January 30th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Carter praises Obama

Carter lavished praise on Barack Obama.
Carter lavished praise on Barack Obama.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - One former president has long assumed a very outspoken role in the presidential race. Now another is speaking up.

Jimmy Carter says he's not formally endorsing any candidate, but in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the former president lavished praise on Barack Obama, calling his campaign "extraordinary"

"Obama's campaign has been extraordinary and titillating for me and my family," Carter told the newspaper in an interview published in its Wednesday edition. According to the paper, Carter was particularly praiseworthy of the Illinois senator's rhetorical skills, comparing them to those of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Carter also said Obama "will be almost automatically a healing factor in the animosity now that exists, that relates to our country and its government."

Carter, a onetime governor of Georgia and one of only two Democrats to win the White House in the last forty years, also said he thinks Obama's candidacy could put several southern states in play in a general election match up.

Carter also commented on the recent criticism surrounding Bill Clinton, following that former president's comments on the campaign trail that some have viewed as racially divisive. Carter said Clinton personally called him to explain the remarks.

"He doesn't call me often, but the fact that he called me this morning and spent a long time explaining his position indicates that it's troublesome to them, the adverse reaction," he said.

"I told him I hoped it would die down. - the charged atmosphere concerning the race issue," Carter continued. "And I think it will."

– CNN Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (791 Responses)
  1. Bree

    WOW TRACEY, You are really full of it!

    The whole world is actually hoping OBAMA gets into the white house, not bill-ary.

    TRAVEL MUCH??

    Please don't lie like Hillary to make your point.

    January 30, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Reagan and Bush 4 life

    We need another Carter in the White House so we can have another Ronald Reagan.

    January 30, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Benjamin

    This isn't an endorsement. This was a mentioning that he appreciated his speech giving abilties and rhetoric. That is in no way, shape, or form a vote of confidence for him to be in the white house. Rhetoric makes for a good VP...

    January 30, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. D

    Have we seen any major leader yet that is NOT amazed by Barack Obama? That's because they see the potential to bring the country together and move things forward.

    All due respect to Hillary, this is Barack Obama's time. Everyone can feel it!

    Caroline Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Tom Daschle, Jimmy Carter, Oprah and millions and millions of citizens like myself that have never cared about politics a day in their life until Barack Obama...

    Out with the old. In with Obama!

    January 30, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Tim

    JJ,

    You are right, most people don't do that much research in to the topics. However I really don't think the relevance of their stances is as great as in past elections. The democratic nominees share most of the same ideas, and their plans only differ slightly.

    Also, every nominee has plans for all of the issues that they believe are important to the voters, but how many times do you hear about great plans leading up until November that never get implemented? The one major difference I have seen so far between Clinton and Obama is on the issue of health care. Clinton promises universal health care, and Obama promises to at least get health care for the people who aren't able to provide it for themselves.

    In theory, the Clinton plan sounds great, and much more progressive than Obama's. But in reality, Universal health care is going to take a long time to implement. It's not going to happen in a year or two. Major industry changes will have to take place. Obama is being a realist in his stance, and in my opinion this is an example of why he should be the next president. He won't sugar coat the facts, and spin them to make us side with him. He at least is honest in a system of political spin.

    January 30, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Rob, Cleveland, OH

    Clinton supporters, please stop with the name calling and the blaming of media bias for everything. It makes you look like Republicans.

    We are all still Democrats. Let's not lose sight of that. Republicans will be united behind their candidate next year and if we want to win, we should be too, regardless of who it is.

    January 30, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Jeomoan

    "will be almost automatically a healing factor in the animosity now that exists, that relates to our country and its government."

    This is so true. There is an animosity existing between Americans of different race and the young generation is not respossible for that . It is part of the history but its not fair to ask the present Americans to repair the damges done decades ago. But electing him will be another proof of great American democracy where everyone is treated equal. Look at the popularity of Obama among white kids. The young generation here accept the present and do not want to be discriminatory on any angles . This country is goign to look great with a inspiring leader like Obama as president.

