(CNN) – The White House isn't weighing in yet on a recent interview with Jimmy Carter during which the former president proclaimed America is ready for an openly gay president.
"I haven't asked," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters when questioned about whether President Obama agrees with Carter's recent comments.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Race and politics are a combustible combo that explodes into headlines when an ex-president lights the fuse, as Jimmy Carter did recently.
"When a radical fringe element of demonstrators and others begin to attack the president of the United States as an animal or as a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler or when they wave signs in the air that said we should have buried Obama with Kennedy, those kinds of things are beyond the bounds," the Democrat told students at Emory University on Wednesday.
"I think people who are guilty of that kind of personal attack against Obama have been influenced to a major degree by a belief that he should not be president because he happens to be African-American," he added.
The controversy erupted this week when Carter first raised the race issue to NBC.
"An overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man," he said.
Bill Cosby, a black comedian and actor, said Wednesday in a written statement that he agrees with Carter.
"During President Obama's speech on the status of health care reform, some members of Congress engaged in a public display of disrespect," he said.
CNN contributor David Gergen said that some of the allegations of race-baiting might have some weight among Democratic voters.
(CNN) – Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that racial politics played a role in South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst during President Obama's speech to Congress last week and in some of the opposition the president has faced since taking office.
"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American," Carter told NBC News. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shares the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans."
"That racism inclination still exists, and I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of belief among many white people - not just in the South but around the country - that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and it grieves me and concerns me very deeply," Carter said.
Carter made similar remarks at an event at his presidential center in Atlanta, Georgia, The Associated Press reported Tuesday, pointing to some protesters who have compared Obama to a Nazi. "Those kind of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care," the former president said at the Carter Center, according to AP. "It's deeper than that."
President-elect Obama, President Bush, and the three living former presidents posed briefly for pictures before meeting privately at the White House Wednesday. (Getty Images)
(CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama, President Bush and all of the surviving past presidents got together Wednesday for a historic meeting at the White House.
"One message that I have, and I think we all share, is that we want you to succeed. Whether we're Democrat or Republican, we care deeply about this country," Bush told Obama before lunch with the former presidents.
Bush and Obama were joined by Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Obama thanked the president for hosting them and said he was grateful for the opportunity to get "advice, good counsel and fellowship" from the group.
Obama's press secretary said the presidents had a "very constructive conversation" and Obama appreciated "the spirit of bipartisanship they showed" in wishing him success.
"The president and the former presidents had helpful advice on managing the office, as well as thoughts on the critical issues facing the country right now. The president-elect is anxious to stay in touch with all of them in the coming years," Robert Gibbs said.
Presidential historian Doug Brinkley said it's "very smart politics for Obama to keep a channel open" with the former presidents.
(CNN) – Former President Jimmy Carter, in a widely expected move, will endorse Barack Obama's presidential bid later Tuesday or early Wednesday.
Carter, a superdelegate who has frequently spoken favorably about Obama, told Britain’s Sky News last month that while he had not yet announced his decision publicly, after the last Democratic primary June 3, it would be time for Hillary Clinton to “give it up.”
He also said that Clinton “had a perfect right” to keep running – but that “a lot of the superdelegates will make a decision quite, announced quite rapidly, after the final primary on June 3."
The former president also told an interviewer last month that he believes Hillary Clinton would accept the vice presidential spot on the ticket, but that he did not believe such an offer would be made by Obama "because I don't see how it would help his ticket. I think he needs somebody like a [former Georgia Sen.] Sam Nunn, but I won't name others.”
Nunn, the former Georgia senator, is known for his foreign policy and national security expertise.
(CNN) - Minutes after a spokesman for President Carter confirmed reports Tuesday that he was officially endorsing Barack Obama’s presidential bid, the Republican National Committee sent reporters a two-year-old YouTube clip in which he said the Illinois senator was not ready for the Oval Office.
“I just don’t think he’s got yet the proven substance or experience to be the president,” Carter told PBS host Charlie Rose in a 2006 interview, when asked whether Obama’s effectiveness as a campaigner and enthusiasm he had generated on the campaign trail that year might make him a good presidential candidate this cycle.
Elsewhere in that interview, he added that he considered Al Gore the best-qualified presidential candidate, although if then-frontrunner Hillary Clinton was nominated, he would support her.
Carter has not explained spoken publicly about his decision to endorse Obama, but in earlier interviews has spoken approvingly of the response generated by the Illinois senator’s candidacy.