Nation: Jimmy's Party in Memphis

A half-time pep rally for the Democrats

When his ratings in the polls were low earlier this year, Jimmy Carter looked at the scheduled Democratic midterm convention with considerable apprehension. He had reluctantly agreed in the heat of the 1976 election battle to organize last week's gathering as a gesture to win support from liberals. Carter had never been much of a party man, and during the campaign had made a point of stressing his independence from the Democratic organization. During his first year in office, he remained an outsider and commanded little respect within party ranks.

But Carter's standing with the public—and...

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