April 29th, 2008
01:50 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: Democratic candidates careful on Carter

Candidates are focusing their fire on Hamas, not the former President.

Candidates are focusing their fire on Hamas, not the former President.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - When it comes to former President Jimmy Carter and his recent controversial meetings with Hamas leaders in the Middle East, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama seem to be on pretty much the same page. They say they didn’t like the meetings and they, themselves, wouldn’t meet with leaders of a group the U.S. government brands as a terrorist organization. Still, they are clearly uncomfortable in criticizing the former President.

Obama and Clinton do suggest that they would have a dialogue with the leaders of North Korea, Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but only under the right circumstances and with the appropriate advance preparation. They differentiate between meetings with these kinds of state leaders as opposed to leaders of Hamas.

John McCain says Barack Obama should have gone further in condemning Carter’s meetings with Hamas. “He should repudiate President Carter, reprimand him, and specifically tell him he should not have that meeting,” McCain said.

Now, President Bush has also weighed in on the controversy - though, he, too seems uncomfortable in directly criticizing a former president. At a news conference at the White House Tuesday, he hammered away at Hamas, not Carter. “They’re the ones who are undermining peace. They’re the ones whose foreign policy objective is the destruction of Israel,” he said. “That’s the reason I am not talking to them.”

Jimmy Carter has strongly defended his meetings, insisting such a dialogue could help the peace process by moving Hamas toward a more reasonable stance toward a two-state solution – Israel alongside a new Palestinian state. He says he did in fact win such a commitment from Hamas leaders while in Damascus, Syria.

What do you think?

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Pam

    Reprimand him??? He's not Carter's father.

    April 29, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. we ARE bitter!!!!!

    I agree with Mimi. We may not agree with Hamas's policies, but Carter still wants to have an open and honest dialogue.

    April 29, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. Grif

    What has Mr Carter got to say, about the connection: Between India, Hamadinajad's Iran, and Russia...

    April 29, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. What do YOU know

    Make Peace Not War. I'm not even Christian and I can respect that statement, so why can you, radical evangelist christian president bush?

    April 29, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. Over Here in Chicago

    Ok, why does McCain say that only Obama should tell Carter that meeting was a no no. Why can't he say they BOTH should tell carter that was an oopsie??
    good grief

    April 29, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. look byond


    April 29, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Who Cares

    Hey 28 year old White MAN in FLORIDA–

    Sorry dude, but you should pay closer attention to what you read before you start slinging mud. Rev. William Procanick was the pastor of a church in CLINTON N.Y. They're utterly unrelated to HILLARY.

    April 29, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. Ryuken

    This terrorist group HAMAS has endorsed OBAMA – why would OBAMA side against them. Just another reason that if OBAMA gets the nomination the Democrats will loose the election in November. Vote for Clinton to ensure that the Democrats win back the White House. Tell OBAMA to keep supporting REV WRIGHT and he will be defeated when he runs for the Senate again.

    April 29, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Soba, Clifton, NJ

    I think Carter is one of the person who genuinely wants peace. How can you have peace with someone when you dont want to talk to him, and rattle your sabre every chance you get? He is right about what he is doing.

    April 29, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. MM

    I think Jimmy Carter has the guts to do what others won't. If there is a chance to make Hamaas go with peace then why wouldn't we talk with them and try to convince them. I am extremely proud of Jimmy Carter.

    April 29, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. John in PA

    Guys – Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler right before Germany invaded Poland to start WWII and declared "peace in our time". What good does it do to meet with these types? Would you rather a Neville Chamberlain or a Winston Churchill in our White House?

    April 29, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. aware

    Carter was wrong but the Bush administration should have talked to him directly in the beginning. Lone rangers are not helpful.

    Who cares what Obama says. Mccain at least has the gravitas to comment. Barack is not authentic, and he has zero credibility. Wright is right. Obama says what he has to say as a politician.

    Hillary Clinton 2008 and 2012 0r McCain 08. 🙂

    April 29, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  13. sickone

    Jimmy cater can do what he wants hamas isnt gonna go away to not negotiate with them is absurd and trying to restart slavery with out geting the opinion of blacks. there will be no peace when two sides agree and try to ignore a third . Give me liberty or death .... Hamas would rather die for thier beliefs than be ignored.

