tv A Conversation with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter CSPAN July 5, 2015 4:52pm-6:00pm EDT
president carter: a couple of months ago i went to russia, we met with gorbachev and met with putin for about three hours and i asked him questions and he responded. i might say he made a very good impression on us. he was pretty aware of all the difficult issues. he never turned to his foreign minister for any answer he gave the answers himself. he was relaxed he had a good sense of humor, a surprise to all of us. mr. isaacson: he had a sense of humor? give us an example. president carter: he said the europeans need to lift the sanctions, he said i'm making changes in agriculture, so
they're imagining more field grains because they've been importing them from eastern europe so the banking. mr. isaacson: mrs. carter? mrs. carter: i wasn't there. president carter: we were with the elders, the has-been politicians. [laughter] nelson mendela -- mandela was the founder. a former secretary general of the united nations, kofi annan the former president of
thailand, the former president of finland. former president of mexico and former president of brazil and so forth. that's our 11 members but also the chief negotiator for the united nations for about 20 years, he was one trying to bring peace to the area. so we meet every six weeks or so and decide where we can go. we don't have to accommodate voters so we can pick and choose. mr. isaacson: where did you go in the middle east on your last trip?
president carter: we went to the middle east, we went to gaza the carter center has had an office there. for several years. we still are working on bringing peace to israel. we are still working on that. we're trying to promote peace between israeli and palestinian factions. mr. isaacson: do you think netanyahu wants a two-state solution? president carter: no, i don't think he ever did. when he said he would accept a two-state solution, i didn't believe him and everything he's
done has indicated he doesn't want two-state solution he doesn't want a palestinian state next to israel. i believe he wants to take over the entire west bank except for a few tiny spots he'll leave for others. mr. isaacson: you did the camp david accords, the last really major peace accord. what type of solution do you think is possible now? president carter: the camp david accords have two different factors. one was to bring peace between israel and egypt that peace agreement, now more than 34 years old, has never been violated, not a single word has been violated in it. there's still peace between israel and egypt. but the other half of the camp david accords and the one on which we worked hard was independence for the
palestinians, and that part has not been honored. that's what has always haunted my successors. i tried to bring peace to israel by working between the israelis and palestinians. we have pretty much given up on that. he does not want a two-state solution. mr. isaacson: you also met with king solomon on this trip. what do you think of america's alliance with the saudis especially when it comes to bombing yemen and what did you all talk about? or what did you find out about the bombing? president carter: in saudi arabia and qatar and other countries in that region, i was able to meet with the new king there.
we were supposed to meet with the new crown prince and then the king. the crown prince, we got through visits with him, instead of going to the king's office, we were escorted to our car and i got a message that said he wanted to see us but the next day. we found out on that night, the reason he couldn't meet with me is he was planning a very unfortunate decision to attack yemen. since then saudi arabia has been bombing yemen which i think is a serious mistake. but i met with him the next day to talk to him about the issues that i had on my schedule. mr. isaacson: mrs. carter, when you go to a place like saudi
arabia, what is your role and what do you see as your role for advocating for women in places like that? mrs. carter: this time i didn't advocate for women. mr. isakson: but you have before. mrs. carter: i didn't this time with the king. but the main thing i worked on was mental health issues. i have fellowships, mental health fellowships for journalists, teaching them how to report on mental health issues, accurate and in depth. we have been doing this for 18 years now. i wanted to get journalists from al-jazeera because they cover that whole area and the stigma there is so bad, they've shut people up and don't let anybody know they have an mentally ill person. but there's a good program in
qatar and so i do talk to, and advocate for women and care giving and those kinds of things but not with the king. i take notes. walter: ok. [laughter] mrs. carter: i get to see the top officials because i take notes. and i write down everything he says. president carter: she also gives me instructions [laughter] walter: yeah, i was reading this book, which was a total delight. but part of this, and i am going to ask mrs. carter about this, you say the president writes in there, that when you came back
from the navy and you're doing your business work in georgia, you left the decisions to the family, but in 1962 when he decided to get into politics a changed your relationship with mrs. carter and she became much more a partner in making decisions. is that right? [laughter] walter: i want to fact check this book. mrs. carter: i did not want to come home from the navy. by then i had become very independent. because jimmy was gone all the time in the navy and i was taking care of everything. so, i became a total housewife for a few years. i have that for about a year. [laughter] mrs. carter: then jimmy called me and asked me one day to come down. he was the employer and had no employees, except seasonal. he would sell seed and
