First, having seen the transcript from tonight's interview with President Carter, I'd say it's notable for Mr. Carter's utter candor. A former Democratic president himself, he talks about what President Barack Obama has gotten right and what he's gotten wrong -- where he's won in Washington, where he has lost, and where he's going to win next. Second, Rachel wanted us to post these excerpts from Mr. Carter's White House Diary, now out in paperback from Picador. She's been reading it as she prepped for the interview, and she sent these over under the heading "Unexpected moments."
February 3, 1980"One [CIA] agent whom we had sent into Iran with a false German passport was questioned by customs because instead of using a full middle name, we used the initial "H." Apparently the Germans never use a middle initial. When questioned about it, the agent very quickly said, 'I'm ashamed of my middle name, which is Hitler.' The Iranian said, 'Well, under those circumstances, I can understand why your passport is different from all the others in Germany."
September 8, 1977"I met with Rex Scouten and superintendents from the General Services Administration to complain about the numerous mice in my office. For two or three months now I've been telling them to get rid of the mice. They still seem to be growing in numbers, and I am determined either to fire somebody or get the mice cleared out -- or both."In the afternoon I met with Prime Minister [Eric] Gairy of Grenada. Grenada is the smallest country in our hemisphere, and Gairy was primarily concerned with mysticism, the definition of God, and a resolution that he sponsored for years before the United Nations to investigate unidentified flying objects."I remember with particular clarity that when he opened the wrong briefcase to give me some papers, his dirty laundry fell out on the conference room table.
February 11, 1977"The president of India died, and I called Mama to ask her to leave that afternoon for India to represent me there. Chip decided to go with her. When she answered the phone I asked her what she was doing. She said she was sitting around the house looking for something to do, and I said, 'How would you like to go to India?' She said, 'Love to go someday. Why?' And I said, 'How about this afternoon?' She said, 'Okay, I'll be ready.'"