Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Jimmy Carter Oral History

The Miller Center of Public Affairs has a wonderful offering of oral history. The Jimmy Carter Oral History section contains comments from President Carter as well as many of his Cabinet members and advisors. You can read the transcripts or you can listen to the conversations. There is a lot of in depth information to be found on this website (it can be very overwhelming at first…the transcript for the President Carter interviews is 72 pages long). There are interviews from:

Griffin Bell, US Attorney General
Robert Bergland, Secretary of Agriculture
Zbigniew Brzezinski, foreign policy advisor
President Carter
Stuart Eizenstat, Assistant on Domestic Affairs and Policy
Hamilton Jordan, Chief of Staff
Charles Kirbo, close friend and advisor
Bert Lance, advisor
Alonzo McDonald, Director of White House Staff
James McIntyre, Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Jody Powell, Press Secretary
James Schlesinger, Secretary of Energy
Charles Schultze, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors and chairman on the Council on Wage and Price Stability
Jack Watson, transition director

The interview that I found most interesting was the one with President Carter. I liked how he answered questions and although he gave his administration credit for what they did accomplish, he also wasn’t afraid to take blame for things that did not happen as well. I picked out a quote about the energy bill that I found interesting:

Another reason is a frustrating delay in passing the energy bill and the amount of effort we put in. I put in more time on energy by far than any other issue that I addressed while I was President, domestic or foreign. The headlines and the awareness in my own mind were the times when the Congress was deadlocked. Every now and then, you’d finally get a billed passed, would sign into law and it would get a brief mention in the news and a brief time of celebration for us. But then there you’d have twenty other bills for consideration in the Congress and the energy legislation was just despairing and tedious, like chewing on a rock that lasted the whole four years. I think that depressed people.

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