At a press conference on Thursday, former President Jimmy Carter discussed his biggest accomplishments and regrets in light of his cancer which he announced has spread to his brain.
"I wish I had sent one more helicopter to get the hostages, and we would've rescued them, and I would've been reelected," Carter said.
Carter spoke to MSNBC in 2015 in further detail about his failure with the hostages.
"I think I would have been reelected easily if I had been able to rescue our hostages from the Iranians," Carter said. "And everybody asks me what [I] would do more. I would say I would send one more helicopter because if I had one more helicopter, we could have brought out not only the 52 hostages, but also brought out the rescue team. And when that failed, then I think that was the main factor that brought about my failure to be reelected. So that's one thing I would change."
Fifty-two American hostages were taken from the embassy during Carter’s presidency. A helicopter rescue mission initiated by Carter failed, killing eight service members just months before the 1980 election. Carter and historians blame this incident as the reasoning behind why Carter lost the reelection to Governor Ronald Reagan.
However Carter did mention his work with the Carter Center — a non-profit that focuses on a number of issues — as more fulfilling for him than his presidency but does lament that he could not have had both the organization and a second term.
"If I had to choose between four more years and the Carter Center, I would've chosen the Carter Center. But it could've been both," Carter said.
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