Carter discusses impact of negative campaigning

The tone of one of the nastiest presidential campaigns in history did not escape the notice of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter at the 15th annual Carter Town Hall Meeting on Sept. 25. Carter (shown here with president Bill Chace) responded to a question from an audience member asking how he felt about the change in tone of presidential campaigns since Carter's first run for the presidency in 1976. "My campaign would not even have used the name of my opponent [in its advertising]," said Carter. "We would have been condemned if we had attacked our opponent. We were required to talk only about what we would do if we got into office." Carter said he believes the proportion of citizens voting in presidential elections is down significantly from 20 years ago because of the massive amounts of money presidential candidates are devoting to destroying their opponents. He said the current situation does not inspire voters to go out and vote for a candidate, but rather to vote against a candidate one dislikes. "The public responds more actively to a negative campaign than to a positive campaign," Carter said. "A lot of the blame for that lies with the American public. Both the media and the public must forsake this type of negative campaigning before anything can change." --Dan Treadaway
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