Nation: Drawing the Battle Lines

Carter defends his record, attacks Ronnie and looks to the future

THE SPEECH. How the triumphant candidate accepts the nomination of his party is always billed by his strategists as not only the kickoff of the campaign but the most important speech of the entire presidential race. Well, sometimes it is all that—and sometimes it isn't.

As the campaign film celebrating Jimmy Carter ended and the lights went up, the convention podium remained empty while the band played Hail to the Chief. That void was only partially filled when the chief finally emerged, grinning and waving his arms. Somehow he failed to measure...

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