January 30th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
7 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. Sam

    Hillary is a farce. Bill was elected promising universal health care. The Congress was democratic. Eighty percent of the public was behind it. The economy could easily support it. Yet her program was 100% failure. She had another 6 years to try to revive it. Let's hear the excuse for 8 years of failure on her supposed pet program – when her husband was the president no less.

    Now there's an election, she's promising you healthcare again just like Bill did – with an unworkable mandatory plan.

    The theory is that if you can fool them once, you can always fool them. As Geffen says, "the Clintons lie with such ease, it's troubling". and the NY Times' William Safire called her a "congenital liar". Hillary flunked healthcare. She flunked Iraq. She flunked Iran. She even flunked the Washington bar exam twice. That's her record – her so-called experience. Vote Obama to get the job done.

    January 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  2. Lynne

    Lydia, you know NOT what you say.

    January 30, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. Henry n New York

    When McCain got attached he lied to fight back; when Romney got attached he got pissed and it showed; when Edwards got attacked - oh he didn't; when Hillary got attacked SHE CRIED; when Obama got attacked HE SPOKE SO THAT THE TRUTH COULD BE REVEALED. The Clinton slime machine is good practice for the Republicans – we know how dirty they fight – they tought Bill.

    YES WE CAN

    YES WE CAN

    YES WE CAN

    YES WE CAN

    YES WE CAN

    YES WE CAN

    January 30, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  4. steve o

    I'm glad for any praise from the grandfather of the democratic party, he is a just man. When you think about it he is the only President that actually signed a peace treaty in the mideast, look at the fool Bush kissing the Saudi's king and prince's cheeks and begging for oil production to increase to help America. Then asking for a peace treaty to the closed minds of the people he helps more then American citizens.
    Carter actually was a wonderful military man in the navy, Clinton was not a military man, and neither was RR, George senior was shot down as a naval flyer in ww2 and his son was a born again boozer in the air national guard.
    Fema was started by President Carter and ruined under dubya. What I might be curious about how many homes Carter worked on with habitat for humanity, and how many homes are lost under a inhumane President Bush?
    As far as Senator Clinton she may lose in running for President, she still has a job in the senate, it's the only place Bill can't turn into his own playboyground.

    January 30, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. TMV

    Read the article, folks. This was not an endorsement. Sheeesh! Way ta go, CNN, keep twistin!

    January 30, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. Paul

    My choices of who I'm voting for in November is really clear: if Obama is nominated, I'm voting for him. If Hillary is nominated, I'm voting for McCain(because in my eyes, Hillary and McCain are the exact same candidate – and I trust even McCain more than Hillary). There are hundreds of thousands of people(possibly millions) in my boat – those who will vote McCain over Hillary if given the chance, when we would have voted Obama if given that choice.

    Hillary Clinton will not be elected president.

    January 30, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Mike

    It is looking like we are going to have to choose between the oldest-ever elected president who says we may be in Iraq for hundreds of years; or a young forward-thinking leader that will help repair the foreign relations that have been destroyed in the last 7 years...

    January 30, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  8. deann

    I love and respect former president Jimmy Carter, as today, we have to face a very difficult time, we need a strong leader to restore our country in day one , and should have experience to bring the really change to benifit to the hard working American citizen, we do not have time to play again or waste time for training, all American should wake up.

    January 30, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Cookie

    Oh my GOSH....I wouldn't want his endosement!! That man just needs to STOP TALKING...I am not a big fan of Obama but I am even less of a fan of CARTER!!!

    January 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. TMV

    .... and for someone who holds such disdain for "Washington Insiders" - Obama sure likes collectin' them in his pocket! eh?

    January 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Judex

    I guess Mitt Romney put it at best. A change of Chair in Washington, DC is not the change that America is needed. America needs a complete Make-Over with fresh blood that has not been drinking in the cup of corruption that existed in the Nation Capital. Obama is and only him could provide that kind of change that America is needed. The nockle head that Called John McCain is not suitable for President, he is the same one that was there, administration after administration and seems to enjoy it, he's the same man that standed next to the loser Bush to support him for Iraq war, he's the same man that has been advocated that the war is running good while he's dressed like Mickey Mouse with a bullet proof vest. People wake-up and pledge for change. Hillary and Bill cannot bring those kind of change, using mis-characterization and distortion of true.

