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Jimmy Carter's Advice for Obama: Stick to Your Guns

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Published on May 20, 2011

The President should stop trying to negotiate with the "totally irresponsible" Republicans, letting the American people know where he stands, without equivocation.

Question: What could President Obama learn from your presidency?
Jimmy Carter: Well I would say quickly, that in a midterm election I had great success. We wound up after the election in 1978 with a majority of 19 in the Senate and a majority of 100 in the House. So we had a very good success with that. But I think that what is likely to happen in the next two years, I hope, is for President Obama to be much more firm in letting his specific views be known and then adhering to his commitments through thick or thin. I think in his last two years, he's been faced with a totally irresponsible Republican Party that have given him on major issues sometimes zero votes in the House and in the U.S. Senate. And I think he's tried maybe too much to maybe get a few of those Republican votes, which have now proved to be impossible.
In the days when I was President, I had superb support from the Republican Party in the House and Senate and that gave me a chance to have a very good success in my batting average with the Congress.
So, just stick to his guns, be firm and let the American people know what he wants quite without equivocation and without doubt and don't back down. I'm sure those are the things he's going to do in the next two years.
Recorded November 30, 2010Interviewed by Andrea Useem

Question: What could President Obama learn from your presidency?
Jimmy Carter: Well I would say quickly, that in a midterm election I had great success. We wound up after the election in 1978 with a majority of 19 in the Senate and a majority of 100 in the House. So we had a very good success with that. But I think that what is likely to happen in the next two years, I hope, is for President Obama to be much more firm in letting his specific views be known and then adhering to his commitments through thick or thin. I think in his last two years, he's been faced with a totally irresponsible Republican Party that have given him on major issues sometimes zero votes in the House and in the U.S. Senate. And I think he's tried maybe too much to maybe get a few of those Republican votes, which have now proved to be impossible.
In the days when I was President, I had superb support from the Republican Party in the House and Senate and that gave me a chance to have a very good success in my batting average with the Congress.
So, just stick to his guns, be firm and let the American people know what he wants quite without equivocation and without doubt and don't back down. I'm sure those are the things he's going to do in the next two years.
Recorded November 30, 2010Interviewed by Andrea Useem

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