Carter: Dems, GOP ‘hardly speak’ now
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Former President Jimmy Carter said Monday that he is disheartened by the level of acrimony — and campaign spending — between today’s Democrats and Republicans.

“I never ran a negative campaign ad against [former Presidents] Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan,” he said, according to ABC News.

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“When I ran against Gerald Ford, who was the incumbent president, you know how much he and I raised from contributors?" Carter asked. "We didn’t raise a single penny.

“Nowadays, Democrats hardly speak to Republicans and vice versa,” he added. "It used to be a very harmonious relationship.”

Carter argued that dissatisfaction with the nation’s political gridlock is fueling enthusiasm for outsider presidential candidates in 2016.

“I had nine very competent people running against me then,” he said of the 1976 cycle. “But there wasn’t as much attraction then for someone who doesn’t have any government experience, like there is now.

“I think it is different now in the nation,” he continued. "And I think it’s being caused by the fact that when people do get to Washington, quite often there’s a stalemate there and both parties kind of relish the fact that they don’t get along with the other side. It’s a different environment.”

Carter added, however, that there is precedent for presidential candidates, like GOP presidential front-runner Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller MORE, who lack political backgrounds.

“I don’t think you have to be in public office or elected office before, as Dwight Eisenhower and other earlier presidents have come out of the military,” he said. "But they have proven their leadership capabilities with thousands of people — they run big things.

“Of course, Donald has run a big corporation, buildings, many hotels and other places,” Carted added.

Reports emerged earlier this year that Carter, 91, is battling increasingly aggressive melanoma cancer. He vowed Monday that he plans on continuing his longtime philanthropic work as long as his health remains stable.

“I don’t know how long, in a sense, I have to live,” Carter said. "But I want to keep doing what I’ve always done.”

“I don’t think anyone could have had a more enjoyable or successful or adventurous life, a more gratifying life,” he added. "I’m thankful for what I’ve had. And so if I live a year more or five years more, either way I’ll be happy with it.”