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

Carter praises Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/30/art.carter.gi.jpg caption="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. Leo

    All of Canada and the World hope America will vote for Hillary Clinton!
    - Tracey, in the future please refrain yourself from making statements about "all of canada". There are Canadians who read these comments you know and they do not appreciate your self-appointed canadian people's representative (I wonder how did you get to represent the world also, which includes USA??!?!) ? So speak for yourself only please or don't speak at all.

    Thank you,
    CANADA a country of This World

    January 30, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. Philip

    Pardon me, that should read "then a majority of women voting for Clinton are sexist".

    January 30, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Rich In Seattle

    Now we watch as Hillary supporters tear apart Carter just as they did Kennedy and Kerry. To hell with the party as long as they win right? Bill Clinton once called Obama "Inspiring", shouldn't you attack him as well! Just as we have "Bushies" we now have "Hillbots".

    January 30, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. Amy

    Another fossil giving his opinion.

    January 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. LM

    I really don't understand why he has to comment all the time. I don't think he should have revealed the conversation with Bill. Did Bill expect it to be private? Maybe. Either way, I don't know what to think anymore. It's depressing me.

    January 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Ray

    Its not an endorsemnet....calm down.

    January 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Susan

    Okay, let me understand this. Obama got an endorsement from a man who left a woman to die in a car (for several hours even did not report it), then he gets one from another Kennedy who says her Dad would endorse Obama, well her Dad died when she was how old? I believe she was around three years old, so I am so sure she knows who her Dad would pick. And let us not forget that her Dad was a womanizer and had an affair or two while he was President so how is he any better than Bill Clinton. Thirdly, I do not believe that Ex President Carter endorsed Obama but people would not even elect him to a second term and all of a sudden he is the greatest thing since the Kennedy's. Some of things he has said in the last feew years make you wonder what world he is living in. All I can say is what wonderful endorsements any of them are. Hillary should thank her lucky stars for not getting these endorsements!

    January 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Khwaty

    Carter is a good statesman, but a LOUSY President.

    January 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. Lone Star for Hillary!


    Amen! They are just a bunch of OLD FOGIES!! And they preach about change. HA!
    Obama and Kennedy walked into the chambers TOGETHER to hear the President's address they even sit TOGETHER then the next day on Today they were sitting side by side AGAIN giving an interview! How pathetic. Yea, grab your Teddy, Obama because you are going to need it.

    January 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. d

    Oops racist remark Carter..........

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

    January 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. bena

    To Tracey M. from Canada,

    What about the fact that the majority of the white vote went to one of the many white candidates? Is that racist? Obama got about 1/4 of the white vote in SC.

    Also, lets not forget. Barack Obama is half white, lets stop with the stupid race issue. It's getting so TIRED!

    By the way, you should work on your grammar and writing skills.

    January 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. KD Syracuse NY

    Now that Edwards is out I dont know if i'm going to vote. Obama's campaign is disgusting.

    January 30, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. AJ, IL

    The interesting and ironic thing about high-profile political endorsements is the consideration of 'What Ifs'. What if Hillary wasn't running who would Bill Clinton endorse?


    Obama in 08!

    January 30, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. Smith Kathleen

    Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama,

    Way to go Prez Carter

    January 30, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Dr. Phil

    It's too bad that Obama has shown his true colors as someone who does not get along. He has people on his campaign who are just as political as any other candidate. So much for "change".

    Obama, "how's that 'change' workin for ya"?

    January 30, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  16. margie

    wow, this media bias is amazing.
    Obama is returning Rezko's contributions to his campaign. THAT IS NEWS. WHY WHY aren't you fair and balanced?.
    Carter is only commenting on the CAMPAIGN. However, even with that, Carter is a one term president, president non the less. I don't take heed to what he says.
    CNN only want to advance Obama and say negative things about Clinton.

    Did any one notice that the media called Florida, a BEAUTY CONTEST. Guess who first called it that YES, Obama.

    January 30, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. Wayne

    I wonder if Jimmy will still praise Obama after he hears that the Obama campaign had a late-night revelation last night: They are going to jettison tens of thousands in additional Rezko cash donations! More seedy details to follow........

    January 30, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. JBH

    Carter's comments are hilarious! I would vote for a Republican before I would vote for Barack Obama.

    BTW, Obama is donating the money that Tony Rezko gave him to charity. Rezko also helped him acquire his million-dollar mansion. Will Obama donate it to charity, also?

