NAME: James Earl Carter, Jr. He was named after his father. He signs his name Jimmy Carter.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Carter is 5 feet 9.5 inches tall and weighed about 155 pounds as president. He used to part his sandy hair on the right but changed to the left during his term as president. He has hazel eyes and wears a soft contact lens in his right eye for reading. His most distinctive feature is his broad, toothsome grin. He suffers from a bad knee and a permanently bent finger, the latter the result of a cotton gin accident. He speaks in a soft Georgia drawl. He dresses simply, often wearing his “lucky” red tie. He prefers his denim “peanut clothes,” however.
PERSONALITY: Carter is introspective, always ready to confront his own shortcomings and seek self-improvement. He is industrious and self-disciplined and believes strongly in the power of positive thinking. He has said that his greatest strength is an inner peace. Disarmingly unpretentious, he brought an informality to the White House typified in photos of the president toting his own suit bag aboard Air Force One. Yet for all his outward simplicity, Carter is a complex personality. Bruce Mazlish, a historian trained in psychoanalysis, concluded that a “fusion of contradictions” runs deep in the Carter character and added, “The ambiguities that could tear another person apart are held together in Jimmy Carter.” Indeed, Carter has been described variously as shy yet supremely self-confident, compassionate and tender but also at times inconsiderate and steely. Only occasionally did he explode in anger in front of others. Usually he expressed displeasure with an icy stare or a searing bit of sarcasm.
PRIMARY SOURCE: DeGregorio, William A. The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. 7th ed. Fort Lee: Barricade Books, 2009.
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