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CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With Jimmy Carter
Aired November 27, 2006 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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LARRY KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight, former President Jimmy Carter with no end in sight to the slaughter some call a civil war in Iraq, where the United States has now been fighting longer than it fought in World War II, could another member of President Bush's axis of evil be getting in on the action?
Former President Jimmy Carter weighs in on this increasingly unpopular war, on the Democrats taking over Congress, and the future of the Palestinians, next on LARRY KING LIVE.
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KING: Good evening.
It's always a great pleasure to welcome Jimmy Carter to this program. The former president of the United States is author a very controversial new book "Palestine, Peace not Apartheid." There you will see its cover. It may be the most controversial book he's ever written. He joins us from our studios in New York. He's the Nobel Prize laureate and the 39th president of the United States.
Before we move to this book, some of the critiques of it, Mr. President, we start with Iraq where we have to start. NBC is now calling Iraq a civil war and has instructed all its news people to refer to it that way, do you agree?
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think there's certainly been indications of civil war for a long time. The war is between civil entities within the country and it's obviously reached a point of not being constrained or controlled by outside forces, including American forces, so I don't think there's anything wrong with calling it a civil war. It doesn't change the character of it just because NBC has said that but I don't think it's a misnomer for it.
KING: Would you call it a civil war?
CARTER: No, I don't think so. I think this brings it up to a level that doesn't quite reach the level of most other civil wars.
I just helped -- we just helped at the Carter Center to monitor an election in the Republic of Congo, which has had a civil war and four million people have died. And we've been deeply involved in trying to bring peace to Sudan and two million people died in that civil war.
So, some civil wars are much more costly obviously in historical terms than it has been in Iraq. But it's serious and the prospect for immediate cessation of violence is completely absent.
KING: Henry Kissinger now says a military victory in Iraq is impossible. Do you share that view?
CARTER: Well, I think it's impossible. You know, as a matter of fact, for the last number of months the United States has not tried to exert its military power. We've tried to monitor what goes on, help on occasion in very tangential ways but retain our forces basically within the secure places where they are stationed.
As a matter of fact, in this last weekend when 200 people were killed in one bomb blast, it was two hours later before U.S. forces got there, so we're not really exerting our maximum military force as we did in the invasion.
KING: So what, Mr. President, what's at the end of the road? What do you see?
CARTER: Well, I think everybody is waiting to see what Lee Hamilton has to say and Jim Baker and their committee. I think the president is waiting to see what they say. I think he has a good indication already.
Two things they've already made clear and that is that Iran and Syria ought to be involved in the future discussions. And I would imagine they are going to call for a much broader assembly of influential leaders and for maybe Saudi Arabia, Egypt, other Arab countries to let the Iraqi people know that they don't stand alone with just an American occupier. I think those two recommendations are coming along.
I understand that there is still some great deal of discussion or dissention among the ten members of the committee about how soon we should withdraw troops, how many we should withdraw and that sort of thing.
When I talked to Jim Baker last week, he made it plain to me that his major goal, Larry, is to have unanimity within the committee. He thinks the mix of Democrats and Republicans, all very prominent, all very qualified, should be a unanimous recommendation to have a maximum impact.
KING: Now the incoming chair of Armed Services, Senator Carl Levin says: "We should put the responsibility for Iraq's future squarely where it belongs on the Iraqis. We cannot save them from themselves," do you agree?
CARTER: Yes, I do, and I think that's one of the things that might be forthcoming from this committee and that is a recommendation that we do let the Iraqi government, such as it is, know specifically that they can count on U.S. troops being there indefinitely. And I think this will put an element of pressure on them or influence on them to be more active and more forceful in trying to bring the disparate groups, the Shiites, the Sunnis, at least those two together in a more harmonious way.
They really haven't done their utmost in my opinion and I think the United States ought to put a little pressure on them. One pressure is to do what the chairman said and that is to put the responsibility on them and let them know that American troops are going to commence withdrawing in the foreseeable future.
KING: You said back in September that Donald Rumsfeld was one of the worst secretaries of defense we ever had; that aside, now that he's going, what do you make of Mr. Gates?
