Jimmy Carter: I'm A Superior Ex-President

Jimmy Carter.
CBS
Former President Jimmy Carter isn't letting modesty stand in the way of his assessment of his post-presidential life.

"I feel that my role as a former president is probably superior to that of other presidents," Mr. Carter said in an interview with NBC News.

The former president released a statement not long after the interview aired to clarify the comments.

"What I meant was, for 27 years the Carter Center has provided me with superior opportunities to do good," he said.

During the interview, Carter said his active role as an ex-president has allowed him "to fill the vacuums in the world," both domestically and internationally.

The former president has released a new book that includes a verbal diary he kept during his time as president. In the book, Mr. Carter both defends his policies and criticizes some of his own decisions.

In an interview with Lesley Stahl on CBS's 60 Minutes that aired Sunday night, Mr. Carter contended that he got the most legislation passed of all former living presidents - all in just one term.

"I had the best batting average in Congress in recent history of any president, except Lyndon Johnson," he said.

But in the eyes of history, as Stahl noted, Mr. Carter is not generally recognized as a success.

"And yet, as I say, there's the sense that you were a failed president," she said in the interview.

"I think I was identified as a failed president because I wasn't re-elected," Carter replied.

Mr. Carter has been active as an ex-president, writing books and embarking on humanitarian efforts to fight disease and resolve conflicts. He won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his work in global diplomacy, and recently made news by helping negotiate the release of American prisoner from North Korea.

But he has also been openly critical of those who have followed him, an impulse that may have resulted in strained relations with them.

"There may have been times when I was too outspoken in criticizing an incumbent president," Carter said in the interview with Stahl. "I can't deny that."

  • Vishal Persaud

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