tv Today in Washington CSPAN November 30, 2010 6:00am-7:00am EST
going to sit down and write a bill, or he had to accept wt his party did and he didn't want to have a loss at the very beginning, so he went to battle for it. i think when he looks back i history, the sad part is the stimulus, he sat there and said if it passes by this date, unemployment will never go above 8%. that's not true. cost close to $1 trillion with interest and today more people believe elvis presley is alive than the stimulus created a job. true fact. so you want to be able to have it but if you create a structure that doesn't allow it, it's not going to be there. what we have done is tried to create a structure that makes the idea win, not that you sit there and say it has to be bipartisan. make the idea the strongest part. because then it doesn't be able to go through it. know how we started to make the pledge to america? we started something called america's speaking out. it was a website where anybody could give their idea. you know when you came to the website, we never asked you what
your party affiliation was. all we asked you to put in your e-mail and you voted on ideas and you went through. so the idea was the string. maybe if we took paul's name off the road map, maybe if we took the word road map out and laid out the ideas and you put it in a room, probably a lot of people would say yeah, we can do that. okay, well, the idea won now. now let's move it forward. >> this is the final question. >> the three of you have all made mention to not creating career politicians, so then what are your stances on term limits in congress? >> i have always been for them. still am. >> in the context of leadership, i am for them. i have never taken a position for term limits because i feel that the voters turn you outs quick as they will put you in if you're not responding to their will. so again, we've got some
discussions ongoing right now about leadership and about how long those of us elected in leadership can stay and i am absolutely for making sure those term limits are in place. >> i come from california. i supported the idea of term limits in the initiative because we had a speaker you could never get rid of. i served in the legislature only two terms. serving in there, i realized why i wanted term limits but the thing i found out at term limits doesn't solve the problem. what if i put a bad person in, now i guarantee him or her the ten years to serve there. whatever the number is. i think what you really need is competition. so my first bill on the first day was to change redistricting and make it competitive lines because then what happens it puts the power in the people. if i can be king for a day and you give me three wishes, i would change redistricting where the people would have the power, where you could throw somebody out if they were good or they were bad, and then i would make campaign finance different where you had to get half your money fromour own district. so i couldn't get $1 from somewhere else so the district had the power so people would go
back home. that's where the power would rest. then my third wish would be make me king for the year. then i can continue on. >> thanks, everybody. thanks for coming out. nice to have you. thank you, everybody, for cing out tonight. if you would like your book signed, please line up in the center. we will be signing them in the back. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> former president jimmy carter talks about his time of the white house and his new book and topics on this morning's "washington journal" include u.s. foreign policy and the
wikileaks documents. >> find great holiday gifts at are cspan stored from books and dvd mugs, umbrellas and more. [applause] >> former president jimmy carter spoke last night about his time his new book is called," white house diaries." he was at the lincoln theatre and this was organized by smithsonian authorities. this is one hour. >> i suppose that never gets old. >> thank you very much. >> is great to have you with us. one of the stunning things about this book as you go through it is how many of the issues you had to wrestle with are still on our plate today whether it is
the price of oil, shockingly bailing out prices again -- will remember the controversies when you had to do it, what will happen to the west bank, then it was sold and now it is start, iran, afghanistan -- everything that is old is new again. the existence of the book at all is kind of interesting to me. i want to know how york contemporaneous meanings at the end of -- using said the end of the day instead of being locked away for future historians came out during your lifetime? >> three or four years ago, i started reading over the notes and i realized what you just said that so many things i had to deal with that were very serious on the desk in the oval office now for president obama to address. some of them had chains like iran who had captured my
hostages and now it is nuclear energy, human rights, environmental, north and south korea, china, iraq -- you can go down list, i said about 40 things that had to address that were still there. that is one reason i wanted to write the book. secondly, i was really surprised in reading it over and how frank and unadulterated the comments were about individuals and about things that i had to face in the future were looking back on where i think i had made mistakes. i think it would probably be the unique picture of what the esidency is from the point of view of someone holding that office. i have not been in politics very long. i was 38 years old before i ran for my first office. i served a long time in the navy
ahead of time. when i got to the white house, i never had been to washington before except as a visitor. i thought it was a good thing for maybe folks to know just what a president thinks about what he -- when he is confronted with challenges and successes and happiness and sorrow sometimes. sometimes regrets, sometimes thankfulness. i wanted -- i had over 20 volumes of diary notes, more than 5000ages. i have cut it down by about 80%. [laughter] which some short people are thankful for. [laughter] after one year, i will let the entire, unexpurgated even with typos in it be available to
scholars and to news reporters and maybe biographers to look at without changing anything that you may have cut it down a great deal but we still know what you got rosa for her birthday in 1978. [laughter] we are sitting in a city where people who hate each other's guts refer to each other in public as my good friend. [laughter] in the pages of your diary, people are described as a jerk, an idiot, and not. nut. some of them are still alive but most of them are not that you are still alive and most of the time these comments only come out after a person is no longer around to be thought badly of for it. >> i understand that. in most of those cases where i refer to someone with a deleterious comment, later on i got to know them and they became
