Former White House press secretary Jody Powell spent a relaxed July Fourth weekend at home watching the Wimbledon tennis matches on television. He was pleased when NBC Sports aired a feature on the White House tennis courts that included a segment on his former boss, pointing out that Jimmy Carter, a South Georgia farm boy who grew up playing tennis, became one of the few tennis-playing presidents in the Executive Mansion.
Powell was stunned, however, when he recognized the background music: it was "Marching Through Georgia," a song not popular in the South and not on any self-respecting Georgian's Top 10 list. "The feature was a fine piece," Powell grumbled yesterday, "except that some idiot who probably knew three Georgia songs -- 'Sweet Georgia Brown,' 'Georgia on My Mind,' and 'Marching Through Georgia' -- had one chance in three and blew it."
Only once during the Carter administration did Powell remember the song commemorating Union Gen. Sherman's destructive march through Georgia mistakenly being played, and that happened in India. Carter's staff informed the White House Protocol Office the song was not appropriate and it didn't happen again. Powell said he called NBC in New York to joke that when the former president returns from vacation he will lead a group of Georgians to "march on New York and burn 30 Rock [NBC's headquarters] to the ground and steal all their pigs, chickens and silverware."