Miller Center

Jimmy Carter

Speaker: Jimmy Carter
Date: November 29, 1982

Jimmy Carter gives a comprehensive look at his entry into national politics and his four years as President of the United States. Carter begins by discussing his decision to pursue the presidency shortly after the 1972 Democratic National Convention and his reflections from the 1976 presidential campaign. Considerable time is given to the transition and early months of the administration, as Carter attempted to adjust to Washington politics, formulate his policy agenda, and organize the White House Staff, particularly in the wake of the Bert Lance resignation. Carter then examines his place within the administration – his involvement in policy construction, relations with Congress and the Cabinet, and his perspective of personnel issues (particularly the Brzezinski-Vance relationship). Carter also discusses the interaction between his administration and outside groups such as the Democratic Party, interest groups, and the media. The interview includes a substantive discussion of the major foreign policy issues of the term, including the Camp David accords, the SALT agreement, the Panama Canal treaty, and the Iran hostage crisis. Although not specifically addressed, Carter's responses offer a penetrating insight into his personal worldview, his governing philosophy, and his management and decision-making style. Carter concludes with thoughts on how the presidency affected him personally and how he would have approached a second term in office.