CARTER: Well, he worked for me in a way. He was in the intelligence agency working under Stansfield Turner when I was president. Stansfield Turner always thought a lot of him. And I think everyone who has served with him since that time, those ancient days, have had accolades for him.
So, I think that he's certainly going to be an improvement and I think the nation is going to give him full support. And I would presume that the Congress will approve his appointment without any hesitation.
KING: Do you like the fact that a number of people from the first Bush administration is now coming to work or help the second?
CARTER: Well they're outstanding people. You know, I've worked very closely with Jim Baker, perhaps more closely than any other secretary of state that served in Washington since I left office. And he and I were partners, as you may know, after the 2004 elections on a special commission set up to improve electoral procedures that I did with President Ford after 2000.
So, I've known Jim Baker for many years, have complete confidence in him. And I think that for him to bring in others; Brent Scowcroft and I need not name the rest of them, who were very active in the past, I think it's a good step in the right direction and I think it reassures the people of our country about the substance of what they're going to do. I think it's a very reassuring element to the key members of Congress. They've all expressed their unanimous approval for what is being contemplated.
And, thirdly, I think it might be more difficult for the Bush administration and the White House to acknowledge that his father and his friends kind of helped him out of a difficult spot. I think they'll be strongly inclined to take most of the recommendations they receive.
KING: In a little while, we'll be talking about "Palestine, Peace not Apartheid," a controversial title indeed, your new book, which is as we said may be your most controversial.
We'll cover a lot of things before we get to it. One is would you talk directly to Iran?
CARTER: Yes, I would, and I was hoping that we could do that even much earlier. As a matter of fact, after the Shah was overthrown and the Ayatollah Khomeini established a so-called revolution in Iran, we immediately started dealing with Iran and its new government.
They had diplomats in Washington, as you know, and you certainly remember that we had diplomats in Tehran who were captured and held hostage. So, we were trying to deal with them even immediately after the Shah's deposal by the Ayatollah.
And I think it's a natural thing if you have differences of agreement with nations the first thing to do is to start some kind of communication with them and let them know what our position is and let them tell us in some secluded or confidential ways what they want and try to work out the differences. So, I think it's been long overdue that we would deal directly with Iran and diplomatically and also Syria I might say.
KING: We'll be right back with Jimmy Carter.
When we come back, more on the former president's most controversial book ever; and, as we go to break more on the horror of the Iraq war.
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ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This video posted on an extremist jihadi website shows a new level of brutality; the Mujahaddin army from Adamia (ph), a Sunni neighborhood, prepare to behead this man whom they claim is with the Shia Mehdi militia. The killing moments later takes place as people report images. And throughout Iraq the agony of loss, the failures of the government now painfully obvious as the country comes even closer to full-scale civil war.
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HM KING ABDULLAH II, KING OF JORDAN: We could possibly imagine going into 2007 and having three civil wars on our hands and, therefore, it is time that we really take a strong step forward as part of the international community and make sure we avert the Middle East from a tremendous crisis that I fear and I see could possibly happen.
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KING: A former guest on this show, the son of a quite close friend of our guest, the president.
CARTER: That's right. KING: President Carter, author of "Palestine, Peace not Apartheid." What do you make of what King Abdullah is talking about here, three civil wars?
CARTER: Well, I think he's expressing a concern that has affected perhaps Jordan more than any other of the neighboring states of the holy land. Jordan is a small country. It's vulnerable. It's very susceptible to the tensions in the Middle East.
And I think King Abdullah is expressing a concern that all of us share that we don't want to see another conflict break out in the Mid East; that is, in Lebanon or in the West Bank or Gaza or Israel. I think that would be a catastrophe and one that we can avoid in my opinion.
KING: Do you expect much from the president's and secretary of state's visit there this week?
CARTER: Well, I think that -- I hope so. I don't know what they're going to do in the Middle East really. I haven't been keeping up with the news that much. I understand that they will meet with the president of Iraq or the prime minister and I hope that that will be an avenue through which America can express its determination, as I mentioned earlier in this program, of depending on them to take stronger action than Prime Minister Maliki has taken so far. Let the Iraqis take more responsibility for their own future and let us begin the withdrawal process.
