Carter: A New Beginning?
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There is no doubt that Jimmy Carter set out to chart a new course for a country still trying to heal the scars of Watergate and Vietnam. Few doubted that Ford had tried his best, but his pardon of Nixon had handicapped him almost from the start. In a presidential race always likely to favour the Democrats, Carter emerged from relative obscurity to challenge Ford. A former career naval officer who had retired early to run his family’s peanut business, his political career had been confined to his native state of Georgia, first as a state senator and then, from 1971 to 1975, as Governor. It was precisely his remoteness from a discredited Washington, combined with his strongly held Christian faith, which appealed to many Americans in 1976. Even so, his plurality over Ford, 40,830,736 to 39,147,793, did not indicate an overwhelming mandate.
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