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Jimmy Carter Attacked by Killer Rabbit (April 20, 1979)
Reposted by News of the Odd ^ | April 20, 1979 | Editorial Staff

Posted on 07/20/2002 7:13:27 PM PDT by vannrox

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Photo of group "nature sliding" from The National Archives. The entire party is wearing tin trousers, the seats of which have been treated with paraffin.

Sat Jul 20 2002
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Jimmy Carter Attacked by Killer Rabbit (April 20, 1979)
by News of the Odd

Today in Odd History, Jimmy Carter was attacked by a rabbit during a fishing trip in Plains, Georgia. The rabbit, which may have been fleeing a predator, swam toward his boat, "hissing menacingly, its teeth flashing and nostrils flared." President Carter was forced to swat at the vicious beast with a canoe paddle, which apparently scared it off.

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Upon his return to the White House, Carter told his staff about the furry amphibian's assault. Most of them refused to believe him, insisting that rabbits can't swim (although since most mammals can swim, there's no reason to believe that rabbits cannot), and that even if they could, they certainly wouldn't attack humans, and certainly not presidents. Fortunately, a White House photographer had been on the scene, and had recorded the bizarre attack. The photograph showed Carter with his paddle raised, warding off a small creature which might, or might not, have been a rabbit. One staffer was quoted as saying, "You couldn't tell what it was." Undaunted by their skepticism, Carter had the image enlarged, and there it was--a killer bunny rabbit, apparently bent on assassinating the president.

The story might have ended there, except that White House Press Secretary Jody Powell mentioned the incident to Associated Press reporter Brooks Jackson in August. The Washington Post ran it as front page news. The original photograph was not available (until the Reagan administration leaked it in 1981), but the paper filled the gap with a cartoon modeled on the poster for the movie "Jaws," starring the rabbit and entitled "Paws." Powell made a belated attempt to impress the public with the seriousness of the attack, calling the creature a "swamp rabbit," but since Carter had to appease his I'm a Bunny for Carterrabbit-loving constituents by insisting that he had not actually smacked his buck-toothed opponent with his paddle, but only splashed water at it to drive it away, it seemed unlikely that he had been in danger. The entire episode became a symbol of Carter's floundering presidency. According to Powell, "[I]t shows the extent to which an insignificant incident can snowball and end up in newspapers and news shows across the country.” Carter biographer Douglas Brinkley says, “It just played up the Carter flake factor.... I mean, he had to deal with Russia and the Ayatollah and here he was supposedly fighting off a rabbit.” A Note from News of the Odd:
While some presidential apologists have suggested that Carter might actually have been attacked by a nutria, a large, aggressive aquatic rodent, others have insisted that the President's assailant was a simple, if unusually vicious, bunny rabbit. Many years ago, I was the owner of a Blue Dutch named "Sequin," whom I showed in 4H. One of my friends still bears the scars of an encounter with Sequin--a perfectly matched set of parallel teeth marks, where Sequin's fangs closed on her hand and ripped through the flesh when she pulled her hand away. Bunnies are, indeed, fiercer than anyone but Monty Python has generally given them credit for.

Images:
Photos of Jimmy Carter from The National Archives and Records Administration. Unfortunately, no digital copy of the famous rabbit attack photo seems to be available; the photo of Carter fishing is a detail from a picture of Jimmy and Rosalynn taken in 1978.
Bunny Button from Today in Rotten History

Sources:
The Daily Bleed: A Calendar Better Than Boiled Coffee!
The Straight Dope
Locomotion in Mammals
Jaws, at IMDB
Jimmy Carter's "Killer Bunny"
Invasive Species: Nutria Profile
The Doom Bunny's Home Page
Monty Python's Holy Grail at IMDB

More about Jimmy Carter:
coverThe Unfinished Presidency : Jimmy Carter's Journey Beyond the White House, by Douglas Brinkley. Explains how Carter triumphed over the disaster of his presidency to become one of the most respected men in the world, killer rabbits notwithstanding.


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Jul 20 2002, 04:36:13
   
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TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: carter; democrat; dnc; fishing; history; killer; noteworthy; rabbit
A great read.
1 posted on 07/20/2002 7:13:27 PM PDT by vannrox
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To: vannrox
BUMP!!!
2 posted on 07/20/2002 7:19:25 PM PDT by Conservative Chicagoan
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To: vannrox
Carter can thank his lucky star he got off that easily, being attacked by this beast that can leap about, tearing him limb from limb with great big pointy teeth.

Now, if he only would be off to castle Aaaargh...

3 posted on 07/20/2002 7:24:09 PM PDT by Cachelot
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To: Cachelot

"He's still on the prowl Jimmy, watch your back!"

4 posted on 07/20/2002 7:32:40 PM PDT by TADSLOS
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To: vannrox
Carter used to fantasize about certain "Bunnies". Is this the one who got away?
5 posted on 07/20/2002 7:39:46 PM PDT by jumpstartme
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To: vannrox

...which proves yet again that democrats and corporate scandal are intertwined...

6 posted on 07/20/2002 7:41:54 PM PDT by jumpstartme
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To: Taxman; kjenerette; Vandon; usconservative
Just a little levity in history! Do you remember...
7 posted on 07/20/2002 7:51:47 PM PDT by dixie sass
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Someone needs to find and post this pic online.

I've also looked, in vain, for an online file pic of Jimmy's famous collapse while running.

