The Nation: Behind the Painful Decision to Quit

Praying with Bert, visiting with Byrd, persuading La Belle

In public, Jimmy Carter permitted himself a rare display of deep emotion. In private, the President and Bert Lance, both born-again Christians, read from the Bible, bowed their heads in the Oval Office, and prayed. All the while, the Budget Director's proud wife LaBelle insisted that her husband had brilliantly cleared himself of wrongdoing, and appealed directly to the President that her husband stay in office. But the close-knit Georgians turned in the end to the advice of shrewd Washington veterans and wisely ended...

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