Jimmy Carter rails Bush administration in book tour stop

Former President Jimmy Carter questioned the direction of the country and sharply criticized the Bush administration in a book tour stop here.

"Everywhere you go, you hear, 'What has happened to the United States of America? We thought you used to be the champion of human rights. We thought you used to protect the environment. We thought you used to believe in the separation of church and state,"' the Nobel Peace Prize winner said Friday at Unity Temple. "That's not the case anymore."

Carter, a Democrat who served as president in the late 1970s, is promoting "Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis." It is his 20th book, but Carter says it's his first political one.

"I felt so disturbed and angry about this radical change in America that I have always loved and still love," he said in quotes reported in The Kansas City Star newspaper.

Referring to his latest book's title, Carter said President George W. Bush's administration is responsible for the country's moral crisis. He railed Bush's pre-emptive war policy; the erosion of the church-state separation; a ballooning budget deficit; inadequate attention to the environment; and the use of torture against some prisoners.

"This administration has injected into the American political system a dramatic, unprecedented and profound change in the basic values of our national policy," Carter said.

About 1,200 people waited to have books signed by Carter, AP reports.

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