    January 30, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. James Izzard

    Even though, Wolf Blitzer is on the BASH Clinton bandwagon, he will not report on this.

    He doesn't like Jimmy Carter for his stand on Israel.

    Isn't that right Joe Klein?

    It is not about America for CNN, it is about Isreal.

    January 30, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  9. annoyed voter

    This article is the sort of journalism which drives me up the wall!
    The original WSJ interview is very neutral stating that Carter endorses neither Clinton or Obama. It also gives near equal focus to Carter's statements regarding both. CNN on the other hand focuses primarily on Carter's statements regarding Obama, distorting it into what appears to be an unofficial endoresment. I've had enough of these deceptive reporting tactics CNN! Just give us the straight facts! If I want bias in my news I'll go to FOX!

    January 30, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. DR

    McCain 08

    January 30, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  11. Cliff Baker

    To AJ,

    You quoted from the news story "According to the paper, Carter was particularly praiseworthy of the Illinois senator's rhetorical skills, comparing them to those of Martin Luther King, Jr."

    And you then made the following statement reacting from the news story: " When are the Obama supporters going to start screaming racism? They went insane when Bill Clinton compared Obama's campaign with that of Jesse Jackson, now that it is a praiseworthy comparison, does it make it any less racist? "

    Here is my answer to your question: SC Congressman Clyburn and other Obama supporters are not screaming racism because former President Carter is not running against Obama and he is leaning toward endorsing Obama (Yes, S.C. Congressman Clyburn is Obama supporter via his use of "CODE" language. Don't be fooled by Clyburn stating that he is newtral)

    It is sad that the TV and printed presses (including the commemtators and pundits) INJECT RACE to the Democratic's Presidential Race.

    The media FOOLISHLY took the baits from Obama surrogates and SC Congressman Clyburn and turns the "fairy tale" comment by former President Clinton, and the "MLK and Johnson" comment by Senator Clinton into the race issue. The fairy tale and MLK and Johnson comments from the Clintons are factual and are NOT racial.

    The media took the “race card” spins from Obama surrogates and SC Congressman Clyburn. The truth is the Obama surrogates and SC Congressman Clyburn play the race card and successfully manipulated the press.

    Congressman Clyburn is NOT neutral. There is nothing wrong for Congressman Clyburn to perform his civic duty by voting for Senator Obama at the polling place. However, Congressman Clyburn is disingenuous for manipulating the press (particularly Joe Scarborough) to wrongly accuse the Clintons of playing the race card.

    I witness Congressman Clyburn used Joe Scarborough of the Morning Joe shown on the S.C. election day. On this particular show Congressman Clyburn implied that the Clintons' "fairy tale" and "MLK/Johnson" comments are RACIALLY MOTIVATED code words. Joe Scarborough stupidly bought Congressman Clyburn race-bait's trick.

    January 30, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  12. Kandi

    In reading the comments posted here, I am both bubbling with excitement and sadly disappointed. I'm so excited about the real possibility of Obama emerging as our candidate for the November election. I'm also very sad that anyone could, for any reason, make a negative comment regarding one of the absolute most respectable diplomats of this century. He has done more for this world since having lost the presidency than most presidents ever hope to accomplish. Jimmy Carter is my HERO, and Barack Obama is my CANDIDATE!

    January 30, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  13. mary c

    Go Carter ! Go Obama! What is all this "experience" talk with Hillary about? Obama has a law degree as she has, he has taught law , practiced law and helped to make laws just like hillary. The only "experience ' she has is meeting more people in government. She has not had the responsibility of directing people anymore than Obama. He is just as experienced and qualified as she.

    January 30, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. A voter

    "When are the Obama supporters going to start screaming racism? They went insane when Bill Clinton compared Obama's campaign with that of Jesse Jackson, now that it is a praiseworthy comparison, does it make it any less racist? "

    Just so you know, MLK is considered one of the great Orators in American history, on par with Thomas jeferson. So it was a fair comparison, because he was not talking about race, but rhetorical skills.

