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Dinner With Rosalynn, and Jimmy
From the Archive
I had dinner with Rosalynn Carter, and Jimmy, on their last weekend as First Lady and President in Plains.
I don’t have any photos from the dinner as no cameras were allowed in the Americus, Georgia restaurant that hosted the Carters and the traveling press pool of which I was a temporary member.
The pool for the trip was smaller than normal. It was Carter’s last visit before turning over the presidency and little was planned or anticipated for the last weekend of his term.
Most of the time the press pool was in downtown Plains putting their feet up in Billy Carter’s gas station rocking chairs waiting for any photo-ops that might happen. There weren’t any.
The real highlight of the evening for me was that Rosalyn was immediately to my left at the head of the table, Jimmy just to her left. I sat at the head of the table with the President of the United States and the First Lady!
There was no discussion of politics. This was a private dinner. No camera. No notepads. The only political commentary came from the president who shared his discontent with a few foreign leaders.
Rosalyn and I made small talk for the evening. I don’t remember specific subjects, but some involved her coming back to Plains after being First Lady in Washington. She looked forward to being able to relax for a while.
Sam Donaldson later reported on some of the unkind comments the president made about Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin despite the agreed prohibition on reporting from the dinner. Carter wasn’t pleased and Donaldson was.
That wasn’t the last time I was assigned to the Carters. One of the photos is above from the 1981 July 4th parade in Atlanta. There were several other assignments, but none are as memorable as dinner at Rosalynn’s left.
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