September 21st, 2010
09:11 AM ET
4 years ago

Carter declares his superiority to other presidents

Former President Jimmy Carter suggested Monday that he is superior to other former presidents.
Former President Jimmy Carter suggested Monday that he is superior to other former presidents.

(CNN) – In the exclusive club of former presidents, not often does one declare his superiority to another. Former President Jimmy Carter appeared to do just that on Monday.

"I feel that my role as a former president is probably superior to that of other presidents," Carter told NBC's Brian Williams, citing his work on domestic and international issues that "fill vacuums in the world."

"When the United States won't deal with troubled areas, we go there and we meet their leaders who can bring an end to a conflict, or an end to human rights abuse, and so forth," Carter said. "So I feel that have an advantage over many other former presidents in being involved in daily affairs that have shaped the policies of our nation and the world."

Shortly after portions of his interview aired, the 39th president walked back his comments.

"What I meant was, for 27 years the Carter Center has provided me with superior opportunities to do good," Carter said in a statement confirmed by CNN.

Carter is far from the only former president to fill humanitarian or charitable roles after their term in office. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush joined together in the wake of January's devastating earthquake in Haiti to form the Bush Clinton Haiti Fund. George H.W. Bush teamed up with Clinton in 2005 after a tsunami washed ashore in south Asia killing over 200,000 people.

Carter is making the interview rounds to promote his new book written from a lengthy personal diary he kept via Dictaphone as president. He told CNN’s Larry King that his dictations produced 5,000 pages of written material.

“I think when the paperback of this book comes out, I'm going to make it available to scholars and news reporters to go to the presidential library and read the...taped original,” Carter told King Monday night on Larry King Live.


Filed under: Jimmy Carter
soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. Carter Admin Vet

    His exemplary post-presidency example so admired in the 80s and 90s - homebuilding, writing, and relief efforts - has given way to gratuitous grandstanding, not least by injecting explosive language into the divisive touchpoint issues of the day.

    Nearly a dozen of the presidential libraries have recreated Oval Offices. Carter's is unique in having two replica's of the HMS Resolute desk he used while in office - one in the library's museum display, the other in his private office in the adjacent Carter Center. He literally frames his post-electoral perspective on the world by wrapping himself in the trappings of his former high office. It evidently has fostered a dillusional, lifetime expectation for the attention due a sitting head of state.

    Post-presidential activism has come at a cost: the humility of those who have held the highest office in the land.

    September 21, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. joeaverage

    I definitely don't think they guy has gotten enough respect over the years. People made fun of him terribly when i was a kid. Unfortunately he is likely the kind of guy that it would take to get our country beyond it's problems but nobody will listen to him b/c he's not "cool" enough for people who worry about things like that.

    I wish we had more people like him in charge.

    September 21, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. Missy

    "When the United States won't deal with troubled areas, we go there and we meet their leaders who can bring an end to a conflict, or an end to human rights abuse, and so forth," Carter said.

    Did he happen to give any examples of his meetings with leaders in "troubled areas" of the world that have succesfully brought an end or substantial reduction to those troubles or human rights abuses?

    No doubt that he has done tremendous charitable work, but I think he may be giving himself too much credit for international peace initiatives and human rights victories.

    September 21, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  4. Sam

    Way to go....
    I absolutely love this man.... He has so much of courage..

    September 21, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Cater was one of the worst presidents in history. History itself proves that. He's trying to do anything to keep people from remembering how worthless he was/is.

    September 21, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. Dave

    Jimmy Carter is probably the most honest president we've ever had, and that was probably his downfall. However, he has done the most good in the world of all the ex-presidents since I've been alive. What has W done, cut down more trees on his ranch?

    September 21, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. New York

    "So I feel that have an advantage over many other FORMER PRESIDENTS" in being involved in daily affairs that have shaped the policies of our nation and the world."
    What he said was that his role as President was superior to everyone that came before him "FORMER PRESIDENTS” though he may not be entirely correct, everyone before him is dead so being alive does make him superior.