    January 30, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. Rob, Rochelle Park, New Jersey

    The country will only get a real and honest debate about the important issues if Hillary is not in the general election.

    Obama has none of the baggage and the old animosities of the Clintons who have already shown what they and their people will do to anyone who tries to get in their way. Many in her own party have complained about their tactics of division.

    Our country does not need another 4-8 years of the Clintons, they are incapable of bringing people together or being honest about what they would try to do.

    January 30, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. gary j

    History written in 2050 will be very kind to President Carter: he appointed Volcker and left him alone to raise interest rates to 18 % to break the back of the pent up inflation of the Nixon years. He first tried peace with Russia and then ramped up the strategic ratchet that Reagan used to finish off the Cold war, but all the seeds were sewn by Carter. His one failing, and when the truth is known, it will show an almost traiterous was the Iran hostage crisis intervention and handling which should have been handled with a much firmer hand. His work as a past president is in stark contrast to the grasping, greedy actions of Bill Clinton who essentially refused to get involved in Kerry's campaign. Clinton is about power and Clinton. Obama and Carter are about doing the right thing. Carter's semi endorsement is welcome and valuable to those who think. Not all do. Obama is the only way to victory. Dems: WAKE UP. Do not nominate a sure loser in the fall: Billary. Obama 08!

    January 30, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. totellyouthetruth

    What qualifications does Hillery have?she ever run a company, met a payroll? Has she been a mayor, a governor, a company CEO, a CFO??? NO she hasn't. She does know how to expand big government, increase your taxes and whittle away at our ever decreasing freedoms. Electing her would be electing Bill again and if that happens, God help us all.

    January 30, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. Chris, Toronto, Canada

    I'm from Canada, and I sure as hell know people in Canada want Barack Obama.

    Hillary is the establishment of saying anything to get where you need to get.

    CANADA wants OBAMA.

    Never forget that.

    January 30, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. Joe, Wilmington DE

    The Democratic Party needs to wake up. I believe the woefully inexperienced Bill Clinton, back in '92, told George H.W. Bush that his experience was irrelevant to modern needs. The same certainly applies to Hillary.

    Obama is an extraordinary person whom this country desperately needs at this point in time.

    January 30, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. tb

    Both JC and Obama are unimpressive as past/potential leaders of the free world, but both are better than Queen Hillary–the woman the world loves to hate.

    January 30, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. Virgil

    If more people thought like Jimmy Carter, this would be a much better country. GO OBAMA

    January 30, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. Aussie Greg

    What is wrong with Americans, it does not matter what colour a person is, or what nationality, it is all about integrity, Carter had it, Obama has it but unfortunately for the rest of world neither Clinton or Bush has it.

    God bless America, they certainly need some divine help with their leadership.

    January 30, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Scott

    President Carter:

    Be courageous, announce your endorsement to Barack Obama. You have the ability to brighten the hope for the nation. If you would like to take the step to ensure the democratic party winning the general election, you need to endorse Obama. And when you do so, John Edward will follow (that will increase the call for the southern votes as well).

    In addition,

    Vice President Gore, be courageous! You need to endorse Barack Obama. He will make sure that every vote to be counted.

    January 30, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. JPS

    Wow.. Now Hussein Obama has Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Carter.. Track record of success. Next he will be going for endorsements from Mondale and Dukasis!

    With supporters like that, I am even more convinced that Hussein is not right for America!!

    GO HILLARY

    HILLARY IN 2008

    January 30, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. Hillarylover

    Yeah his plan is to turn his back on people. Who cares what Carter says. Look at Florida. We are about to make history. WE WILL HAVE THE FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT. She beat them all. No one can help Obama. No endorsement can help him. He has shown what is character is worth. Its our turn to make something of this country. Clinton 08

    I close with copying Doris:

    Maya Angelou, poet, educator

    You can write me down in history with hateful, twisted lies, you can tread me in this very dirt, but still, like dust, I'll rise.

    Clinton 08

    January 30, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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