The President Who Kissed Six First Ladies – And Many Others

Jimmy Carter made a baby cry after kissing the child during his 1976 presidential campaign, outside his Baptist church in Plains, Georgia. It would prove impossible to determine just which presidential candidate holds the record for kissing babies, that old campaign gesture dating back more than a century. During a March 1979 visit to Elk City, Oklahoma, the President performed the proverbial political baby kiss, despite it not being a campaign year. (Corbis) But one can certainly award President Jimmy Carter as the U.S. President who kissed more First Ladies other than his own wife. This past three-day holiday weekend just ended, with both Valentine’s Day and President’s Day having been marked, offers as good a time as any, a glimpse back at the man who is surely the Kissingest President. Carter kissing actress Liz Taylor at a June 30, 1976 fundraiser for his presidential campaign, held in New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Who could resist the chance to kiss the larger-than-life movie star Elizabeth Taylor? Not Jimmy Carter. In one of his earliest known kissing incidents, at the time of his nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate in the summer of 1976, he welcomed the actress at a convention fundraising event with a very long and affectionate public kiss. A year later, she married a Republican. President Jimmy Carter greets legendary actress Bette Davis at the White House. He kissed her at the event, a moment seemingly missed by photographers, but provoking her eyes to pop open in shock. (Corbis) Among even the most steadfast of Democratic movie stars, a Carter kiss could cause consternation. When Bette Davis got bussed in 1980, she bit her tongue but her large eyes popped into exclamation points and rolled disapprovingly towards the leader of the free world. World leaders were also not off his target for a kiss. In fact, one such kiss became highly controversial and soon after used as an incident with political consequence shortly thereafter. Not because the American President kissed another man – but because of who the man was and why they were together. The famous photograph of Brezhnev kissing of Carter, June 1979. (Corbis) On June 18, 1979, President Carter was in Vienna, Austria with the communist president of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev when he was the one surprised with a kiss. The two exhausted world leaders had just completed two days of intensive negotiating on

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Categories: First Families, First Ladies, Presidents, The Carters

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