Carter's Peanut Brigade recounts 1977 inauguration - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Carter's Peanut Brigade recounts 1977 inauguration

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

January 20, 2009

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - While many Georgians made the trip to D.C. for Obama's historic inauguration, in Plains members of President Jimmy Carter's "Peanut Brigade" remembered their trip to the nations capitol 32 years ago.

Members of the "Peanut Brigade" sympathized with those who braved the cold to stand in the nation's capitol and witness the swearing in.

Many said they've passed the torch to future campaigners and hope Obama can carry through on his campaign promises. Members of President Jimmy Carter's "Peanut Brigade" who help turn Carter's campaign into an inauguration 32 years ago drew many parallels to what those in Washington must have experienced.

"It was the coldest day in the whole world, we were sitting on ice actually in a chair but, we were very cold but, it was surreal, we could hardly believe it," said Betty Pope, the Peanut Brigade.

Jan Williams, Amy Carter's teacher, spent inauguration day with the Carters. She understands what the Obama girls must be going through.

"It's hard to believe it was that long ago, yes it was an exciting day and it's exciting today to get to see two more young girls get to live in the White House," said Jan Williams, Amy Carter's Teacher.

As many recounted Carter's trip to Washington aboard the "Peanut Special" and watched Virginia William's home video from that day, they drew parallels between the man from Plains and the 44th President who both fought Washington and won.

"Obama in the State Senate, Carter in the State Senate, and then brief tenures in high profile offices, Carter, Governor and Obama in the U.S. Senate, and then they were both sort of dark horses, unknowns," said Dr. Harold Isaacs, author "Jimmy Carter's Peanut Brigade."

Members of the Peanut Brigade say while their campaigning days are through, they're passing the torch to a new generation of campaigners who watched the inauguration with them.

"Though I couldn't go door to door, I told the young people in the democratic group they're going to half to pick up, but I'll be happy to give them some hints," said Pope.

"It was hard, but it was fun also and I would like to pursue it," said Micheala Williams, Georgia Southwestern State University Early College student.

Maybe one day celebrating their own inauguration in Washington.

President Jimmy Carter of course joined past Presidents Bill Clinton and George H. Bush and George W. Bush on the podium in Washington for Tuesday's inauguration.

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