    January 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Rico

    Lets be honest
    And please dont be afraid to post this comment
    Obama is using his race to his advantage.
    That is ok unless it stifles free speech.

    January 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. Larry

    I can see it now..OBAMO the YES MAN for the old establisment in washington....Kennedy, Kerry And everyone else thats looking for a lap dog

    January 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. Brandon

    To all Hillary Clinton Supporters Let Me show you the future you want to advocate:

    President George Bush- President Bill Clinton- President George Bush- President Hillary Clinton- President Laura Bush- President Roger Clinton-President Jeb Bush- President Chelsea Clinton- President William Bush-
    President whoever else Clinton- President whoever else Bush and so on and so on.

    Way to kill the Hope!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. dn

    Hillary talk about her experience every time she gets the change. what experience, in the white house? are you kidding me. I didn't know you can have political experience by sleeping in white house for 8yrs.

    January 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. Liz

    If you think about this election - truly THINK about it - and you are a person who genuinely wants change, as someone who voted for Bill both times, I have to step back and look at the reality of having the Clintons back in the White House -

    Is it prudent for us to elect Hillary? Is it "change" for the same 2 FAMILIES to run this country for 30 YEARS? 3 DECADES? During Bill's administration, Hillary came up with an amazing national health care plan. Bill couldn't make it happen and he was not the devisive personality Hillary is.

    I don't dislike her, but I believe we need to step away from 2 families having the most powerful position in this country for 30 years. It has all the appearances of an oligarchy rather than a democracy.

    Please THINK before you vote.

    January 30, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. John

    You Carter haters are pathetic. I agree he wasn't the greatest presidents, but to call him a "feckless character" just exposes you as a moron.

    Jimmy Carter is one of the most remarkable and accomplished Americans alive. I challenge you to live up to 1/20 of what he's accomplished in his life.

    I'd love to hear some of the things you critics have accomplished in your lives. Hint: writing a half-decipherable drivel in a blog does not count.

    January 30, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  18. charlotte

    I just wish people would read the whole story posted above.

    January 30, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. Liz

    If you think about this election - truly THINK about it - and you are a person who genuinely wants change, please think about what that means.

    As someone who voted for Bill both times, I have to step back and look at the reality of having the Clintons back in the White House -

    Is it prudent for us to elect Hillary? Is it "change" for the same 2 FAMILIES to run this country for 30 YEARS? 3 DECADES? During Bill's administration, Hillary came up with an amazing national health care plan. Bill couldn't make it happen and he was not the devisive personality Hillary is.

    I don't dislike her, but I believe we need to step away from 2 families having the most powerful position in this country for 30 years. It has all the appearances of an oligarchy rather than a democracy.

    Please THINK before you vote.

    January 30, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. NO Obama/Osama !!! Please

    Great speaker !!!!! That's all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    We need more than just talkative personality. We need experienced candidate,
    who have done some good things in the life (not to buy the house below the market value in connection wit corupted bussines of Rezko, who supported one of the candidate (OBAMA) politycal carrier.
    Why this man is in the election. Bad reputation is not alowed in that category !!!!
    Obama is trying to clear his name from Rezko link, returning some of the contributions (over $100,000.00 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Wow !!!!!! Doesn't describe well Obama's personality, character !!!!!!!
    NO !!!!!! TO OBAMA !!!!!!
    I possible could vote for John Edwards, but he is planning to dropp from the race.

    HILLARY CLINTON IS THE BEST CANDIDATE !!!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Michelle, AL

    January 30, 2008 1:32 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    From Time magazine online.. CNN, are you going to moderate some of your own writers?

    There's something peculiar going on with Matthews and this Democratic primary. A lot of people have said there's a sexist or misogynistic tone to his criticism of Hillary, and I do think Matthews' political views are colored by a very male-centric view of politics and personalities. (Is there a more male title on television than Hardball?) But for Matthews last night, it was not the boys against the girls. It was the Good Sixties versus the Bad Sixties. Mad Men versus The Wonder Years. It is probably true, as Andrew Sullivan says, that younger Obama voters want in part to reject a political dialogue dictated by the grievances of Baby Boomers. But Matthews is talking here about moving the dialogue even farther back, to the Sinatra-era Sixties, before everyone got smelly, let their hair go and listened to Joe Cocker.

