter, “Jimmy Carter,” in The Reader’s Companion to American History, eds. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991).
Michael Nelson, ed., Guide to the Presidency, Second Edition (Washington: CQ Press, 1996).