NBC’s Andrea Mitchell sat down with President Jimmy Carter for an exclusive interview that aired on the March 23rd Meet the Press and from the start fawned over the Georgia Democrat.
Mitchell hyped how she “spoke with him at the Carter Center in Atlanta about his new book, "A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power." We also talked about the crisis in Ukraine as well as his distant relationship with President Obama.”
As the interview progressed, Mitchell touted how “You and Rosalynn Carter actually left your own congregation, a part of the Southern Baptist congregation, because of the way your church was treating women.” The NBC reporter continued to heap praise on Carter by noting how “Another institution you were very much part of was the military, the Naval Academy. And why do you think it is that the Pentagon acts so resistant to changing and reforming the way sexual assault are handled in the military?”
Mitchell’s refusal to ask the former president any tough questions persisted as she beamed at Carter’s so-called “expertise” in foreign policy yet ignored the Iranian hostage crisis that plagued his presidency. The MSNBC host then seemed distraught as to why President Obama doesn’t seek out Carter for advice before asking “Why do you think you don't have that relationship with Barack Obama?”
As the interview went on, Mitchell hit the Obama Administration from the left of the subject of NSA surveillance and asked Carter:
There's been a lot of criticism of his policy regarding drones and the NSA surveillance. And the N.S.A. has argued that this kind of intelligence gathering is critical to try to protect the American homeland?
The “interview” concluded with Andrea Mitchell kissing up to Carter one last time by asking “With all your energy, what keeps you going? What is the secret, the magic of Jimmy Carter?” Mitchell’s interview was so obnoxious and filled with puff questions that one would have expected Barbara Walters to be the one talking to President Carter not a supposed serious journalist like Andrea Mitchell.
See relevant transcript below.
Meet the Press
March 23, 2014
11:20 a.m. Eastern
DAVID GREGORY: We're back, Andrea Mitchell back with me now. Earlier this week, you had a chance to sit down exclusively with Former President Jimmy Carter.
ANDREA MITCHELL: That's right, David. I spoke with him at the Carter Center in Atlanta about his new book, a call to action, women, religion, violence, and power. We also talked about the crisis in Ukraine as well as his distant relationship with President Obama.
MITCHELL: Why did you choose this time to focus on women and the way women are victimized around the world?
CARTER: For the last three years, we've been concentrating on the relationship between religion on the one hand and abuse of women and girls on the other. The existing abuse of females is the worst, and most pervasive, and unaddressed human rights violation on earth. That is really derived, I would say, indirectly women ordained white from the fact that religious leaders say that women are inferior in the eyes of God, which is a false interpretation of the holy scriptures. But when they see that the Pope, and the Southern Baptist Convention, and others say that women can't serve as priests and so forth equally with men, they say, "Well, and I'll treat my wife the way I want to because she's inferior to me."
MITCHELL: You and Rosalynn Carter actually left your own congregation, a part of the Southern Baptist congregation, because of the way your church was treating women.
CARTER: The convention decided, in its annual meeting to require that women be subservient to their husbands and women could no longer serve as a pastor, or priest, or even as a deacon. Those kinda things really convinced me that I should change.
MITCHELL: Another institution you were very much part of was the military, the Naval Academy. And why do you think it is that the Pentagon acts so resistant to changing and reforming the way sexual assault are handled in the military?
CARTER: Exactly the same thing happens in universities in America as happens in the military. Because presidents of universities and colleges and commanding officers don't want to admit that under their leadership, sexual abuse is taking place. So rapists prevail because they know that they're not going to be reported.
MITCHELL: I wanna ask you about foreign policy given all of your expertise. It was actually on Meet the Press in 1980 that you said we would not go to the Olympics because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
CARTER (ON TAPE, ON MEET THE PRESS IN 1980): It’s very important for the world to realize how serious a threat the Soviet's invasion of Afghanistan is to us.
MITCHELL: And now we have this situation with Ukraine. What advice would you give in dealing with Vladimir Putin?
CARTER: I think there has to be a concerted international prohibition against Putin going any further than Crimea.
MITCHELL: Does the President ask you for advice?
CARTER: Unfortunately, the answer is no. President Obama doesn't. But previous presidents have called on me and the Carter Center to take action.
MITCHELL: Why do you think you don't have that relationship with Barack Obama?
CARTER: I-- that's a hard question-- for me to answer-- you know, with complete candor. I think the problem was that-- that in dealing with the issue of peace in-- between Israel and Egypt-- the Carter Center has taken a very strong and public position of equal treatment between the Palestinians and the Israelis. And I think this was a sensitive area in which the president didn't want to be involved. When he first came out with his speech in Cairo calling for the end of all settlements and when he later said that the '67 borders would prevail, he and I were looking at it from the same perspective. But I can understand those sensitivities. And I don't have any criticism of him.
MITCHELL: Now, there's been a lot of criticism of his policy regarding drones and the NSA surveillance. And the N.S.A. has argued that this kind of intelligence gathering is critical to try to protect the American homeland?
CARTER: That has been extremely liberalized and, I think, abused by our own intelligence agencies. As a matter of fact, you know, I have felt that my own communications are probably monitored. And when I want to communicate with a foreign leader privately, I type or write a letter myself, put it in the post office, and mail it. (LAUGH)
MITCHELL: Old fashioned snail mail--
CARTER: Old-- yeah. Yeah. Because I believe if I send an email, it will be monitored. (LAUGH)
MITCHELL: I just wanted to ask finally. With all your energy, what keeps you going? What is the secret, the magic of Jimmy Carter?
CARTER: (LAUGH) Well, there's no magic involved. My wife and I have been lucky enough to be leaders of the Carter Center, promoting peace, enhancing democracy. It's unpredictable. It's adventurous. And I have to say it's gratifying and exciting for us still to do that.