fertilizer and in the fall we bought the produce from the farmers. so he did not have anybody to stay at the office while he went out to visit the farmers, so i came down. it got to be a habit. the children -- the schoolhouse is right across the street, the highway from our office and the children would come, the little boys would come over in the afternoon after school. but pretty soon after the first year or so, maybe not even that long, i knew more about the business and the books than he did. i could say, shut down the cornmeal. were not making any money off of it. but anyway, we just developed this really good partnership that lasted for a long time. walter: how long has it lasted? mrs. carter: we will have been married 69 years. walter: whoa. [applause] mrs. carter: in july. walter: what is the secret? i will tell you one secret i learned from this, you wrote a book together once. mrs. carter: oh, that is the worst experience of my life. [laughter]
mrs. carter: we have totally different writing styles. i am a night person. he is a morning person to start with. i like to write at night. he does not like for me to write at night. that's not much of a problem. the problem was trying to remember what we did in the past -- it's not possible. you can remember 95% and we would fight. we got so we could not mention it without me crying. [laughter] mrs. carter: and so, we started writing notes to each other through the process. never -- and he said, it takes me a long time to write a chapter because i wanted to be just right. he can write one in an afternoon. and he wants to swap, so he sees mine and i see his, and i was like, i figured my chapter was
-- i had gone up on mount sinai and came down with it in concrete words and i did not want him to change a word. and it was true. walter: that does mean a rough draft. mrs. carter: could not do it. [laughter] president carter: so we decided to agree upon the book. we had gotten a small advance, and we decided to give the advance back and cancel the book. our editor came down on a plane and said, look, you've written 95% of the book. this other 5% is where you cannot agree. let me resolve this for you. we said, ok. half of these paragraphs are
rose's and she can write them and jimmy you cannot touch them and the other half are yours and rosa cannot edit them. so, if you read our book, a lot of paragraphs have an r by the side or a j. [laughter] president carter: that is why we are still married today. [laughter] walter: let me, if i may, take you back to world affairs for a moment, which is your presidency is when the iranian revolution happened. and let's go back there, but also what is happening with the u.s. and iran right now. right after the iranian revolution, you kept diplomatic relations, am i correct? but the hostages, that is who they were, the diplomats. you think the ayatollah wanted to have that rupture with the united states? president carter: no, he didn't. i think he was completely
surprised when the young -- students i'll call them -- captured the u.s. embassy. there were over 70 ambassadors there, diplomats. he had almost to the same amount in washington. after the young students were there about 2 or 3 occupying the embassy, the ayatollah's son went to the embassy and allied himself with the students and then and only then did the ayatollah endorse the taking of the hostages. i have never believed he originated it or was in favor of it. walter: do you think we could and should work to have restored relations with iran? president carter: i do. the others visit, by the way. the others go where they want to. but the present negotiations -- i hope the present negotiations on the nuclear issue will be successful. walter: do you think that will
take us back to the period in the 1970's where the iranian people are our strongest allies in the region? president carter: i do not think the strongest. walter: cautious. president carter: we've got a lot to work on, but one of the things putin said, almost to change the subject, he said, i have had two different sessions in russia this year, in january and april, with representatives from syria to try to resolve the syria issue. he said it has not been very fruitful. but what i think we should do is have the united states and russia sponsor a meeting with the top leaders in the region. saudi arabia, iran, and turkey. if you get those five leaders together or the representatives,
and we can decide together what to do about syria, and whatever we decide, aside and his syrian opposition will have to agree to it. i said, that's a wonderful idea. have you made that proposal to president obama? he said, no, i haven't. i said, do you mind if i make that proposal to him on your behalf? he said please do. so the next day i sent obama an e-mail and told him that is what putin had asked in about a week later, you may remember that john kerry went to see putin to discuss that issue with him. i do not know what has happened since then. walter: what you think of john kerry as secretary of state? president carter: i think he is one of the best secretaries of state we have ever had. i think he is outstanding. [applause] walter: what about president success or failures on the world stage? how would you assess that? president carter: on the world stage, i think they have been minimal.
