(CNN) – The late Sen. Ted Kennedy is widely hailed for devoting his political career to the cause of providing health care to all Americans. But in an interview set to air on 60 Minutes Sunday, former President Jimmy Carter says Kennedy is the one to blame for delaying legislation to provide such care.
"The fact is that we would have had comprehensive health care now, had it not been for Ted Kennedy's deliberately blocking the legislation that I proposed," Carter told CBS correspondent Lesley Stahl. "It was his fault. Ted Kennedy killed the bill."
Carter proposed health care reform in the late 1970s but was unable to sign any legislation. He said Kennedy blocked the bill in Congress out of spite in advance of the Massachusetts senator's unusual, and ultimately unsuccessful 1980 bid to unseat him.
"He did not want to see me have a major success in that realm of life," Carter said.
Kennedy at the time was pressing for a health care program run by the federal government, comparable to the so-called "public option" that many progressives fought for last year. Carter preferred to enact smaller changes over time to improve the existing health care system, similar to the legislation signed by President Obama in March. In the end, both of their plans failed to gain traction and the issue was put on the back burner when Ronald Reagan was elected president.
In his 1982 presidential memoirs, Carter painted Kennedy as a stubborn politician capable of using his clout to obstruct policy changes.
"Because of his key committee assignments, [he is] able to block almost any health legislation of which he does not approve," Carter wrote in Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President. "In effect, he insisted on his plan or nothing at all."
Later in his life, Kennedy expressed regret that he held out for a government-run health care system. While he said he wished he had made a deal to reform health care with President Richard Nixon in the early 1970s, it was his same attitude that led him later that decade to criticize Carter's plan for reform.
Kennedy died in August 2009, less than one year before President Obama signed major health care reform legislation.
Kennedy was always an idiot. He was a rapist murderer also. He is also responsible for all the illegals in this country, along with that sack of sh*t hillbilly carter. Kennedy should be dug up and have his bones peed on and Carter should be burned at the stake.
I agree with this analysis by Jimmy Carter. It's probably one of the few things he has said that I agree with.
Actually this reinforces an opinion held by the voters today that entrenched politicians just look out for themselves. I have come to that conclusion and as a life long democrat I have changed my party affiliation to UNAFFILIATED.
Why am I not surprised.. This guy was a monster.. His car accident that killed that girl ( Mary jo Kopeckne ) should have disqualified him from any public office. I'm not surprised he would block anything that did not make him the star.. What a prick !
Kennedy killed that health bill, and a call girl or two, also.
Damn, Carter sounds like a whining Republican. Don't be surprised if he becomes one.
Tired old man looking for a bone. Carter=worst president ever...could be surpassed by Obama.
Waaa!!! Waaa!! Healthcare should be my legacy. I fill you all in on what really happened to my presidency (now that Ted can's defend himself)!
President Carter, you a fine man and gentleman. You knew what you were doing in making policies for our country. But Kennedy's ambition was too great for him to help you. He wanted your job.
I love ya Jimmy, and I'm sure it's true, and I don't blame you for being bitter. But too soon Jimmy. Too soon.
At least compromising your morals in the name of "good politics" at the expense of the American public is not a new trend. I'm sure all the people who went without healthcare over the last 40 years are very happy for Kennedy & Carter's little political spat.
Damn, is there any ex-president that Carter does NOT have a grudge against?
idiots. all of them.
My baloney has a first name its J-I-M-M-Y
My baloney has a second name its C-A-R-T-E-R
Oh I loved to hate him every day....
If you ask me why I'll say,
Cause Jimmy Carter had a way of screwing up the USA.
Well at least it finally got passed. It will cost Obama dearly, but at least he got it done
Oh no, Carter bashes Kennedy. Who are conservatives going to bash in this case? I think there heads might explode trying to figure out this paradox.