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. checkthisout

    Endorsements and Support from the SAME OLD SAME OLD keep coming in for this "brother"

    Yet this is the same person who said he was going to change the Washington way of doing things.
    I understand from the NY Times he is getting financial support from special interest groups going into super Tuesday.


    January 30, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. Steve Blaine Washington

    Even if for some reason Obama does not win the nomination or the Presidency he will have secured the Civil Rights for Black people that they did not get in 1865 or 1964.

    January 30, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. Debit Man

    If I were Senato Obama, I would distance myself and my campaig from any praise from former President Carter.

    January 30, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. Scott

    I knew he couldn't keep his trap shut for too long. Neither he nor Teddy K are the type of people that I actually call inspiring.

    January 30, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  5. hill2theend

    AWESUM!!......OBAMA IS THE FUTURE....which is why has been old school thinkers like Jimmy Carter, LOSER ex-presidential candidates like John Kerry and bloated alcholic murders like Ted Kennedy support the FUTURE? that Obama represents......MMMMMM......I'll stick with a candidate that is concerned about the PRESENT economy the PRESENT situation with the mortgage crisis and the PRESENT negative view the world has of the USA

    January 30, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. Quentin

    Hey Tracy,

    Did you consider it racist when the majority of white people in Florida voted for Hillary yesterday? C'mon, Tracy, I know you really don't mean that. I know you're a Hillary supporter and that's your right, however, please don't throw race into this. This is exactly the kind of thinking that we as nation need to move forward from because it keeps us divided not united.

    January 30, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. TAZ

    There is no doubt that Obama has the tongue of a great speaker. He brings people to their feet when he speaks and has them screaming and jumping and praising his name. He will ONE DAY make a good president but unfortunately TODAY IS NOT THE DAY. He consistently states he has a vision and he has a plan and he supports health reform and this reform and that reform but yet this is the same man who did not vote 132 times with a yeah or a nah while holding his Senate seat for Illinois...he voted "present". We do not need someone in the White House that is just "present". We need someone in the White House who knows how to say YES and NO. Do I think Hillary is the person for this. At this point I am not 100% sure but if I have to choose between Hillary and Obama, I will go with Hillary. The country at this point needs someone with experience and strength to begin pulling us out of this horrible mess George Jr. is leaving us in. Hillary is the person for that. Now come 2016, Obama will still be in his prime and will have 8 more years of experience under his belt. I will then say, Obama 2016 !!

    January 30, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. ao

    hope is in the air and it smells like rotten eggs. get real all you dreamers, imagine negotiations about 2012 climate change new post-Kyoto initiative Obama vs. China without a hard core attitude. You may have the best idea to sell, but if you do not sell it hard, there is NO outcome. he MAY (and i underscore the word may here) build some bridges in US, but in the world our leadership is quickly going down – and it unfortunately will as our economy will eventually slide to second and later to third place on the world stage. This is the truth, and BTW, none of us can do much about it. So instead of having all lofty dreams let's get to work now, and try to save our face in the decades to come. Rhetoric will not change anything – actions will. Look at China communist rhetoric did not bring the change, capitalist economy in action did (wasn't that idea based on experience, a proven model?) Think in the long run people, THINK. A dreamer will remain a dreamer, but for all I learned in my life actions speak at the end of everything and facts become the words in history books.

    January 30, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. larry buchas, new britain, ct

    to: Jon January 30, 2008 11:09 am ET

    If this is not an endorsement,

    why is this news?

    I'm sure if he said the same about Hillary Clinton, we wouldn't be hearing about it.


    President Carter is keeping a neutral position but stating the obvious. Southern states will be in play if Obama is nominated. You and your supporters just can't admit it.

    Democrats will win easily with Obama!

    January 30, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. bcampo

    Is Carter on drugs? probably hears voices

    January 30, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  11. Jim C.

    Who the hell cares what the worst president on record thinks about anything?
    carter is an extreme liberal and a traitor to this country and one who empowers our enemies and puts U.S. troops in harms way with his words of inspiration to our enemies.Go to hell carter.

    January 30, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. lcb

    Wow, only losers and weak people are endorsing Obama. First Kerry, who lost to a very weak and unpopular president. Then Kennedy who lost his own bid to the White House not once but twice. And now Carter who has the distinction of standing side by side Bush as the two worst presidents in modern history.

    I am an independent and have no bone to pick here, but Hillary won Florida. She won decisively and without campaigning. She won in a very diverse state. That in itself is probably keeping the Obamanites awake at night. Having said that, I don't think that just talking about change without saying anything concrete will get Obama elected. He is hopeful but has no substance. Ultimately substance always prevails.

    January 30, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. i.t.

    As much as we'd like to deny it... race will always be the issue. Some of us may not make it an issue... but the reality is, much of the world is stil very racist.

    Just think OJ Simpson... didn't almost every black person on earth thought he was innocent?All the while they all ignored physical evidence? Because colour is all that some people see. It's human nature. As unfortunate as it is.

    January 30, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Erick

    Carter should support Obama. If elected, Obama stands a good chance of replacing Carter as the worst Democratic president ever.