friends and i had contradictory statements of a beneficial nature. when i referred to someone with a deleterious remark, i put in an explanation in modern-day language of what i thought so and how that person later redeemed himself in my eyes. [laughter] i dictated on a little handheld tape recorder seven or eight times every day i was in the white house. when someone would leave my office or when i had a thought or an experience i thought would not be published that weekend when everything is published, that's when i dictated. as i filled up a tape, i put it in my out basket and put in a new one and my secretary typed them up. a never read them until i got home. i was amazed at how many there were and how frank i was. [laughter] >> it is a reminder also of a
particular time in history through the eyes of an obviously central player. you had leonid brezhnev to contend with, not combat again, on where sadat, jim callahan and margaret thatcher. those are some pretty hefty names in modern history. and omar tarihjos. that was somebody you had to deal with when figuring out how to settle the 100-year issue of the panama canal. >> that was the most political issue i ever faced her it was more difficult for me to get 67 votes to approve a very unpopular treaty that was to be elected president in the first place them not really? >> it was a right vote, i
thought it was the most courageous vote in congress. of the 20 people who voted for the treaty in the senate in 1978, they were up for re- election that year, out of the 20, only seven came back to the senate in january. two years later, it was equal to that. it was the right thing to do ended alleviated tension that had been building up between the united states and the latin- american countries even since the late sessions of the eisenhower administration. >> it sounds like you feel that decision has aged well. >> people were saying they were drug addicts and incompetent and could handle the canal. -- and could not handle the canal. the input from the canal was 5000 times greater than when they handed over to them.
they are doubling the capacity of the canal on their own. one of the remarkable things is it changed from socialism to free enterprise. when the united states under, it was a socialism effort because it was owned and operated by the government. when we gave it to the panamanians, they made it a free enterprise system so we proved that free enterprise is better than socialism even when we had socialism ourselves and some respect. >> i think you just got your headline. [laughter] dominating these pages also are the road to camp david. some evenings when you are jotting these notes down, you are pretty steamed. >> i know. when i became president, within a week, i was already working on a comprehensive peace in the middle east. for last 30 years, i would say the number one foreign policy
prayer that i have had an commitment is to bring peace to israel and israel's neighbors. i realize that when i became president, there have been four wars in the previous 25 years against israel all led by egypt. it was the only arab country with an of have to challenge israel. i want to bring peace between israel and egypt. that was my preeminent goal are the secondary goal which i am d anwar sadat work done. we left camp david believing we have resolved the issues. the treaty was signed 31.5 years ago and not a single word has ever been violated in those years between israel and egypt for unfortunately, the commitment made concerning palestine territory has not been carried out and that is still a major issue. that is one of the most
difficult and challenging issues that the world faces today. >> has and establishing a palestinian sovereign entity on former jordanian land in the west bank become even more difficult in the intervening years now that there are hundreds of thousands of israeli citizens living there? >> yes, there are about 300,000 israelis now living in palestinian land. israel is still occupying territory that belongs to the palestinians and belongs to the syrians and some small portions of lebanon. the basic issue that has changed since then is the desire of israel to retain a good bit of that land on a permanent basis. when i became president, the general presumption was that israel would withdraw from occupied territories and that was a commitment of the united nations resolution 242 and prime
minister begin signed this. that is what changed and that is what the challenges that president obama has to face to bring a reconciliation. >> the same sort of difficulty that seemed to be driving you to your wit's end in the late 1970's are very much present today -- partners that doesn't seem to talk to each other but talk past each other, partners that tell the united states one thing and there are other interlocutors something else and that is not just on one side of the equation. that is on all sides. can you see a good side -- a good into this in the near term? >> i can envision a good ending but i cannot predict a good ending. we have maintained full-time
offices in jerusalem and ramallah in the west bank and the gaza strip. i go over there fairly often. i just came back recently from a trip to the middle east. whenever i go to a foreign area of the world that that is in contention, i always make sure i get approval from the white house before i go because i don't want to inject myself in a way that might be embarrassing or aggravating to the incumbent president. i let them know i am going somewhere. i am very meticulous about typing up a complete trip report and i send a copy to the white house and the state department annually to the secretary- general of the united nations. we have programs in 73 countries in the world, 35 of which happen to be in africa. we still elevate the middle east to one of the top positions. >> on the front page of ""the new york times" and capturing
income in the interior pages as well, the latest documents dump from wikileaks. from your time as president, if we wanted to pass 266,000 documents to somebody, we would have needed a small truck to do it. now you can do it with a thumb drive the size of a key chain. ist harder to keep good counsel and keep your private thoughts private if you are president now? >> i think it is much more difficult. we did not have a 24-hour television news cycle. cnn was not formed until 1980, my last year in the white house. we have three major networks and that was basically it on television. they had news may be one time late in the afternoon and may be a morning news which is mainly entertainment and that was it.
