Former President Jimmy Carter claimed Wednesday that he would have been re-elected and beaten Ronald Reagan in 1980 if had been more “manly” in his dealings with Iran.

Interviewed by the show "CNBC Meets," Carter repeated his belief that the failed mission to free American hostages held in Tehran killed his chances, but then added that had he gone to war, America would have rewarded him with a second term in 1980.

“I could've been re-elected if I'd taken military action against Iran, shown that I was strong and resolute and, um, manly and so forth,” said the former president, who has established himself as a world human rights leader.

“I could have wiped Iran off the map with the weapons that we had, but in the process a lot of innocent people would have been killed, probably including the hostages and so I stood up against all that all that advice, and then eventually my prayers were answered and every hostage came home safe and free. And so I think I made the right decision in retrospect, but it was not easy at the time,” he said, according to a transcript provided to Secrets.

Interviewed with his wife, Carter said he also had to ignore Rosalynn’s pleadings to “do something.”

In the end, she said that she was proud of her husband. “Peace is very difficult. War is popular in our country,” said Mrs. Carter.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.