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tv   C-SPAN2 Weekend  CSPAN  February 19, 2011 7:00am-8:00am EST

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decided to step down, he said that suleiman would take over, he was in bed with mubarak. and that was not satisfactory to the freedom demonstrators, so they refused. and the military has been very congenial and helpful to the demonstrators in tahrir square and other places. and they protected them against the very abusive police and others. and so i think that many of the young people had confidence in the military in generic terms to protect them. there was, there is a junta or a conference that the military has now. they had only met twice in history, and now i think they've met four or five times since mubarak left office. and it was their meeting together after mubarak said he would stay in office, and they
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passed word to mubarak, you have to step down, and he did what the military told him. as a matter of fact, the military have been in power for more than 50 years, so that was a product of of the military. so the military will be in charge of egypt's security and a lot of other factors in egypt in the future. my guess is that the military leaders don't want to give up their political influence or power, but they have seen what the demonstrators have done, and i think the demands of the demonstrators will not permit the military to keep charge to have political situation. they'll still be in charge of military, they'll still have a hot of financial investments in the various aspects of egyptian life, but i don't have any doubt that the demonstrators will not accept anything except honest and fair and open elections with the formation of political parties permitted for the first time and maybe a competitive election both for the parliament of egypt and, also, for the presidency.
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as you know, yesterday, i believe, the military junta dissolved the parliament which was elected under mubarak's leadership without any real opposition except for his own political party. so i believe there's a good chance now that the military, despite the fact that they would rather stay in power, will give up political power that is with honest elections and freedom for the people the rest of this year. >> mr. president, how should we view the muslim brotherhood? >> i have known members of the muslim brotherhood because when i go to egypt and other places, i try to meet with all the political people. and they have played a small role, they are well organized. they have ties to hezbollah in lebanon and also to hamas whose headquarters are in, are in syria and damascus but who also have ties with gaza, they
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control gaza. i think that the muslim brother hood are not anything to be afraid of in the upcoming political situation or evolution that i see as most likely because they will be subsumed in the overwhelming demonstration of desire for freedom and true democracy. and i would say a secular or nonreligious government that we saw in the demonstrations in the last three weeks. and although the muslim brotherhood might put together a party, public opinion polls that i have seen show that only about 15% of egyptians would support the muslim brotherhood. so they'll be one of many parties to run, and i don't think there's any likelihood at all of them prevailing and establishing sharia or islamic law that would prevent the demonstrators' desire for peace and freedom to be realized. >> there's clearly been a domino effect in the middle east,
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principally through social media. i'm wondering, what should the u.s.' role be now? how do we balance our security and financial interests with our role in fostering democracy in that part of the world? >> well, we've come a long way in recent years, and although we have been very close to mubarak, and we've been close to other dictators in the middle east that don't permit any kind of freedoms as we cherish them, we used to have the same arrangement in south america. for instance, when i became president, the previous presidents including president johnson and others had been very close to the dictators in south america. most of the countries in south america were military dictatorships. and our business community in america formed partnerships to make sure they got first choice at iron and steel and buxite and
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pineapple and bananas and anything that might be attractive coming out of south america. what our business and political leaders on both sides in the congress and in the white house wanted was to have stability. and stability is quite often incomparable with freedom -- incompatible with freedom. so whenever any demonstrators like the ones we saw in tunisia and egypt began to rise up in south america, we would say they're communist, they're all communists, and we've got to stamp them out because they might be a threat to us, and we would even send in the marines and army to to back up the dictators. and a lot of them were indigenous indians and just poor people looking for better lives. that changed, and i was part of that change when i became president by within five years after i left the white house every country in south america
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had become a democracy, and they still are, by the way. although some are not quite friendly with us like, for instance, say, venezuela. but anyway, they're democracies. so i think that this will be a signal to the united states that like we did in south america to start doing the same thing in the middle east area, particularly in the arab countries and permit freedom of -- increasing freedom of elections. some countries, like jordan which we visit regularly, have something of an election for parliamentary members. and the three elections that we have monitored in palestine in the west bank and gaza and east jerusalem have been completely open, free, democratic and safe. so it's almost a pure democracy although they are not in existence right at this moment. and we had a very good election in lebanon this past april. i was there, and the carter center monitored that election as well. so i think that there's some
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kind of brick in the ground work even in some of the arab countries with control from the center of opening up, and i think the united states will be much more cautious in the future of taking sides overtly or openly with the military dictatorships including arab friends who are -- leaders who are friends if there is an honest exhibition of desire for more democracy. even in saudi arabia there have been ten leaders, most of them professors, by the way, who have formed the political party. that's as far as they've gotten. they've asked the king to approve their party. and i'm sure that if king abdullah says no, then they will disband immediately. but there are glimpses of what freedom means now, and i would depress that in yemen -- guess that in yemen might be the next crucial area. bahrain. pretty large demonstrations. syria is fairly stable. they have a young, fairly
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progressive president who inherited the office from be his father. but i think that the united states in the future will be much more amenable to democracy taking over even in the arab countries where their leaders are our close friends. >> what about iran, mr. president? we've seen there that there's been a severe reaction against the opposition among the leadership, significantly different than egypt. >> yes. >> what do you think will transpire there in the coming days? >> you remember about eight or nine years ago there was an honest and fair election in iran and a very moderate president was elected. and he is -- he served until netanyahu became president. probably netanyahu was elected fairly the first time when he took office, but then in this last election there's great doubts about whether it was an honest election. the ultimate power in iran is, obviously, religious.