KING: Now let's move to your book, "Palestine, Peace not Apartheid," published by Simon and Schuster. This must be book number 600.
CARTER: It's book number 21.
KING: Twenty-one. It just seems so frequent.
CARTER: I know.
KING: Anyway, Alan Dershowitz writing about this book Mr. Dershowitz has written strong books defending Israel, blasts this book and he says your use of the loaded word "apartheid" suggesting an analogy to the hated policies of South Africa is especially outrageous. What's the analogy? Why use the word apartheid?
CARTER: Well, he has to go to the first word in the title, which is "Palestine," not Israel. He should go to the second word in the title, which is "peace." And then the last two words is "not apartheid." I never have alleged in the book or otherwise that Israel, as a nation, was guilty of apartheid.
But there is a clear distinction between the policies within the nation of Israel and within the occupied territories that Israel controls and the oppression of the Palestinians by Israeli forces in the occupied territories is horrendous. And it's not something that has been acknowledged or even discussed in this country. The basic purpose of... KING: Why not?
CARTER: I don't know why not. You never hear anything about what is happening to the Palestinians by the Israelis. As a matter of fact, it's one of the worst cases of oppression that I know of now in the world. The Palestinians' land has been taken away from them. They now have an encapsulating or an imprisonment wall being built around what's left of the little tiny part of the holy land that is in the West Bank.
In the Gaza, from which Israel is now withdrawing, Gaza is surrounded by a high wall. There's only two openings in it, one into Israel which is mostly closed, the other one into Egypt. The people there are encapsulated.
And, the deprivation of basic human rights among the Palestinians is really horrendous and this is a fact that's known throughout the world. It's debated heavily and constantly in Israel. Every time I'm there the debates is going on. It is not debated at all in this country.
And, I believe that the purpose of this book, as I know, is to bring permanent peace to Israel living within its recognized borders, modified with good faith negotiations between the Palestinians for land swaps. That's the only avenue that will bring Israel peace.
KING: But, again, referring to Dershowitz, he says: "Palestinian terrorism is missing from Carter's entire historical account," true?
CARTER: No, it's not. He obviously hasn't read the book. I point out very horrible instances of Palestinian terrorism. But I also point out that in the last -- since August of 2004 that Hamas has not been guilty of an act of terrorism that cost an Israeli life. And, the terrible acts of violence on both sides are a very great concern of mine.
For instance, since the second intifada started, there have been about 4,000 Israelis -- Palestinians killed, about 1,000 Israelis killed. Seven hundred Palestinian children have died. About 120 Israeli children have died. These are all horrible acts and this constant killing of each other needs to be stopped.
Since Israel went into Gaza 400 Palestinians have died, three Israeli soldiers have been killed. Four other Israelis have been killed by rockets. All of those deaths are tragic but there has been violence on both sides.
And what we need now is a recognition that Israel will comply with international law with the resolutions passed by the United Nations, approved by the United States and Israel requiring Israel to withdraw from occupied territories.
To comply with Israel's with me and President Sadat at Camp David when Menachem Begin, the prime minister of Israel agreed, "We will withdraw our military and political forces from the West Bank. We'll give them full autonomy. We'll comply with U.N. resolution 242," which requires Israel to withdraw from occupied territories. That has now been violated.
KING: Let me hold you right there.
KING: And we'll pick right up.
KING: We'll have e-mails and include some phone calls. "Palestine, Peace not Apartheid," Jimmy Carter the author, we'll be right back.
KING: Concerning your book, Nancy Pelosi, the incoming speaker of the House said: "It is wrong to suggest that the Jewish people would support a government in Israel or anywhere else that institutionalizes ethnically based oppression and Democrats reject that allegation vigorously."
CARTER: Well, I didn't refer to Israel, to repeat myself, and I made it plain in my book that the apartheid as now being practiced in the West Bank is based not on racism or ethnic divisions. It's based on (INAUDIBLE) for Palestinian land by a minority of Israelis and this has been the problem for a long time.