i think he has done some good things domestically. on the world stage -- to be as objective about it as i can, i can't think of many nations in the world where we have a better relationship now than when he took over. if you look at russia, england china, egypt. i am not saying it is his fault. but we have not improved a relationship with individual countries, and i would say the united states influence and prestige and respect in the world is probably lower now than it was six or seven years ago. and let me add -- let me repeat -- i do not blame him for it because circumstances have evolved. but i think john kerry has been a very courageous and innovative and dynamic secretary of state. as a matter of fact, when
president obama was inaugurated, his second term, rosa and i went to the inauguration and john kerry came to our hotel room and spent two hours before the inauguration ceremony and john kerry outlined all of the things he planned to do as secretary of state. at that time, president obama had not even visited israel and one of the things he said he was going to ask, for obama to visit israel, which he did later on. he tried, i think, his best to bring about a peace agreement in the mideast and do other things that i need not mention. walter: to what extent though do you think it is partly obama's fault that he hasn't been able to establish relationships with other countries? president carter: i think -- this may not be a good thing to say to a group of americans, but i think the historical trend is for the united states to
relinquish its unquestioned domination of the world's politics and economy and cultural influence. walter: is that a good or a bad thing? president carter: i think it can be a good thing, because i think the so-called bric countries -- china is rising, russia's going to come back, and other countries, like brazil, are increasing their influence, and india is increasing its influence, compared to what it was 10 years ago. i cannot say i could blame president obama for it. i think it is an inevitability. i think the thing for president obama and the next president is to say how can the united states
fit in instead of promoting the elements of a superpower? what are the elements of a superpower? this may be preaching a little bit, but i think a superpower should not only be the top country as far as military power is concerned, which we are going to continue to be, but i think the american superpower goal should be to be a champion for peace. [applause] president carter: and to be the champion of human rights. and to be the champion of the environment. and to be the most generous nation on earth. those of the elements that i hope eventually the united states will set as goals. we have been the most war-like country on earth. we have been a laggard in addressing the problem of global warming and we are now violating about 10 of the 30 paragraphs in the universal declaration of human rights.
so, you know, i think this is something that is looked upon as opportunities for the future. walter: the two of you came on this aspen trip that a lot of us took to the arctic. i want to turn to mrs. carter -- your views, how they changed on the environment, that trip to the arctic, and also may be just what it is like traveling with president carter? [laughter] mrs. carter: i travel with him all the time. we go -- we have programs in 80 countries. 80 countries, the poorest and most isolated countries in the world. but that trip to the arctic was really special, i thought. we had on that ship, i think was -- what was it? "national geographic?" yeah, it was "national geographic." and everybody on the trip had to be an expert, had to say something about the environment.
we heard the best people. jimmy's been working on environmental issues since he was governor of georgia, saving rivers and marshlands, things like that. so i think he has taught me pretty well a long time ago that we really needed to take care of the environment. walter: president carter, in this book, which i really do urge people to read, one of the things i didn't really quite know, although i did read "hour before daylight," which is about your childhood and about growing up in a tiny, unincorporated town. you were one of only two white families and the only white kids in that town. explain how your views on race were formed there, and then i would love to take you to this past week, where we've had another great confrontation on race. president carter: well, you're right about this. there were about 55
african-american families and our family, and i was the only child of that age. and all of my playmates when i grew up were african-american, were black boys. and we played baseball together and fought and wrestled and went fishing and hunting and worked in the field together, so that was my life. it was during a time of racial segregation, which lasted 100 years in this country, as you know, from the 1860's to the 1960's. and i was very unaware of the racial distinctions, because we treated each other equally. whoever was the best wrestler or caught the biggest fish or hit the baseball the best was the best for an hour or two. [laughter] president carter: i didn't realize at the time that the african-american kids had inferior schools. they had to go to their own
schools, their own churches. black people were not permitted to vote. they were not permitted to serve on a jury, and so forth. but my opinion was distorted by the fact that the richest and most influential and respected person in archery was a black person, who was an african-american episcopal bishop. that was the same denomination as the church in charleston. he was in charge of the ame churches in five northern states. when bishop johnson came home to archery, it would be front page in the county paper that he would be visiting his home church on the weekend. he was rich. he had a black cadillac or a black packard all the time. he had a driver. he was a chauffeur. when he got ready to talk to my father, the custom was the black
people didn't come to the front door of a white family. he wanted to abide by the mores of the south but not admit he was inferior in any way. so he would send his chauffeur down to our house to make sure my father was at home, then he would go back and get bishop johnson and drive up in our front yard and blow the horn and my daddy would go out and talk to bishop johnson in the car. so i look upon him as the most successful and admirable person in my life. but later, i began to see much more clearly about the distinctions. my mother was a registered nurse, and she was immune from criticism because of her treating black people as equals. after my father got a little farther along, my mother quit nursing in the hospital.
