President Carter discovered today he has even less influence with the weatherman than he has with Congress.
Carter, wearing overcoat and gloves but hatless, was greeted by sudden snow flurries as he took his seat on the Georgia Tech side of the field before the start of today's game with Navy. He sat there, chilled but smiling, while navy built a 17-13 lead under leaden skies.
Just as Carter completed a stroll across midfield at halftime to join the Navy cheering section for the second half, the sun came beaming through the clouds. Of course, only the visiting stands are exposed to late afternoon sunlight here.
After the third quarter, Carter deserted the deep freeze for a spot in the Georgia Tech radio booth. But first he warmed the hearts of his mid-shipmen hosts with a brief announcement over the public-address system.
"When I was here many years ago," Carter said, "I had a lot of extra duties to perform. Now in my capacity as President of the United States, I would like to announce the cancellation of all extra-duty tours and punishments."
The roar that greeted him was even louder than the tumult that followed the final gun and a 20-16 Navy victory.
During his radio interview with Pete Larson over WXRA-FM, Carter recalled his student days at both schools. "When I attended Georgia Tech (before transferring to Navy), I went to all the Tech-Navy games," he said. "It's been a great, long revarly, and I'm enjoying myself here today.
"Two years ago I stood outside this stadium and handed out campaign literature. It's nicer to be inside.
"Of course, I graduated from the Naval Alademy in 1947," the President continued. "When I went here I ran on the cross-country team with now-Admiral Stanfield Turner. A lot of members of that graduating class have gotten to the tops of their professions."
Carter and his wife, Rossalynn, sat with Dr. Joseph Pettit, president of Georgia Tech, during the first half, then joined Rear Adm. Kinnaird McKee, Superintendent of the Naval Academy, for the second half.
Carter smiled throughout, rarely cheering, and his attitude was in rather obvious contrast to Pettit, who sat glumly with arms folded as Navy pulled ahead.
The Carters arrived in the west parking lot by helicopter at 1:15 p.m., 15 minutes before the opening kickoff, and were driven to the rear of the visiting stands. The helicopter landing created a miniature dust storm that dispersed many fans, who had been draped on and around cars while awaiting the Presidential arrival.
One of the prominent pregame displays involved Tech's famous Ramblin' Reck, an old Model A Ford. Tech's Ramblin' Reck Club had attempted to drive the car into the White House grounds and sought to transport Carter to Annapolis in it, but that idea proved as successful as Tech's football game plan.
Persons bringing cameras, typewriters or briefcases into the stadium had to lay them down while German shepherds sniffed around in a search for explosives. The close checking of credentials trimmed the usual hordes along the sidelines to a chosen few.
Carter stayed to the end of the exciting contest and his departure created a mob scene behind the upper deck, where the spectators were unable to depart down the ramps because others were using the ramps as a vantage points to watch the president depart.
Most of the victorious Mids expressed their pleasure of claimed to the honoured by alumnus Carter's visit. But they were far happier about the victory that gave then a 5-5-record and a chance for a winning season.
"There was a lot of talk about winning for Carter," said Charlie Thornton, one of Navy's hereos. "But we really wanted to win it for us."
"It wasn't Carter's victory or Welsh's victory," said coach George Welsh. "They won if for themselves."