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26 August 2008

Were Jimmy Carter & Georgia Dissed Monday Night?

Yesterday, I reported that former President Jimmy Carter would not speak in person at the Democratic National Convention. Instead, the man From Plains would be featured in a video taped message to the delegates assembled in the Pepsi Center.

I went on to rationalize President Carter not speaking to the convention Monday night by implying that no one could really expect him to be in Denver just a few days after an oak tree fell on his home [Source: Georgia Politics Unfiltered, "Jimmy Carter Addressing The Convention By Video", August 25, 2008].

You can imagine my surprise then when President Carter and his wife Rosalynn walked out on the convention stage at the conclusion of the video documenting the former President's work on Katrina relief in New Orleans.

Almost as soon as President and Mrs. Carter graced the t.v. screen in the Bloggers' Lounge, I snatched up my credentials and beat a path to the convention floor in anticipation of a Carter speech to the delegates. Then, almost as quickly as they appeared, the Carters were gone leaving me standing on the floor of the Pepsi Center wondering outloud, "Where'd Jimmy Carter go?"

To me, it seemed sort of anti-climatic to have a former President --one of only two Democrats to win the White House between 1968 and 2008 (that's a 40-year period)-- appear at the Democratic National Convention and not utter a single word.

As expected, some members of the media are asking, "Why Didn't Jimmy Carter Speak Live This Evening?"

Insider Advantage Georgia's Matt Towery described Monday night's convention session as an "evening of irony."

...if Georgia was on anyone’s mind Monday night, it sure wasn’t evident. With Carter getting the "bum’s rush" and his longtime rival [Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy] clearly the sentimental hero, the first night in Denver surely left some longtime Georgia Democrats with a sympathetic, but nevertheless, slightly bitter taste of political irony in their collective political palate. [Source: Insider Advantage Georgia, "In Evening of Irony, Carter Gets Short Shrift While Kennedy Steals The Show", August 26, 2008]

Personally, I'm not sure what to make of last night's events. However, my gut instinct tells me that a former president has speaking precedence over a U.S. Senator...even if that U.S. Senator happens to be Ted Kennedy.