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. Ticker Shock, Richmond,VA

    Jimmy Carter, ever the peacemaker. Bless his heart. If only the others shared his humility.

    January 30, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. adam

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

    When are the Obama supporters going to start screaming racism? They went insane when Bill Clinton compared Obama's campaign with that of Jesse Jackson, now that it is a praiseworthy comparison, does it make it any less racist?

    Obama supporters will start screaming rascism when they see a rascist comment. MLK was a great orator, JFK was a great orator. Obama has been compared to both. The implication of the comparison was he was a good orator, not that he "sounds black", and that makes ALL the difference. If Carter made some moronic rascist comment people would be calling him on it. He didn't.
    The implication of Clintons comment was trying to suggest (incorrectly) that Obama only won among african americans and couldn't win any white votes is what was problematic. Yes, Obama won a huge majority of the african american vote in SC. He also won about as many white votes as Edwards, more white males than Hillary, and more youth than either.

    January 30, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. Thomas, St. Petersburg, FL

    Let's see...

    A few days ago, Senator Ted Kennedy, perhaps the most liberal Democrat I can think of, endorsed Obama.

    Now President Carter, whose presidency saw double digit inflation, double digit interest rates, double digit unemployment, long gas lines, and 53 Americans held hostage by a small, insignificant nation called Iran for 444 days until Ronald Reagan was inaugurated.

    Historians rate President Carter's presidency right "up there" with Herbert Hoover, James Buchanan, and Warren Harding.

    Please do NOT stop speaking, President Carter. As a registered Republican, I appreciate your help during this critical presidential election.

    January 30, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. John in Columbus, OH

    The Clinton folks want to remind you that Jimmy Carter's cousin's son endorsed Hillary. LOL!

    No doubt they'll start staging victory rallies in Mexico to celebrate their newfound Hispanic support as well.

    January 30, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Adeyemi Sadiq

    The whole world is watching and I am part of this seeming progress going on in America. From all indications, Obama represents the new face of America and deserves all the endorsements he has got so far. A vote for him is surely a vote for peace, progress and an end to animosity within and outside America.

    A Nigerian studying in the UK.

    January 30, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Sam

    Folks, Obama behavior at the State of the Union tells us much more than anyone, including Jimmy Carter, one of my favorite President, could say. That moment gives us a glimpse of the real Obama. Yea, he is a unifier all right.
    Obama is yet to take responsibility for his actions or what he says.

    Speaking like Martin Luther King would not get the job done for the American people.

    January 30, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. PostItSC

    January 30, 2008 11:45 am ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation. STILL WAITING, POST PLEASE.....

    You might want to get a CLUE, Carter was the WORST Democratic President of our recent history from an economic point of view. Like Barack he was an unknown who became popular and won, what he did next was unfathomnable! Obama does not want to be tied to this.

    A humanitarian to be sure but those of us that lived through his Presidency would not welcome an endorsement for the party. Say nice things and move on would be the best thing he could do.

    January 30, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Frank

    Let us not forget that President Carter was the beginning of much of our failed middle east policy! He has shown many times of his prejudice and bias towards some groups, and hopefully he will not set an example for the next democratic president to take office! Needless to say that he only served one term because of his failures and lost the white house to the Republicans.

    January 30, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. Tom

    January 30, 2008 12:58 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    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 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Josh

    I think that Carter should stay out of politics and just stay in retirement. We wasn't a good president so why is anyone even paying attention to him still. I would think that being praised by a failed president (anyone remember the Iranian hostage crisis), or by a Senator who raped and killed a young women. I wouldn't really take advice from Ted or Jimmy.

    January 30, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. Rich In Seattle

    Tracey M – What a stupid sexist thing to say. If a man said that about a woman...

    January 30, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. MB, Louisiana

    He praised Obama's CAMPAIGN. I don't hear him praising Obama the candidate.

    January 30, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Sophia

    CNN doesn't write the news. CNN reports the news. It just so happens that Obama makes news more often than Clinton.

    Obama/Edwards '08

    January 30, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Al, Los Angeles, CA

    K. Chan, I understand your point, but that's only what the press wants you to believe.

    Race sells.

    If it were true IA would not have happened.

    AGE not RACE is the true factor.

    Hillary has only won when >35% were over 65.

    Michigan & Florida voted on name recognition alone.

    The real test is California.

    January 30, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. ShowSomeRespect

    Shame on all of you that aren't showing your respect for former president Jimmy Carter.....

    GO OBAMA 2008!!!

    January 30, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. John Smith

    I'd like to know where all these endorsements were months ago.
    Only cowards like Kennedy come out late in the race. A real person of conviction
    would have endorsed sooner rather than jump on the band wagon.
    I'm waiting for Edwards and Gore to load up on Clinton as well by endorsing
    the biracial man of no substance.

    January 30, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. stacy

    Mr. Carter's work for "Habitat for Humanity" far exceeds anything he did during his

    January 30, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. Joseph

    With Edwards dropping out today, I think that the Clinton era is about to come to a close very soon, and we will be a much better nation for it.

    Obama/Edwards '08!

    January 30, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Dennis

    Amazing. This man was our President. While he wasn't a great President, he served with honor. He has been honorable since then. Yet, some feel the need to insult him because he choose to say something nice about a candidate other then their own.

    If you don't agree with Carter, fine. Say so. There is no need to insult him for giving an opinion. Clinton would welcome his support or endorsement. She would have welcomed Ted Kennedy's endorsement too. Don't fool yourself into thinking otherwise.

    January 30, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. gary j

    Oops! Hit post too early. The comment I made about Carter and Iran at 12:35 was really that to this day, I am convinced that the Reaganauts engineered things to keep the hostage crisis brewing to weaken Carter during the general election and to pop an inauguration surprise. The lesson is the Republicans will play very hard ball. But we need to rise above and work for the common good: elect Obama!

    January 30, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  21. Nerakami

    There are posts here that reflect an absolute lack of recognition and respect for a profoundly decent American.
    President Carter is one of the most RESPECTED ex-presidents worldwide and is continually being called on by leaders of other countries to preside over their elections as he symbolizes the ultimate in truth and decency. It is really a dark period in the American psyche when the lies and manipulative behavior of some presidential candidates garner more admiration than a man who life and persona represents the highest ideals in human nature.

    Sometimes America, we really deserve what we get cos until we evolve our thinking beyond the deceit and lies, we will continue to be ruled by those who demonstrate the lowest and ugliest of human behavior.

    My heart-felt blessings to President Carter, a beautiful American.

    January 30, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. Edward Cottongim

    Jimmy Carter wants to see another president elected that would a worse record that his record.


    January 30, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. eddie

    A blessing from carter is the kiss of death. As a democrat, I have zero respect for our former president.

    January 30, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. Baracker

    Yes, yes, yes. Jimaay. Barack the Vote.

    January 30, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. Viviane

    Yes, Obama is great at giving speeches. However, does that mean he's qualified to be the President? As a concerned citizen I have closely examined both Obama's and Clinton's stands on the issues. While Hillary has concrete definitive steps and actions, Obama only says that he's "for" or "against" something. Hey, I'm glad he's against global warming, but what's he going to DO about it? Hillary has actual plans.
    Go Hillary!

    January 30, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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