    September 21, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  8. Monrob

    I think his soul is certainly more advanced. He is a good man and has worked for humanity more than the Bushes aand more than Obama has- that's for sure.

    September 21, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. Rob Fahrni

    Slow news day? This isn't a story folks. President Carter has helped in many a humanitarian effort since his Presidency. Are his comments really that big a deal?

    September 21, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. turtlebar

    I think he is right on. Nothing wrong with his statement given all he had done for this country.

    September 21, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  11. daveinfw

    Jimmy Carter was a joke when he was pres and he's a joke now. Jimmy you're showing your age. Get a mental check-up.

    September 21, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  12. Dorothy

    Carter was the worst president we had in modern times. My mother was from Ga and when he was president would not tell anyone. He sucked and still does.

    September 21, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Roger

    Wow, Jimmy "Peanut" Carter another liberal, left-wing wacko legend in his own mind!

    September 21, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. DJK

    Yeah it's easy to be successful when you have no responsibilities.

    September 21, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. WisconsinEric

    I admire Carter but these remarks seem ill-advised, even if they were true. People don't like braggarts. That said, to me the facts appear to confirm that Carter has (often quietly) walked the talk in ways and for a length of time that other presidents (with the possible exception of Clinton) simply have not done. And he has not just professed Christianity, his work has shown Christian principles in action. But you don't gloat over it, for heaven's sake!

    September 21, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. John Q.

    Even though Carter was perhaps the worst President in recent history, I'm afraid he has developed a bad case of "selective amnesia" so common with politicians. Then again, at his age dementia could be starting to show?

    September 21, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. Gixmo

    Why don't you ask him about how his policies screwed countries like Nicaragua? Just look at the mess that the Sandinistas have made with Nicaragua...all because the peanut man helped them get into power. And yeah, his policies got rid of a very evil dictator. But ask Nicaraguans whether their lives were better of with the Somozas or with the Ortegas? At least Nicaraguans didn't have to leave the country to look for a better place to live and to find decent jobs when the Somozas were in power.

    September 21, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  18. jules sand-perkins

    Carter is right: he is vastly superior to Former Presidents–uh, well, to the current president, Obama.

    September 21, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  19. damn yank

    cnn and other newsw orgs. do what they do best....flame the fire...

    even i know what carter meant...but we all just love taking words out of context, causing a buz, and making $$ from the increased traffic and advertising revenue.

    it's not divide and conquer, it's divide and profit

    September 21, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. rafael bolero

    If we had implemented, for rreal, his CAFE auto laws, we'd be a lot better off in multiple areas.

    September 21, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. Steve, New York City

    Mr. Carter has been one HECK of a humanitarian in his post-White House days (Habitat for Humanity, etc.) – though it is hard for me to consider his term in the White House as a stunning success.

    September 21, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  22. Bob the Observer

    I will almost agree with him in one way. I was probably happier when he became a former president than I have ever been with any other president.

    Note to media: Have some compassion on an old man who is obviously losing his grip to dementia. We don't need to hear all of his quotes. It's embarrassing to his family, his party, and his nation. He may have been our worst president ever, but he was President of the United States, and deserves a measure of respect.

    Let's let him rest in peace, and overlook the rather inane comments he is making, much like we do our demented old uncle that shows up at Thanksgiving.

    September 21, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. ThinkAgain

    I happen to agree with Mr. Carter's remarks: Since leaving office, he has been a tireless worker on behalf of our country and people in need everywhere in the world. He's also authored many thoughtful books on important topics of concern.

    It may be that Clinton and Bush Sr. will surpass the number of years of effort that Mr. Carter has put in; until that time, his accomplishments are the benchmark and should inspire all who enjoy public recognition to do good with their status.

    September 21, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Awkward

    I'm laughing all the way to my overdrawn bank account. Thanks Jimmy!!

    September 21, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. Rock God

    Carter is right. His record as ex-prez proves it.

    September 21, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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