the other thing was newspapers. magazines. it is completely different now where every moment of the day there are very avid reporters particularly on the channel news that are looking for any kind of headline they can cover and quite often those headlines are contrived and false but they are newsworthy at the moment and that is what the purpose is to get viewers to watch. it is completely different now. the main difference between 25 years ago and now is that the polarization of the parties. i had tremendous support from republicans in the house and senate. what michael is working allies in the senate was howard baker who was the minority leader of the republicans. in the house it was bob michael the was the minority leader in the house. they cooperated with me fairly. i could not -- they cooperated with me thoroughly.
i could not have that good batting average without full support of the republican side. that is completely absent now where republicans have been completely responsible for the first 80 months of the obama administration. he can't get a single vote in the house or senate for a single goal. i had good support. that has changed. the reason for that is the enormous injection of money into the political campaigns. with the dopey ruling of the supreme court last january -- [laughter] [applause] we can have unlimited injection of money, hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns by corporations and the donors don't have to be identified. when i ran for president in 1976 and ran for reelection in 1980, both i and my opponents used a $2 per person check off for
public funds. that was it. if you don't have $100 million or $200 million to spend, you cannot get the nomination a good portion of that money is spent for negative advertising to try to destroy the reputation and character of your opponent. that animosity built up in a congressional district or state and when you get to washington, a lot of it carries on and now we have the polarization of our country. that is new. >> let me press you on the cooperation of the republicans. some of president obama's critics say that part of the problem is that he is already figuring out what to give away before he comes to the table. again and again in this book, you write of the fights that you are going to bring up again and again and again until you get what you want. whether it is a public lancelot, windfall profits tax
enter the repricing of oil. there have been critics in the city who have said they are not sure your current successor would do the same period >. >> i don't want to criticize president obama because he has to face republican opposition that he did -- i did not have. almost every major legislative proposal that would put for when i was president was drafted in the white house. we would bring in the key members -- a key leaders of the senate and house committees to work with us on legislation. we are ready to create the the part of education or the department of energy or to pass an energy legislation or health care3 + . we would work with the leaders of the house and said and they would take the bill back to their committees and modified to
some degree. if i thought the modifications were too large or contradictory to what i wanted, i would veto it. there is never any doubt from the beginning to the end what we wanted and we made sure that everybody in the house and senate knew what we wanted. i think president obama has taken a different view. he might be right. when he got ready for the health care legislation, he told the five committees to draft what they want and later we will put it together and pass legislation. in that case, quite often, the five committees reached the lowest common denominator before they agreed on a common bill that came before the senate and house for a vote. it is a different approach but i cannot say which is desperate i personally think-best but i cannot criticize president obama. [laughter] >> one of the more striking
actress comes on november 4, 1979. i spent hours on the phone talking to political leaders around the nation but early in the morning was disturbed to learn that iranian students with the encouragement of the ayatollah committee had taken over our embassy and captured 50 or 60 of our people. without the protection provided by the host government, it is almost impossible to do anything it wants people are taken. on november 4, you go on to other business of the day. >> that's true. >> these eight lines and about casting a shadow that would last the rest of your presidency. it is only with the subsequent months that you can feel in the entries the rising tide of both anger, frustration, and concern that this was something that was not going well. >> that was one of the most difficult decisions i ever made.
