WASHINGTON -- Rosalynn Carter says she is troubled by the Moral Majority and painfully recalls a TV evangelist saying the day after her husband's election defeat, 'They got the evil people out of the White House.'
Speaking of the political involvement of the ultra-conservative Christian movement, Mrs. Carter said, 'It had an impact on Ronald Reagan's victory.'
The first lady made the remark in response to a question during an informal news conference where she appeared relaxed, reconciled to President Carter's loss, and was even looking forward to the next phase of her life.
But about the Moral Majority, a group of fundamentalist Christians seeking to influence government policy, Mrs. Carter said, 'I am concerned about them.'
'The day after the election this evangelist was saying on television, 'They got the evil people out of the White House. God's people will eventually be in control.'
'That bothers me,' she said, adding that 'liberal' was equated with 'communist' and 'socialist' by the same preacher.
Mrs. Carter, wearing a white jersey dress, chatted with a group of women journalists in the White House family quarters. Before going upstairs, the reporters ran into President Carter in red, white and blue jogging togs. He grinned and told them, 'Give her a hard time.'
She admits that she 'cried a little bit' on Election Day and 'I've had some weak and painful moments.'
She recalled that she and the president arrived back at the White House after voting in Plains, Ga., on Election Day and, in an emotional reunion, they told wet-eyed family and friends Carter would lose the election.
'Then I went into my room and cried a little bit but I came right out and that was it,' Mrs. Carter said.
'I think you accept it,' she added. 'When you've done all you possibly can do, that's all you can do. It was out of our hands.'
As for the future, she said she will go home to Plains and plans to write a book and will continue to 'speak out' on the issues she believes in.
'You go from one phase of your life to the next phase of life,' she said. 'I think it's going to be exciting.'
As for seeking political office, she shrugged off the idea but did not rule it out in the future.
She said she has been reading all about Reagan's future plans 'with the most detached view I have ever had.'
Asked if Reagan would be able to carry out his campaign promises, Mrs. Carter said, 'I don't know. That's up to him.'
'What I'm saying is that the things he is talking about now we were already doing. But I don't think people are aware of that. When you come here you realize, it is very easy to say things you are going to do and how you are going to cure all the problems, but the problems are difficult and they don't go away overnight. It takes time to solve them.'
Of charges that her husband was incompetent as president, Mrs. Carter said: 'That is not true. I think people were frustrated. I think it was a protest vote. I do not think it was a rejection of Jimmy Carter. I think it was a protest vote against the situation -- inflation, the Iranian thing that came up.'
Mrs. Carter also recalled that on Election Day, her daughter Amy told her, 'I'm depressed about this election.'
Amy, who popped in during the interview, said she would miss her 'friends' the most when she has to leave the White House.