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. tom from california

    I wish all the Clinton Supporters will stop whining about one-sided news.

    If Hillary had done anything the past few days it would be in the news

    The thing is is that she HASNT DONE ANYTHING!!

    The only thing she did was make a fool of herself by a fake victory speech in FL...thats it!!

    Obama is the best candidate by far and anyone who doesnt think so doesnt understand or are just voting Hillary because she is either a woman (voted for by other woman in some kind of a sex war) or like Bill Clinton (which is not going to work out very well.

    Vote for the candidate who is the best; not because of sex, gender, or their spouse.

    Obama 08'
    Changing the Nation for the Best

    January 30, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. Lynne

    As a black person, I'm finding some of the praise for Obama a bit offensive. It seems like if Obama had the same style, history and campaign, but was white, no one would give him the time of day. Yet because he is black, he is called "extraordinary" "articulate" and "inspiring." Give me a break. He's perceived as a different kind of black person, not the kind that some are used to seeing. People are so excited about a Harvard-educated charismatic man, yet the same credentials in someone white WOULD NOT qualify them to be president. I feel strange saying this because it is almost an anti-affirmative action argument and I am pro-affirmative action, but of course I don't think aff action is about underqualified minorities, it's about equally qualified folks and then giving a boost to the person of color. In the Obama for prez instance, it's about a lesser qualified person of color who is getting an undeserved boost. Obama gets extra praise and gets treated with kid gloves because he's arguably the most "extraordinary" black person to seek the presidency. Voters need to wake up and realize that this election is too important to decide based on what makes you have faith in a new America and vote on who can turn us around from the direction we've been headed, who can get the economy back on track, and who has the stature and expereince to deal with our immense problems abroad. The only candidates capable of that are Hillary and Edwards, but with Edwards imminent withdrawal, we all need to seriously (and without bias and preconceptions) look at Hillary's platform and her excellent reputation in the senate and in new york as a bipartisan leader and vote with our brains.

    January 30, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Monte Brown, New York, NY

    Some Democrats, not Jimmy Carter, are only endorsing Obama to spite the Clintons because they know that the Clintons are the only Democrats that have made achievements of which the Democrats can tout. Hillary clearly beats Obama on the issue. Hillary is the candidate for real change and not some ying yang. I am confident that Hillary will win, but I think that it is amazing how people buy into the bull instead of going with the sure fire thing.

    January 30, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Bob

    I think American foreign policy could stand to be a little more like a goldfish in a shark tank, and a little bit less like... hmm, what animal suddenly attacks and kills another animal that was being rowdy ten years ago for no reason?

    January 30, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. one opinion

    there is so much hate towards Hillary. Obama's campaign says those nasty things about Clintons – and this is OK?
    I am so outraged, disgusted by idolizing Obama. He is not what you people want to see. His campaign is nastier then others. All those nasty nasty comments and attacks to Clintons. Obama is divider.

    It is very wrong to publish on this ticker any of insults, names calling.

    CNN is losing my respect , they dare to say that Hillary was "trumpeting" her victory, but others are "celebrating"...... what is this?

    Why is CNN turning into this disrespectful machine?

    who wants to have a puppet? There is a force behind all this which needs a puppet.

    January 30, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. vicky smart

    Extraordinary, wisdom, integrity, briiliant, and principled … God bless Obama and give him the courage to carry out what he has promised.
    Obama be strong!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Kwae

    How many of those that are currently endorsing Obama endorsed Bill in 92?

    OK, blogs didn't exist, but by a show of hands, how many Clinton supporters were critical of them then?

    Sour grapes

    January 30, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. stephen


    January 30, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. S. Hunt

    If I remove the link will you post my comment?

    I just love Pres. Carter, he has a heart of gold and a kind soul.

    He said the phone call was to confirm Pres. Clinton attending an event Pres. Carter is planning for He also said that if his wife was on the campaign trail, he would be out there campaigning for her just as Pres. Clinton has, too.

    I still believe that Hillary is the better candidate. Obama is an exceptional speaker and he inspires, but he still needs more experience. Hillary is the only one that is capable of beating whoever the Republicans put forward, in my opinion. She has the experience, she has excellent plans and she is our best chance to win the White House back.

