Jimmy Carter on Principles & Values
Former President criticizes Clinton’s last-minute pardons
Former President Carter said that Bill Clinton abused his power and brought disgrace to the White House with his last-minute pardon of fugitive Marc Rich. “I think President Clinton made one of his most serious mistakes in the way he handled the pardon
situation the last few hours he was in office,” Carter said . “A number of them were quite questionable, including about 40 not recommended by the Justice Department.” Of the Rich pardon, Carter said: “I don’t think there is any doubt that some of the
factors in his pardon were attributable to his large gifts. In my opinion, that was disgraceful.“ Clinton has insisted there was nothing wrong with his pardon of Rich, who until then had been wanted by the Justice Department for allegedly evading more
than $48 million in taxes, fraud and illegal oil deals with Iran. Carter said he pardoned about 500 people during his four years in the White House, most of those in the first three years, and none during the final weeks of his term.
Source: Associated Press on CNN.com
Feb 21, 2001
My greatest strength is that I am an ordinary man
Carter said often, “I have never claimed to be better or wiser than any other person. I think my greatest strengthis that I am an ordinary man, just like all of you, one who has worked and learned and loved his
family and made mistakes and tried to correct them without always succeeding.” He was just plain “Jimmy.”
Source: How Jimmy Won, by Kandy Stroud, p.425
Jan 1, 1997
Born into a privileged world surrounded by poverty
President Jimmy Carter was born into a privileged world surrounded by poverty. He grew up with blacks aqs friends and self-made millionaires as relatives, an aristocrat in the midst of 20th century slavery. His father was a segregationist, his mother the
radic-lib of her day.
Part of him was naval officer, Sunday-school teacher, scholar, engineer, liberal, businessman, conservative. Primarily, he was a politician. And those of us who covered him found him the most complex and
interesting of our time. His enemies said he was consumed with selfish ambition, a ruthless opportunist who would change his politics to further his climb to the top. Yet his ambition was not only for himself, but for others.
He said to me once, “I feel like I have a certain amount of talent and ability and one life to live and I don’t want to waste it. I’d like it to be meaningful to myself and the people around me.”
Source: How Jimmy Won, by Kandy Stroud, p. 11
Jan 1, 1997
Leapfrogged liberalism; focused on managing bureaucracy
Carter’s politics fit no simple category. He could be conservative on abortion and welfare reform and taxes, and simplifying the federal bureaucracy, liberal on programs like National Health Insurance, Day Care, ERA, cutting the defense budget.
Like Robert Kennedy, he became a new kind of liberal, leapfrogging over the old liberalism he thought to be obsolete, unworkable, divisive. He questioned the old shibboleths of welfare and federal paternalism. He was more interested in a
manageable bureaucracy, an America back at work, with financial and judicial equality for the poor as well as the rich.
Above all, he was misunderstood. Being Southern, he would be, and being rural Southern, he would be even more so.
Being a born-again Bible-toting Baptist in an ever more Godless world did not help. Snobbism accounted for part of the lack of understanding. And yet, on November 2, 1976, James Earl Carter, Jr., was elected the 39th President of the United States.
Source: How Jimmy Won, by Kandy Stroud, p. 13
Jan 1, 1997
Broad appeal by straddling key issues
Although Gerald Ford called him someone who “wavers, wiggle, wanders, and waffles,” Carter established a broad-based appeal by selling himself as both a liberal and a conservative,
straddling issues with the agility of a tightrope walker: for and against abortion; for and against bussing; for and against prayer in the schools; for and against right-to-work laws;
for and against big business. Pummeling his audience with statistics he convinced them he understood complex issues well enough to be President.
But with his talk of compassion and decency and truth and love, he conveyed he cared first and foremost for what touched human beings.
Source: How Jimmy Won, by Kandy Stroud, p.425-6
Jan 1, 1997
A Government As Good As Its People
The problem [in our society] isn’t just economic, it’s a matter of the spirit. We as a nation have been disillusioned, we’ve suffered too much, and I n too short a time. The assassination of great political leaders,
a tragic war, a national scandal - all of these things and others made millions of American people lose faith and trust in our government. To all of these people I say every day, many times, please, don’t give up. Don’t be apathetic.
Give our system another chance. To those who are disgusted or filled with apathy I say our government can work, and it will work, if we can only have leaders once again who have wisdom, and who are as good in office as the people
who put them in office. That’s what this campaign is all about. We must have a government that listens to our people and understands our people and respects our people and reflects the greatness of our people.
Source: Democratic Party speech, in “Good As Its People,” p.236
Oct 19, 1976