she had nursed in african-american homes in archery. she was supposed to get paid $6 a day for 20-hour duty. so, my sisters and i very seldom saw my mother during those times because she would come home at night at 10:00 and she would wash her uniforms and take a shower-bath and write instructions for us for what to do the next day, and she would go back on duty at 2:00 in the morning. she was on duty 20 hours a day. and so she refused to admit in any way that african-americans were not at least equal to white people. and so that, those kind of experiences really shaped my life for the future, i would say. walter: what happened in charleston last week involved three of the most controversial issues we have -- race, guns and mental health. i want to get mrs. carter to address the mental health issues, but what was your reaction on how people reacted with regard to race and the guns issue? president carter: on the race issue, i think there is no doubt
that south carolina is going to finally lower the confederate flag. [applause] president carter: georgia did about 10, 12 years ago. and the governor that lowered the confederate battle flag was defeated in the next election by a republican who were in favor of keeping the flag and the -- was in favor of keeping the flag and the republicans have been in power in the south in georgia ever since. i think that's one thing that will be accomplished. but i don't think the nra is going to relinquish any of its present, almost disgusting influence over state legislatures or congress. [applause] president carter: we will continue to have a plethora of guns quite unnecessarily in the united states. i don't think we are going to have any need for proof of past experience of whether you're
qualified to get guns. i think the nra tends to prevail, which is a dastardly thing to have happen. i'm a hunter. i've got a number of guns. but i think that anybody who gets a gun ought to be fully qualified and give a background -- get a background briefing. i don't believe that we ought to authorize the sale of submachine guns and armor piercing bullets and guns in churches and guns in schools and that sort of thing. i think it is absolutely ridiculous that we do that, but the nra prevails. [applause] mrs. carter: i get very upset when people with mental illness are blamed for everything that happens like that, because only 4% of all violent crimes are committed by people with mental illnesses. and if you look at the statistics or if you look at
their lives, most of them, you will find, have not had access to services. people knew that they needed services, but they didn't -- the one in washington, in the capital, how many times had he been in to try to get help and couldn't get it? anyway, it just -- i hope the stigma is lifting a little bit now. i have a program at the carter center, i have a mental health program there. and we have mental health fellowships with journalists. and when they were sitting around 18 years ago, trying to decide what else we could do to overcome stigma, and somebody said, why don't we bring journalists in and let them know about mental illnesses so they can write accurately and in-depth, and my journalists have been doing that for a long time now, and i think it has made a little bit of difference. but i just -- i do also think that stigma is beginning to lift a little bit upward on mental health issues.
i've worked with mental health issues for 44 1/2 years. i started with stigma. but now, we, with our journalists and our programs in california, our international program on trying to overcome stigma -- now, eight countries including australia, two european countries, and others have a program like that, which makes me feel really good. [applause] mrs. carter: i do think the time has come. young people now will go for help. older people don't go for help because they don't want to be labeled mentally ill. hopefully, hopefully, hopefully, that stigma is beginning to lift a little bit. walter: what can we do to have
more access to mental health services, especially for young people, in addition to lifting the stigma? mrs. carter: well, the largest mental health facilities in our country are the prisons and jails. you can get money for prisons and jails. it's really difficult to get money for mental health services. mental health, ever since i started working on it, has gotten what was left over after everything was funded. the parity law is changing that a little bit. i hope it's going to change it a lot. sometimes, it takes a little while for people to get access and services because of stigma. but the parity law is insurance for mental health illnesses the same as those for any other illnesses. and i, one of my greatest disappointments in my life, was
passing a mental health systems act that the next president put on the shelf and did not implement. we had parity in insurance. we had integration of services meaning -- now we are working on having somebody with a mental professional in the office of a primary care professional. and that's really helping, too. the whole country is kind of moving that way. but parity -- once people begin accessing services, i think it's going to be a flood doing that. i had parity, i had integration of services, i had incentives for people to go into the mental health profession, all of that in my bill, what, 30-some years ago? walter: this was during the presidency period? mrs. carter: yes. i did work in georgia, too, the governors commission, and in the white house, the president commission.
