If These Walls Could Talk: Shotgun Willie goes to the White House
September 10th, 2012
11:46 AM ET

If These Walls Could Talk: Shotgun Willie goes to the White House

Washington (CNN) - Former President Jimmy Carter once told Rolling Stone magazine that “all the good things I did as president, all the mistakes I made - you can blame half of that on Willie.”

The Willie that Carter is referring to is none other than Willie Nelson, the famed “outlaw” country singer known for his unique sound and his affinity for marijuana.

Although Carter was known as a buttoned-up president - during the 1976 campaign, he regularly highlighted his Southern Baptist roots and his role as a Sunday school teacher - the former governor of Georgia was also known to escape the pressures of the presidency by listening to Willie Nelson.

And on September 13, 1980, the president’s love for the music of the “redheaded stranger” was fulfilled when Nelson played for Carter at the White House.

The night was certainly a unique one. Not only did first lady Rosalynn Carter sing a cover of Ray Wylie Hubbard's "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother" with Nelson, but the country star claims that after the concert he smoked marijuana on the White House roof.

In a joint interview with Entertainment Weekly, Nelson and Carter laughed about the subject:

Carter: I would guess that Willie and my sons knew a lot more about that than I did. That was one of the things that Willie and I never did discuss much. But I don't think there's much doubt that there was—

Nelson: Actually, short-term memory — I don't remember a lot that happened then.

Carter: Yeah, my memory's kind of short on that subject, too.

The Carter-Nelson relationship was not just a passing one.

Nelson joined Carter on the campaign trail in 1976 – even though during that campaign Carter had called for tough penalties on marijuana usage. In the same Entertainment Weekly interview, Carter credited Nelson with helping him win the election.

“I think that was one of the reasons I won, because I did align myself with characters like these, who were admired by hundreds of millions around the world,” Carter said. “I think as much as any performer who has ever lived, Willie has had an intimate and natural relationship with working people.”

It seems Nelson appreciated thoughts like that. In the Country Music Channel documentary “Jimmy Carter in Plains,” Nelson says that Carter is “my favorite president.”

Close friends to this day, Carter has joined Nelson on stage a number of times since the White House performance in 1980. When Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, Willie Nelson was there to serenade him with “Georgia on My Mind.”

Most recently, on June 16, 2012, Carter joined Nelson on stage at a concert in Atlanta, where the duo sang “Amazing Grace” for the crowd. According to reporting by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and video from the performance, Carter even put on an iconic red bandana like Nelson’s.


Topics: White House

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Kool-Aid Police

    You mean "Dime Bag" Willie, don't you?

    September 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • 1FreeWorld

      Quarter-Bag Willy!!!

      Sort of like Slick WIlly,,, Bill CLinton

      But Slick Willy (Bill CLINTON) Buys EXPENSIVE CIGARS to share with WHITE HOUSE INTERNS!

      September 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
      • 1FreeWorld

        I tried to post on the other CNN HEADLINE where

        The Commie ad his wife, Antoinette,
        went to the ARLINGTON CEMETERY,,,

        It wasn't accepted.... (THE POST I MADE WAS NOT ACCEPTED)

        I posted that I have 2 BROTHERS in the ARLINGTON CEMETERY,,,,

        HOW CAN WE HAVE A COMMIE and his COMMIE WIFE pretending to be SAD in
        this particular Cemetery???

        Go Figure,,,
        Just Sayin'

        September 11, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • 1FreeWorld

      I am wondering How
      Hank Williams, Willy Nelson, or Dolly Parton would do the following Song,,,,

      Violins (I mean Fiddles)
      Steele Guitars?
      Perhaps a Duet?

      I can see Hank and this guy doing a Duet!

      NEW DANCE HERE!!!

      September 11, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  2. Howard

    Mortimer Zuckerman: Those Jobless Numbers Are Even Worse Than They Look

    Don't be fooled by the headline unemployment number of 8.1% announced on Friday. The reason the number dropped to 8.1% from 8.3% in July was not because more jobs were created, but because more people quit looking for work.