And, I don't think there's any way that Israel will ever have what all of us want, what I've worked for, for 30 years, and that is peace until Israel is willing to withdraw from the occupied territories and let the Palestinians have their own land side-by-side, as is specified, by the way, in the international quartet's roadmap for peace, which calls for Israel to withdraw from occupied territories.
KING: Mr. President, didn't President Clinton have that all worked out and wasn't it Arafat that backed off?
CARTER: No. As a matter of fact, Clinton -- President Clinton did a great job the last term, the last part of his term in trying to bring peace to Israel. He made some very interesting proposals, none of which were accepted either by the Israelis or the Palestinians.
I describe that in my book and what President Clinton proposed was not acceptable to either Israel of the Palestinians but was the best effort he could make in the time that he had left in his term.
KING: We have an e-mail from Julie in Palo Alto. "The United States and Israel seem to be the ones you love to hate worldwide. Why do you think that is so and why are they always linked together?"
CARTER: Well, I think the United States and Israel have been linked together ever since long before I was president and they were certainly linked together when I was president. I was the one that negotiated a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. Egypt had been the attacker of Israel four times in the previous 25 years before I became president and we concluded a peace treaty between Israel and our most formidable opponent in 1979 in April, not a word of which has ever been violated. So, I've devoted a good portion of my adult life trying to bring peace to Israel, which I admire very much.
And I think what's happening in the West Bank and in the occupied territories is completely contrary to the basic principles of the Israeli religion and completely contrary to the basic principles of Israel as a nation when it was founded.
It's a crime what is being done to the Palestinians by the occupying forces and that's what I tried to describe in the book. And everything in the book, I might say, is completely accurate.
KING: Richard Cohen in "The Washington Post" wrote the following. I want your reaction. "The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake. It's an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslim (and Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are now seeing. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself."
CARTER: I don't agree with that, if you're asking me if I do agree.
CARTER: I think it was a notable and heroic thing for the international community with practical unanimity, except for the Arab countries, to ordain the right of Israel to be a nation and I think that one of the greatest steps that Harry Truman made was to recognize Israel immediately.
And then when Israel was attacked and went through a series of wars in 1967, the delineation of Israel was established. Seventy- seven percent of the holy land was given to Israel. Only 22 percent went into the West Bank. And the agreement was that Israel would not invade and occupy and colonize the property owned by the Palestinians.
Israel violated that international law and the international quartet's roadmap and other agreements. And, as soon as Israel quits violating that and withdraws to its legal borders, then Israel will have I think a fruitful and peaceful life in harmony with its neighbors.
KING: Are you optimistic about that?
CARTER: It depends. You know in the last six years, contrary to every other thing we've known since Israel was founded, there has not been a single day of good faith negotiation between Israel and her neighbors, despite the fact that the Palestinians have produced with full approval for Israel and the United States the person that they wanted to represent the Palestinians, that is Mahmoud Abbas who is known as Abu Mazen.
When Arafat was still president, Abu Mazen was made the prime minister, at the choice of U.S. and Israel, so he could negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians. Later when Arafat died, Abu Mazen became the president of the Palestinians and still he has not been permitted to negotiate a single day in good faith in a substantive way with Israeli leaders.
That's something that's missing is any effort on the part of the international community, particularly the United States, to bring these two sides together for good faith talks, as all previous presidents, including President Clinton, have tried to do.
KING: The book is "Palestine, Peace not Apartheid." Coming up, former President Carter's take on the midterm elections; a little later his predictions for 2008. Your phone calls on the questions of this book as well and some more on the book too. It's just ahead on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: We're back with President Carter.
The book: "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid."
We'll include some of your phone calls as well.
Ridge, New Hampshire, hello.
CALLER: Hey, Larry. How's it going?
CALLER: President Carter, how are you?
I would just like to say, first of all, I think the war in Iraq is an absolute disgrace.
KING: What's your question?
CALLER: Well, I feel like we lied to -- anyway, I would like to ask President Carter what he thinks we need to do to leave Iraq, what we need for success and how are we going to leave that country.
KING: Got you.
How are we going to leave?
