Former President Carter is known for calling spade a spade and he was no different this time as he described Bush administration as "the worst in history" in international relations in an interview with Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:
During a telephone interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette from the Carter Center in Atlanta, the ex-president also accused the current White House occupant of eliminating the line between church and state and of abandoning “America’s basic values.”
“I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history. The overt reversal of America’s basic values as expressed by previous administrations, including [those of] George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon and others, has been the most disturbing to me,” Carter said.
Hear part of the interview here.
Telling that the son went against the values of his father certainly warranted a stinging response from the White house and it did as White House on Sunday dismissed former President Jimmy Carter as "increasingly irrelevant" :
"I think it's sad that President Carter's reckless personal criticism is out there," White House spokesman Tony Fratto responded Sunday from Crawford, where Bush spent the weekend.
"I think it's unfortunate," Fratto said. "And I think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments."
President Carter did not spare the outgoing British Prime Minister Blair either. He called Blair “Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient” as GlobeandMail reported:
Mr. Carter also offered a harsh assessment for the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which helped religious charities receive US$2.15 billion in federal grants in fiscal year 2005 alone.
“The policy from the White House has been to allocate funds to religious institutions, even those that channel those funds exclusively to their own particular group of believers in a particular religion,” Mr. Carter said. “As a traditional Baptist, I've always believed in separation of church and state and honoured that premise when I was president, and so have all other presidents, I might say, except this one.”
Douglas Brinkley, a Tulane University presidential historian and Carter biographer, described Mr. Carter's comments as unprecedented.
“This is the most forceful denunciation President Carter has ever made about an American president,” Mr. Brinkley said. “When you call somebody the worst president, that's volatile. Those are fighting words.”
Mr. Carter also lashed out Saturday at British prime minister Tony Blair. Asked how he would judge Mr. Blair's support of Mr. Bush, the former president said: “Abominable. Loyal. Blind. Apparently subservient.”
“And I think the almost undeviating support by Great Britain for the ill-advised policies of President Bush in Iraq have been a major tragedy for the world,” Mr. Carter told British Broadcasting Corp. radio.
One can only wish that despite the public rebuke of President Carter by the White House, George Bush would find a private moment to reflect on what President Carter has said.