    The number for August reflects only people who have actively applied for a job in the past four weeks, either by interview or by filling an application form. But when the average period of unemployment is nearly 40 weeks, it is unrealistic to expect everyone who needs a job to keep seeking work consistently for months on end. You don't have to be lazy to recoil from the heartbreaking futility of knocking, week after week, on closed doors.

    How many people are out of work but not counted as unemployed because they hadn't sought work in the past four weeks? Eight million. This is the sort of distressing number that turns up when you look beyond the headline number.

    Here's another one: 96,000—that's how many new jobs were added last month, well short of the anemic 125,000 predicted by analysts, and dramatically less than the (still paltry) 139,000 the economy had been averaging in 2012.

    The alarming numbers proliferate the deeper you look: 40.7% of the people counted as unemployed have been out of work for 27 weeks or more—that's 5.2 million "long-term" unemployed. Fewer Americans are at work today than in April 2000, even though the population since then has grown by 31 million.

    We are still almost five million payrolls shy of where we were at the end of 2007, when the recession began. Think about that when you hear the Obama administration's talk of an economic recovery.

    The key indicator of our employment health, in all the statistics, is what the government calls U-6. This is the number who have applied for work in the past six months and includes people who are involuntary part-time workers—government-speak for those individuals whose jobs have been cut back to two or three days a week.

    September 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • mcskadittle

      The formula has changed, its the same one the previous president used

      September 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
      • mcskadittle

        of course i meant to say has not changed

        September 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
      • Howard

        Obama will say, or do anything to hold onto power ... and, Obama stooges will defend "Dear Leader", and demonize his opponents ... no matter what Obama says, or does. America ... let's stop the illusion of the Emperor's new clothes ... America needs a REAL leader ... and, America is much, much more important than Obama. Obama is expendable ... America is not. Save America, elect Romney/Ryan in November.

        September 11, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Bob

      Zuckerman has no credibility.

      September 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
      • Howard

        Obama has NO credibility ... he lied about most of his 2008 campaign promises ... video tape has caught him in countless contradictions ... he's been caught on a live mic, promising the Russians 'flexibility' after the elections ... he has betrayed his own friends (of 20 years), as well as America's allies ... Obama has NO credibility.

        September 11, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • 1FreeWorld

      Hey? Are you into Cars?

      Check this one out!

      Lot of fast cars and expensive cars!

      September 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  3. Howard

    President Obama is touting his foreign policy experience on the campaign trail, but startling new statistics suggest that national security has not necessarily been the personal priority the president makes it out to be. It turns out that more than half the time, the commander in chief does not attend his daily intelligence meeting.
    President Obama’s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) — the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent.
    By Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post

    September 10, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • mcskadittle

      okay now your tinfoil hat is on too tight, he is briefed ever day, whether he attends the meeting or not

      September 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • 1FreeWorld

        I am really quite surprised that we now have a Fancy Folk Song about Obummer!!!

        September 12, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  4. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Humm,
    The Village "Idiot" meets the Pretender to the Throne. OK.

    September 11, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  5. Howard

    Maybe Obama skipping Intel briefings can be blamed on 'SYNTAX' ... or, maybe it's George Bush's fault ... or, maybe Obama can just deny it, even if video tapes prove it ... or, maybe Obama will be more flexible, after the election ... or, maybe Clinton 'did not have sex with that woman' ... who cares what the truth is ... Obama will say, or do anything to hold onto power. Obama stooges will defend "Dear Leader", and demonize his opponents ... no matter what Obama says, or does.

    September 11, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  6. Howard

    Obama will say, or do anything to hold onto power. Obama stooges will defend "Dear Leader", and demonize his opponents ... no matter what Obama says, or does.

    September 11, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  7. Cynthia L.

