Jimmy Carter rabbit incident
The Jimmy Carter rabbit incident, dubbed the "killer rabbit" attack by the media, involved a Swamp Rabbit
Swamp Rabbit
The Swamp Rabbit is a large cottontail rabbit found in the swamps and wetlands of the Southern United States.- Appearance :...

 that caught press imagination after swimming toward then-U.S. President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

's fishing boat on April 20, 1979.


Carter had gone on a solo fishing expedition in his hometown of Plains, Georgia
Plains, Georgia
Plains is a city in Sumter County, Georgia, United States. The population was 776 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Americus Micropolitan Statistical Area.-Notable people:...

. According to the former president, a rabbit being chased by hounds "jumped in the water and swam toward my boat. When he got almost there, I splashed some water with a paddle."

Upon returning to his office, Carter's staff did not believe his story, insisting that rabbits couldn't swim, or that they would never approach a person threateningly. The incident was captured on footage taken by a White House photographer.

Media accounts and public perception

Press Secretary
Press secretary
A press secretary or press officer is a senior advisor who provides advice on how to deal with the news media and, using news management techniques, helps their employer to maintain a positive public image and avoid negative media coverage....

 Jody Powell mentioned the event to Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 correspondent Brooks Jackson on August 28, 1979, who filed the story with the wire service
Wire Service
Wire Service is an American drama series that aired on ABC as part of its 1956-57 season lineup.-Synopsis:Wire Service focuses on three reporters for the fictional Trans-Globe wire service, which was similar to real-life news wire services such as the Associated Press and United Press International...

 the following day. The story "President Attacked by Rabbit" was carried across the front page of The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

, though the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

's refusal to release the photograph resulted in the newspaper using a cartoon parody of the Jaws
Jaws (film)
Jaws is a 1975 American horror-thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. In the story, the police chief of Amity Island, a fictional summer resort town, tries to protect beachgoers from a giant man-eating great white shark by closing the beach,...

poster labeled "PAWS" as its illustration. The White House still refused to release the photograph of the incident to the media until it turned up during the Reagan administration
Reagan Administration
The United States presidency of Ronald Reagan, also known as the Reagan administration, was a Republican administration headed by Ronald Reagan from January 20, 1981, to January 20, 1989....

 and the story saw a revival.
In Press Secretary Powell's 1986 book The Other Side of the Story, he recounted the story as follows:
The incident with the rabbit became fodder for political and ideological opponents who attempted to frame Carter's presidency as hapless and enfeebled.

The incident was also parodied by Grammy Award-winning folk singer Tom Paxton
Tom Paxton
Thomas Richard Paxton is an American folk singer and singer-songwriter who has been writing, performing and recording music for over forty years...

 in his song "I Don't Want a Bunny Wunny" which appears on his 1980 album The Paxton Report. The lyrics can be found here.

See also

  • George H. W. Bush vomiting incident
    George H. W. Bush vomiting incident
    The George H.W. Bush vomiting incident occurred on January 8, 1992 around 8:20 p.m. JST when U.S. President George H.W. Bush fainted after vomiting at a banquet hosted by the then Prime Minister of Japan, Kiichi Miyazawa.-History:...

  • Dick Cheney hunting incident
    Dick Cheney hunting incident
    The Dick Cheney hunting incident occurred on February 11, 2006, when then U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney shot Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old Texas attorney, while participating in a quail hunt on a ranch in Kenedy County, Texas...

  • Rabbit of Caerbannog
    Rabbit of Caerbannog
    The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog is a fictional beast in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It is the antagonist in a major setpiece battle, and makes a similar appearance in Spamalot, a musical inspired by the movie...

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