    April 29, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. Stacy Clarks

    I don't quite get what the big hoop-la is about this

    its not like he went over there bowing to Hamas...he went to talk....if he can bring about some result by talking instead of sending our children off to die, why should he not go?!?!?1


    DEMCORATS IN 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 29, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  15. Steve

    I have a riddle for you...
    "If" Sen. Obama gets the democratic nomination, goes on to win the general election, and gets inaugurated on Jan 20, 2009...who would be the 1st black president in this country?
    There wouldn't be one as of yet because Obama is just as white as he is black. Just because he inherited his dads dominant genes many people are fooled by his appearance. Remember, his mom was 100% white. I bring this up for the main reason that McCain, Clinton and the media NEVER would because it could be construed as "racist". So, for those who have voted and will vote for Obama based on race/appearance, you may want to look a bit deeper and do your actual homework with your blinders on because you never know that once you learn who your candidate truly is and what they stand for, you may seek other more interesting options. Don't vote race or gender. Vote your conscience based on facts and information.
    I'm a white male who can't wait until Colin Powell runs. He'll get my full support.

    April 29, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  16. duke

    Funny that McCain demands Obama denounce and reprimand Carter, but doesn't demand the same of President Bush. Bush was asked several times today about it and refused to condemn Carter. A little more hypocrisy John?

    April 29, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. HP Boston

    Carter is a good man but an ineffective president. His soul is pure and his intentions sparkle but he does his best peace keeping here at home and his deeds are applauded.
    OBAMA can never come close to the better man than he, President Carter.

    April 29, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  18. De Silva

    Off topic but.........

    You need to ask Jack Cafferty to be a little bit more polite, just because Obama is his choice (so obvious) does not mean that he can give totally bias opinions under the cover of a CNN Political Analyst.

    I understand if you make a comment or two favorably or unfavorably. The way Jack talks about the other candidates down is so ridiculous. The worst is how grumpy he is on TV. Doesn't looks like he wants to be there...

    I am watching less and less of situation report now because JC.

    I know I am not the only one...

    April 29, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Carter should be commended for forthrightly dealing with the political reality of Hamas as a duly elected party, and he is unfairly criticized for highlighting the historic Israeli intransigence which sabotages any peace process.

    April 29, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. Stanley Devorin-Post

    Neither Democratic candidate nor President Bush wants to denounce former President Carter out of respect for the office! President Carter should go back to home building and stop meeting with terrorists!

    April 29, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  21. Mike

    Carter is a pig. Worst president in history. Talking with terrorists. Heart attack death would be fair for him.

    April 29, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. Barb

    Just my opinion on Obama and his running for President. If Obama does not get the chance to run for President , the press should be very proud of themselves for playing a part at tearing him to pieces on the news every day. Guess the news is not important any more just to play to the public for ratings on their programs. Sad that it has come to this.

    April 29, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. Texican

    Without War there is no peace. Peace without honor is slavery. No Obama we will not surrender to the Jihadist.

    Defend my country or move out. The door swings both ways..
    Funny I don't see anyone moving North to Canada or South to Mexico.
    Must be pretty good here in the land of the Racist whites.

    April 29, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Natalie

    I am so tired of what you guys are doing if Mr Obama did not reach so far do you really think that the Rev Wright comments would of matter, you all never expecited to see a black man beat the Clinton's a popular white family, and i always wanted to ask you why it does not have a Black anchor who host one of the evening news like all you other guys.

    April 29, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. Nunya

    >“They’re the ones who are undermining peace. They’re the ones whose foreign policy objective is the destruction of Israel. That’s the reason I am not talking to them.”

    A big part of the problem with Bush is that he sees things in absolute black and white terms. And since he sees things in such terms, he has no ability to understand that others may not. Believe it or not, there are people who take extreme stances simply as a point of motivation and negotiation and *expect* that the end result is going to be somewhere in the middle but that their extreme starting point gives them the maximum leverage.

    You can't learn anything about them and what you can do to change them and their organization if no one ever talks to them.

    April 29, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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