    To the punditocracy's credit, we haven't reached the heights of the post-Iowa swoon yet. Nobody's wondering how soon Hillary will drop out, and you have to imagine that the media haven't totally forgotten the lessons of New Hampshire already. Still, it's hard not to see that the punditocracy embraces bad news for Hillary and good news for Obama more eagerly than the opposite.

    Call me cynical, but I wonder if the Obama campaign has thought about making this media dynamic part of their electability argument. The press has a famously contentious relationship with the Hillary Clinton campaign and a famously cozy one with John McCain, who has a good shot at being the Republican nominee. "Barack Obama: Because the press is even more in the tank for us than for John McCain!" Surely there's a way of making that into a catchy bumper sticker.

    January 30, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. ephon

    70% of the nation is anti-war

    yet the two front runners are McCain and Hillary, pro waar advocates

    america needs to wake up

    January 30, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. VICTOR @NJ

    I support Hillary Clinton all the way. Mr. Carter is a great figure & a legend in our country and overseas, My respect & congratulations go to him for remaining Neutral on this political race that is exactly the roll of a political legend within a party, maybe Mr. Kennedy should learn more from him.

    I am also sorry to see Edwards leave this way, but it is probably the best for our DEMOCRATIC PARTY, because we can now see a one to one debate Hillary & Obama (without Bill, Kennedy, Kerry democrat superstars, overshadowing )

    I used to be attracted to Mr. Obama early on the race and actually liked his speeches about him representing the "politics of change and new direction" for our country until one day:
    -In IOWA ,during a national political debate in he was asked how do you plan to bring change to America from the politics of the 90ths if the majority of your campaign advisers & staff are ex-Bill Clinton’s advisers? he just smiled and throw a silly joke at Hillary saying I am hoping for you also to advise me Hillary. to me it was a turn-off, a valid question he just avoided it and made me change my mind.

    -Also, Mr. Obama, on his famous inspirational speeches has said "repeatedly" that is time to "change all ideas of those old folks and their old politics from Washington" now he seems to be bringing a lot of those OLD FOLKS and his ideas (Kennedy, Kerry ) aboard his POLITICAL SHIP. Why? can he seriously answer that? whatever happened to the politics of CHANGE?

    I am sorry if my words sound a little sharp for his sympathizers, but Obama does not come across to me as a man with integrity and EXPERIENCE, he does not convinces me at all. I think he is just Fake, to much of a rookie politician, I will not trust him to be our president.

    On the other hand Senator Clinton is the proven candidate to be though, sincere, intelligent, with lots of common-sense, experience & her dedication of MANY YEARS to help family & children of low & medium income levels, who are the base for the future of our country and our American culture. Her strong credentials credential on national security are a plus, she is a lot more knowledgeable than Obama.

    Go Hillary Gooooo to the white House

    January 30, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. Kwae

    Voting returns showed Obama and Edwards scoring high amongst the educated lot of the primaries.

    Blog returns would probably be the same.

    January 30, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Jon, Palo Alto, CA

    Do you people really think that Senator Obama can deal nose to nose with the likes of Putin and other foreign leaders? The only way he'll get credibility with them is if he does something outrageous like manufacture an excuse to blow somebody up (a la Tonkin or phony WMDs) and then attack. What kind of a commander in chief will he make? What'll he do if some Pakistani general goes looney with an atomic warhead? How will he deal with a USS Cole attack?

    How is he going to deal with the overuse of the National Guard? His website suggests that he wants to keep it part of the active military much too long.

    Maybe he's eloquent, but he's got few credentials. I volunteered in a church-based neighborhood civil rights organization, too. That's not training for the presidency.

    Of course, then there's McCain. The war hero. Flew his plane over North Vietnam and bombed people, military and civilian, then went back to his carrier for a hot meal, a John Wayne movie, and a dry bunk. (Before he screwed up and got shot down.) He's an old-age version of Yosemite Sam. A lot of storm and fuss, and ready for the glue factory.

    Romney is a fart in the wind. Nothing.

    Clinton is irritating. But she's capable of running the store. Edwards would have been also–I send his campaign twenty-five bucks. Alas.

    The next president has to untangle the mess that B has made, and that effort will probably take years.

    Maybe what we need is a real, day long, tiring, nose-to nose debate among the remaining 2 or 3 democrats, without the silly crap from "moderators" who are only interested in potshots and gotchas.

    But really, I wish they would all go away for six months.

    January 30, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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