Carter Confidant, Press Secretary Powell Dead at 65
Aide helped engineer Ga. governor's rise to the White House
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2009 6:23 PM CDT
White House press secretary Jody Powell speaks at a news conference in Milwaukee, March 30, 1980.    (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Former White House press secretary Jody Powell, a longtime aide who helped engineer Jimmy Carter's run to the White House, died today after apparently suffering a heart attack at his Maryland home, the Washington Post reports. He was 65. A member of the "Georgia Mafia" that stormed the capital after the 1976 election, Powell leveraged his close relationship with Carter to the benefit of the reporters who relied on him for information.

"You could take what he told you to the bank because he was so close to Carter," said Stephen Hess, an expert on politics and the media. "The problem for the White House press corps is that they do not see a lot of the president or go inside the Oval Office, and so they rely heavily on what a press secretary tells them."