Peanut, Big Mac & Jelly Bean: The Brief Era of Presidential Campaign Snacks

The Presidential Campaign Snack Era: Carter, Reagan, Bush & Clinton. In the long history of presidential campaigns, it was a relatively brief period, stretching from 1976 to 1992, but during any one of the four elections in that period which saw a new person thrust into the White House, by Election Day each of them had become inextricably linked to one identifiable, easily portable snack food. Salty, sweet, fattening, or low-calorie, it was no New Deal or Camelot, no New Beginning or Great Society, but rather a delicious moment in time largely forgotten as, “The Presidential Campaign Snack Era.” A sampling of peanut buttons from Carter’s campaign. Carter with a crop of peanuts. Simply by virtue of the fact that the most colorful aspect of Jimmy Carter’s biography was  that he owned a Georgia peanut farm, the media covering him in 1976 rarely failed to associate him with the legume (it isn’t a nut, in fact). Inheriting the property after his father’s 1953 death, Jimmy Carter decided to increase the acreage of peanut crop and peanut seed, which he sold along with a variety of agricultural supplies. The entire enterprise, known as “the Carter Warehouse” proved successful. Jimmy Carter and his aptly-named campaign plane. Campaign photographs showing Carter in the fresh air of the open green fields, or shoveling peanuts into a storage container in his warehouse would create a distinct link in the public imagination between the candidate and the “healthy fat” snack which has  the highest protein content of any nut or legume. Carter was also turned into the famous Mr. Peanut brand logo. The Carter campaign capitalized on the association. Volunteers from his hometown of Plains, Georgia were known as the “Peanut Brigade,” and he dubbed him campaign plane “Peanut One.” He was called “The Peanut Man,” and “Mr. Peanut.” And if immediate word association among voters with “peanut” were simple, healthy, reliable and earthy, Carter didn’t mind at all. Carter peanut coffee mugs. That year, it seems that every possible novelty and souvenir that could be shaped into a peanut was turned into a  Carter campaign

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Categories: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Food, George W. Bush, History, Individual Presidents, Jimmy Carter, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Politics, Pop Culture, Presidential Foods, Presidents, Regional Food, Ronald Reagan, The Reagans

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