Dueling Quotes: Lying President Condemns Presidents Who Lie

“I do not think the President of the United States should be a liar, and believe that the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens agree with me.” — Jimmy Carter

Now, from my interview with Robert Novak,

John Hawkins: In your book, you really go out of your way to emphasize how often Jimmy Carter lied about things…

Robert Novak: (Laughs)

John Hawkins: Do you think that Carter’s frequent lying and the fact that he seemed to get away with it, helped influence Bill Clinton to lie so often when he was President?

Robert Novak: Well, I think Bill Clinton was a minor league liar compared to Jimmy Carter. Carter would just lie for the sake of lying. He was absolutely incredible.

I put a lot of the cases in the book — I couldn’t put all of them in — but my two favorite cases are in the book. I had written a column detailing nine separate lies by Carter and he told another reporter that I had apologized to him for it. That was just an absolute lie.

Then many years after his presidency, my late partner, Rowly Evans and I had a party celebrating the 25th anniversary of our column and we invited all the Presidents and ex-Presidents to send letters. Nixon didn’t like us much, but he sent a nice letter. But, Carter told an aide that the last thing he would do was send any kind of greeting to those guys.

That year, in 1988, at the Democratic National Convention, there was a reception at the Carter Center in Atlanta and as my partner was going through the line — I told my partner not to do it — …(and he said to Carter), “Mr. President, how come you didn’t send us a message for our 25th anniversary?” He said, “Well Rowly, if I had known, I certainly would have sent it. It must have gotten lost in the mail.”

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