President Carter says the antics of his earthy brother, Billy, have never embarrassed him and that he admires the way "he lives his own life."

The President apparently looks at his brother's beer-drinking and promotional tours with a mixture of amusement and big-brother envy.

Billy Carter, he says, "has been concerned about the economic problems of the country. He has pretty well put the beer industry back on its feet, for instance.

"I think he has shown his ability as a belly-bust diver in Canada. He has promoted a lot of good projects like automobile racing, and so forth.

"I think he is probably at least as well-known as I am, and probably his popularity rating would exceed mine right at this time," the President told a group of visiting editors and columnists this week.

Carter said he has never attempted to interfere with the life-style of his younger brother, who quit the family peanut business this fall and has been collecting fat promotional fees in making appearances at fairs and stock car races.

"Billy, as you know, has been making his own decisions." Carter said. "i probably have more influence on Sen. [James O.] Eastland or Gov. [George C.] Wallace or Sen. [John J.] Sparkman than I do on Billy.

"I don't get to see him often because he does stay busy, but Billy is a good man, and I am proud he is my brother," the President added.