President Jimmy Carter has talked about his 1969 encounter with an unidentified flying object several times over the years. He's never really been of the opinion that what he saw was an alien spacecraft, but maintains that he doesn't quite know what it was, either.
On the latest episode of The Brian Lehrer Show, Carter again explains his experience, breaking it down in a straightforward fashion: "I don't claim that it came from outer space," he tells Lehrer, "But it was unidentified, it was flying, and it was an object."
Carter was on the show promoting his new book A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power, which focuses on gender inequality around the world. The UFO thing was more of a sidebar.
One of the more recent times Carter has discussed the UFO incident was in a 2005 interview in GQ, in which he said:
I saw an unidentified flying object. I've never believed that it came from Mars. I know enough physics to know that you can't have vehicles that are tangible in nature flying from Mars, looking around, and then flying back. But I saw an object one night when I was preparing to give a speech to a Lions Club. There were about twenty-five of us men standing around. It was almost time for the Lions Club supper to start, which I would eat and then I would give a speech. I was in charge of fifty-six Lions Clubs in southwest Georgia back in the late '60s. And all of a sudden, one of the men looked up and said, "Look, over in the west!" And there was a bright light in the sky. We all saw it. And then the light, it got closer and closer to us. And then it stopped, I don't know how far away, but it stopped beyond the pine trees. And all of a sudden it changed color to blue, and then it changed to red, then back to white. And we were trying to figure out what in the world it could be, and then it receded into the distance. I had a tape recorder—because as I met with members of Lions Clubs, I would dictate their names on the tapes so I could remember them—and I dictated my observations. And when I got home, I wrote them down. So that's an accurate description of what I saw. It was a flying object that was unidentified. But I have never thought that it was from outer space.
You know, I still think it could've been an alien ship. But then, I want to believe.