Tuesday, December 07, 2010

POLITICS - President Jimmy Carter's "White House Diary"

"Jimmy Carter Calls Congressional Republicans 'Completely Irresponsible'"
PBS Newshour 12/6/2010

Excerpts from transcript

RAY SUAREZ (Newshour): The existence of the book at all is kind of interesting to me. And I want to know how your contemporaneous musings, at the end of the day, instead of being locked away until future historians could get at it, came out during your lifetime.

JIMMY CARTER, former President of the United States: Well, three or four years ago, I started reading over some of the diary notes for other purposes. And I realized that so many of the things that I had to deal with that were very serious are on the desk in the Oval Office now for President Obama to address. The Middle East continues, energy, human rights, environment, the Koreas, China, Afghanistan, Iraq, and so forth.

And I would say the main difference between 25 years ago and now is the polarization of the parties. I had tremendous support from Republicans in the House and Senate. One of my closest working allies in the Senate was Howard Baker, was a minority leader of the Republicans.

And, in the House, it was Bob Michel, who was a minority leader of the -- in the House. And so they cooperated with me thoroughly. And that's completely absent now, where the Republicans have been, in my opinion, completely responsible the first 18 or so months of Obama's administration.

And, quite often, he can't get a single vote in the House or Senate for a major goal. And I had good support. So, that's changed.
JIMMY CARTER: I don't think I have changed in any material way, except I have learned a lot since I left the White House. And the thing that I have learned mostly is the growing chasm between rich people and poor people.

The richer people in America are getting richer and richer. The poorer people in America are getting poorer and poorer. And that is a case in almost every country on Earth. And it's also the issue between rich countries and poor countries. The rich countries are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.

And, as we grow further and further apart economically, we grow further and further apart in understanding each other and having mutual respect. And I think that's a challenge that we still haven't faced adequately in this country or around the world.

So, that is what I have learned, one of the things, major things I have learned since I left the White House.

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