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

Carter declares his superiority to other presidents

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption ="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. Thomas

    I am not liking this. One of the better things about President Carter was his humility. While he was in office he did some good things and some bad things. The state of the union during his term was not exactly great.

    Carter was by no means the worst president we have had (Check out some of the winners we had in the 19th centruy), nor was he the best.

    I will say that he has been one of the best ex-presidents we have had in a long time.

    I am saddened that his humility is gone. That is unlike him.

    September 21, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. Alex

    I firmly agree with his statements. No other President in history comes close to Jimmy Carter's 30 years of service since leaving the oval office. I wish all politicians had his drive and dedication.

    September 21, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  3. bob

    He certainly has been a better former president than he was a sitting president.

    September 21, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. warren

    Carter was a huge disappointment as a President, leaving the country far worse off than when he was elected by almost every measure...and his often inflammatory comments that worsen racial tensions, his disrespectful remarks about other presidents, and his incessant attention seeking activities all serve to minimize his occasional human rights success. Humility is a virtue, and if you have to tell people how "superior" you are , then you probably are not!

    September 21, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. mdn

    Not a very effective president but a tremendous humanitarian. I have the greatest respect for what he has done and his ability to be fair and truthful, particularly on difficult issues like Israel and the previous administration efforts to harm our beautiful country.

    September 21, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. laurie parker-stuart

    He does the work. His contribution is fantastic. If he takes credit, so be it. False modesty is not his strong suit.

    September 21, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. Jack

    He is right. He has been one of the most active, if not the most active, former President we've had. Most Presidents prefer to sit around or play golf (Reagan, Bush Sr., Nixon, Johnson etc). He has set the template for former Presidents. Clinton and Bush are active, in part, do to Carter's example. We'll see if they remain involved over the next 27 years of their lives. I suspect Clinton will but I'm not as sure about Bush. I might be wrong (I hope). We'll see.

    September 21, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Orlando Patriot

    As odd as it sounds Jimmy Carter had some truth to his comment. He spoke of superiority to other presidents which is technically a correct statement. Jimmy Carter is definitely superior to Barrack Hussein Obama and now Jimmy Carter can no longer be called the WORST president in history with that title going to Obama. So, by definition, Jimmy Carter was superior to "other presidents". Who would have ever thought that we could have a WORSE president than Jimmy Carter? Well, Obama showed that is actually possible.........

    September 21, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  9. Independent

    Actually, Carter has probably done more than anyone else, since leaving office. Clinton has also been active, but probably Carter has done more, if for no other reason than he's been at it longer.

    September 21, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  10. Right Leaning Independent

    Having said this on the heels of his 60 Minutes interview, I believe that he has drank some of Obama's Kool Aid or he has dementia! The guy is absolutely trying to revise history.... Oh, and why did we not hear about the letter he sent to the UN about the Iraq war when Bush was President until this interview. I have asked many folks and no one was aware he did that! He is a typical elitist Dem that believes their opinion is superior to the American public!!

    September 21, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  11. Karen

    That is a shocker alright! Oh well it's his opinion against the rest of the world.

    September 21, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. Michael

    Still out of touch with reality.

    September 21, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  13. munchmom

    He is joking, right?

    September 21, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  14. tom

    As the old saying goes, "I'd like to buy Carter for what he's worth and sell him for what he thinks he's worth." The reason he's so welcome as a negotiator is he just loves saying YES.

    September 21, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  15. Barry

    One of the worst presidents ever, partially due to his over-active ego and the disconnect between his brain and his mouth, all of which he is once again exhibiting here.

    September 21, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  16. DKasell

    Wow! I have lost so much respect for former President Carter recently over a number of issues including his comments on Israel, Ted Kennedy and Health Care, and now his pompous inflated sense of superiority, Of course you have to be an egomaniac to be President but I thought he was smart enough that even if he believd such a thing he wouldn't say it. His comments only confirm that his role is not superior to that of other Presidents.

    If he were correct there would no reason to boast because he would let his actions speak for themselves.

    September 21, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. EJT

    He was the worst president in my life time and his post predidency has been his major effort to temper the failure of his ability to govern the country. Enough of Jimmy Carter – keep him in Georgia.

    September 21, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. Brian

    In a way, I feel bad for the guy. He's spent the last 30 years trying to make up for being a lackluster, unpopular president and, despite his best efforts, he hasn't made himself any more relevant to the people of the US.

    September 21, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  19. Anonymous

    I don't see the issue. He was simply stating the truth.

    September 21, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  20. Ann

    I admire Former President Carter. He is sincere and has integrity.

    September 21, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  21. Jane

    While it may have been careless for President Carter to make such remarks, he has truly done a lot of good for our world, and I think we need to cut him some slack. He feels good about what he's devoted his life to doing, and we should do. The other presidents know what they have done, and so do we. We don't need to come to their aid on this. Let it go.

    September 21, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. JANUARY 20, 2013 - THE END OF AN ERROR


    Castro is still his laughing at you for accepting all of the people he released from his prisons and mental institutions in the Mariel boatlift of 1980. Ask someone who lived in South Florida during that time period and they will tell you what a disaster that was.

    September 21, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. Swankman

    I see what he is saying in the initial statement, that he has put more effort in to world affairs than the other surviving presidents, which is true. I believe your headline to this story is a bit sensationalist and misleading.

    September 21, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  24. jbNYC

    ROFLMAO!!! Look out! I think that attack rabbit is after you again..

    September 21, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. Jack Schiefelbein

    I agree. He is the best former president...but I stress the word former. We have had some bad presidents but he was the worst.

    September 21, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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