-- president's commission. walter: thank you for what you do. [applause] walter: one other program you are involved with is what i will call domestic caregiving, but i would rather you describe it. explain how that works. mrs. carter: when we came home from the white house, our local state university had a small mental health program. by the time i thought i could do something because i was writing a book and doing lots of things, by the time i thought i could do something else, i already had a good mental health program at the carter center. so, we decided to work with those caring for people with mental illnesses, because i had seen so many people, when somebody in the family would develop a mental illness, they had no idea where to go or what to do, and we decided to work
with those caring for do. and there are lots of services out there in the community. before the first conference that we had, a program on burnout, we brought in people in the small community. everybody knows what's going on. we had people who were caring for the very elderly family members or handicapped children who wanted to come. we invited them in. we let the university students go and sit with the ones they were caring for. it was the most emotional meeting i've ever been to. people crying. this was 1987. people crying, saying, this is the first time i've ever been with anybody who knew how i felt that was talking to each other and we knew we had hit a real problem. so, we began that program. we call it the institute of caregiving. it has grown and grown and grown. we started working with the national guard in georgia with veterans coming home.
and michelle and jill have a program for veterans. i wrote michelle a letter and said, "you left something out because these veterans are coming home with mental and physical problems, and somebody has to take care of them." by -- by then, i had seen so many young wives, particularly, who -- lives lives, particularly who had no idea what to do when someone came home with mental illness. johnson & johnson has helped me, too. we have done programs for alzheimer's caregivers. this caregiving program for veterans, going into the home and working with the families -- people who work with veterans have a hard time getting a veteran -- we talk to the family.
it's a lot easier to get in. there are a couple programs i'm proud of. walter: thank you for that. [applause] walter: i'm going to ask president carter about two more countries and then we will open it up, if we may, to questions. first, china. you went there for the first time, i read, in 1949, right? when it was before -- before it had become a communist nation. and you have been almost every year since then, is that right? what should we be doing with china? are we handling it right? are we turning them into a competitor more than a cooperative alliance? president carter: i got interested in china because i did go there on a submarine. and this was a time when the nationalist chinese were permitted by the communists to stay in a few seaports.
and that's the one we visited -- those are the ones we visited. a few weeks after i left china is when the people's republic of china was formed, on october 1 1949, which was my 25th birthday. i'm 25 years older than the people's republic of china. i've been going back ever since. when i became president, one of the things i put at the top of my agenda was to normalize the relation with china. the president had been to china in 1972 and had the shanghai communique, and he announced that there was only one china, but he did not say which one. we continued under him and president ford to recognize
taiwan as the only china. i committed to normalize relations, which i did january 1, 1979. i've been going to china ever since i got out of the white house almost every year. i've seen tremendous change taking place in china. they still have some serious human rights problems, but they have made a great deal of progress compared to what it used to be when the communists first took over. first, there were no bibles permitted in china. there was no religion or worship permitted in china when i normalized relations. i wanted them to let bibles come back and freedom of religion come back, and that's now the law of china, with some restraint. china is now the fastest growing christian country in the world. they've made some progress. under xi jinping, whom i've met five times now -- i met him three times before he was leader -- under xi jinping, he has become the most powerful chinese leader since deng xiaoping. i think he is very highly committed to a nationalistic point of view, that is, china
has to be preeminent. you see the long-term trend taking place where china is becoming the leader in politics and the economy. i think that what the united states needs to do is to make a very firm commitment to find some areas in which china and the united states can cooperate with each other. the last two or three times i've met with xi jinping, i have urged him to form a partnership with the united states in dealing with global warming, because i think that, no matter what they decided, if the united states and china would agree on anything that would help prevent climate deterioration, the rest of the world would have to go along. and so if they can search for some way without diplomatic or financial or military problems if they could agree on that one
thing, which i think would transform the world, and i think it would be the basis for further improvement. i would say that particular issue and any others we can find on which we have particular agreement, to emphasize those instead of the differences which exist between us. walter: finally, in this book, you reminded me that you were in favor of normalizing relations with cuba if possible when you were president. why did you not do so? what do you think of what's happening now? president carter: when i became president, i saw the cuban policy was unsustainable and erroneous. so, i lifted all travel restraints on american citizens. while i was president, any american could visit cuba if they wanted to. i worked with fidel castro on moving toward full diplomatic relations. and we made very good progress the first 2 1/2 years. for instance, he released 3000 political prisoners that he was