CARTER: Well, I think what everybody's doing right now and what I'm doing is waiting to see what the recommendations might be from the committee that's studying that under Jim Baker and others.
And I think what they've already done is to recommend that Iran and Syria, as well as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others come together to reassure the Iraqi people that have a life after American troops leave. The second thing is to notify the Iraqi leaders and government that we do have a definite plan to leave. They must take more responsibility for themselves.
I wouldn't want a precipitous withdrawal and I hope that the Democratic Congress members will work harmoniously with President Bush after he makes a decision as commander in chief the best avenue on how to take the new recommendations coming to him.
KING: Speaking of that, what's your overview of the elections?
CARTER: In this year?
CARTER: I was pleased with the elections, obviously. I was surprised that we took the Senate. Obviously, some of the victories were very close. But I think that now we have a good chance to let the Democrats prove, hopefully, that we can govern, at least from a Congressional point of view, insist on some of the things that are long overdue, like an increase in the minimum wage and maybe some cheaper prices for drugs, and to do a great deal, I hope, on the ethics issue, eliminate corruption in the Congress, but, overall, to be positive in our approach and not just negative, as we've been too much in the past.
KING: Do you think it will continue to be as pro-Israel as this past Congress?
CARTER: I would guess so, Larry. It's almost inconceivable for any members of the House and Senate to take any position that would be critical of Israel.
That's one reason I wrote my book, is just to precipitate some controversy, to use your word, or provocation, that is to provoke debate on the issue and to let the people of America know that there are two sides to many issues in the Middle East, and that in order ever to have peace for Israel, Israel will have to comply with international law. But I don't think it's likely at all that Democrats will be any more critical for the policies of Israel than were the Republicans.
KING: Back to Mr. Dirshowitz (ph) on your book. He deals with the tone of your book. He says "it's obvious that Carter doesn't like Israel or Israelis. He lectured Golda Meir on Israel's secular nature, he admits he didn't like Menachem Begin. He has little good to say about any Israelis except those few who agree with him. He apparently got along swimmingly with secular Syrian mass murderer Hafiz al-Assad. He and his wife Rosalynn had a fine time fine with equally secular Yasser Arafat, a man with the blood of hundreds of Americans and Israelis on his hands."
How would you respond?
CARTER: That's ridiculous. You know, I think it's a waste of my time and yours to quote Professor Dirshowitz. He's so obviously biased, Larry, and it's not worth my time to waste it on commenting on him.
I had very good friends in Israel. I said in the book that my number one friend in Israel was Eva Weissman (ph), who negotiated with me at Camp David. Moshe Dian (ph) was also there with me. I got along well with Prime Minister Begin. In fact, he was the one that made it possible for me to have the greatest success politically of my life, and that is to bring peace between Israel and Egypt. And obviously I was friendly with Sadat, as well. So, I still have great friends in Israel. And for him to say that I hate Israel, I hate Israelis, I hate Jews and so forth is ridiculous.
KING: Since you negotiated one of the most successful peace treaties in history, the treaty between Israel and Egypt, which has never been broken, right?
CARTER: That's correct. Not a single word has ever been violated since April of 1979.
KING: How did you get this rap of anti-Israel then?
CARTER: You mean from Dirshowitz?
KING: No, let's put Dirshowitz aside.
CARTER: You'd have a hard time finding others that think that. You know, when I write a book of this kind, with admittedly a provocative title -- and I use the word provocative not in a negative sense, but just to provoke debate and to provoke discussion.
And now we're in an absolute doldrums concerning peace in the Middle East. As I said couple of times on your program already, for six years we've not had one day -- one effort to negotiate peace. I think it's time to get become on the peace track. And I think this book will provoke some discussions and will educate a lot of people about what's going on in the West Bank now. And it has the clearest possible avenue proscribed in this book for peace in Israel and harmony with its next door neighbors.
KING: Why has that been impossible up to now?
CARTER: The debate?
KING: No, not to have a debate.
KING: President Clinton said that situation is the hardest he's ever had to deal with, harder than Britain and Ireland.