    January 30, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. Janet

    It's funny to me how Clinton supporters immediately go on the attack once a prominent Democrat says something, anything nice about Barack Obama. They even attack people Barack Obama is compared to. They attacked MLK. They attacked JFK and RFK. They attacked Caroline Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. And now they are attacking Jimmy Carter.

    You guys aren't really REAL Democrats. A real Democrat who cares about his/her party would not tear down his own to uplift one person. You all shame me.

    What I see here are a bunch of bitter and impatient women who believe a woman is entitled to become the president of the United States based simply on the fact that she is a woman. This sickens me. What exactly has Hillary Clinton done to deserve to be President? I know what her HUSBAND has done, but what has SHE done? I would really like for someone to explain this to me. She is just another senator.

    I am an Edwards supporter and I guess the best choice we have left is Obama. Jimmy Carter's quasi endorsement seals the deal.

    January 30, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. Fiorella

    Can someone please explain this blind love affair with Obama? The man comes out of nowhere, has zero experience, and frankly, I think his smile is fake and cheesy. The Kennedys have been washed up for years, now they endorse Obama, very sad. I hope the Kennedy endorsement does for Obama what it did for Kerry–Seal it for the other guy or, in this case, GIRL!
    Hillary in 08!

    January 30, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. Dave C - NJ

    I love the "IT'S TIME FOR A WOMAN TO BE PRESIDENT" comments through the tickers.

    If that's the case, then I vote for Pamela Anderson. Give me a break, you short-sighted feminist fools.

    Hillary carpet-bagged to NY on Bill's coattails. Would you have ever heard of her if not for Bill?

    Obama is a far better choice, so Thank You Jimmy.

    January 30, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. BlackCr00s

    Carter is no gentleman, if in fact Clinton called him( which I dont believe) I am sure he didnt expect him to run to the news and spill his old senile guts.

    January 30, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. DR

    Does it really matter what Jimmy Carter thinks? If I was Obama, I wouldn't want the endorsement or praise of this bitter old man.

    Carter was an absolute embarrasment as president. And for those of you too young to remember, if you think the economy is bad now, you should have seen it back in the late 70s - all because of this old geezer!

    It took a Republican, yes, a Reublican to straighten this country out after the mess ol' Jimmy made. Reagan bailed us out of economic ruin. And Carter is still bitter that he looked like a complete fool when Reagan beat him by one of the most lopsided elections in U.S. history.

    Some advice, Jimmy - go join your liberal buddy George McGovern - another bitter old man - in the old politicos home!

    January 30, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. FirstTimeVoter

    To those people who are saying that Obama would be stronger in the Presidential election because he has Republican support now:

    What makes you think those Republicans will be voting for him in the Presidential election? Are you really so naive that you can't see why they're voting for him now? They want him as the nominee because they know he'll be easier to beat than Senator Clinton.

    January 30, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. Chip Pudims

    I guess this endorsement seals the deal. How can Obama lose with John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Jimmy Carter backing his bid? The question begs of WHY? He has no record. In fact he has an exemplary record of no record. Although he is articulate and has a great deal of appeal, but are those the credentials this country needs for its leader during today's cisis', with threats to our very existence?
    Unfortunately, the Democratic Party has a history of trying to turn Presidential elections into "beauty contests", but only once did they get it right, with JFK.
    Oh, I almost forgot Obama's platform is for "change" inside the beltway! The only problem is change doesn't come from the top down, only from the bottom up!

    January 30, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. averagejoe

    If one reads the Wall Street Journal article, it is clear that Carter's "lavish" praise was about B.O.'s oratory skills. This isn't disputed because it's been clear that he uses this to sugar-coat issues and avoid setting his public records straight.

    Carter was being real when he admits that B.O. might win some Southern States. Again, this is not rocket science, because after SC, B.O. pins his hopes also on AL and GA, where his AA support is significant.

    What's more interesting in this WSJ article is that Carter did NOT mention anything about B.O.'s leadership skills, experience, tough stands on salient issues, policies, and overall readiness to take on the job of President of the USA. One does wonder why this is so. So let's treat that article for what it is, which is Carter's personal comment about B.O.'s oratory skills. Period.

    If B.O.'s camp tries to squeeze out more juice out of it, it's all SPIN. It will be all extensions and misrepresentation of Carter's words.

    January 30, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. BP

    Tracy M – I'm from Canada and if I could I would vote Obama.

    In fact considering Canada's present political field of dreams, it would be a great pleasure if we had a person with half the capability and vision that Mr. Obama has in Parliment.

    Obama Canada has your back.........

    January 30, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. Matthew

    Read the actualy article. He's not praising Obama as a person, he's praising his campaign and saying he has good rhetoric. Carter is not endorsing anyone, but rather complimenting Obama on how good he talks. (and a good talker, doesn't mean someone trust worthy.) Read other articles that Carter talks about Clinton. Read the history that Carter appointed Hillary to the board of Legal Services Corporation. This is just a story CNN put out, but it means pretty much nothing.

    January 30, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. ConcernedCitizen

    All of these endorsements, all of Obama's speeches, and not one person has actually said anything about HOW Obama will unite the country.

    Actions speak louder than words, Senator Obama. Until he can show me that he actually knows how to be President, rather than just making pretty speeches about it, he's never getting my vote.

    What depresses me is how many people seem to be falling for his act.

    January 30, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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