David Goldman, File, Associated Press
FILE- In this Oct. 12, 2010 file photo, former President Jimmy Carter speaks at a ceremony at the Carter Center in Atlanta. Carter has some advice for Barack Obama as he gears up for the 2012 election: Don't alienate voters with controversial positions. The Georgia Democrat told The Associated Press on Tuesday that just about everything he did alienated voters, from sealing a treaty to hand over the Panama Canal to establishing diplomatic ties with China.

ATLANTA — Jimmy Carter may never have been president if he didn't go square dancing.

The Georgia Democrat credits a rural square dance club he joined in 1953 with helping him win a state Senate seat by a scant 66 votes. He shared the story in his latest book, "Through the Years with Jimmy Carter."

He writes: "If I hadn't received support from our square-dancing friends, I would have lost and never become a state senator. And if that had occurred, I never would have run for office again."

Carter has penned 26 different books, including childhood memoirs, treatises on the Middle East and accounts of his presidency. But none are like the latest, which offers 366 devotionals, each with a biblical passage, a personal story and an original prayer.