President Carter: ‘I Hope My Legacy Will Be Peace’

Former President Jimmy Carter, speaking to a packed house at UT’s LBJ Auditorium Tuesday night, said he wants the United States to become a friendlier superpower and hopes that his own legacy will be peace.

“We are still the most powerful and influential country on earth,” Carter said, “but a superpower in my opinion ought to be characteristic of a nation that would emulate the highest ideals of a human being.”

In a conversation with LBJ Library and Museum director Mark Updegrove, the 39th president of the United States discussed his time in the White House, his post-presidency work with the Carter Center, and his thoughts on President Obama and the recent the turmoil in the Middle East.

Carter said that Obama handled Egypt the same way he would have, remaining loyal to Mubarak at first, so as not to send a message to other Middle Eastern allies that the United States will abandon them at the first signs of protest. He also praised Obama for doing the best he could in domestic affairs, given that none of Obama’s predecessors had to deal with such a polarized Congress, he said.

He also defended his own legislative achievements as president, saying no president in the last 50 years was more successful in Congress than he was, except Lyndon Johnson. He listed maintaining peace and trying to bring it to other countries as points of pride.

“My proudest accomplishment was that I never dropped a bomb, fired a bullet, or launched a missile while I was president,” Carter said.

The Carter Center has allowed him to continue that legacy, facilitating 82 elections in troubled countries, most recently in Sudan. Their next election project, Carter said, will most likely be Egypt.

Carter spoke to an audience of nearly 1,000, about half students, as part of the Harry Middleton Lecture Series. Lady Bird Johnson founded the lecture series in 1994 in honor of Middleton, who served in the LBJ administration and as director of the LBJ library for 30 years. Like admission to the library, the lectures are always free of charge.

Photo by Rebecca Fontenot/The Alcalde



Post a Comment