CARTER: Well, it probably is. But, you know, there have been two clear successes. One was when I negotiated between Begin and Sadat and they both agreed to exactly the same document. They both submitted that document with their signature on it to their own parliaments. And their own governments approved it, in Israel with a vote of 85 percent in the Knesset.
And then later the Norwegians negotiated an agreement between Rabin -- Peres on one side and Arafat on the other, for which all three of them got the Nobel Peace Prize. And they proscribed it -- the withdrawal from the occupied territory.
So, there have been previous agreements worked out based on U.N. Resolution 242 and the others, with which the Israeli leaders and their government agreed. So it's not a hopeless case. And I hope that we'll make another effort. In both those cases, there were strong interlocutors or mediators, I in one case and the Norwegians in the other. And that's what we need now.
I think if the United States won't take that role on, then maybe the entire group of the so-called International Quartet, the United States, Russia, the United Nations, and the United -- and the European Union -- those four have written a road map which President Bush has endorsed enthusiastically. And if they can implement their terms -- by the way, on which the Palestinians have accepted 100 percent and the Israelis have rejected almost entirely -- if the road map terms are accepted, then we can have peace in the Middle East.
KING: Our guest is President Carter. His book is "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid," not only a guaranteed best-seller, but certainly one of the most talked about books late in the year 2006.
Just ahead, the former president's take on the rising political star of Barack Obama. Don't go away.
KING: Before we take another call and talk more about the book and President Carter's newest endeavors, which are many of course -- he is one of the most active if not the most active former president ever.
Let's ask about Barack Obama. What do you make about this new man on the scene?
CARTER: Well, he's a remarkable political phenomenon, I think. I was there in the audience when he made his notable speech to the last Democratic Convention. I've seen the remarkable impact he's made during the recent elections, as he traveled around the country. He was the most sought for public speaker. He brought forth a lot of emotion, not only in the United States but when he visited Africa recently. So I think he has a great political future. I don't think there's any doubt about that.
KING: Presidential future soon?
CARTER: Presidential future soon. I don't know if it's two years from now is too soon. I think that's up to the American people to decide. But possibly, you know, subsequent election. KING: Los Angeles, another call for President Carter. Hello.
CALLER: Yes, hello. First of all, I would like to thank you, President Carter, for being such an eloquent spokesperson for justice for the Palestinians. For those of us who have worked and have lived there for so many years and have seen what Israel has done to an occupied people, I know you advocated two-state solution. But do you really think that that is possible? Do you think we'd be better off with just a one-state, democratic, secular state?
CARTER: I cover that in my book, by the way, as one of the options that Israel has, to incorporate the occupied territories into Israel and have just one state.
I don't think that would work. And I'll tell you why. First of all, the Palestinians, if they were given the right to vote on an equal basis with all the Israelis, they would play a major role in making decisions about the whole country. And with the rapid population growth of the Palestinians, which in Gaza is 4.7 percent a year, one of the highest in the world -- in the foreseeable future, the Palestinians would actually have a majority in that nation.
So I think the only real practical solution is to have two states, side by side, in their own territories, living in harmony and peace. That's, I think, the best and most likely approach.
KING: What are your thoughts on Pope Benedict's pending visit to Turkey? Do you think he can soothe the Muslim anger over the comments about Islam?
CARTER: I believe so. Obviously, he's a good diplomat. Otherwise he wouldn't be pope. And he's a devout man. I think he made a statement obviously in a speech in Germany that brought back -- brought a lot of misunderstanding and some wrath on him.
But I think it's very courageous of him to go to Turkey. I believe he'll be received politely, with a lot of animosity in the crowds. But it's the right thing for him to do, to go forward with the visit, and I hope that God will bless his visit with peace and maybe some elements of reconciliation between Islam and Christianity.
KING: Do you see any leader in the Mideast who can grab the mantle here and sort of pave the way?
CARTER: Not really at this point. There's not a very strong leader that stands out in a positive way.