8 posted on 07/20/2002 8:29:09 PM PDT by D-fendr
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To: TADSLOS
RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!
9 posted on 07/20/2002 8:33:39 PM PDT by timpad
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To: D-fendr
I remember that picture, swinging the oar. I wonder why its hiding...
10 posted on 07/20/2002 8:38:33 PM PDT by evolved_rage
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To: evolved_rage
"I wonder why its hiding..."

Maybe the rabbit was a Republican.

11 posted on 07/20/2002 8:43:27 PM PDT by dalereed
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To: timpad
Probably only a few will catch that...

Thanks, J. Cleese & Co.
12 posted on 07/20/2002 8:43:49 PM PDT by Vidalia
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To: vannrox
Wonderful stuff ;-)LOL

Between fending off killer bunnies, and having daughter Amy act as his chief advisor on nuclear weapons, yep, Jimmah was unique.And a role model for Al Gore!!LOL
13 posted on 07/20/2002 8:44:44 PM PDT by habs4ever
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To: Vidalia
Probably only a few will catch that...

Likely. I'll bet Jimmy Earl soiled his armor that day. Good thing Sir Ronnie had that grenade!

14 posted on 07/20/2002 8:48:36 PM PDT by timpad
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To: vannrox
Poor Jimmee - just saw the beginning of SNL (a repeat from earlier this year) with a takeoff on Carter meeting with Castro, who asks him about what happened during his presidency "Weren't you attacked by a rabbit - I can see being attacked by a dog, or a fox, or a groundhog - but a rabbit - that's crazy" - hilarious - what a legacy........
15 posted on 07/20/2002 8:54:35 PM PDT by Intolerant in NJ
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To: Intolerant in NJ
So Jimmy, did your bunny happen to fit this description? http://sluggy.com/d/970831.html
16 posted on 07/20/2002 9:00:17 PM PDT by Braak
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To: D-fendr
I just looked to no avail, but I remember seeing that picture. Many usenet postings refer to it as folklore. I'm surprised at how well expunged it is.
17 posted on 07/20/2002 9:07:09 PM PDT by evolved_rage
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To: vannrox
Today in Odd History, Jimmy Carter was attacked by a rabbit during a fishing trip in Plains, Georgia. The rabbit, which may have been fleeing a predator, swam toward his boat, "hissing menacingly, its teeth flashing and nostrils flared." President Carter was forced to swat at the vicious beast with a canoe paddle, which apparently scared it off.

I always figured LSD was bad for people...

18 posted on 07/20/2002 9:08:08 PM PDT by medved
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To: evolved_rage
http://abcnews.go.com/media/US/images/ap_wolffiles82_t.jpg

But it won't display. Perhaps someone can bring it up.

19 posted on 07/20/2002 9:20:33 PM PDT by PhilDragoo
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To: PhilDragoo
The image has been changed to a 0 x 0 pixel image. History has been changed...
20 posted on 07/20/2002 9:30:16 PM PDT by evolved_rage
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To: evolved_rage
http://saturn.he.net/~danger/killer_rabbit.jpg
21 posted on 07/20/2002 9:38:48 PM PDT by PhilDragoo
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To: PhilDragoo
He got away with Roslyn's dress.


22 posted on 07/20/2002 9:44:02 PM PDT by jumpstartme
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To: vannrox

I absolutely deny any and all involvement in this episode!

 


23 posted on 07/20/2002 9:46:18 PM PDT by Psycho_Bunny
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To: Vidalia
>Probably only a few will catch that...
>Thanks, J. Cleese & Co.

Ping .
Huge Python fan .
24 posted on 07/21/2002 12:29:00 AM PDT by sushiman
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To: vannrox

25 posted on 07/21/2002 12:41:22 AM PDT by KS Flyover
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To: vannrox
LOLOL This is the event that must have inspired the movie "ATTACK of the Giant Lepus!" Better get that paddle back in hand, Jimmy.
26 posted on 07/21/2002 12:46:15 AM PDT by Libertina
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To: Libertina

27 posted on 07/21/2002 7:46:54 AM PDT by BigWaveBetty
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To: vannrox
He better have the holy hand grenade.
28 posted on 07/21/2002 8:26:10 AM PDT by weikel
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To: BigWaveBetty
YOU REMEMBER! LOL I wasn't certain if others would know that movie. When I watched it the first time I kept wondering what a giant Lepus was, and then these big loping bunnies came onto the screen and I nearly laughed myself off the edge of the sofa! Your're great BigWaveBetty and thanks for the "memories." :)
29 posted on 07/21/2002 10:18:33 AM PDT by Libertina
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To: vannrox

30 posted on 07/21/2002 10:27:48 AM PDT by Northpaw
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To: Conservative Chicagoan
...attended a Halloween party following this event, where one gent showed up in a big white bunny suit with a 'wascally wabbits for Weagan' pin.
31 posted on 07/21/2002 2:28:28 PM PDT by TheBlackFeather
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To: vannrox
No! Not THE killer bunny!

(*Not the cushy chair!*)

32 posted on 07/21/2002 3:23:01 PM PDT by Darksheare
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To: Libertina
When I watched it the first time I kept wondering what a giant Lepus was, and then these big loping bunnies came onto the screen and I nearly laughed myself off the edge of the sofa!

Me too! :-) Horrible movie but it was good for some laughs. It was my pleasure to bring you happy memories! :-)

33 posted on 07/22/2002 3:29:07 AM PDT by BigWaveBetty
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