henry kissinger and my secretary of state and a whole bunch of people wanted me to let the shah come into the country i would not let him come in unless i got approval from the president -- the prime minister of iran. anyway, they assured me that shah could come in for cancer treatment and we would protect -- they would protect our people in iran. we have over five dozen people working in iran in addition to the embassy. the shah had to agree that he would not make any political statements while he was in new york for treatment and he agreed to that. those were the circumstances
when i let the shah come in and the student militants took our embassy and ayatollah khomeini held off for about three days and then he backed up the students. the prime minister and president resigned in protest because their word of honor to me was violated. that is the way the whole thing started as most people remember, it left 404 -- it went on for 444 days for the last three days i was president, never went to sleep. i spent all that time negotiating the release of the hostages. at 10:00 on inauguration morning, all the hostages were in an airplane ready to take off and ayatollah khomeini held them for five minutes until after i was present but that was one of the happiest moments of my life that every hostage came home for a. >> i spent the last two days without going to sleep. i was standing on the runway in algiers with warren christopher when the doors opened and and
they came down the runway. >> un by shared one of the most exciting moments in history. [laughter] president reagan was gracious enough to allow me to go to germany and made the hostages when they got there. i met all of them. we embraced each other and cried on each other's shoulders and it was a wonderful homecoming for them. >> it seems to be dawning on you and your foreign policy staff that you were not dealing with a normal country, that there were power centers scattered all over the place, that if you heard something from certain officials in iran, it did not necessarily reflect other officials. it was hard to know who to talk to barry was that a tough part of the negotiation? >> i would get word privately
that the next week the parliament would decide to let the hostage go free and i thought they would and obviously they didn't. it was a frustrating thing. even ayatollah khomeini would never make a public statement directly to me. he would not permit any direct negotiations. we had all kinds of people want to go and negotiate. there were family boxers and others. mohammad ali fought because he was a muslim, he could talk ayatollah khomeini into allowing the house just to come home but he was not able to get there either. the algerians were the ones who finally did the intermediary. even the last three days, we had $12 billion of iranian money held. every message that went back and forth left here in english and was translated into iran.
we had a three-way negotiations. we would talk about the intricacies of money and $2.2 billion in gold bullion located in 12 different nations. you can see the complexity of it. i finally got the hostages out my still held a $12 billion in iranian money. the agreement was that all the claims that americans had against iran would be fulfilled and the money left over would be given to iran which it was. >> as 1979 became 1980, this began to eat heavily in the political year of 1980, the year when you plan to run for reelection, fighting off primary opponents from your own party >> one, yes. [laughter] >> was there a point where you
realized that they are still there and this is really starting to be a problem for this enterprise? i want to stay president. i think i am doing a good job. >> even eight days before the election, it was very close. you mention november 4. november 4, 1980 was the anniversary of the hostages taken as well as election day. all the news media were completely fascinated with the anniversary of hostages and paid very little attention to what i was saying. that was the burning issue in people's minds. president carter has been unable to get the hostages free. that was the major issue. the second major issue was for the last two years of my term, senator kennedy was running
against me. he was running very effectively. whenever he made any comment, every news media in america covered him word for word. he was a very formidable opponents. he never was really reconciled to me. the democratic party was split at the very end the other thing was that iraq invade -- invaded iran and all the oil supplies from iran and iraq were lost to the world, all supplies% the price of all -- oil more than doubled in 12 months. there was enormous inflation. the interest rates went up in all the nations of the world. those three things combined to cause my defeat. i have had a good life since then. [laughter] [applause] >> you seemed a little
frustrated at the time, though. [laughter] i read this book and teddy kennedy, you know with some pleasure, you are kicking in a round of the primary. >> ibm 2-1 in the primaries. >> he never went down. >> he never gave up. >> which was distracting to the democratic reelection effort? >> obviously, it was pretty democratic party was split. i think i mentioned afterward which i wrote is that my leadership of the democratic party. i treated it as a secondary responsibility with me as president. i was president of united states first, with the leader of the democratic party in the secondary manner. senator kennedy was much more shrewd politically than i was because he appealed to a wide range of leaders in the democratic party. that was one of the reasons why
i did not prevail was my inability or lack of leadership to hold the democratic party together. >> was there a point where it just seemed like he picked up the next day's newspaper and there was more bad news that maybe you had nothing to do with? >> a lot of times, yes. >> you had to deal with it as if it was somehow something you are responsible for it? your the occupant of the oval office when it happened. >> i kept on my desk the sign that was on harry truman's desk, "the buck stops here." no matter what happened in the world, if the united states was tangentially involved in the, the responsibility was mine. that related to success and failure in my mind. one figure i had we already discussed is the hostage crisis.