The key to the Arab world is probably within the Arab League, where with the leadership of people like Mubarak and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and others in the Arab kingdoms, collectively they could be a very positive force. As you remember in 2002, the Arab League's, I think, 23 of the countries voted to recognize Israel's right to exist and live in peace within its legal borders, and subsequently made statements that they would treat Israel exactly as they treated other Arab states. So this is not a hopeless case, but as far as one single leader being a spokesperson, I don't think so. The only exception might be Mahmoud Abbas, the present leader of the PLO and the present president of the Palestinians, who would undoubtedly be the negotiator when and if peace talks begin with Israel in the future.
KING: Some more e-mails in a moment. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. We're talking with President Jimmy Carter about his book, "Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid."
Anderson Cooper will be -- we've just spoke of Turkey and Istanbul and a visit of the pope. Anderson Cooper will be there all week long, and he's there tonight. Anderson, what's the set up?
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, good evening. Good morning from Istanbul. We are just a few hours away from the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI. It is his first visit to Turkey, his first visit to the Muslim world since making those controversial comments about Islam two months ago. We'll hear what the pope has to say upon his arrival. We'll be covering it all at the top of the hour, Larry, on 360.
KING: Thanks. That's AC, he goes where the action is. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" at 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.
Up next, more about President Bush, how he's doing not just in Iraq but overall, and what President Carter expects over the next two years. That's next. Don't go away.
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BUSH: Actually I thought we were going to do fine yesterday. Shows what I know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said you were surprised, you didn't see it coming. You were disappointed in the outcome. Does that indicate that after six years in the Oval Office, you're out of touch with America for something like this kind of wave to come and you not expect it?
BUSH: I'm an optimistic person. That's what I am. And I -- I knew we were going to lose seats. I just didn't know how many.
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KING: Where does he go from here, President Carter?
CARTER: Well, I think he can still have a very fruitful two years that's coming up. There are a lot of things that he's done with which I don't agree, but, you know, for instance, the very difficult issue of immigration. I basically approve and agree completely with his endorsement of the Senate bill. On international trade, particularly dealing with Latin American countries, I think that what he's done has been very courageous, and I hope the Democratic Congress will give him some support. And I think he's receptive, from what I hear, to assessing at least the recommendations of the committee on what to do in Iraq next. And he's looking also to get recommendations from his own military.
So I don't think there's any doubt that in the last two years of his term, he could have a very successful administration.
KING: We have an e-mail question from Warren in Bucharest, Romania. Will people in your administration afraid to disagree with you and your policies?
CARTER: I had more disagreements than I did agreements, even among my closest advisers. For instance, when I decided to go to Camp David to negotiate between Israel and Egypt, I would say the majority of the people in my staff and my cabinet said, don't go. And then later, when I went over to Israel to try to bring a peace treaty, the overwhelming majority of folks said, don't go. And there were other things that they spoke out very thoroughly on.
And I encouraged that. As a matter of fact, some criticisms have been written about me, a lot of them, saying that my secretary of state, Cy Vance, and my national security adviser, Brzezinski, didn't get along with each other. But I really welcomed the different points of view that they expressed to me. And I made the ultimate decisions.
But, yes, people really disagreed with me often when I was president.
KING: Doesn't a good president want that?
CARTER: I think so. I've read biographies of almost all the presidents. And I think that was one of the main things that Franklin Roosevelt insisted upon, was different points of view from his cabinet officers. He encouraged that, and quite often he would deliberately orchestrate folks come in to meet with him to give him advice on major issues when he knew that they disagreed strongly.
So I think that's a sign of an open administration that tries to have its ear to the ground on what the different people think, not only in the Washington area, but also around the nation.
KING: We'll take a break. When we come back, some wrap-up questions for President Carter. His book again is "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." The publisher is Simon & Schuster. Don't go away.
KING: Let's touch some bases. Does it look to you, President Carter, like it's McCain versus Clinton?
CARTER: Well, if I had to base it on current public opinion polls, I would say yes. Although, I think that in the recent poll I saw Giuliani was ahead of McCain among Republicans. But they would be the most likely ones at this point. KING: Do you think Hillary would make a good president?
CARTER: Well, I think so if she can be elected. And I think she now has the best chance to get the nomination. But as I know from experience myself and looking at Bill Clinton and looking at others down through the ages, two years ahead of time it was impossible to even predict who might be the nominee, particularly of the Democratic Party. The only exception to that in years has been when a vice president, you know, ran for office.