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the ayatollah in iran makes the ultimate decisions, even vetoing what netanyahu, the elected president, says he would like to do on many occasions. so i don't really see any prospect at this time as much as we would like to see it of a president being elected is not approved directly by the religious leaders. as a matter of fact, even in previous elections that i just described in a fairly complementary way, the ayatollah and his religious leaders, they can decide if a candidate can run or not run for the parliament and for president. so they have veto power over any candidate. so they make a very good, careful screening process to make sure no radicals would be elected who might be a danger to the present sharia law and
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leadership of the, of the ayatollahs. >> how has president obama done handling the middle eastern sense? >> i think he's done quite well the last three weeks in handling the egyptian situation. at first, he and the secretary of state and the vice president were saying that mubarak was our friend, that we needed to have stability and that someday there might be a change there, and we trusted mubarak to make the changes. that was the first series of statements made by the president and all of his subordinates. but as the teems changed from -- times changed from one week to another, they became more and more supportive of the dissidents who were demonstrating against mubarak and then, finally, the president announced that he wanted to see the changes made to a democracy and freedom now. and that's when mubarak responded very angrily that he
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wouldn't respond to outside pressure. so i would, i would say that in general that obama has handled egypt very well, about the same way i would have handled it the same way if i were in office. [laughter] i probably would have been loyal to mubarak from the beginning because the united states doesn't want to send signals to all our friends in the middle east that we will abandon you the first time demonstrators go public. and so we had to show our friends and allies in saudi arabia and other places that we will back you as long as you meet minimal standards on freedom and democracy. but once it became clear that mubarak would not do so, then we did the right thing in giving our support completely to the revolutionaries. and i would say that they didn't want american support or need it because they didn't want to be
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branded, accurately, by the allegation that they were being controlled from washington. they wanted the world to know that it was a self-originating effort for freedom, and they didn't depend on washington to let them be successful. >> more prodly, mr. president, how -- broadly, mr. president, how do you think obama has done since stepping into office in january 2009? >> oh, i think he's done the best he could in domestic affairs. dealing with problems that president johnson and i and none of the predecessors of obama ever had to face. that is a completely polarized nation and a completely polarized congress. you have to remember that the major things that obama advocated when he came in office after he promised them in his campaign, sometimes on those major issues, that the republicans had supported earlier he couldn't get a single vote among republicans in the house or senate.