-- one failure ipad we already discussed which is the hostage crisis -- one failure i had is the hostage crisis. we normalized diplomatic relations with china, we kept the world at peace, we had trying times. we brought peace to other people. during my four years, we never dropped a bomb or lodged a missile or fired a bullet that another country. we had diplomatic relations with china for the first time in 45 years. we resolve the panama canal treaty. we started down the path toward doing away with apartheid in africa. we brought peace to israel and egypt and got along well with the soviet union. we had some successes as well as some problems. >> because the cold war was entering its final movement though we did not know that
then, the world felt like a pretty unstable place. >> it was unstable barre i think it is hard now to go back and remember how it was 25 years ago. in every country on earth, whether they were in africa or asia or latin america, there was an intense competition between the soviet union on the one hand and the united states about who would prevail in that country for trade and commerce and for diplomatic approval and votes in the united nations. i was worried more than anything else above everything else about the possible outbreak of a nuclear war. both we and the soviet union had enough nuclear weapons to completely destroy each other but also may be to cause a nuclear holocaust throughout the world. i used to go into my oval office early in the morning and i had a
big blow that would turn to moscow and tried to put my mind in the same frame of mind that leonid brezhnev had. i put myself in issues to make sure i did not do or course say anything that would cause him to be fearful or parent -- or paranoid to launch a nuclear attack that was a constant concern of mine. thank goodness, that does not prevail now. >> one issue that you had to tackle was energy consumption. it was not always in ways that make everybody happy. you did not tell people what they wanted to hear, you told people what you wanted to tell them. here we are 34 years later still arguing about it. how have we made these 34 years without coming up with any thing that is not ad hoc and
hastily cobbled together? if you want to do something comprehensive. >> one reason is that the incredible powerful lobbying capabilities of the oil companies. they have on limited funds to give to members of the house and senate. the other reason is the unpopularity of the fact that americans need to conserve and maybe be deprived of energy. when i was governor and president nixon was in office, we had gas lines and so forth and high prices. when i became president, we had a boycott against our nation by
the arab opec countries. there was a secondary boycott against any corporation in america that did business with israel. i inherited that. i decided to have a comprehensive energy policy. we were importing 8.6 million barrels of oil per day from foreign countries. i set a goal that we would reduce it. i said we would reduce it in 10 years. we reduced in five years to 4.3 million barrels per day. now it is 11 million barrels of oil per day. when president nixon came in, he did not want to say anything about sacrifice or that americans had to conserve.
that and the influence of the automobile companies was extremely powerful. when president obama pimmit to office, we had about as poor a record on automobile efficiency as we did when i went to office. when i left office, we pledged to reduce it, the gas mileage down to 28 miles per hour. president obama did that as well. that is coming back to haunt us because we now have the excessive dependence on foil -- for an oil and we have global warming which is correlated to it inextricably. >> you are a guy who ran for the top office in the land, you rent locally in your part of georgia, joran state government, you thought about how to talk to people about the things that
challenge us all. was it frustrating that it is hard to tell americans that they cannot do something? >> it was, i made my best bits of all when i went to camp david and rode a speech in told americans that we were over- consuming and we had too much of an emphasis on material wealth and benefits and not enough on the highest ideals of morality like peace and so forth. it was the most populous speech i ever made for a couple of days and my political opponents began to refer to it as my lazy speech it was primarily senator kennedy and ronald reagan. it became unpopular but it had troops in it that are like -- it in it.ths >>the word malaise does not appear anywhere in this book theme that was said by senator
kennedy and ronald reagan. i think that is still a problem >> america is now predicted to overconsumption of not only fossil fuels but also an aversion to efficiency. we passed enough laws that are binding on the efficiency of electric motors and installation of homes and refrigerators and stoves that is still on the books. we have had a dramatic reduction in energy consumption by major consumers. automobiles and other things have continued to be excessively expensive to operate the. >> did you relive that time when you wrote this book? >> yes, i was surprised by my reference to people i later came to respect.