KING: Yes. No one would have picked you...
CARTER: Or Bill Clinton.
KING: ... to be the nominee two years -- or Bill Clinton, right.
Your son Jack lost his Senate bid in Nevada. Was that tough for you?
CARTER: It was in a way, but he did better than anybody thought. He was very proud of the way he performed. He thought it was a wonderful experience for himself. He learned a lot about national and international affairs and about the state of Nevada. He loves that state. So I think he's glad he ran, even though he did come in second.
KING: Former President George H.W. Bush has said on this program the setbacks suffered by his kids, criticism aimed at them affect him much more than when they were aimed at him. Do you feel the same?
CARTER: Well, yes. I do. And of course, I don't really feel that Jack's defeat in the Nevada election was a real setback for his life. It was an unprecedented decision that he made right after Katrina hit and he was disgusted with the government reaction. He ran against a formidable opponent, an incumbent, very attractive and very popular and, as I said, it was a positive experience for him.
So, but, yes, we do suffer because if something happens to one of our kids or grandkids -- and I have a great grandson, by the way, who's two months old and we're proud of him.
KING: What's his name?
CARTER: His name is Henry Louis Carter.
KING: How's Gerald Ford doing?
CARTER: The last time I talked to him he was doing quite well. I stay in touch primarily through his assistants. I don't want to bother him every time I find out how he's doing. But from his assistants, whom I trust, he's getting along much better now than he was a few months ago.
KING: It was touch and go for a while, wasn't it?
CARTER: It was. I think it was more serious when he went into his last hospital stay than people thought. And Betty was sick at that time, too, as you probably know.
CARTER: But President Ford is a very resilient person and one of the most wonderful political figures I have ever known in my life.
KING: Yes, your friendship is amazing.
How's your health? How's Rosalynn?
CARTER: Getting along fine. I just was talking to your staff in between the breaks and he asked we me what I do for exercise. I told him I swam in the hotel this morning. I'll do the thing in the morning. We have a swimming pool. We have bicycles. We walk long distances. We take a lot of exercise, and Rosalynn is an expert on nutrition. So we have the best of everything, I think in our life. We've been very lucky.
KING: How old are you now?
CARTER: Eighty-two. I've been married 60 years to the same woman.
KING: And this -- it's been almost, I guess, 25 years since the assassination of Sadat. How do you remember him?
CARTER: He was the best friend I ever had in international circles. I knew about 70 different leaders. He was by far the most outstanding and the closest to me. His wife was close to my wife. Our children were friends. He visited me in Plains (ph). I went to visit his hometown. We were intimate with each other and it was because of his courage and Begin's courage we were able to conclude what I believe is a permanent peace between those ancient enemies.
KING: We only have a minute left. What was his greatness? What made him stand out?
CARTER: His greatness, I think, was personal courage and the ability to see world events, instead of looking at parochial issues. He was willing to sacrifice his own popularity among the entire Arab world and even to endanger, as was later proved, his own life among militants in his own country in order to bring peace to the Middle East. And he always told the truth. He was very generous in making concessions to negotiating periods. Sometimes he would say, no, I won't do what you ask, Mr. President. I'll do more, just to make sure that my friend Menachem Begin is pleased. And when I made the proposals that led to the peace treaty about withdrawing from the Sinai, he was overly aggressive in being generous to the Israeli. So, generous, far-reaching, honest, faithful...
KING: Not bad.
CARTER: ... great.
KING: Thank you, Mr. President. Always great to see you.
CARTER: I enjoyed it, Larry, again.
KING: The book, "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." The guest, Jimmy Carter. The publisher, Simon & Schuster. It's a guaranteed -- not many things are guaranteed in life. This is a guaranteed best- seller.
Tomorrow night, Katie Hnida, the girl who place kicked for the University of New Mexico and University of Colorado, and was raped at the University of Colorado, here to tell her story tomorrow night.
Right now let's head to Istanbul, Turkey. Anderson Cooper and "AC 360" -- Anderson.
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