DENVER (CNN) - Another theme you’re going to notice tonight is constant references to Hurricane Katrina and the devastation of New Orleans. That is the point at which George Bush’s presidency began to fall apart at the polls. Americans were shocked at the inability of the federal government to respond. That’s why you’re going to hear a lot of references - and it has a special resonance for African-Americans.
The catastrophe is being highlighted in a video featuring former President Jimmy Carter, who has a strange legacy among Democrats. He was not a successful president, his Middle East views have become more and more controversial. Nevertheless, he remains a figure of respect because of his personal morality and integrity.
They’re not highlighting his views on the Middle East, they’re highlighting what Americans remember most and best about Carter — his humanitarian work, his work with Habitat for Humanity, his personal integrity.
In fact, I would say he is regarded, because of his acts of charity, as one of the most successful ex-presidents in American history - in many ways the model of an ex-president.
He’s more admired for his ex-presidency than his presidency.
Interesting that he didn’t give a speech. I’m not sure what that means. Perhaps they didn’t want to remind people of a failed presidency.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Jimmy Carter reiterated the sentiments of many Democratic Party leaders on Sunday by saying that it would be a “serious mistake” for superdelegates to choose the candidate with fewer total delegates.
“I think it would be a very serious mistake for the Democratic Party…if a candidate had the majority of popular votes, the majority of delegates and a majority of states - all three - were the superdelegates to vote contrary to that, I think it would be very difficult to explain,” the former president told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.”
Carter is the latest in a series of prominent Democrats to say that nullifying the popular vote would be a flawed approach. He said that he “basically agreed” with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who on March 15 stated "if the votes of the superdelegates overturn what's happened in the elections, it would be harmful to the Democratic party.”
Heading into the key Pennsylvania primary on April 22, Hillary Clinton trails Barack Obama by 171 pledged delegates. Even well-known supporters of Clinton have declared publicly that she needs to come first in the popular vote to win the nomination.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Bush administration has urged former President Jimmy Carter not to go forward with plans to meet with the leader of Hamas, the State Department said Thursday.
Carter may meet next week in Damascus, Syria, with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, as part of a trip to the Middle East.
Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo told CNN she could not confirm or deny whether any specific meeting might take place during Carter's trip.
However, a Hamas official told CNN that Carter plans to meet with Meshaal, who lives in exile in Damascus to avoid being arrested or killed by Israel.
(CNN)—Democrats continue their money race following the release of their March fundraising totals. In the latest installment of CNN=Politics Daily, CNN’s Dan Lothian reveals Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s totals.
Regardless of who Democrats eventually pick to be their nominee, they have made history with a female candidate and an African American candidate. Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider reports on new poll numbers which show whether Americans are ready to make history electing a woman or an African American.
Meanwhile, John McCain continues his “biography tour,” but how effective is his message. CNN’s Dana Bash reports from Florida on how well McCain’s background pitch is working.
Finally: it’s clear who former President Bill Clinton is supporting this election cycle, but today former President and superdelegate Jimmy Carter hinted he may support Obama. Brian Todd reports on what Carter said.
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–CNN's Emily Sherman
(CNN) - Former President Jimmy Carter all but said Wednesday he plans to cast his superdelegate vote for Barack Obama.
Speaking with a Nigerian paper while in Abuja, Carter noted several reasons why he might be leaning toward the Illinois senator.
"Don’t forget that Obama won in my state of Georgia," Carter said. "My town, which is home to 625 people, is for Obama, my children and their spouses are pro-Obama. My grandchildren are also pro-Obama."
"As a superdelegate, I would not disclose who I am rooting for but I leave you to make that guess," Carter added.
The Carter Center confirmed to CNN the newspaper did quote Carter accurately.
Responding to the comments, Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson said Thursday, "Both Senator Clinton and President Clinton have a great deal of respect for President Carter and have enjoyed their relationship with him over the years, and obviously he is free to make whatever decision he thinks is appropriate with regard to presidential choice."
Wolfson also acknowledged "people will be interested in the choice that he makes."
Carter's remarks are the latest from the former president that suggest he is backing Obama over rival Hillary Clinton, although he has made no official endorsement. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal in January, Carter said Obama's campaign has been "extraordinary and titillating for me and my family."
He also said then that Obama "will be almost automatically a healing factor in the animosity now that exists, that relates to our country and its government."
Related: Watch Brian Todd's analysis of Carter hinting at supporting Obama
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
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
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich caused heads to turn earlier this week when he acknowledged he once saw a UFO.
But if elected to the White House, Kucinich wouldn't be the first president to have such an encounter.
"When I was back as a peanut farmer in southwest Georgia, I and about 25 others saw something in the air that changed colors and was round and came and left," former President Jimmy Carter said in an interview with CNN’s John Roberts on American Morning. "We couldn't figure out what it was."
But while he couldn't identify the object, Carter said he doesn't think it was space aliens.
"It was unidentified as far as we were concerned, but I think it's impossible in my opinion, some people disagree, to have space people from other planets or other stars to come to us - I don't think that's possible," he said.
At Tuesday's presidential debate, NBC’s Tim Russert asked Kucinich, a congressman from Ohio, about a recent account from actress Shirley MacLaine that he saw a UFO at her home in Washington State.
“It was an unidentified flying object, OK? It's, like, it's unidentified. I saw something," Kucinich responded.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday he is convinced the United States engages in torture that clearly breaches international law and told CNN President Bush creates his own definition of human rights to escape violating them.
"I don't think it. I know it, certainly." the former president told CNN's Wolf Blitzer when asked if he thinks the United States commits torture.
"Our country for the first time in my lifetime has abandoned the basic principle of human rights," Carter continued. "We've said that the Geneva Convention does not apply to those people in Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo, and we’ve said we can torture prisoners and deprive them of an accusation of a crime to which they are accused."
Carter's comments come on the heels of a New York Times report that disclosed the existence of secret Justice Department documents supporting the use of "harsh interrogation techniques" including, according to the Times, "head-slapping, simulated drowning, and frigid temperatures."
Last week, the White House confirmed the existence of the documents though would not make them public. Responding to the report last Friday, Bush defended the techniques used and said, “This government does not torture people.”
Asked about the president's comments, Carter said, "That's not an accurate statement if you use the international norms of torture as has always been honored - certainly in the last 60 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated."
"But you can make your own definition of human rights and say we don't violate them, and you can make your own definition of torture and say we don't violate them," Carter added.
Responding to Carter's comments, a senior White House official said, "Our position is clear. We don't torture. It's just sad to hear a former president speak like that."
Watch the full interview with Carter tonight on The Situation Room, 7 p.m. ET.
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– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney