Caddell wanted to foment a sort of revolution, and he was in despair after sending Carter the drafted speech and updated memo, not knowing that Carter had read both on 4 July 1979 and had taken them with him to Camp David. Caddell also had no idea (yet) that Carter thought his arguments and observations were brilliant. Carter in short order let it be known that he was not going to give another energy speech, but rather focus on Caddell’s draft/memo, even though his energy speech had been scheduled on the networks for the next day. Carter told his staff to cancel the speech, but didn’t give anyone a reason why. Carter had decided to gamble his Presidency on Caddell’s totally unproven thesis that the US was going through a crisis of confidence and his grandiose solution of transformative leadership.
While Carter et al were at Camp David, the dollar dropped like a rock, gold was being purchased at record rates by regular citizens driving up the price per ounce; Carter was unreachable when he needed to be available to calm financial markets. Carter’s approval rating had plummeted to 26% a week after he canceled his energy speech. Finally, it dawned on the 29 year old Caddell that his advice was being followed by the President, and it terrified him to know that he might be at least partially responsible for some not-very-nice developments as a result. VP Mondale wondered out loud how a 29 year old wunderkind from the Ivory Tower could get Carter to drink his Kool Aid. Mondale referred to Carter as a domestic recluse, and that as President he needed to get out and actually interact and talk to the American people.
Some accused Carter of becoming a DC insider, which was not true in any stretch of the imagination since Carter went out of his way to have as little contact with the DC Elites as possible. Caddell had his turn, and eyes ablaze like Rasputin in a seance, he rehashed all his arguments for why Carter should do what he suggested. Mondale turned on Caddell, and even the President, telling them to their faces that it was a bad move to blame the people for what’s going on when the people wanted answers. Mondale was very specific with Carter, mentioning the President’s political shortcomings, and Mondale was even more merciless with Caddell, telling him that his polling/research were seriously flawed and influenced far too much by the world of academia, not reality.
So the question was now who to invite to Camp David, and what was called a Domestic Summit became a political circus. Friday was reserved for Democratic Governors, and Saturday was for the “Wise Men”, such as Clark Clifford. Sunday was for energy experts, and on Monday economists were scheduled in the morning and human rights activists in the afternoon/evening. On Tuesday were to be Congressional leaders and on Wednesday Labor leaders, and then to close, mayors and county officials. On Saturday, Carter wanted to work on finalizing the speech that he would give to the nation on Sunday.
On Sunday, Carter flawlessly delivered his “Crisis of Confidence" speech from the Oval Office. Soon enough in the speech, Carter arrived at Caddell’s references of a crisis of confidence combined with his own views on self-indulgence and consumption as well as the rise of pessimism. Carter stated that the cure was to restore faith in each other, faith in the ability of those to govern, faith in the future, as well as a rediscovery of traditional values. Carter closed by stating that solving the energy crisis would be the bridge to cross to show that increased faith and confidence. Carter also identified an enemy of the US towards the end of his speech: OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries).
Carter went on a follow-up tour starting the next day on 16 July 1979, and after speaking in Kansas City, MO, Carter spoke in front of labor groups in Detroit, featuring some of Caddell’s points that he didn’t use during his televised speech. Caddell had recognized something in Carter that most around the President had missed, and at least in the short-run, Carter had re-established a connection with Americans as he had in 1976. It was at that point that Hamilton Jordan agreed to be Chief of Staff, and that changes in the Cabinet would be the litmus test of leading the nation instead of managing the government. It would be how Carter handled the “reshuffling” of his Cabinet where he would quickly lose the support of the nation that he had regained from his “Crisis of Confidence” speech.