Tags: barack | obama | jimmy | carter

Off on the Wrong Foot With Flip-Flops, Mr. President

Friday, 07 Jan 2011 07:41 AM

By Doug Wead

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Yesterday I found myself being quoted on the front page of the New York Post. It was a Jennifer Fermino piece all about President Obama’s footwear. He was apparently caught wearing flip-flops at a restaurant in Hawaii.

The Post story was all about presidential footwear, and it was intriguing enough that NBC picked it up and ran it on their evening news.

I was telling a story from the Jimmy Carter White House, when first lady Rosalynn looked askance at a group of visitors coming through the receiving line wearing sneakers. The White House social secretary looked like she was having a stroke.

Well, today I found this message from D. Gordon, a photographer, in my inbox:

I was the photographer assigned to the Carter campaign in 1976 and 1980 by The New York Times. I shared that duty with George Tames, longtime Washington photog for the Times, and my colleague in the old Washington buro at 17th and K. I had noted that Jimmy Carter often went shoeless, especially when he was in Plains and working at this desk. So, on the occasion that one of the reporters like Rick Smith or Adam Climer would stop by to ask questions of Carter, I made a point of shooting pictures from directly in front of the desk so that I could see the bare feet through the opening.

I sent the pictures on to New York where they were quashed . . . more than once. Jody Powell said that it made Carter look like a “redneck” and apparently the Times reporters and editors agreed. Of course it did, that’s why I shot the pictures!

In the event, [Rosalynn] would often pad through the room with Jimmy shoeless and sockless without being ‘horrified’. So I have to wonder what was going on later?

As you and I know, its "staff" that enforces the rules of propriety upon the President. This Obama staff, it appears, is clueless.”

What a hoot. Hopefully, Mr. Gordon will take the time to write about his experiences. He must have seen a lot seen through his lens.

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