holding and about 1000 of them were permitted to come to the united states. we established an intersection for the embassy in havana. the last time i was there a few years ago, there were 300 people working there. our ambassador -- they have almost the same number in washington. we got right up to the point of normalizing relations, but castro went back on his word to me. he sent a large number of people -- troops to ethiopia to fight alongside the communist dictator and the russians. he also continued to try to convince some latin american countries to adopt his policy. i wish i could have normalized diplomatic relations with china, and i would have if i could have, but i think what president obama has announced doing is a
very good move, and i hope he will go through with it. the constitution gives the president unilateral right to recognize any government he wants to. the congress has nothing to say about it. this is one thing the president can do by himself, one of the only things i can think of. if he wanted to, he could say, "i recognize the cuban government." i hope before he goes out of office, he will be able to do that. walter: let me open it up. and raise your hands, as i do, let me single out bonnie and tom mccloskey. this is the first of our mccloskey speaker series. thank you very much for doing that. walter: what you make of edward snowden? president carter: first of all i think edward snowden violated
the law and he violated the customs of keeping our secrets secret. but at the same time, i think that his overall impact on the united states has not been a disaster. and i think what he has revealed to the american people needed to be revealed. and i believe that what we are now seeing in congress backing out from the unlimited intrusion into the internal affairs of every human being in america is coming to a conclusion because congress has now seen what snowden said. i think what he has done has been beneficial to our country in the long run. i don't think he has betrayed anybody that works in security overseas, so far as i know, but he did violate the law. i think if he comes back home, he would be tried, and that's what he's not coming back. so, in balance, i think that what he's done has been helpful to our country instead of damaging to our country. walter: yes, sir. right there.
walter: thank you for speaking -- >> thank you for speaking, president carter. i wanted you to maybe address the audience, the project you have going on to eliminate parasites in africa. i think that's one of the best things going on right now. president carter: the carter center started out promoting peace. i was going to have a little camp david. i would negotiate peace agreements by going to their countries. we still do a lot of that. we go to north korea. i won't list all the countries we go to. the second thing we were going to do was to promote democracy and freedom by orchestrating and plan and then monitoring honest elections in the world.
we just finished our 100th election, in guyana, last month. also, dealing with issues in health care that no one else wants to do. there are diseases that the world health organization calls neglected tropical diseases. we have five of them that even medical doctors in the united states would not know about. these are the diseases we address. we have also at the carter center, we have the only international task force on disease eradication in the world. we bring in top leaders from the health field in general. we analyze constantly every human illness to see which ones might possibly be eliminated from a particular country or region or eradicated from the entire world. and so we are the ones who decide and recommend to the world health organization which diseases should be targeted for elimination.
we are working now on guinea worm, one of the most terrible diseases in history. it's in the bible. it's the fiery serpent that attacked the israelites in the old testament. so, we undertook this about 35 years ago, to eradicate it from the world. we found it in 20 countries in india and in africa and 26,600 villages, we've been in every village that had guinea worm. we found 3.6 million cases. we taught people what to do to do away with it. i just got a report yesterday that we have five cases of guinea worm left in the world. [applause]
so, if we are lucky, we will soon have guinea worm completely eradicated. walter: congratulations. were there any women? ok. i will get to you next. president carter: one thing i might say, this year, the carter center will treat 71 million people for these diseases that no longer exist in the developed world but afflict hundreds of millions of people in africa primarily. 71 million. [applause] mrs. carter: and most of it is by companies that give us the medicine. walter: i'm sorry, companies that? mrs. carter: give us the medicine. president carter: the companies walter: they give you free medicine to do it. >> president carter and mrs. carter, it's great to have you all in aspen. it's terrific that the aspen
institute was able to bring you. president carter, when he first ran in 1976, there was a well-known aspenite who died a few years ago. he was one of the first to say "this man has a great chance to win the presidency." can you tell us a little bit about the collegiality with hunter thompson? pres. carter: when i was governor of georgia, senator ted kennedy came down to make the main speech at the university of georgia law school. and i was going to make a speech to the alumni in a separate meeting at lunchtime. when kennedy made his speech, it was almost exactly what i was going to say. so i went in the back room and made some notes about the problems with our judicial system in this world, in this country. i made my speech, and hunter
thompson was listening to my speech, he was filling up his iced tea glass with wild turkey. after my speech, he was profoundly affected by it [laughter] walter: the wild turkey or the speech? president carter: the speech. maybe both. he finally got a copy of my speech from the university of georgia president. he lived near aspen. whenever anybody visited him at his home near aspen, he would make them listen to my speech as a ticket to come to his house for entertainment. [laughter] president carter: so when we used to come out here to ski hunter thompson always came and spent late at night with my sons and daughter. i generally went to bed at around 2:00 in the morning. he pontificated, but was a very close friend of mine. i remember one time when i was campaigning, by the way, he insisted to my press secretary that he would interview me.