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so they made a determination at the beginning, the republicans did, that they wouldn't support obama on anything. i think after the election in november during the so-called lame duck conference, session they moderated their position a little bit, but he was faced with opposition in the congress that i never experienced. in fact, my main challenge in the congress when i was president was the liberal democrats. [laughter] because after the first year i was in office, ted kennedy decided to run for president against me, and he garnered a lot of support from the more level democrats, so i had to turn to the conservative democrats and the moderate republicans to help me, and that's why we were successful. and, in fact, nobody in this last 50 years has been more successful in congress than i was except one, and that was lyndon johnson as you all know. so i would say on domestic affairs he's done the best he could, and he's prevailed on a number of issues for which he
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hasn't got much credit. as far as the middle east is concerned, i was very pleased when president obama made his speech in cairo calling for an end to the settlements because i and almost all obama's predecessors until recently have said that every settlement l built in palestine was both illegal and an obstacle to peace. and when he made his speech in cairo, he said all the seat belt elements -- settlements had to cease. but under great pressure, which i have experienced myself both before i was president, before i graduated from the presidency and after i left, i know what that pressure can be. and so he's completely backed down. and he's now more recently been more aecom tating to the -- accommodating to the demands of netanyahu and the israelis even than george w. bush was. as a matter of fact, a few months ago the obama administration spokesperson was
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hillary clinton, made an offer to the israelis of things that no previous president had ever offered them just if they would stop building settlements for three months. and netanyahu turned him down. and so as a result of that, i think president obama has basically given up on peace in the middle east. so we don't have anything going on now as far as, as bringing peace between israel and the palestinians. his concern over ril -- us ril and the syrians are between israel and lebanon. nothing's going on. and in the past number of months when omar suleiman who was mubarak's vice president was negotiating between one group of palestinians, fatah and hamas to bring them together with a
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reconciliation so they could have another election, the united states basically vetoed that whole process because israel preferred that they not be reunited. so i, i don't have any feeling of success. in what president obama has done in the middle east. i'm not here to criticize him, but you asked me, and i've told you the truth. my hope is, as i said in passing earlier, that the shake-up in egypt and the potential shake-up in other countries are cause some -- will cause some new flexibility at least in addressing the issues with the entire international community agrees that israel should withdraw from the west bank and east jerusalem except to modify the borders where the main settlements are and that the pal stint ons -- palestinians should be given the right to have their
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own elections and choose their own people, and palestine should live in peace and harmony with a two of state -- tw two-state solution. the impending threat now is a one-state solution which means just one israel all the way between the jordan river and the med -- mediterranean sea. and at this moment jews are in the minority. there's a majority of non-jews living in that one state right now. israelis still have the more number of votes because many of the arabs, a lot of christians and muslims are not yet old enough to vote. but it's obvious in the future there'll be a majority live anything that one state who are not jews. so israel will have to make a choice then of persecuting the palestinians so they can't vote
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or permitting a vote where the jews might be in the minority. where they would no longer have control of the whole government. and that's something that nobody wants. so what we want is a two-state solution with israel living in its present country with modification of the borders and the palestinians living in their country alongside, both deeply committed with international supervision to live in peace with each other. >> mr. president, you mentioned something that bears repeating, and that is that you had the best legislative battle average among modern presidents with the exception of lyndon johnson. >> yes. >> you also talked about the divisions in washington. >> yes. >> can they be repaired, in your view. and if so, how? >> i don't know. i think one encouraging factor that you might be surprised at this is the, is the taking over of the house of representatives by the republicans.
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because i'm speaking as a completely objective democrat. [laughter] in the last two years, in my opinion, the republicans have been completely irresponsible because they didn't have any responsibility. in the white house, the senate or the house. and now they do have a major part of the political responsibility. it is how they run the house of representatives. so i see in in the future maybe when there are serious disagreements that obama will make his proposal, it'll go to the house of representatives, they will vote it down or amend it, and then it'll go the senate. maybe it will be a stalemate because of the very frequent filibuster rules as you know. and then obama can take his position the public of the
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united states and say this is specifically what i advocate in the field of welfare, health or education or budgets or military, whatever, and this is what i think is right, and this is what the majority of senators say is right, and this is a specific position that the republicans in the house take. so let the public make a choice, do you approve -- do you agree with me or agree with them? it'll be a new era in the obama administration in presenting two opposing views where both sides have some responsibility. i don't know if you follow me or not. it's kind of complicated. but i think that's what is likely to happen in the future. so i think we'll see more cooperation in the next two years on key issues than we've seen the first two years except for the lame duck session. >> mr. president, the image behind us is, as you pointed out, from the 1976 "time" man of the year covering, a rendering
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of you by jamie. and about half of our audience is students here, all of whom were likely not born until after you stepped down from office. [laughter] >> later. >> you talk in your most recent book, "white house diary," you talk about the impossibility of you becoming president in 1976. can you talk a little bit about that race and how you eventually got the nomination and, ultimately, the presidency itself? >> well, i, i was just the governor of georgia, and there hadn't been any person from the deep south including lyndon johnson not being from the deep south, there hadn't been anybody from the deep south since the 1840s. because of the race issue, primarily. because we were looked upon as the primary preservers of separate but equal or racial segregation. and our top leaders in the congress and in governorships and so forth were all determined
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to preserve racial segregation. and so there was a stigma on the deep south that was very deep. because lyndon johnson became president and because he passed the voting rights act and the civil rights act of 1964, it liberated me to overcome that stigma, potentially. and i saw that as an opening, a very small opening that i might fill. so i began to campaign when i left the governor's mansion. and i didn't have any money. and almost all of the democratic party leaders, i don't know of any exceptions, were for some of the nine or ten candidates running against me.
