Jimmy Carter knocks Hillary Clinton-President Obama foreign policy
April 10th, 2014
12:29 PM ET
9 months ago

Jimmy Carter knocks Hillary Clinton-President Obama foreign policy

(CNN) – Former President Jimmy Carter took a jab at President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over their handling of Middle East peace negotiations in an interview published Thursday.

Heralding the nation's current top diplomat, John Kerry, the former Democratic President told TIME Magazine he has "great admiration" for Kerry and the two stay in touch frequently through email.

"He has had a very difficult time operating pretty much on his own," Carter said about Kerry's role in the Mideast peace process. "I know from experience that the best way to have the United States be a mediator is for the president himself to be deeply involved."

But in praising Kerry, Carter went on to argue that Clinton – Kerry's predecessor – failed to play a major role in the peace-making process.

"In this occasion, when Secretary Clinton was Secretary of State, she took very little action to bring about peace. It was only John Kerry's coming into office that reinitiated all these very important and crucial issues," Carter said.

TIME noted that the interview was edited for length.

Carter has been known to offer candid assessments of both Republican and Democratic presidents and their administrations, including former President Bill Clinton. Throughout much of Clinton's presidency, Carter was a Democratic agitator. He embarked on his own foreign policy projects, at times at direct odds with the White House.

The idea that Clinton failed to make big achievements during her four years at the State Department is an argument Republicans have latched onto as they prepare for a possible 2016 presidential run by the former first lady and former senator.

"Whether it was acting with the next political campaign in mind or merely following a weak Obama-Hillary foreign policy, Hillary Clinton has very little to show for her four years in the State Department," said Kirsten Kukowski, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.

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Since leaving the State Department in 2013, Clinton has toured the country on the paid speaking circuit and regularly talks about her four years as the nation's top diplomat. In particular, the former first lady frequently highlights her role in major issues involving Iran, Syria and Libya, as well as steps she took to achieve equality for women and children around the world. She made 16 trips to the Middle East and North Africa.

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She's set to release a book in June detailing her time as secretary.

CNN reached out to her spokesman for a response to Carter's comments.

Since succeeding Clinton, Kerry has been active in negotiations for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, visiting the Middle East more than a dozen times since taking office last year.

He's also been highly involved in a multi-country agreement with Iran to reduce its stockpile of highly enriched uranium and allow inspectors into some of its facilities.

But Kerry hasn't been immune to criticism. At a Senate hearing just this week, Republican members of the Foreign Relations Committee–which he used to chair–criticized Kerry over the Obama administration's Syria and Ukraine policies.

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CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Jimmy Carter • President Obama
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. kurt

    There's also the fact that for pretty much every president, middle-east peace talks are a second term issue.

    For some reason, presidencies tend to make big waves on the domestic issues in a first term, then foriegn policy in the second. This likely has to do with opposing parties trying to stimey achievements in congress during a second term, and foriegn policy achievements requiring less buy in from congress.

    April 10, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. just saying

    "He has had a very difficult time operating pretty much on his own," Carter said about Kerry's role in the Mideast peace process. "I know from experience that the best way to have the United States be a mediator is for the president himself to be deeply involved."
    --

    the only thing obama gets deeply involved in is golfing, vacations and campaign fund raising. doing real work, especially real hard work, is not and has not been on his agenda. and won't be for the next 2.5 years. it is why we have the mess here and abroad.

    April 10, 2014 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Chris-E...al

    Yes Mr. Carter there will be major war most likely in the mideast probably before this president leaves office . I fill you sir . Watch them E.mails .

    April 10, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. Donna

    But in praising Kerry, Carter went on to argue that Clinton – Kerry's predecessor – failed to play a major role in the peace-making process.
    "In this occasion, when Secretary Clinton was Secretary of State, she took very little action to bring about peace. It was only John Kerry's coming into office that reinitiated all these very important and crucial issues," Carter said.
    -–

    The ONLY thing Hillary Clinton did in 4 years as Secretary of State, besides go on a 4 year world tour at our expense, was the Russian reset. And we now know what a total disaster THAT was. Not doing her job while 4 Americans were killed in Benghazi and now it comes out that there is $6 BILLION missing from the State Dept. pretty much tells the dismal story of Hillary Clinton's accomplishments as Secretary of State. She couldn't handle that job, let alone the Presidency. Her 3am phone call came from Benghazi and she hung up, rolled over and went back to sleep.

    April 10, 2014 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. timverba

    There has been little progress in the Israel-Palestine negotiations because Israel and Palestine do not want to negotiate. Why waste America's time with the foolishness if the two principals are not serious? They have to want the benefits of peace more than the United States.

    April 10, 2014 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Fair is Fair

    How dare he! What a racist and misogynist Carter is.

