Negative influence on NASA and science is certainly something you can associate with the current Republican admin. George W Bush giving NASA the new herculean goals while cutting their funding, using his veto power against stem-cell science, putting the Uber-Christian George Deutsch in control of NASA's press.
Carter came after the troubled Nixon/Ford presidency, James Earl Carter he was the only president on record to actually file the UFO sighting report related to his sighting, Carter also had very strong backing from evangelical voters. Nixon was a problem, he shutdown Apollo, as a compromise to the people at NASA who were finding themselves shutdown Nixon approved the Shuttle, Gerald Ford seemed to be very inactive at NASA, and Jimmy Carter seemed to be more interested in this flying saucer stuff, with NASA's Voyager mission Carter was supposed to have recorded a message for the alien civilizations of the galaxy. Do you guys remember those years and did he have a negative impact on the space program, or was it just a harmless attraction to this UFO idea ?
I suppose this question is addressed to the 40 year+ members of baut, who studied, worked, lived...during this time.