20 Embarrassing Mistakes Historical Figures Made
20 Embarrassing Mistakes Historical Figures Made

20 Embarrassing Mistakes Historical Figures Made

Larry Holzwarth - September 23, 2018

20 Embarrassing Mistakes Historical Figures Made
Jimmy Carter was ridiculed when reports to his staff that he had been attacked by a rabbit were revealed by the press. White House

20. Jimmy Carter fended off a rabbit attack

On April 20, 1979, the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, was alone in a fishing boat in Plains, Georgia, when a swimming rabbit raced towards his boat in a menacing manner. According to Carter’s press secretary Jody Powell, to whom Carter told the story, “What was obvious, however, was that this large, wet animal, making strange hissing noises and gnashing its teeth, was intent upon climbing into the Presidential boat.” Carter managed to fend the rabbit off by splashing an oar at it, and it swam away. Most of Carter’s staff initially did not believe the president’s story, thinking he was merely telling a fisherman’s tale, until film taken by the White House photographer, who was not in the boat but ashore nearby, revealed it to be true.

The press, and Carter’s political opponents, enjoyed keeping the story of the averted rabbit attack alive for weeks, after learning of the event months later. A cartoon in the Washington Post aped the poster for the popular movie Jaws, retitling it PAWS and featuring a giant rabbit with a gaping maw. Political opponents used the incident to enhance the meek nature of the Carter Presidency. The White House would not release the footage of the incident, but during the Reagan Administration, it was found and given to the press. By August 1979, the Carter Presidency was nearing its nadir, with a struggling economy, a growing crisis in Iran, increased support within his own party for Ted Kennedy to run against him in 1980, and a general dissatisfaction for Carter’s policies. The rabbit tale, which he could have kept to himself and didn’t, added to his woes.

 

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Richard Nixon’s Palace Guards”. Megan McArdle, Washington Monthly. August 2013

“The Wicked Bible: The perfect gift for collectors, but not for William and Kate”. Rick Gekoski, The Guardian. November 23, 2010

“News credibility sank with Titanic Accuracy”. Ernest F. Imhoff, The Baltimore Sun. December 19, 1997

“The True Story of ‘Wrong-Way’ Corrigan’s Atlantic Adventure”. Chris Fasolino, History Net.

“Metric mishap caused loss of NASA orbiter”. Robin Lloyd, CNN. September 30, 1999

“Top Ten Blunders in History”. History Revealed. March 2016

“Why I Spared the Leaning Tower of Pisa”. Rory Carroll, The Guardian. January 13, 2000

“Churchill at the White House”. Eleanor Roosevelt, The Atlantic. March, 1965

“Everyone in the Profumo scandal got redemption – except Christine Keeler”. Tanya Gold, The Guardian. December 7, 2017

“The Untold Story of the Pentagon Papers Co-conspirators”. Eric Liechtblau, The New Yorker. January 29, 2018

“In 1974, a stripper known as the ‘Tidal Basin Bombshell’ took down the most powerful man in Washington”. Laura Smith, Timeline Magazine. September 28, 2017

“Virginia congressmen denounce D. C. prostitution march”. Kathleen McHugh, UPI. July 26, 1989

“How the Public Learned About the Infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study”. Olivia B. Waxman, Time Magazine. July 25, 2017

“Stumbling Colossus: The Red Army on the Eve of the World War”. David Glanz. 1998

“Mussolini and His Generals”. John Gooch. 2007

“The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul”. Walter Everett. 2001

“Napoleon: A Political Life”. Stephen Englund. 2005

“Bay of Pigs – The Untold Story”. Peter Wyden. 1979

“Pup Culture: 50 Years Later, LBJ’s still in the Doghouse”. Bud Boccone, American Kennel Club. July 7, 2015. Online

“A Tale of Carter and the ‘Killer Rabbit'”. Archives, The New York Times. August 30, 1979

Advertisement