    April 10, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. it must be said

    Israel is negotiating for peace with terrorist who still have not moved away from their pledge to destroy Israel. Palestinians don't want peace and a two state solution. they could have had that decades ago, but turned it down. They want the destruction of Israel. Until they get sick of the killing and misery, nothing will happen there in terms of "peace". It'll be another Korea type standoff for centuries maybe.

    April 10, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. truth hurts but reality bites

    Hell must be freezing over... I agree 100% with something Jimmy Carter says. Never thought I'd ever see this day.

    April 10, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Trevor I

    To be honest with you... Who cares what Jimmy Carter has to say. He is a non-factor.

    April 10, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Seems to some people, if the leader is a women and you oppose her, you're a misogynist. If the leader is black and you oppose him, you're a racist. How convenient.

    April 10, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. sly

    Hmmm ... that's strange – there has been peace in Israel since Obama took office.

    I'm not sure which war Carter is referring to ...

    By the way, President Obama is the first US President in 30 years to NOT start a war or invade another nation. That makes him the best foreign policy President in recent history.

    April 10, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. bill9860

    Scary when Carter seems to sound like the wise one. Sign of the times I guess. The mideast won't be settled in teh lifetime of anyone born in the next 200 years I'm afraid.

    April 10, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. jojo

    I remember the tough Carter years. I still think Carter was in over his back then but he's right about what he's says about Hillary and Obama. These are the two most detached people from foreign affairs that I've ever seen.

    April 10, 2014 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. Polar Bear

    That's the pot calling the kettle black.

    April 10, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  15. dinkydow

    Stinging, but true. If you are a Democrat and Jimmy starts talking smack on you, you know, without a doubt, you are in trouble.

    April 10, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. Johnny 5

    Obama should be well versed in foreign policy, since he is one. In Carters day and hometown, BHO would be taking a quick horse back ride with a sudden drop.

    April 10, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. Bill

    Someone is senile here, and I don't think it is Obama. Jimmy Carter, one term president, whose administration seen the highest double digit inflation in the history of the United States. 30 Year Fixed Home mnorgages were as high as 15% during his last year where he struggled at Camp David dealing with the Iran Hostage Taking and Mideast Peace talks between Egypt, Israel, and the Palestinians. We should have bombed Iran, like George did to Iraq when they attacked Kawait, and we should have stayed out of the mideast talks and took care of our economy with some smart moves. We should have left the stock market fall where it was going too in 2008 and 2009, instead of bailing them out with money we did not have. We should never have allowed our government to steal our social security trust without paying an interest compatable with what everyone else has to pay for loans. We also should never have allowed the social security and government pension pots to all be combined into the same pot and steal from them to support the wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afganistan and whjatever else. If a private sector companmy did that, their CEOs would be in prison and all their assets ceased, unless you have political connections.

    April 10, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. salty dog

    There simply isn't a less credible source than you honey, your the best. Bush hid over 4 trillion in us debt, but you already knew that huh, fishing for the least informed, that's what it takes nowadays.

    April 10, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. Kanageloa

    Both Barak and Hillary are rookies. Funny how Jimmy knows. He was rookie like Barak when he took office as POTUS. Jimmy at least listened to his advisors. Didn't help but at least he left after four years. Barak has had way too many years to mess things up and still has no clue. Recently a point to prove, Putin kicked Barak's back side with his moves into Crimea. Barak was helpless because he's a rookie. Nuf said.

    April 10, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. GOP = Greed Over People

    Hmmm, not sure Jimmy want's to go there with his Iran issue during his term at the helm.

    And for those too young to remember Jimmy's run in GA, he aligned with segregationists to get votes, and wanted to maintain private schools and "palled" around with George Wallace.

    So, for him to slam a black man seems to run in his blood.

    April 10, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. JP

    the man who is responsible for the Hostages in Iran is calling the kettle black?

    April 10, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Lizzie

    Sly, PEACE, calling firing rockets everyday into Israel PEACE, then yes their is PEACE. You are right, this President leads from behind, don't make waves, no ones in this world cares if he says something, he draws red lines and then moves them.

    April 10, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. salty dog

    Perhaps Mr Carter was a little to worried about the middle east, and not enough about our own economy, he's judging foreign policy success on middle east peace, has there ever really been peace, there?

    April 10, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  24. Lizzie

    Salty dog, where did he hide them, in his back pocket.

    April 10, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  25. it must be said

    Hillary Clinton and Obama have the full endorsement of Vladimir Putin. Their knee slapping, more flexible buddy Obama and Clinton has given him more than he could have ever dreamed of, Crimea, with the rest of Ukraine likely to come, withdrew the missile shield, the retention of Assad in Syria, protecting Russia access to a major port, etc. And all at NO COST to Putin! Meanwhile Iran marches Iran marches towards nuclear weapons, Iraq declines into chaos, thousands more die in Syria, a new military junta in Egypt , etc.

    Obama and Clinton have been gigantic failures with their fantasy foreign policy.

    April 10, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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