when i first met them, they said they would not help me on an issue and i was peeved by putting down my diary. people that read the diary should remember that everything was written 30 years ago. i did not change anything. it is just there. the conglomeration, the of it gives you a time in history like the end of the cold war, the and merchants of -- the emergence of some of the lesser-known countries like china and brazil and south africa that we did not know much about them. was a time of enormous change. it was a time of realization that we had an excess of expenditure of energy and a time of realization that some of the issues are very in intransigence like israel dealing with its neighbors, for instance. i don't think anybody dreamed that when i decide to normalize
relations with china how much it would change china. president nixon went over there in 1972 and he announced there was only one china. he did not say which one. [laughter] as a matter of fact, he came home and it was still tie 1 guardtaiwan. i had the difficult decision to make that it would be communist china, red china. it was a difficult thing to do but it was a transforming thing for life in china because three days after we announced the normalization, china announced a reform and a new life in china and the reforms that have taken place there and now china is emerging. i hope we will aremain friendly with china. >> it has certainly changed the world's capitalist to have a china that instead of being hidden and mysterious, has its
fingers in's around the world. it has to be dealt with now as a big power. >> it does. that is another area where america is profligate and we have to change our ways which is the a horrendous deficits. we know of china almost $1 trillion. we owe china almost $1 trillion every time we spend a budget dollar, china has to pay 40 cents of it to buy bonds. we go deeper and deeper in debt. it is because the congress are giving the american people what they want and they are reluctant to put a restraint on that. the republicans have taken an ill-advised commitment not to raise any kind of taxes no matter how much we need to raise taxes to pay for the wars and that sort of thing and the democrats are committed to social programs that cost money
somewhere we will have to make that change or we will be in serious economic trouble. that might be the most difficult and iran this prospect catastrophe for america in the next 20 years or so. >> your president when we invaded afghanistan. we are now there -- you were president when russia invaded afghanistan. we are now there. what you make about prospects bear and is this bound to be a place where great powers under estimate how hard it is to get anything done? >> that has been true since the middle ages, as you know. anybody that has ever invaded afghanistan has come out the loser. i have serious doubts that we
will prevail in afghanistan. my belief is that we will constantly reduce our expectations for our goals lower until we can finally get out without a serious embarrassment. i don't think we have the capability or the will to actually prevail militarily over the taliban. that seems to me to be an almost helpless -- hopeless case. the cia has said that there are less than 100 members of al- qaida in all of the nation of the afghanistan. the leaders and others are in pakistan. still we now have tripled the number of troops in afghanistan since president obama came into office. my hope and my prayer is that we will prevail and we can
establish a permanent police force that can keep order and protect the corrupt government but i haves in ksabul my doubts about it. >> when you were preparing this book, were their entries you looked at and you thought," i remember how lousy that day felt, or how wonderful" >> i remember both. [laughter] we had two warehouses in the last year. one white house dealt with america and its problems and challenges and successes and the other white house and dealt with the iran hostage crisis. we had two different things that were separate but i had to worry about both of them simultaneously. that was the worst year of my life, the last year that i was in office when hostages were being held. i did not know if they would come home safe and free or all
be executed or killed. i had advice from many of my strongest supporters around me. we need to launch a military attack against iran because they are causing us to be distressed and embarrassed around the world. i held on because we could have wiped iran off the map pip with a powerful military force. if i had bombed iran, i would have killed maybe 10,000 innocent iranians and i don't have any doubt they would have immediately executed our hostages there. i decided that i would pray a lot which i did, more than i ever have any time in my life and all the hostages would come home safe and free. i would not violate the integrity and honor of my country and my prayers came true. a little bit later than i wanted but sometimes god says yes and sometimes he says no and
sometimes god says you have to be kidding. [laughter] i had to learn how to be patient. >> you were elected with the strong support of evangelicals, newly energized, newly politically active, people who had moved to the sidelines of american politics just after the civil-rights era. they appear quite a bit in your book. they visited the white house, you taught sunday school. you tell us which scripture passages provided this text for that sun that. it is interesting to go through the year with you. what have you noticed that caught your eye about the way that whole world moved after
your president? >> as a matter of fact, the world moved while i was president. i heard about the so-called moral majority in my 1976 campaign because a speech was made in alaska and somebody told me about it. that was all i i was a very active reader in the southern baptist convention when i was a lemon. ayman. i had full support from the southern baptists when i ran for president. church and state were separated but that's when the movement began in the southern baptist convention with 60 million members for the conservatives to a takeover, the fundamentalists. in 1979, they succeeded. during that time in the middle of my term, there was an
allegiance formed between the conservative baptists on the one hand and the republican party on the other. that became a major factor in my 1980 reelection campaign when they were all against me, not all of them but a lot of them. that has been a permanent change on the american political scene3 + . my father taught sunday school and his promise was separation of church and state. i never had a service and the white house by my predecessors would invite billy graham's to come in and have sunday service. i never did. i went to church at the first baptist church and sometimes i taught sunday school. i kept to the two completely separated. they have been merged in a very uncomfortable way for me. that is another one of those transcendent societal or political issues that changed during the crucial four years.