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including lloyd benson from texas, as you rememberment -- as you remember. so i didn't have much of a chance. i campaigned by myself with just one assistant, jodi powell, who later became my press secretary. we never stayed in a hotel or motel. we couldn't afford it. none of the people that worked for me in the campaign were permitted to stay in a motel unless they paid their own way, and when we went into a town, we would try to find somebody to let us spend the night with them, and i would have to stay up all night listening to their stories or questions. [laughter] but we made an impact, and so when we left, they supported us. so i was kind of -- i hate to say this in a way, but i was kind of like the tea party has been in the last year because the people who supported me were so fed up with washington that they were looking for somebody to represent non-washington
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politics. and we were in the aftermath of the vietnam war, we were in the aftermath of watergate, we were in the aftermath of the assassination of bobby kennedy and john kennedy. and also martin luther king jr. and we were in the aftermath of the church investigating committee in the u.s. senate that showed that the cia particularly under kennedys had committed serious crimes, even of assassination. so there was a disillusionment on the part of the american people with washington. and that was the main thing that i emphasized. i told them i would never lie to them and so forth, and i emphasized the fact that i was from the deep south. i had been out of politics and all of my predecessors had, that i was a peanut farmer and can that sort of thing. so it was because of those
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volunteers in texas and other places that i never had before that never had been in politics before that i was finally elected. as a matter of fact, amazingly still to me, i ran against one of the best men i've ever known in texas, and that was lloyd benson. i beat lloyd benson 2-1 in texas. which was amazing even now to me. but i had kind of a groundswell of support among people who had not been involved in politics before, and that's really how i was able to prevail. >> but you knew that you were the, you would be the first president from the deep south to be elected since zachary taylor. >> yes. >> can you were a one-term governor from the state of georgia. what made you think you could win? is. [laughter] >> well, i wasn't sure, but -- [laughter] but i told roast lin again that if i only got two votes, i was going to say in until the end.
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this is kind of bragging now, but my tenacity was one thing, i was not about to pack down even when i had disappointments. and i had several disappointments and embarrassments where i made some mistakes, but i stuck with it. at first my only potential opponent that was well known were two. one was ted kennedy who was running for president, and the other was george wallace from the deep south, a segregationist. and my idea when i first began to think about running was that i would get in between kennedy and wallace as a moderate, and that would be my avenue to the white house. so that's why, that's what happened. but then when ted kennedy withdrew from the campaign after chappaquiddick and so forth, i saw a lot of very wonderful people, most of them out of the u.s. senate and from the house of representatives like mo udall and two or three governors enter
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the race against me. so i was disappointed, but i kept going. and the reason i first got in it, to answer your question, i thought it would be between me, kennedy and wallace. >> what's your proudest accomplishment as president? >> i think in general terms it's maintaining peace. we never dropped a bomb, we never fired a bullet, we never launched a missile while i was president. and the main thing is that we troyed to -- tried to bring that sort of relationship to other countries. i spent a lot of time negotiating between israel and egypt to prevent another war and to normalize diplomatic relations with the people's replunge of china and -- republic of china and working in africa with zimbabwe and south africa to try to bring democracy. those kind of things.
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so i would say to preserve peace fors us and maybe enhance it for others. and then the number one thing of which i'm most proud, i guess, would be the tree thety between israel and egypt which has been precious even until today and in the future. >> which still remains in effect after all these years. >> not a single word's ever been violated. >> yeah. you and i have talked at great length about your post-presidency which you have talked about it being your most satisfying chapter in your life. >> yeah, it is. >> talk a little bit about the work you've done at the carter center and its impetus upon leaving the white house. >> well, when i left the white house, i was fairly young, i was just 56 years old. i had the life expectancy of 25 years, so my first question was what am i going to do the next 25 years? and i had already been an accomplished peanut farmer -- [laughter] and a good fertilizer salesman.
