Jimmy Carter, former governor of Georgia and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said yesterday he hopes his campaign will be a "healing process" that will help restore faith in government.
"We've lost our purpose," Carter told a Harvard Law School Forum audience of 200.
"But the character of the American people is a tremendous reservoir of ability, hope and confidence, our economic structure is unshaken and our system of government is still the best on earth," he said.
Carter said he plans to streamline what he called "the horrible, bloated, confused government bureaucracy" and to "restore the work ethic" by creating public employment programs for the jobless.
The United States must resume its role as a world leader, he said, not by using economic or military sanctions but "based on the fact that we're right and decent and open."
We've tried for many years to tell other people what kind of government they ought to have, and we've suffered in the process," he said.
Carter told the forum audience he plans to stay in the race for the nomination until the end.
"I don't intend to lose, I won't withdraw, I don't want to be vice president, I'll be there when the last votes are counted and I believe you're looking at the next president," he said.
Carter also said he wants "to be tested in this campaign in the most severe possible way."
"I want the American people to know me, to know my strengths and weaknesses, my stands on every conceivable issue," he said. "I hope I measure up and I hope their standards are very high."
"If I don't meet those standards, I don't deserve to be elected President," he added.