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. Joe

    Carter was the worst of the worst and for him to endorse Obama is doing him no favors.

    January 30, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. june Middlebrooks

    I agree that Sen. Obama is a wonderful person but I support Hillary. The bitterness in some of these comments is bad news for Democrats and I'm sorry for it. I will tell you now that I will support Sen Obama if he wins the nomination.

    Also, the election in Florida was not a phony election – Florida Democrats went to the polls and expressed their opinion – do you think those votes won't count in November?

    January 30, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. Jay in ATL

    Since 2004, I have supported Hillary and looked forward to her campaign and eventual presidency.
    Although I do appreciate what Sen Obama brings to the table – a lot – I am standing by Hillary.
    Sen Obama has received substantial positive media attention, and some unimpressive endorsements, like John Kerry's.
    I must admit, if Pres Carter officially endorses Obama, I will have a very difficult time continuing to support Hillary.

    January 30, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. Robert

    Jimmy Carter was the worst president EVER!!!

    His endorsment for others would be an anti-endorsment in the views of many.

    January 30, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Pete

    An endorsement from an ex-president is never bad, but you must consider the source. Jimmy Carter is arguably the worst president of the past 50 years.

    January 30, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. Bob Martinez

    I cannot think of a weaker US President in America's modern times than Jimmy Carter. He lacked leadership skills domestically and internationally and his opinions about US politics mean nothing to me. Jimmy Carter's record of positive accomlishments while serving as our President speak for themselves: none!

    January 30, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Martin

    I agree with the former President. Obama'a campaign and message is extraordinary. This is a man who will make positive changes in our country and world. Look at the headlines in other countries. They really like and respect him already.

    Stand up For Change and Obama in '08

    January 30, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. CMS, CA

    Hmm, Clinton calls Carter (great friends) and then the next day, Carter says these things about Obama. Sounds like the Clinton spin machine is trying to get one of the worst Presidents to say Obama is great and in the mean time scare people away from Obama because after all, its Carter. I'm an independent and can see this for what it is.

    January 30, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. ConcernedCitizen

    CC you don't get it
    hes already doing it look at his campaign ... look at his following ..... just doing what hes doing is making the difference.

    people are inspired by him.

    Most of the great healer of our time did nothing but speak and they saved and inspired millions

    Nelson Mandela, MLK, Ghandi, je just spoke out and the healing happened

    January 30, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. John

    As Nixon said, "Old politicians never fade away." But I wish Carter would. His presidency was a joke. Remember 20% interest rates, odd-even gasoline days, lowering the speed limit to 55MPH, lowering household temperatures to 68, oh yes, and the hostage rescue attempt that crashed in the desert making the US a laughing stock? President Carter's great legacy.

    January 30, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. Kathy, Columbus Ohio

    Hey Amy, do you have a clean past? I'm sure if someone looked hard enough they would find dirt on you, at least Obama was up front with his drug use, which was a very short time. He was probably trying to fit in and be cool, Obama knows he made a big mistake.

    Dudley F. you are going to vote for Hillary anyway so shut the heck up, people are making up their own minds. If there is a latino candidate again I will make sure I vote against them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Tracey M from canada stay out of our politics. All of a sudden people resent Blacks voting for Blacks, how dare you say anything, Black people have been voting Democratic for years. But that's about to change with this election and after.
    It's okay for whites to vote white without criticsm. You people don't even think straight, I beleive a lot of you are on drugs or achohl ( excuse the spelling).

    We will have a republican president again because Blacks are going to vote against Hillary and whites are going to vote against Obama.

    What a country we live in....it's still devided.

    I hope Bloomberg gets into the race, he has my vote. At this point I will never vote for Hillary or Bill again!!!!

    January 30, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. i.t.

    i agree, ConcernedCitizen. And people also failed to realized that he doesn't even write his own speech..... he's just knows how to deliver one. Good for him. However, if that is all people are looking for then I think Tony Robinson should run for president.

    January 30, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. Peter

    Hey, I think Bill Clinton had fools most black people when he was in Office as a President Of The United State.
    He doesn't like black people as the black americian may think, he was doing his job as American President and not favour of black people.

    I for one as a black men, I like Bush more then Bill. Bush for his 2 terms has black persons in his cabinets as the #3 position in UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. That is how you fairly share the positions.
    Obama is bam for the Office and his ready from day ONE in the UNITED STATES President seat. Let everyone support him Go..Obama go!! 08.

    Peter. Toronto.

    January 30, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  14. William

    lest we forget Jimmy Carter let the Iranians hold us hostage for over a year. Again another reason not to vote obama

    January 30, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. Tammy

    I am so tired of CNN focusing solely on Obama. If they have anything they feel like reporting regarding Hillary, it sure "ain't" positive.
    Keep up your hard work, Hillary!!
    We're supporting you – – – you will win!!!

    January 30, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  16. Sharon in FL

    Jimmy Carter is so wrong. Obama (we call him Obummer) is NOT a uniter. Obama is a divider. The OLD BOYS NETWORK in politics and media is trying to put the fix in for Obama. It's obvious and it stinks. Duplicitous Obama played the race card first so he could play the victim.

    January 30, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Richard Rote (California)

    LONG before Hillary put "Change" on her campaign signs, Obama's message of "Change we can Believe in" was clear. She herself has changed her campaign message to go wherever the tide takes her. That's not leadership.

    January 30, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. Michael, Torrance, CA

    I don't believe that an endorsement from former president Carter is anything for Obama to get excited about. Since carter was the biggest milk toast, do nothing president in this countries history. On the world stage, this is the way that democratic leaders are viewed.

    January 30, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Mark Cross Junction VA

    I'm sure this is a important endorsement from one of Americas weakest ranked Presidents of all time. He should continue to pal around with his friends ted turner and Hanoi Jane, and stay out of politics Hanoi Jimmy!

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

    Dear tom from california,

    Can you tell me what you mean by 'not becasue of SEX, GENDER,or...'? I wonder what the difference between SEX and GENDER in your question?


    January 30, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. Give Me A Break

    An ex-prez that was so obviously the worst in the last 50 yrs. endorsing Obama. Glad he's going for Obama and not Hill-Billy.

    January 30, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  22. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    ConcernedCitizen January 30, 2008 12:49 pm ET

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

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

    What should depress you is the fact that Obama has EXPLICITLY detailed HOW he would unite the country and what his plans are and HOW to implement them.....what's "depressing" is the fact that YOU CAN FIND OUT "HOW" IN THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME IT TOOK YOU TO POST THIS NONSENSE YOU WROTE....

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

    Sometimes your cause and views may be perfect but you may not be the perfect person to present or execute them.I am glad Edwards finally realized that.America lets vote for real change.Lets vote for Obama.If anyone deserves a chance to prove himself its him.He will deliver.

    January 30, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  24. from: Chicago for Mrs Clinton

    Obama !!!! change the Nation for the worst !!!! (linked to Rezko coruption character!!! Nice residance bought with $300, 000 below the market value !!!!
    Not the best choice Tom !!!!! Do you see Our President ending in a jail !!!!

    Hillary 2008 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  25. Greg, Athens

    Wow! It appears that several of these comments were made by complete idiots.

    January 30, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
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