jody turned him down. so hunter thompson brought a bunch of stuff out of his room and built a fire in front of her hotel room. [laughter] president carter: so, he had his idiosyncrasies, but he and i were good friends. mrs. carter: and only time we had little white things flying all around was when he came. walter: did he come visit you? what was it like to host dr. thompson? mrs. carter: it was interesting. [laughter] mrs. carter: but he did always complain, what are all those little white things in my bedroom? walter: what were they? moths? hallucinations, i get it. yes, ma'am. >> thank you for the opportunity to ask a question. my question is for the first lady, mrs. carter. first, i would like to thank you for your service to improve the lives of people around the world.
i am very heartfelt when i think of all the humanitarian efforts you've gone to. i'm also intrigued by the research and outreach provided through the rosalynn carter institute. is there anything else you would like to share about the institute, the research, or maybe a specific family story that comes to mind that really touched you? mrs. carter: i think, and this is one of the most interesting things, when we decided to have a program -- a mental health program in a post-conflict country, and we decided on liberia, because we already had access to information, trying to help women know what was available to them, and access to justice -- we had people all over liberia anyway.
so we found out they had one psychiatrist in the country. that was all. no other mental health professionals. so we organized a program to help the country organize a mental health program and trained 144 -- our goal was 150. we saved 144 before the ebola crisis. but when the ebola crisis came along, we started working with -- we stopped the classes, and we started working with the families of those who died and the survivors. and we did that all over the country. all of the access to justice and access to information people. and on may 9, liberia was declared ebola free by the world health organization. that's one of the things my program did.
it seemed a miracle to me with a -- with no mental health workers, then to have 144 in the ebola crisis. it was a miracle that we were there to do that. [applause] walter: the woman in the back. you've got it. shout. i'm trying to get our staffers physically fit by calling on people in the back for a change. >> thank you, rosalynn, mr. president. we would like to ask a favor from you. we just got married. my new husband -- my only husband. you are really nice and good example for us, how did get
together for such a long year. that's why we thought, if it was possible, to ask you a favor to sign as a witness on our marriage license. walter: i would leave it up to the president and mrs. carter. maybe we could see what could be handled. this will be -- we will try to make it quick and get one more afterwards. >> given what you said about america promoting human rights how does that or how should it affect america's alliance with saudi arabia? president carter: that's a very difficult question to answer. because i'm particularly interested, which we haven't
mentioned at this time, about the rights of women. i wrote about that, describing all the abuses of women in the world, the most horrible human rights of use on earth. saudi arabia is one of the chief culprits in mistreating women. it's almost impossible for a woman in saudi arabia, even if she graduates from college, to get a job and to hold a job. women are not permitted to go on the sidewalks or into stores shopping in saudi arabia unless accompanied by a husband or another man. she has to wear a veil. women are not promoted to vote in saudi arabia or to drive an automobile. i wish the united states was not supporting saudi arabia in their bombing of yemen, by the way. it is important to have saudi arabia supporting our policies within the arab world. it is no doubt that the king of saudi arabia, the protector of two holy places that all muslims worship, is a valuable ally.
