The President who won't stop campaigning was out on the hustings again in the most unlikely of places.
It might have been New Hampshire, where not so long ago Jimmy Carter was a sometimes lonely figure roaming the rolling countryside and the aging industrial towns in search of votes.
But today it was President Carter, roaming across the similiar landscape around the Tyne and Wear Rivers in northeastern England, and he was far from lonely.
On the first full day of his first trip abroad as President, Carter did what has seemed to dominate so much of his first few months in office. He campaigned.
Accompanied by British Prime Minister James Callaghan, the President spent more than four hours this morning at the head of a huge entourage that resembled nothing so much as an American presidential campaign nearing election day.
Carter's popularity was readily apparent. "Hey, Prime Minister," someone yelled from one of the many crowds, "get out of the way; we want to see Jimmy!"
At Newcastle, his first stop, Carter delighted a crowd by shouting, "Awa' the Lads!" - the cheer of fans of the city's soccer team, Newcastle United.
He was made a "freeman of the city of Newcastle," an honor that authoritizes him to graze cattle in the city's parks but not, Callaghan pointed out, to raise peanuts there.
Then Newcastle's Lord Mayor Hugh White declared Carter a "Geordie" and the American president drew a cheer by responding that he was proud to be "a Geordie from Georgia." Residents of this area are called Geordies because they supported King George II, for whom Georgia is named, in England's 18th Century Jacobite rebellion.
Twice during the day, Carter stopped his motorcade and jumped from the car to shake hands with spectators along the road. Outside a factory he visited, the president was kissed by four elderly women who said, "We pensioners love Jimmy Carter."
As Carter entered the factory, the women sang "Yankee Doodle Dandy."
Carter was wearing a blue suit with the tiny initials "J.C." woven in as pinstripes. The cashmere wool material was an earlier gift from Callaghan, who has the same initials and reportedly has a similar suit. White House press secretary Jody Powell said Carter's suit would be turned over to the General Services Administration when Carter leaves office.
After flying this morning from London to Newcastle, the major industrial city of this region, Carter gave a speech stressing the close ties between the United States and britain.
he wound up here, the ancestral home of George Washington, where he and Callaghan participated in a tree-planting ceremony - a British oak planted by Callaghan and a tulip popular from Mount Vernon planted by Carter - to symbolize British-American friendship.
Along the way, the presidential motorcade passed rows of modest brick hmes that dominate this working class section of England. Lines on school children waving homemade American flags stood alongside the road.
Thousands of enthusiastic people, many of them shouting "Jimmy, Jimmy," saw Carter today. Millions more in the United States saw him on live television. It was, by American political standards, a huge success.
The President flew to London last night to begin his first venture in personal diplomacy at a summit conference. But the weighty issues to be discussed at the two-day London economic conference seemed far from the President's mind on this day given over to a not-so-simple "tour" of the mining and industrial areas of northcast England.
According to White House officials, the idea of the tour originated when Callaghan visited Carter in Washington earlier this year. For the leader of Britain's beleaguered Labor party, the attention and publicity it generated could not have come at a more politically important moment.
The prime minister shadowed Carter throughout the day. At first diffident, standing back when Carter plunged into a crowd, he soon was following the President's lead reaching out with both hands to greet the throngs.
What was most striking about Carter's first presidential day abroad was how much it resembled the political style and tactics he has adopted domestically. Following the advice of pollster Pat Caddell and others, the President has used the early months of his administration as an extension of his fall campaign in an attempt to build what was perceived as a shaky political base.
If the random reactions of people in Tyne and Wear country are indicative of American attitudes, that prescription is working. Standing outside the Corning Glass factory in Sunderland while Carter toured inside, a group of elderly women expressed their devotion to Jimmy Carter in precisely the terms the President's strategists have sought.
"He's a lovely chap," one said.
"I like him," another added, "because he mixes with ordinary people."
At Newcastle, speaking before a large crowd in a park in front of the civic center. Callaghan praised the President as "a man who combines such hardheaded common sense with an idealism that has given America a new thrust since he came to office."
In his remarks, Carter ticked off the number of jobs his administration hopes to create, especially for young people, but did not diminish the economic problems facing the United States and its allies. He also reiterated several of his major foreign policy themes.