- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Former President Jimmy Carter, who left the White House in 1981, returned yesterday as the guest of President Bush, whom he has frequently criticized.

Mr. Carter, one of six American winners of Nobel Prizes this year, received a somewhat cool reception by Mr. Bush.

"Of course, I welcome somebody who spent a lot of quality time here," the president said in his only comment directed at Mr. Carter.

Mr. Carter had no comment during an Oval Office photo session, and did not speak to reporters after his White House visit.

Mr. Carter, 78, won the Nobel Peace Prize last month for his "untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development," the Nobel Committee said.

The committee lauded the former president for his 1978 effort to bring peace to the Middle East by bringing Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat together to sign the Camp David peace accords.

The Nobel Committee's decision to bestow the award on Mr. Carter was seen as a rebuke to Mr. Bush's policy on Iraq. The committee said: "In a situation currently marked by threats of the use of power, Carter has stood by the principles that conflicts must as far as possible be resolved through mediation and international cooperation based on international law, respect for human rights and economic development."

Mr. Carter has repeatedly criticized the Bush administration.

"I have been disappointed in almost everything he has done," the former president said this summer, criticizing Mr. Bush for not pressuring Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip, for threatening to abandon the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia and for not supporting human rights more strongly.

In September, Mr. Carter said he was disturbed by administration threats to take military action against Iraq without the blessing of the United Nations, and he said he would have voted against the congressional resolution allowing the president to use force against Iraq.

But he changed his stance when Mr. Bush won a tough, new resolution from the United Nations, saying it was "beneficial" that the United States had reserved the right to take action against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein if he does not disarm and the U.N. Security Council does nothing.

Mr. Carter has worked tirelessly to redeem his reputation after a one-term presidency that some historians have described as a failure. Narrowly elected in 1976, the former Georgia governor was unable to free 53 hostages held for more than a year in Iran. He was resoundingly defeated by Ronald Reagan in 1980.

He is remembered by many Americans as the architect of an economic policy that resulted in runaway inflation, high interest rates, a recession he blamed on American "malaise," and long lines at gasoline pumps.

Mr. Carter will collect his Nobel Prize and the $943,000 cash award that comes with it Dec. 10 in Oslo. He has said he will donate the money to the Carter Center in Atlanta and to the Rosalynn Carter Institute and several universities.

Mr. Bush also greeted the other Nobel laureates yesterday in the Oval Office. The Nobel economics prize went to Americans for the third year in a row: Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University and Vernon L. Smith of George Mason University.

Robert Horvitz of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shared the Nobel Prize in medicine and John B. Fenn of Virginia Commonwealth University shared the chemistry prize.

Two Americans shared the Nobel in physics: Riccardo Giacconi of Johns Hopkins University, and Raymond Davis Jr. of the University of Pennsylvania.

"These Americans are a great honor to their fields and a great honor to our country, and we're proud to have you here," Mr. Bush said. "We're proud for what you've done, for not only America, but for the world."

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