    Obama said he worked "FIVE" hours for Rezko. He said he pushed the WRONG button FIVE or six times while voting on issues in Illinois. He "turned his head" for FIVE minutes when he snubbed Hillary Clinton at Bush's State of the Union Address. There is something about the number FIVE that seems to get Obama into trouble.

    Obama reminds me of a FIVE-year-old kid that needs to abandon his arrogance, immaturity, and unprofessionalism, and grow up!

    January 30, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Jim ( Independent )

    What surprises me is how many woman want to vote for Hilary Clinton "just because she is a woman".

    She may be a woman , but she is a lightening rod for all that is wrong with Washington. She brings with her a house divided and another do nothing congress.

    Hillary is the Republicans dream come true in the General election. They have a mountain of Clinton trash in reserve ..........JUST WAITING.

    It's time to move this country forward and that translates into ANYONE BUT CLINTON.

    January 30, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. Yola

    Hillary is great on the issues my vote is for her – Carter who?

    January 30, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. kamenwati

    Carter is a decent man. He's done more for the country and the world since he left the WH than any other recent former Presidents. And no, he didn't endorse Obama. He merely stated what is obvious to many millions of Americans. Obama has the potential to be a great president. I will vote to give him the chance he deserves. The Clintons, on the other hand, had their chance. And now Bill is trying to repair the damage he alone did to his legacy through Hillary's campaign. This is unfortunate. He does not deserve a "do over." If that's the case, we should expect to see Laura Bush run in the future in an attempt to repair the disaster that her husband's presidency has been. No more Clintons or Bushes in the WH. People let's turn that page and elect new leadership.

    Obama 08.

    January 30, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. John G, New York, NY

    To Mike Glenn –

    Stop being so partisan!

    The US currently has TWO genuine elder statesmen who have been honored with the Nobel Peace Prize. Carter and Gore are respected on the global scale for their intellect and their life-long dedication to the improvement of humanity. And, while these men may be Democrats – who else but our elder statement SHOULD we be listening to during a time of crisis? Talk radio hosts? Talking heads on the news?

    We ALL need to stop being so partisan. The reason that Obama is capturing the imagination of the country is that, not unlike Jack Kennedy (yep, another Nobel Prize Winner), he is asking us to find the best in ourselves and understand that, historically, the greatness of the US has been best demonstrated when we have been asked to contribute to tasks bigger than ourselves without asking what we individually can get out of the deal.

    Roosevelt asked us not to allow fear to prevent us from tackling the devastation of the Great Depression or the evils of the Nazis – Kennedy asked us to volunteer to help the people of the world and challenged us to get to the moon – even Reagan asked us to believe that we didn't have to depend on government to solve our problems and helped the world envision a world without a Berlin Wall!

    In an age when we are terror targets, when the fundamental industries that have led our economy can no longer be counted upon to provide us with jobs, when our roads and schools are literally falling apart – we DON'T need a good "manager" for president – we need an inspired visionary!

    January 30, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  23. Vic

    Let's see now. Who was it that Carter beat for the Democratic nominee. Why surprise, surprise - it was Teddy Kennedy! My that was a long time ago, and Obama is preaching change in Washington. In fact, Obama was ONE YEAR OLD when Teddy was elected to office. Hopefully, if Ted Kennedy can teach Obama anything, it will be not to make excuses, deny, whine and pout - all qualities that make him a shoo-in for President. NOT!!

    We will miss John Edwards and his message, which is a fit for Hillary. The poor and unfortunate are the ones she's worked so hard for in the past and will continue to do so.

    January 30, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. Katy Hill Prescott Az.

    Unlike many I have a great deal of respect for Carter he wanted peace not war and the hawks of this country have run down his name. Unlike crooks and liars like Clinton, Bush and Reagan he told the truth. Guess that doesn't count for much anymore.

    January 30, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  25. An Agnostic Democrat

    Dear Doris:

    We don't hate women we just dislike Hillary. I love women who are authentic, principled, honest, magnanimous, dignified, not self-contradictory or meretricious ... Unfortunately, she embodies the worst of all these traits and more.

    If she can't decide who she is and keeps remaking herself at every turn, what is there to trust? She plays to current political winds and will change her position at a moments notice if it hasn't polled well. She couldn't give a straight answer to a question if her life depended on it unless it's to criticize or demean her Democratic or Republican competitors. She's against everything and stands for nuthin"!

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