the united states has to swallow its commitment to human rights in order to have good relations with saudi arabia, because saudi arabia can help us in many ways concerning stability of the oil and dealing with other arab countries. it's not a good answer, because there is no clear answer to it. but you cannot be absolutely pure in saying that human rights has to come above everything because there are some human rights abusers with whom we have to negotiate and deal. by the way, the carter center, we meet quite freely with human rights abusers and with people who are basically outcasts in the international world, because they are the only ones who can end the human rights abuses or bring peace to an unnecessary war. so we meet with them in order to try to negotiate peace and to promote human rights. walter: it's a good question, and there is no simple answer.
there is a young woman who everybody keeps pointing to. you get the last question. you have lots of fans. >> i have a question for president carter. i know you haven't spoken on this yet, but i know you left your church. can you please describe what led you to do that? president carter: for 70 years i was very active in the southern baptist convention. i was on international boards of directors and things of that kind. but in the year 2000, the southern baptist convention decided at their convention in florida to depart from what i consider the holy scriptures. and they ordained, for instance, that women had to be subservient to their husbands and inferior in the eyes of god. and they also decided that a woman could not be a deacon in the church or a pastor or priest in the church for a chaplain in the military forces.
and in addition to that, they even went so far as to say that a woman who taught in the baptist seminaries couldn't teach a class if there was a boy among the students. so because of the obvious discrimination against women, we decided to withdraw our allegiance to the southern baptist convention. [applause] president carter: we still belong to a baptist church maranatha baptist church in plains. i hope you will come and visit not all on the same sunday. we have women deacons. rosa was the most famous woman baptist deacon in the world when she was a deacon. we have had women pastors as well as men pastors. our baptist church demonstrates that women, without question
should be equal in the eyes of god. [applause] walter: that is a beautiful sentiment that ties in everything you've been doing for 90 years. i have one quick, little question, which is, you told me found a better fishing spot that you even told president putin about. president carter: the year before last -- last year in june, we went fishing in the pinoy river in russia, west of murmansk. we had already fished in the eastern part.
by the way, when we were there we were closer to new york than we weret to moscow. we had a wonderful visit there. when i got to fishing in the pinoy river in russia, i wrote president putin a letter and told him he might enjoy going there to fish and also to continue to protect the stream and not let it be despoiled in any way. we had fished for atlantic salmon earlier, and many of you know that if you go to norway or to canada to fish for atlantic salmon, if you catch two a week, that's really good. during the five days we fished in russia, together, we caught 38 atlantic salmon. so anybody's who is a fisherman it's the best fishing of your
life. go to russia and fish in the pinoy river. i hope that president putin will protect this river. it's when i asked him to do. mrs. carter: we fly fish and we catch and release and we press in the hook so it won't hurt the fish. walter: i always feel that flyfishing is a sport for life. what you've done is been good stewards of the planet and good servants of humanity, for which we thank you very much, mrs. carter, president carter. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
>> three men and a woman believed to be part of a puerto rican national gang opened fire on the house of representatives. five congressman were hit. beenn s. jenson, and albert bentley of michigan were two of those seriously injured. these people have the evil distinction of creating a criminal outrage unique in american history. >> it was one of the most
violent acts that ever occurred in the chambers. there were debates right after that, and we can't let that happen again and we need to make sure that the visitors' gal lery is completely covered in bulletproof glass. and the senators -- the representatives talked about it and they said, no, this is the people's house. the capital is a symbol -- >> the capital is a symbol and therefore that makes it a target. there was a bombing during world war i, there was a shooting during 1954. what happened in 1971 there was a wrong set off by the weather underground, in 1983 there was another bombing in the senate side by a group opposed to president reagan's foreign
policy. in 1998, there were two capital policeman shot and killed. there have been those incidents over time, and yet, the capital has remained a remarkably open building. >> senate historian emeritus don ritchie and ray smock on the history of the house and senate tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's "q&a." >> like a of us, first families take vacation time. and a good read can be a perfect companion for your summer journeys. what better book than one that peers inside the life of every american first lady in history. "fuirst ladies." inspiring stories of fascinating
women who survived the scrutiny of the white house. available from public a pairs -- public affairs in both hardcover and softcover. now available at your favorite bookstore or online. >> our guest here on "newsmakers" is matt schlapp. >> i want to move to some news this week, donald trump. he said some pretty controversial things about mexican immigrants. he has actually gotten himself in some problems with business dealings as a part of it.