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. truth

    Jimmy Carter is a good president. He is vastly unappreciated and received little to no credit for his good deeds. Why? because people (white media) with a voice criticizes anyone who support peace and harmony. In addition, Carter is not a racist who spins. Naturally, CNN and other news media outlets dispise that. They would prefer to demean and downplay the role that the rich, and the republican led media has on dividing the American citizens. Peace and harmony does not sell newspapers nor increase television ratings. The main focus for the America media should be on infrastructure. The roads, bridges, dams and other infrastructure is in need of dire repair. It is just a matter of time before America becomes a third world country. The poor (i.e., minorities, and poor whites) are already dealing with unaddressed issues. When the time comes, others (republican media and their followers) will finally have the opportunity to experience life as the other 95 percent of the population has for decades. Oh what a glorious day that will be!

    September 21, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  2. mary

    President Carter's global good works certainly do outweigh a few mis-spoken words that today's media will leech onto, just to sell headlines. Why don't you give him a break and use your media to tell the world about those projects and the Carter Center, instead of milking the few words for a headline? CNN just wants to put President Carter into the media fracas now, along with all other leaders. People need inspiring stories about how they can impact the world for the better, as President Carter shows by example. Why are you bringing him down to your level? No other President has used global philanthropy to have such a real impact on the health and welfare of the world today. President Clinton is just getting starting and has not yet built, through action, the legacy of Carter. Try focusing on the good for a change, CNN.

    September 21, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. Joe NY, NY

    Article title is innaccurate, unfortunately. Carter was an unlucky president; had the Iran hostages been rescued, he'd have been a hero forever. The economic meltdown then presaged what has recently happened. Reagan's "fix" was the beginning of the disaster that happened in '08. But Carter is a true hero, one who has dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the bettering and uplifting of humanity. A beautiful human being, one too good for politics, perhaps.

    September 21, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. Bill Clark

    I feel Mr. Carter was justified in his remarks. He has proven himself to be an effective leader with great accomplishments in the many years since he has left office. I think his track record has proven he has had a superior role as former president. While other presidents have accomplished notable tasks. Mr. Carter has a long record of selfless service, and an obvious intent to make the world a better place. Also just as obvious is that he has not attempted to "get rich" from his work. He has remained true to his values and his legacy. I applaud him!

    September 21, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  5. Bivir

    He did do and continues to do great things! He frequently engages in great humanitarian efforts for the people who really need his help the most, like building them homes and helping to bring the captured back to the states. He's not afraid to carry a hammer and pound those nails to make someone's life a little better! That takes real guts and courage and we're Proud of you, Mr. President! And let's not forget 'Miz Lillian' has got to be looking at you from above and is also Very Proud of you! You Go President Carter!!

    September 21, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. call me crazy

    Oops, let me re-phrase that.

    What I meant was that I was a better looking president, than all the other previous presidents.

    Ah, the right will be all over Jimmy on this one. Anything to distract you from O'Connell's past. Let the games begin.

    September 21, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. John Hendrix

    A typical Jimmy Carter statement. Worst President in modern history and still proving it!!

    September 21, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. The Analyst

    In a world almost devoid of real heros with integrity and intelligence, Jimmy Carter stands out. The man was and is larger than any cloud of lies or negativity that the right has tried to diminish him with. A man for all people who told us the truth about energy limitations where no one was or has been willing to go before or since. A man who has conducted his affairs with airtight moral righteousness without preaching . A man whose efforts to make the lives of his fellow man continue today without any sort of corporate grift, not that there would be any available anyway for that sort of philantropy. If Carter just wanted a moment's appreciation, let's allow him that. And the right wing of douchebags and liars that would paint President Carter with anything but the truth of what he has been, knock it off. He deserves a little respect.

    September 21, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. Annie, Atlanta

    He has done great things (peace between Egypt and Israel, Habitat for Humanity). Unfortunately he said it wrong, and he's going to catch a lot of grief for it. He was the first President I voted for so he has a special place in my heart, which may make me a little biased.

    September 21, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  10. themoi

    Nothing like trying to stoke your self-esteem by putting everybody else down. Esp. now that we have a president worse than Carter who was the worst ever.

    September 21, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. Shubie

    In comparison to other modern-era presidents, e.g. Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Reagan, Jimmy Carter has done substantive and meaningful work on the international front these past 30 years. His contributions have been 'superior' to those named above, and I can see why he is proud. This ... coming from a Republican.

    September 21, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. CM

    If you look at it objectively, it's true that President Carter has been the most effective former President compared to all others in my lifetime, starting from President Kennedy onward! The fact that he says that may strike one as being proud, but it is the truth!!

    September 21, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  13. Howard

    I've always admired Jimmy Carter for the inspiring manner that he has conducted himself and his activities since leaving the White House. There is no question that he has done more public service as a former President than any other former President before or since. But bragging about it, or appearing to do so, only diminishes his reputation. Blaming a beloved and admired late U.S. Senator for the failure to pass health care legislation also diminishes his reputation. Mr. Carter would do well to consider that, often, it's not what you say that counts, it's what you don't say.

    September 21, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  14. James Elrod

    He certainly has the upper hand on former presidents Reagan and Nixon.

    September 21, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  15. Joe

    Words from the second most inept and damaging president this country has ever known. As for the first, unfortunately he is office now!

    September 21, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  16. Ralph Storms

    You've got to be kidding me! I think he has to be the worst President I have ever had to live through! I remember his term as President very well. He does good work for Habitat Humanity. He needs to stick to that!

    September 21, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  17. brian

    Wow. Is this a case of selective recall? or just revising history. Oil Crises, Hostage Crises, Recession. Any of these ring a bell?

    September 21, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. Steve

    umm. He was right. Mr. Carter is perhaps the greatest ex-President ever. In fact, he has done a good deal more to positively change society since leaving office than he ever did as a President. I'm guessing each living ex-President would actually agree; possibly even pointing to Mr. Carter as their role model in what one should do after leaving the office.

    September 21, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  19. JohninTampa

    Jimmy, even if you were right about that your comment is about the stupidest thing politically that I have ever heard from any former president. Good luck now with your future efforts.

    September 21, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  20. Take Responsibility

    I think all democrats think they are or where the best. That's why are economy and government is where it is today! Thanks for nothing!!!

    September 21, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  21. brain in DC

    Thanks Jimmy, and thanks to other former politicians who continue pro-bono work for the greater good, rather than enjoy sports, making money from events, or free time.

    I value the dedication of all former presidents. But also value who are using their potential after the post for greater good.

    Thank you.

    September 21, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  22. Joe

    The words "arrogant" and "self righteous" come to mind. Others, too, but they can't be printed here.

    September 21, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  23. The Wise One

    All the good Jimmy Carter has done is admirable, but all it takes is one stupid comment to over shadow that good.

    September 21, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  24. Lighthill

    Jimmy Carter was the worst, least effective president of the past 80 years. In retirement, he has shown himself to be an anti-American, antisemitic meddler in areas where he clearly did not belong. The world laughs at the fool who fancies himself "superior". His family and friends should gather up the courage to tell Jimmy the truth. It's really embarrassing.

    September 21, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  25. Chris

    What a pompus joke, he was then and is now. While he was off catering to the whims of the world he let this nation fall into it's own domestic nightmare. Next to what we are dealing with now the worst 4 years in the last 50.

    September 21, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
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