Jimmy Carter faced many problems when he was President of the United States of America. Problems such as a poor economy, hostages in Iran, and Billy Carter kept him busy. However, one that he (and the Secret Service) failed to anticipate was a vicious Georgia swamp rabbit.
The Straight Dope describes the incident, "The rabbit incident happened on April 20 while Carter was taking a few days off in Plains, Georgia. He was fishing from a canoe in a pond when he spotted the fateful rabbit swimming toward him. It was never precisely determined what the rabbit's problem was. Carter, always trying to look at things from the other guy's point of view, later speculated that it was fleeing a predator. Whatever the case, it was definitely a troubled rabbit. 'It was hissing menacingly, its teeth flashing and nostrils flared and making straight for the president,' a press account said. The Secret Service having been caught flatfooted--I'll grant you an amphibious rabbit assault is a tough thing to defend against--the president did what he could to protect himself. Initially it was reported that he had hit the rabbit with his paddle. Realizing this would not play well with the Rabbit Lovers Guild, Carter later clarified that he had merely splashed water at the rabbit, which then swam off toward shore. A White House photographer, ever alert to history's pivotal moments, snapped a picture of the encounter for posterity."
When Carter got back to the White House, his staff did not believe his rabbit attack story. Frustrated, Carter had the picture of the attack blown up to show everyone that he had indeed been approached by a violent bunny. Unfortunately, the story leaked. The press had a lot of fun with this incident.
Press Secretary Jody Powell wrote in his book The Other Side of the Story, "Upon closer inspection, the animal turned out to be a rabbit. Not one of your cutesy, Easter Bunny-type rabbits, but one of those big splay-footed things that we called swamp rabbits when I was growing up.The animal was clearly in distress, or perhaps berserk. The President confessed to having had limited experience with enraged rabbits. He was unable to reach a definite conclusion about its state of mind. What was obvious, however, was that this large, wet animal, making strange hissing noises and gnashing its teeth, was intent upon climbing into the Presidential boat."
Fortunately for President Carter and the American nation, a rogue bunny has never again attacked Carter or any other American President.