Essay: Fluctuations on the Presidential Exchange

Just a year ago, in the early evening of Nov. 4, 1980, a good hour or two before he had to, Jimmy Carter telephoned his congratulations to Ronald Reagan. By the next afternoon Carter was telling reporters he was confident "history" would rate his presidency more highly than the election returns might momentarily suggest. This is a theme Carter has pursued with visitors in Plains this year, and it is a fair guess it animates the memoirs he is writing. No President defeated for reelection, so far as is known, has ever felt differently....

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