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Jimmy Carter Thinks You're Being Too Hard On Paula Deen

The former president also had things to say about Edward Snowden, but priorities, you know?

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CNN aired portions of an interview with former President Jimmy Carter on Friday, in which he offered opinions on everything from same-sex marriage and women's rights to fellow Georgian Paula Deen and current fugitive Edward Snowden.

On Deen, who's been dropped by nearly a dozen business partners for admitting to using the n-word:

I've known Paula Deen quite well. I advised her to let the dust settle and make apologies.

She has some very beneficial human programs in Savannah, Georgia where she lives that benefit almost exclusively oppressed and poverty- stricken people.

I advised her to get some of those people who she is helping every day to speak out and show she's changed her relationship with African- American people, minorities in the last number of years.

My heart goes out to her, but there's no condoning the use of a word that abuses other people.

Carter apparently later went into more detail, according to a story later posted on

"She was maybe excessively honest in saying that she had in the past, 30 years ago, used this terrible word," he said. "I think she has been punished, perhaps overly severely, for her honesty in admitting it and for the use of the word in the distant past. She's apologized profusely."

The interview then moved on to the national surveillance debate. Carter on former government contractor Edward Snowden:

I think he's obviously violated the laws of America for which he is responsible. But I think that the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far. And I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive.

So I think that bringing of it to the public notice has probably been in the long term beneficial.

"If the United States can acquire custody of him, I'm sure he will be brought to trial, and that's the way the law should be implemented," Carter went on to say, according to this separate story on Snowden's father's attempts to get his son safely back to the U.S. "I think the American people deserve to know what their Congress is doing."

Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Jessica Testa at

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