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In terms of practical politics, Carter could look forward to a stronger position vis-a-vis Congress, which has balked at many of his programs this year. The President's harassed chief of congressional liaison, Frank Moore, happily noted that the "atmosphere, the mood, the way you are received, has changed in the last couple of days." Confirming that viewpoint, the Senate gave Carter a notable victory last week. It voted more heavily than expected, 59 to 39, against recommitting his natural gas bill to a committee that would have killed it. That favorable tally indicates that the measure will be approved by the Senate and perhaps by the House as well. The President would then get, though in severely truncated form, his long sought energy bill. Said White House Aide Hamilton Jordan: "We have a hot hand on the Hill for the time being."
Buoyed by his success, Carter went out politicking with renewed zest. The mood of the crowds in North and South Carolina was so cordial that the President barely had to mention Camp David. He could count on someone else doing that for him. The most surprising example was a large ad in the Asheville (N.C.) Times that congratulated Carter for the Middle East breakthrough and concluded: "I am proud of you." The ad was paid for by Democrats who are supporting Republican Senator Jesse Helms for re-election even though Carter had come to the state to campaign for Helms' Democratic rival, John Ingram.
Speaking at a dinner, Carter was at his relaxed, reminiscent best. He repeated what Sadat had told him during a morning stroll at Camp David: "I believe that you have a sensitivity about our problems in the Middle East because you are of the South, because the South is the only part of the United States and Southerners are the only people in the United States that really know what it means to suffer the tortures of the aftermath of a war in an occupation government ... and a struggle for overcoming prejudice and hatred between one race and another. I believe that has given you not only a special insight but perhaps an additional commitment to bring a resolution between two peoples who have long hated each other." The Egyptian President also had some sage comments on the ups and downs of a head of state's popularity: "When things go bad, you get too much blame. When things go well—I must admit—you get too much praise."