>> did you do anything to take them off? [laughter] was this a cultural change that was in process during your white house years that wasn't really about you by the time ronald reagan came along? >> it was in the process and i did a lot of things to tick them off. [laughter] they wanted a new department -- they opposed a new department of education. another was the nuclear arms agreement with the soviet union. another was my not being in favor of prayer in schools. their work and a number of liberal versus conservative issues when i came down the more liberal side than they were on the more conservative side. they made these points firmly with ronald reagan.
when george bush was getting ready to invade iraq, i was strongly against it. i wrote an op-ed piece in ""the new york times" called' just war and i define' what a just war was in christian terms. the primary supporters of an unnecessary war in iraq was the southern baptist convention leadership. they were more war-like, they were for the death penalty and things like that. they could find verses in the bible to support that were against my own personal beliefs. my wife and i have separated personally from the southern baptist convention but we are still baptists in my little church in plains, ga.. >> if one of your domestic
policy team had said they understand your reasons and explanation, but had billy graham, over, what could it hurt? [laughter] if you had been counseled that there might be good politics behind softening the lines a little bit, could you have bought yourself all love on the other side of the aisle? [laughter] >> my not inviting building gramm was not an issue that i know of. billy graham presented it for a while until i met with them and he and i became almost like brothers. i really love him. i think he is the greatest question that has lived in my lifetime, perhaps. i explained to him that i had that believe that i inherited from my father and he understood. i think i taught sunday school
class is in the first baptist church 14 times while i was president. we never announced it had of time and only the regular church members knew that i was going to teach that morning. i tried to separated. it. the issues that divided us on a political nature were once instead of a religious major. >> i taught sunday school in those years and i thought it was cool. one last question -- you were a man in your early 50's when you wrote the words in this book. you had an elementary schooler still at home and became a grandfather during those years. when you look over this, do you like this guy that emerges from the pages or now with the passage of 30 more years and all
the things you have been through and seeing the things you have experienced, do you make a marginal note that was not generous of me or i could have done that better or if you could take a day back? do you look at this guy who emerges from these pages and say," yes, i still know that guy. i still am bad guy." >> that is a difficult question. >> that is what i saved it for last. [laughter] >> i don't think that have changed in any material would but i have learned a lot since i left the white house. in working with the carter center, we have programs in 37 countries. our commitment is to address diseases that exist by hundreds of millions of cases in the third world that are no longer
known in the rich countries on earth. we go into these villages in africa and the desert and the jungles and put medicine in people's mouths. these are diseases that are not known. i have become very active since i left the white house in habitat for humanity. every year come rosa and i go and build houses for very poor people. the thing i learned most since i left the white house is about those kind of people who are suffering and do quite often are aliterate, -- who are illiterate, who are poverty- stricken and quite often forgotten or ignored on earth. i have learned that they are
just as good as dying. they are just as intelligent and hard working, just as ambitious, their family values are as good as mine. i was asked at the turn of the century, -- the turn of the millennium, what is the greatest challenge that the world faces in the new millennium. i made two speeches on that subject read it was the same speech, one in asia and one in europe. the greatest challenge i think that the world faces is the growing chasm between rich people and poor people. it is not just chasm but it is spreading -- it is getting greater every year. that is a case in almost every country on earth and it is the issue between rich countries and poor countries pretty rich countries are getting richer and the poor countries are getting poorer. as we grow further apart
economically, we grow further and further apart in understanding each other. and have a mutual respect. i think that it's a challenge that we still have not faced adequately in this country or around the world. that is what i have learned, one of the major things i learned since i left the white house. >> the book is, "white house diaries." please thank the 37 president of the united states. [applause] >> thank you. [applause] >> the cspan network to provide
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