    January 30, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. charlotte

    The future man just got another old guard he claims to be fighting against.. go figure

    January 30, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. JB

    That is Great. i love Jimmy Carter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. docrussia

    YOu expired Carter! Obama Obama Obama you done toooo!

    Go Hillary

    January 30, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. J.

    Tracey M. from Canada - Couldn't say it better myself.

    It's obvious this country is not ready to have a woman president. Because people are afraid to do so. I even heard a man call into one of my radio stations to say he wouldn't vote a woman for president because she wouldn't be able to stand up against nations leaders. Excuse me? And the male president we have NOW is doing any better?! Right, thanks for that logical response.

    Another thing: It is ignorant to say that race of gender shouldn't matter, or doesn't matter. Well, it DOES. When sexism and racism still exist, it does matter. Pushing those issues aside is the wrong way to look at this entire "race for '08" and just keeps all the problems rolling.

    January 30, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Tom

    It doesn't matter what Jimmie Carter thinks about anything in this world. He was a pathetic president, and he is an even mor pathetic former president. There is nothing extraordinary about Obama. He is a good speaker with a nice personality, but other than that, he is just a guy who is so full of himself, like the Clintons, Edwards, and others who have no business running for the Top job in the country.

    January 30, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. RF, NJ

    President Carter,

    You never got the respect you deserved while you were president. Thank you for having the best of intentions but you just couldn't get the cooperation necessary to get things done. I think Obama also will not be able to get the cooperation he needs to clean up the HUGE mess that W is leaving.

    If Obama wins the Dem nomination I'll vote for him but I think Hillary is the best candidate.

    January 30, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Jeremiah Grant, Phoenix AZ

    Obama might really bolster his support by reaching out to all of us disillusioned Conservatives who absolutely shudder at the thought of McCain carrying the mantle for our party.

    We know he's not a Conservative either, but neither is McCain. At least with Obama we could vote for a new direction in Washington as opposed to more of the same.

    January 30, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. Deb

    Hillary doesn't deserve to be President and who wants that idiot Bill in the White House again. Ron Paul is not only for change, he is the change. Ron Paul 2008.

    January 30, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. Candi

    What suprises me in this process is that some women seem to think you should vote for a women no matter who she is. How absurd. This "lady" is not the type of person we want to be our candidate. It is important for women to finally break through, however, not with Hillary. A vote for Hillary is a vote for the Republicans later. She is dishjonest and cannot be considered an example for our children to look up to. Jimmy is right to tell the Clintons to let it die down. I think it is time to tell the Clintons good-by.

    January 30, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. funny

    Jimmy Carter says Obama extraordinary

    Is that an endorsement or does is it just hide the fact he is in some one esle's pocket

    January 30, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. ML

    When I first heard about Obama joining the presidential race I took a good look at him and where he stood on the issues. The closer I looked, the less I liked him. I said then, months ago, and I stand by it now, electing Obama could be the same kind of disaster electing Carter was back in the seventies. I respect Carter greatly for his accomplishments since leaving the presidency. But, just as Carter was unprepared for the presidency, does anyone remember double digit inflation, gas shortages, and the hostage crisis, so Obama is unprepared. Back in the seventies Americans were sick of the Republican nonsense and dirty dealings. Americans wanted change. That is why Carter won. We made a mistake again by electing another Bush. Let's not keep making mistakes. Obama could be a one term disaster just like Carter.

    Go Hillary '08.

    January 30, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  21. Willy

    Old fool

    January 30, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. Jeff

    dear clintonistas,
    if he had said nice things about hillary, and not Obama – would that make him a racist?

    January 30, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. veronica lynne

    Another leftie liberal speaking praise for Obama?
    Kennedy, Kerry, now Carter, who's next?
    I'd love to be a fly on the wall at GOP headquarters right about now, as they discuss how McCain will crush BO in the general election!

    January 30, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  24. Toronto Girl

    What the big deal, all these politician endorse OBAMABOY, and everyone acts as if he is already elected.
    Maybe I am wrong, but is it not the voters who decided the PRESIDENT, and it looks to me like they want HILLARY!
    Good choice AMERICAN.
    (I am still a fan)

    January 30, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. NSM

    Every time I read comments on CNN's Political Ticker, I'm reminded of Winston Churchill's famous quote:

    "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

    Sad but true.

    January 30, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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