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[laughter] so i didn't want to go back to that. i made a foolish statement right after i was defeated by reagan that i wouldn't serve on corporate boards or spend my life making public speeches for money which was not a wise thing to say. [laughter] but, so i didn't know what i was going to do. so i had the horrible responsibility of raising money and building a presidential library. and that was not good for a defeated democrat who has no plans to run for future office. and i had the same problem that gerald ford faced. and so as we approached the planning stage of the, of the carter presidential library, i wanted to form a carter center separate. and my first thought was that i would just have a place like camp david where people that had a conflict on their hands, say, from a foreign country could
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come to the carter center, and i could negotiate between them. i would be glad to go to their country. so that was the whole idea. but later we adopted a policy of filling vacuums in the world. we decided not to ever duplicate what the united states was doing or the united nations or the world bank or harvard university or anywhere else but just do things that nobody else wanted to do. and that got us more and more deeply involved in health care in africa. so now 75% of our total budget and personnel and our total cash budget each year is now about $100 million, is devoted to health care in africa and, to some degree, in the latin america. so we address diseases that are not any longer known anywhere in the rich world, diseases like
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lymphatic -- [inaudible] and to some degree lately, malaria. .. so that is how we got started in the outside world. as we went into those countries and became involved and the village level of eradicating
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diseases, teaching them how to do better in agriculture, if they have a conflict like a civil war, they would ask the carter center to help them resolve it. if they had made be the first election for a democratic election, last one they want is for the united states or united nations to come in and since we are already there and we knew the leaders and the people, we just finished pooling our 80 second election that is uncertain. in southern sudan for a referendum. then there an independent nation. that is how the carter center has evolved over a period of time. we still negotiate for peace agreements and promote democracy and freedom but primarily deal with health care and the most
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important aspect of our healthcare is be commitment to mental health. she is now the world leader in trying to remove the stigma from mental illness and promote mental health not only in this country but around the world. >> you talk about tenacity being one of your virtues. anyone who knows your career knows that that is certainly true that no more so than when you took aim at two particularly insidious and little known but preserve a -- pervasive things, river blindness, you talk about how pervasive those diseases were and why you decided to take aim at them? >> it is in the bible. you might remember reading about it. you know a doctor -- two things that most people think are safe. it is a horrendous disease caused by drinking in pure water
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out of a stagnant pond. in those placess in africa, they have a punt that fills up and they'd drink water out of that. they don't have any wells or running water. so the guinea worm eggs are in that water and if people drink the water and it has guinea worm and it will year later they have a guinea worm growing in their bodies and it gets to 30 inches long and when they get ready to emerge they sting the epidermis of the skin on the inside and make a horribles for and beginning worm emerges from the human body and takes 30 days to come out. wild they are coming out, they lay eggs. people don't know what causes
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the disease and they wade out in their punt and the guinea worm sleigh hundred of thousands of eggs and that keeps it going around. we found out about this in 1985. nobody wanted to fool with it because it is such a horrible disease and in isolated villages with no running water or deep wells and they are scattered all over africa and india. i adopted a little eradication of this disease as the first major health project. we started a survey in every survey, starting in pakistan and also in yemen and india all across sub-saharan africa. we found guinea worm in 23,600 villages. the carter center has been in every village. we have 3.6 million cases of guinea worm. we began to treat the problem by
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giving people a very fine net where they could strain the water. and we have reduced from $3.6 million last year, we had less than 0.1%. we only had 1600 cases. [applause] >> river virus is the most prevalent disease in south africa because when you have a rapid strain, tiny things breed in water and sting people. we have done tests on it and they find it has the average
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young child gets stung 30,000 times a year. the stings are not very painful. they lay eggs inside the body that becomes small worms and those worms over period of 12 years travel through the bloodstream and wind up in the eye and they affect the eye and cause blindness called river blindness. what has happened over the centuries is people move away from these streams and get away from the flies and move to the arid hillside and move out of the bottom land. that has happened all over africa so we decided to address that. luckily the ceo of merck and co. developed a dog medicine called heart guard. a turkish scientist found this our guard would also do away
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with guinea worm. so he came to the carter center and said he would give us the medicine free of charge if we would deliver it to the people and help control the disease so later i went to -- we are sitting on a dam. he was on television. he finally said yes. so last year the carter center treated 11,000,300,000 people with three medicines and none of those people have river blindness. the problem is the parent worms
