Jimmy Carter Rates His Presidency

Season 7 Episode 620
Aired on 09/27/2015 | CC tv-14
In 1980, angry with the U.S. government for taking in the recently deposed shah, student militias stormed the American embassy and took more than 50 hostages. Although President Jimmy Carter negotiated the release of the hostages shortly before leaving office, the much-televised crisis was seen by some as a low point of President Carter's tenure in the White House.

His legacy has been re-evaluated in some circles, but the hostage situation and the slow recovery of the U.S. economy following the mid-'70s recession led many Americans to criticize President Carter's performance. How does he perceive this difficult period now?

"With gratitude and, I'd say, an adequate modicum of satisfaction," President Carter tells Oprah. "In this book [A Full Life], I describe the things that we actually accomplished for good. That won't be reversed. And the things that I tried and didn't quite accomplish because of change in circumstances and so forth. But I did the best I could. As my vice president said, 'We told the truth, we obeyed the law, and we kept the peace.' And we promoted human rights."

Watch as President Carter assesses his presidential performance.