Former president Jimmy Carter claims that America would have had comprehensive health care decades ago if it weren't for Senator Ted Kennedy.
Speaking to Lesley Stahl on the CBS show "60 Minutes," Carter said that Kennedy's actions delayed comprehensive health coverage for Americans for 30 years. He says that Kennedy killed Carter's own health care bill which would have provided meaningful coverage.
In the interview Carter says, "The fact is that we would have had comprehensive health care now, had it not been for Ted Kennedy's deliberately blocking the legislation that I proposed … It was his fault. Ted Kennedy killed the bill."
Carter says that Kennedy blocked the bill out of spite. Kennedy ran against the president for the democratic presidential nomination.
"He did not want to see me have a major success in that realm of life," says Carter.
Carter's new book "White House Diary" contains extracts of his diary, which he kept during his presidency. One of the diary extracts says "Kennedy continuing his irresponsible and abusive attitude, immediately condemning our health plan. He couldn't get five votes for his plan."
Speaking to Stahl he also says that his energy conservation program lowered America's dependence on foreign oil by 50 percent. He said "Unfortunately, now we're probably importing 12 million barrels a day, since part of my energy policies were abandoned."
Carter also said that Ronald Reagan had removed the solar panels he had fitted on the White House. "[Reagan] wanted to show that America was a great nation. So great that we didn’t have to limit the enjoyment of life," said Carter. "That's right, America responded to that quite well."
During the interview he admits that he made mistakes during his presidency, such as attempting to de-formalize his office and also trying to do too much. He says that he passed more programs than most presidents. "I had the best batting average in Congress in recent history of any president, except Lyndon Johnson," says Carter.
The interview will be aired on Sunday, September 19, at 7 pm ET/PT.