WASHINGTON -- Former President Jimmy Carter boosted Walter Mondale for the presidency in 1984 and raised $242,000 for the Democrats Thursday night at a rare appearance in the nation's capital.
It was only Carter's fourth visit to Washington since departing the presidency 17 months ago. As has been his persistent pattern, he was low-key in criticizing the administration of his successor, Ronald Reagan.
About 120 people -- including former Vice President Mondale, Secretary of State Edmund Muskie, former Budget Director Bert Lance and Kentucky Gov. John Brown -- attended a $2,500-a-couple reception and chicken dinner. Democratic National Committee spokewosman Diane Dewhirst said the event had raised $242,000 -- of which 80 percent would go to the DNC and 20 percent to pay Carter-Mondale 1980 campaign bills.
Carter managed to squeeze in a dig at his former running mate while endorsing him for president.
'A lot of people say Fritz has been going around the country and he hasn't mentioned me very often, but Fritz, tonight you outdid yourself and we're partners again,' Carter said, flashing his famous smile and giving a thumbs-up sign.
Mondale, who is actively pursuing the presidency, did not lookamused. A few moments earlier he had said what he remembered from the four-year Carter administration: 'We told the truth, we obeyed the law and we kept the peace -- and that's not bad.'
Carter, making note of the Republican television advertisement critical of him and House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill, Carter said, 'At least the Republicans have provided two jobs' for the two actors playing them.
'I figured that if I stayed in Plains and wrote my book and published it, eventually people would know I was not in Washington and not responsible for things going on here.
'But I don't think I'm going to be able to stay in Plains long enough for this administration to quit blaming me for everything that had gone wrong.'
Carter, obliquely accusing the administration of abandoning traditional values and not being fair, said he found a concern about nuclear weapons in his six-nation European trip in May.
'Those things, plus our relationships with Latin America, Africa, China, Japan, attitudes toward human rights, equivocal stands on SALT and nuclear weapons, our nation's concern for peace, principles espoused by Democrats and Republcian alike -- all can be encapsulated in one basic concern: fairness.'
'The American people like to be treated fairly -- students, farmers, workers, taxpayers don't want a special break. I believe that now the Democratic Party has a great opportunity in the future in telling the American people we're not divisive, we're not negative, we're not critical, we offer the American people what we've offered in the past -- fairness.'