By Jimmy Carter's account, Admiral Hyman Rickover, 77, has had a "profound effect on my life, perhaps more than anyone else except my own parents." The President took the title of his autobiography, Why Not the Best?, from a question asked by the curmudgeonly architect of the U.S. nuclear submarine fleet during their first meeting in 1952, when Carter was a junior officer. After Carter's Inauguration, one of his first guests for lunch at the White House was the admiral, who presented the President with a desk plaque that read: O, GOD, THY SEA IS SO GREAT AND MY BOAT IS...

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