Former President Jimmy Carter today said President Reagan still tends to exaggerate and even make deliberate misstatements when trying to make a point or avoid blame for a mistake.
Carter, interviewed on the “CBS Morning News,” was asked if he was satisfied with recent statements by Reagan that he was sorry he had wrongly criticized Carter on military matters. Reagan acknowledged that Carter began some of the military programs the Reagan Administration has taken credit for.
“Well, it depends on whether he’s stopped misstating the facts,” Carter said. “I hope he has seen the error of his ways and in the future he will tell the truth.
“This is something that he promised to do a couple of years ago, but, of course, he didn’t do it.
“I think he tends to exaggerate, sometimes to deliberately misstate facts to make his point about needing an enormous buildup in the Defense Department or not taking blame for anything that goes wrong and blaming his predecessors in office or in Congress or someone else.
“So my hope is that President Reagan will--now that he has told other people that he has made a mistake--stop making the same mistake.”
Carter also suggested that the United States has inadvertently made a hero out of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi, who he said was an outcast in the Muslim world a few months ago. At the same time, he said, the Administration has increased the threat of terrorism to American citizens.
“I grew up on a farm, and one of the things you learn is you don’t take a stick and keep on poking it at a polecat. (You) just stir it up and make the situation worse,” Carter said.
On Nicaragua, Carter urged a peaceful solution, maintaining that the Marxist Sandinistas “would be a lot less expansive in nature and a lot less dangerous if they were forced to come to the negotiating table.”