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that live in stores on your back still breed the tiny little microscopic worms. we get rid of the microscopic worms, nobody goes blind but we have to do it every year. we saw it in some of america giving the madison four times a year and now we are in the process of doing away with river blindness in south america. it is a major thing for us. you can't send -- ask the people to give it to each other. if you have river blindness you would rather have this event at diamond the same size. it is very valuable. if somebody steals them and sells them. we have to go into the villages and deliver them directly to the
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mouth of people. we have trained people how to do this. it is an interesting challenge for us to undertake. >> i will ask question that you wrote out for president carter brought at the convenience of my staff. let me go back to -- thank you very much. let me go back to -- just leaving office. your post presidency is now considered the most remarkable of any president in american history but it is about to -- tell us about those first days after office and the questions that you and mrs. carter were asking yourselves about your future? >> we didn't know what to do. i was in debt. i didn't make any money when i was in the white house. after i was defeated in november
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of 1980 by representative came and told me i was a million dollars in debt, previous business that i had that my brother had been running, we had four years of drought in georgia in carter's warehouse which was the major source of income was almost in bankruptcy. so i was a million dollars in debt and had to build a presidential library. i didn't know what i was going to do. so luckily the business company decided to -- bought my warehouse for enough that i didn't have to lose all our farmers. i started from scratch. you already know about the history of the carter center. this was a challenging time. i was invited to -- to be
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president of universities. are always wanted to get out of politics. [laughter] the [applause] i didn't want to spend my life raising money. also invited to be a professor in the university system with georgia. they have 33 universities and i was supposed to give them, go around to different ones and make speeches but i didn't want to be controlled by the georgia legislature either. every university president at that time was james laney, invited me to teach and promised complete freedom of speech so i'd decided to go and this is my 30th year. every month i teach in a different part of the university and in every major department.
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in law and history and political science, theology, religion, english, medicine and so on. i have done that for 30 years. we have had a very poor life and relationships with university teaching and with the mental health programs. we had a difficult time the first two years getting the carter center started because the reagan administration was determined not to give us any support. sometimes we would arrange to go to a foreign country and not only with the ambassador leave the country but the ambassador will also set a ton our trip until none of his people would even meet with me. so that was a problem until the george shultz became secretary of state and then it changed. we prevailed and had wonderful relationship with the centers for disease control which was
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right next door to us so -- presidents and kings and also ministers of health and agriculture. ministers of finance. if he wants to eliminate guinea worm why don't you invite your cabinet in and i can get the president and a cabinet to the carter center and we carry it out and that has been a source of our strength and influence. i have never been overseas to assist without getting permission from the white house. sometimes reluctant. i always managed to get
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permission. i always make a written report to the president and secretary of state and usually the secretary of the united nations when i come back from a trip. when i go to a sensitive area to meet with hamas or syria or north korea i always give a report to the white house. >> what is the funniest thing that happened to you in the white house? >> it wasn't funny to me but was funny to everybody else. one time when i was on vacation from the white house i went down fishing in a fish pond. we have full fish ponds. now we do fly fishing all over the world but back then -- on a punt. when i was fishing by secretary was fishing of the bank and rosen and i were in a boat. a bunch of dogs chasing a
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rabbit. how many of you know about this story? the rabbit jumped in the water and rabbits can swim very well. they have to cross creeks and so forth. the rabbit swam toward my boat. i took my paddle and splashed water on the rabbit and the rabbit turned and went to the bank. that was all there was to it. two years later, jody powell was with some other people. [laughter] in one of the taverns in washington and embellish this story enormously just to get a local appreciation or a free beer or something. it was a rabbit that tried to attack me and i was saved by the skin of my teeth from being bitten and he thought the rabbit
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was probably mad or had rabies. this became the number one story in the world. president carter is already beleaguered and can't get everything he wants and is even afraid of rabbits. [laughter] you can't imagine, i still get 3,000 letters a week but i don't know how many letters i got about rabbits and people want to know, if there is a wrap it in my swimming pool can he swim out? i had to write and explain the fortitude and capabilities of rabbits for long time. that is one of the funny things that happened that people remember. >> infamously the killer rabbit story may be a cautionary tale about the excess of alcohol. who is your favorite president?
