Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Carter Looks Better Than Ever

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Carter Looks Better Than Ever

Article excerpt

BEFORE the presidential primaries started I came up with an idea that politicians call a "nonstarter." Why not bring back Jimmy Carter?, I asked.

The silence that greeted this suggestion was not exactly deafening. There was a stir of interest in the press and from several former Carter supporters.

But among Democratic Party officials I talked to, the response could only be called scornful. "Jimmy Carter," one shaper of the party's future said. "Are you kidding?"

My answer today would be: "Yes, I do mean Jimmy Carter. And wouldn't you say he would look awfully good to you now if you could choose him over the candidates who did run, and particularly, the candidate who is now the likely party nominee?"

The other evening I attended a welcome-back-to-Washington gathering for Mr. Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, at a downtown hotel. Friends of the Carters packed the spacious ballroom. Jody Powell was the master of ceremonies. Bob Strauss, back for a few days from his ambassadorial assignment in Moscow, was at Carter's side.

As I moved around and chatted with many former Carter aides and co-workers, I heard again and again words like these: "Wouldn't it be great if Jimmy were running against Bush this fall?"

And after Carter had spoken about what he was doing to try to help the disadvantaged of this world, I heard people talking about how "smart" Carter was and how deeply he felt for those who needed help.

What caused me to talk about a possible political revival of Carter months ago was an article by New York Times columnist Tom Wicker, in which he wrote that the Democratic Party needs "a modern version of FDR - a candidate who knows where he or she wants the country to go and how to get there; who can persuade the public to go along, take the blows of a campaign and hit back harder."

Carter proved in 1976 that he was just that kind of a man. …

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