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Former President Carter: U.S. "Slow" In Preparing For Ebola

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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - Just hours after an Ebola patient died in Dallas, and as word spread that another person may have come down with the dreaded disease, former President Jimmy Carter said this country was late in preparing for an Ebola outbreak.

"Everybody knows now that the United States and the international community got started too late …later than they should have," Carter told CBS 11 News in an exclusive interview.

Carter took a break from working on homes in Dallas' East Oak Cliff, as part of the Habitat for Humanity project, to talk with CBS 11.

In the interview, he said two weeks passed, after the Ebola outbreak, before the director of the Centers for Disease Control traveled to West Africa to assess the dangers and report back to President Obama.

After that, "I think President Obama acted very strongly …he authorized 3,000 troops to go over there and help," Carter said.

Despite the slow start, the former president said he now feels this country can manage the spread of Ebola, and protect lives from the deadly disease.

He urged North Texans to "stay cool and calm," and added: "I would say that the average Texan need not worry about it…the children in school need not worry about it …I think it's under control in the United States."

Carter, a Democrat, also told CBS 11 News that Obama was late in assessing the dangers, and building a defense, against the terrorist group, ISIS, that has shocked the world with their broadcasts of beheadings.

But he added that he does not feel his comments will hurt Democrats in Texas, who have for years had an uphill battle during election time.

"You know, President Obama is not running for re-election. He goes out of office in the next couple of years …

"I think most Democrats in the nation are not tying themselves any more closely to President Obama than necessary," he said.

Carter added, with a grin made famous while he was in the White House, "I'm more worried right now about the Georgia governor's race. My grandson is running …Of course, he's a Democrat."

If you want to reach CBS 11's Senior Investigative Producer Jack Douglas Jr., you can email him at

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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