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>> i can change my story because i am in this library. my favorite president in my lifetime was harry truman. i can explain that. i was a submarine officer. i was in the naval academy when franklin roosevelt died. and harry truman became president. completely unknown. kind of taken by roosevelt just to throw a figleaf at some people who wanted to support. never did confide in harry truman. he was on the outside looking in. when roosevelt died i cried. because i had the prospect of my commanding officer, my commanding chief. later when i was in submarines i
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began to appreciate what harry truman stood for. i think he was honest. i doubt if he ever used a $0.03 stamp that he didn't pay for. he was under tremendous pressure from the same people that tried to prevent president johnson putting in place the civil rights act. he was under the pressure of dick russell and strom thurmond and many others. truman, already unpopular. he went out of office the most unpopular president in history. ordained commander in chief and all racial discrimination in military forces was over. that day. he was condemned severely by all his generals and admirals and overwhelmingly in the congress and by many other people in
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america. my life on the submarine was change by that decision. affected my whole future. after truman left office, progress made on civil-rights. that was before rosa parks sat in front of a school bus and martin luther king became active. it was before president johnson was the ultimate hero in successfully ending legal civil discrimination. he was my favorite because of that. most successful president in my memory was lyndon johnson. he had his great society program. the civil-rights act, only one part of it, in medicare and a
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massive program for the war against poverty. hy was governor when he put into effect the elementary school act. i went up and testified in favor of that act as a governor. all those things transformed the life of america. he was courageous enough to control budget deficits even when faced with terrible threats to the budget. he imposed taxes and other things to make it possible. he has been the most successful president. >> how can young people be a positive force in the political
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process today? >> some things that some of you may not like. [talking over each other] >> i would like for the young people in coming generations to strive for transcendence in political affairs. for superlative measures. not just in your own profession but in the political life of america. i would like for our country to
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become a real system. the next 20 nations in the world. and all the defense budgets on earth. and with a the dollar prevailing and culturally we are still the number one with facebook and twitter and that kind of thing and odd music and so forth. we are still the most powerful and influential but superpower in my opinion for the young people, ought to be characteristic of a nation that would emulate the highest ideals of a human being. i happened to be a christian.
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i talk quite often of standards of jesus christ. we know him as a prince of peace. we know that he espoused justice and reached out to people in need. he was forgiving. and so forth. i don't see why the young people set as a goal of the country being a superpower in every respect. what would this mean? one thing is whenever people in a foreign country are faced with a civil war i would like for the first thing that come to our mind, why do we go to the united states? the united states is a champion
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of peace. the united states reports to conflict in extremely rare occasions. and charts to resolve disputes. i would like people who want democracy and freedom to say the united states has the best democratic electoral system on earth. it is not shaped by how well the candidate is or how much special interest money can be garnered in to a special campaign but open to anybody qualified to present their platform planks on an equal basis. i would like to say to the
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iranian states, the champion of environment. the forefront of the move to prevent global warming. for instance. unlike to see the united states be the most generous nation on earth. sharing our wealth and resources with other people who are in need. like norway or sweden or the netherlands. i am not criticizing my country which i love. still the greatest nation in the world. there are aspects of basic morality based on the principles of christianity and other
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religions as well, united states is not the leader in preserving peace. there are programs in 73 -- most likely to go to war. we are not in the forefront of environmental issues. the elections we had in 2000 showed increasingly the election depends on money. it would be impossible for anybody to be the candidate of the democratic republican party that didn't raise $100 million in advance. a few hundred million dollars.
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we have not stigma on ourselves but opportunities to improve in the future. it requires some thoughts that are independent and innovative. and i would say idealistic. it is going to be the next generation that brings this about. >> what would you say about your charm? >> a lot of people only serve one term. that is not my preference. i would like people to remember that i kept the peace and promoted human-rights. almost without hesitation and
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without much equivocation. we had some leaders on earth who were not true democrats but what i explained in south america, human-rights policy follows that. peace and human rights. >> tom johnson said that jimmy carter is one of my heroes and i could say without equivocation, truly an american hero. this has been a great honor having you here tonight and appreciate you being with us. [applause]


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