Carter Rips Cheney's 'Abysmal' Iraq Record

Carter: Well, if you go back and see what Vice President Cheney has said for the last three or four years concerning Iraq, his batting average is abysmally low. He hasn't been right on hardly anything, in his prediction of what was going to happen; reasons for us going over there. And obviously, this is not playing into the hands of Al Qaida or the people who are causing violence and destruction over there, to call for a change in policy in Iraq.

Stephanopoulos: You know, I've heard a lot of complaints recently that this presidential campaign is starting too early. And I think people who say that have short memories.

(LAUGHTER)

We went back and looked -- and maybe this is the unofficial start of the year '76 campaign -- you're on "What's My Line?" in December of 1973.

[INSERT: "WHAT'S MY LINE"]
Moderator: "Panel, all I can tell you about Mr. X is that he provides a service and let's begin the questioning with Arlene Francis."

Arlene Francis: "Is it a service that has to do with women?"

Carter: "Yes, it certainly does." (laughter)

Female panelist: "Mr. X has a very spiritual aura. Does he recruit nuns?" (laughter)…

Stephanopoulos: No one knew who you were, but two years later, you had the nomination.

Carter: That's right.

Stephanopoulos: Do you think it's possible for anyone to run the kind of campaign you ran, '73, '74, '75?

Carter: No. I didn't have any money. We've never had enough money for me or Roselyn or my children or my mother to stay in a hotel. We always had to find somebody to take us in. Nowadays, you can't do it. You can't dream of getting the nomination for either party now, I would say, unless you can raise $100 million in advance, you know, as an indication of your authenticity. That's a gross distortion, in my opinion, of propriety in an election process.

Stephanopoulos: Your favorite Democrat dropped out of the race: Mark Warner.

Carter: I like Mark. I never did endorse him. My favorite Democrat, for a number of years now, has been Al Gore. If Al should decide to run -- which I'm afraid he won't -- I would support Al Gore.

Stephanopoulos: You think he should?

Carter: I think he should.

His burning issue now is global warming and preventing it. He can do infinitely more to accomplish that goal as in the incumbent in the White House, than he can making even movies that get -- you know, that get Oscars. So, I would hope he would. But I don't think he will. I've put so much pressure on Al to run that he's almost gotten aggravated with me.

Stephanopoulos: Have you actually called him?

Carter: Not lately. He almost told me, the last time I talked, "Don't call me anymore."

(LAUGHTER) (CROSSTALK)

Carter: ... He said -- he said, "Jimmy, I'll support you. Don't call." But he would be my favorite.

Stephanopoulos: It sounds like Barack Obama is actually trying to take elements of the message you had in 1976: running against the process, the system, cynicism. But a few months ago, you said you thought he wasn't ready.

Carter: Back in those days, I was, kind of, hoping that he wouldn't run. But now that he's announced, you know, he's a legitimate candidate, and I'll let the American people decide.

Stephanopoulos: You think the country's ready for Hillary?

Carter: I think so. I think the country would be ready for Obama too if he should get the nomination.

You can look all over the world, all the way from Nicaragua to Indonesia, India, Great Britain -- women have been the -- have provided leadership in their countries, and they've done quite well. So I don't think there's any doubt about that.

Stephanopoulos: Mr. President, thank you very much.

Carter: I've enjoyed it.

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