    Rolling Stone writer, Matt Taibbi has an article in the magazine this month Tilted; THE BAIN WAY – GREED AND DEBT the True Story of Mitt Romney's Venture Capital's business model. Saw Taibbi being interviewed last night and this is what he has to say about this story.
    Borrowing money against the company's credit and assets which Bain Advisors push. When the MASSIVE DIVIDENDS are paid against the company's credit loading and Bain's $10 Million – $15 Million annual fees for their services loading them up with more debt causing pension plans to be raided and people to be laid-off, Bain starts selling off the company's assets – equipment – tools – anything and everything to squeeze out the last of anything with a dollar value and force the company into bankruptcy. Bain employees, of course, get to keep the fees they were paid while everyone else is left standing in a heap of a ruined company.

    Howard and Ray won't read it though because FACTS DON'T MATTER and it wouldn't even matter if the Republicans ran the DEVIL HIMSELF WITH HORNS AND POINTY TEETH CHOMPING ON DEAD BABIES they would pick him for president over Obama – Duh. So, not much to see from these guys.

    September 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Ray E. (Georgia)

      Ya Know Cynthia,
      The huge majority of people don't know, don't care, have no idea what did or didn't happen at Bain. From what I gather Bain was about 80 percent sucessful. And who makes this writer at Rolling Stone an Expert. Now Cynthia, I have met plenty of "Experts" in my liifetime. I learned to do as President Reagan said, Trust but Verify. For the record Cynthia, the Pilgrims came to the New World to get away from Big Government, not Re-Invent it. People don't want to reinvent Socialisim either. It failed in the old Soviet Union and it has failed here. We have over 16 Trillion reasons all spelled out in Red Ink.If that's what you want you can vote for it. I gave up a long time ago.

      September 11, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
      • Cynthia L.

        So TELL ME WHY the Republicans decided that the RICHEST COMPANY IN THE WORLD – that would be EXXON MOBILE – should be able to collect GOV'T SUBSIDES?? WHY? NASCAR- SUBSIDES?? Why?
        Sheldon Adelson, another Mitt Romney donor is contributing to the Romney campaign at the sum of $100 MILLION and stands to make 2000% on his investment. WHAT DOES SHELDON WANT?? MORE OF TAXPAYER MONEY!!
        DO YOU CARE? I do and so should you.

        September 11, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
      • 1FreeWorld

        So tell me WHY,,,

        YOU WANT TO BE CONTROLLED BY A FEW IN GUBMENT?

        THEY WILL MAKE YOU
        PAY HIGHER ENERGY PRICES

        PAY HIGHER FOR ,,,
        GAS to run your Car,
        ELECTRICITY to heat your Home in the Winter
        ELECTRICITY to cool your Home in the Summer,
        Energy to HAUL FOOD to your Grocery Store , hence, HIGHER FOOD PRICES,
        Energy to HAUL YOU CHIL'REN to SCHOOL, hence, HIGHER LOCAL TAXES
        Etc?

        Obummer's got to go y'all,,,,
        Or as Biden says,,,
        HIGHER ENERGY COSTS will PUT y'all Back in Chains!

        September 11, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  8. RealityBites

    The other day I asked my 3rd grader what she learned at school. "Jimmy Carter was a great president" she replied.
    "What's 8 + 8", I asked. To which she replied, "I don't know"
    "Jimmy Carter was a very nice man but not a very good president" was my reply,

    Not that this is any indication of our failed public school system..

    September 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • 1FreeWorld

      Jansen and Brittain, the 2 "News" Persons that have BLOGS here,,,

      DO NOT ALLOW FREE SPEECH!

      I cannot post on thier BLOGs!

      Just Sayin'
      Go Figure!

      September 13, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  9. NOTADEMOCRAT

    If those walls could talk..,
    they would most surely ask about the 52 American hostages Carter left in Iran during his final 444 days in office..

    September 11, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  10. 1FreeWorld

    I am really having a good time listening to all the Songs about OBAMA!

    Willy Nelson?

    Can we get a Rapper to do this one?

    OH, OH, OH,,,

    BLUES BROTHERS can do this one!

    September 11, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • 1FreeWorld

      Maybe we can get Jimma Carter, Slick Willy, Shotgun Willy, and wHoseHinny Obummer to form a Barbershop Quartet

      to sing about Planned Parenhood

      and the costs to get a Permit to have a Baby?

      September 12, 2012 at 8:32 am |