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. Scott M.-Kalamazoo, MI

    GSJ of Cummings Georgia, your ignorance and stupidity is overwhelming. Carter is not the founder of Habitat for Humanity but rather an active supporter of it. Stay with the GOP pal, you'll be right at home.

    January 30, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. clara

    I don't deny that Obama is running a good campaign and even that his rethorics are good....but that's where his qualifications to be the next president of the US ends. The man is inmature, unfinished, whining. At the first sign of adversity he gets upset and frustrated. Just wait and see when he has to face the worlds's oposition.

    I don't believe he will unite anything, to the contrary, if he wins the democratic nomination, a whole bunch of democrats will be voting for McCain.

    The truth is the people in South Carolina voted by color not by qulifications. Not because racism but because of a misplaced loyalty to "their own race." We all belong to the same race...the human race... I want a presiden with proven qualifications. To vote for Obama is to vote for inexperience.....like voting for Bush, but in a a different color. Change under the leadership of inexperience equals chaos.

    To compare Obama to Martin Luther King Jr. is an insult. Just because he is black?????!!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. NC dem

    Again...the media is soooo biased as they seem to be pushing Obama all the way! Clinton has supporters, too. And she has the experience to get the job done right!

    Seriously, because of the "Bush" years, we don't have time for "on the job training" that Obama needs.

    The media needs to get off the hype and report ALL the news AND issues. Enough already!

    January 30, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. jess

    Why do Clinton fans hate anyone who comes out for Obama. Yeah, she's not dividing the party. 🙂

    January 30, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. Jim

    Not mention of Joe Biden anymore, what would you all think of an Obama / Biden Democratic ticket?

    January 30, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  6. Janet

    Lynne, what has Hillary done that demonstrates she is ready to be president? Her experience includes being Arkansas first lady, a corporate lawyer, a corporate board member, first lady of the United States, and a US Senator. Exactly which part of this long resume gave her the most experience over anyone else to be president.

    Her judgment is what worries me. She has terrible judgment and her character, honesty, and integrity are also questionable. She VOTED FOR THIS WAR and defended it until it no longer became popular or wise to do so.

    She is partyly responsible for the tragedies and thousands of deaths which have come from this senseless war. Yes, Hillary Rodham Clinton, YOU are responsible as well as all of the others who voted for it.

    Someone tell me WHY WHY WHY she is more "qualified"? She is the LEAST qualified in my opinion. Add to that fact that she is a person with questionable morals and integrity, the only real reason I see anyone voting for her is because her last name is "Clinton" and she is a woman.

    NOW basically made that clear the other day.

    January 30, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. Jeanette Johnson

    Very positive comments from President Carter.

    January 30, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. TrueThis

    Chris Mathews just stated that Edward supporters that are white will not vote for Obama.......lets prove him wrong. Lets stop this Divide and Conquer. We are above the fray.

    January 30, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. ellen

    Hillary didn't pretend to win in florida any more than Obama's votes there were fake. The people who voted for her were not kids who decide on good looks and celebrity or just the newest thing. They are the least likely to fall for Obamamania. They have been around the block lived through hard times and more than one or two wars. They aren't still on their parents health care.And say what you will of Hillary but just wait until Rove gets a hold of Obama. He will not just be able to give back money and all will be forgotten. He'll have to explain Reznik and they will have a field day with it! it will make swift boat look like a picnic. that is why the republicans would love to see Obama run it would be just too easy. Obama is not the second coming of Christ he is a 1/2 black,male politician with some baggage. Hillary is a white, female politician with a husband with baggage, but she has been vetted and we know her.

    January 30, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Russ C, Seattle, Wa

    Jimmy Carter may have been "off the mark" as so aptly put but that does'nt mean he was wrong. I think he was too honest for politics as usual in our society.

    January 30, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. clara

    You are wrong about Hillary not doing anything in the last week "Tom from California" SHE WON THE RECENT FLORIDA ELECTIONS.

    Obama won in two places: Iowa, because Oprah helped him and South Carolina because of misplaced loyalty.

    January 30, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. One America

    Carter who? Ex-President Carter does more to hurt America than any ex-president in history. His negative remarks about U.S actions, when he clearly does not have the intelligence, information from the State Department, etc. only ingnites more negative feelings towards the U.S. Ever wonder why his negative remarks are usually stated on foreign soil? Makes my blood boil.

    That being said. .... We do need a Uniter in this country, now. Can someone tell me what Obama has done to help unite the country work or with the opposing party to promote the greater good for America? To compromise with the opposing party on any major issue facing America in order for the Senate to get something done over the last few years? I know that he is partisan all the way.

    The only candidate with experience of work with both parties on major issues, who is bipartisan, and works on major issues facing america with Ted Kennedy and other high ranking members of the opposing party is John McCain. He has fought for change in congress for years. Has a proven record of causing change and working across both isles. Haven't we had enough of electing people with little experience on the theory that they will cause change and be a uniter, even though there is no track record? Any one remember George W. Bushes first campaign? I believe he said he would unite the parties and the country to make the our country better. It did not happen............. of course he had no experience in making it happen, just like Obama.

    January 30, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |

    I like Obama, but Carter's support isn't something to brag about, this could hurt him, more than help him!


    January 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. Jackson Feldman

    Obama is an empty suit spouting the words of speechs prepared by others to make him look good.
    Barack, I knew John Kennedy..and you, sir, are no John Kennedy.

    January 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. TrueThis

    Hillary can't even campaign on her own she needs Bill and Obama is showing how strong he is by the most dirtiest tag team in American History.

    January 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. Matthew

    Let's see, President Carter, a four-year, one term president who left the country with 22% interest rates, record unemployment, and oil shortages. Yep, he's someone I'd like to have on my team.

    Has anyone ever noticed that all the older generation MEN are supporting Obama? Could this be a gender bias?

    January 30, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. denise

    it isn't an act. Obama has obvious gifts of intellectual & social skills required for successful diplomacy. He IS unique , and people CAN sense the CHANGE! Ever heard the phrase, "Trust your gut " ? Well, America, regarding your vote for Obama, change early, so that others will know it is safe to risk Changes we desperately need in America for Americans, for a CHANGE.

    January 30, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  18. shawn, il

    I have great respect for Carter. Happened to visit carter center this Nov.

    But I know he admire Hillary too.

    Obama is can give soaring speech but can not get anything done.

    January 30, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. Kia

    I also need for all commentors to understand that the Political Ticker is not for news it is a blog–were individuals post events and opinions. If you want news go to the news section and stop complaining about this not being news.

    January 30, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. Carolyn

    I don't care for Obama. African American ???? Does he think we are blind? If he just called himself an American it would probably send a better message. I don't call myself English American or Scottish American. My allegiance is to America first.

    January 30, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  21. Brandy

    So many people think Carter was a bad President. The truth is, he was an honest man, who was attacked on all sides by dishonest politicians. He would not be a puppet to any and was condemned for it. But he was and still is a man of principles, faith and courage. God bless you Jimmy...you stand out as one of the most ethical Presidents in recent history. Too bad you were surrounded by so many unethical people.

    January 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. The wise guy

    You know it is not important for hillary supporters to "hate" Obama as some of the comments reflect. What makes them think that Hillary is for action and not Barack Obama? Plan old bias. Support your candidate without hate and prejudice for the other. That goes for both the sides. I also read several comments from Hillary Supporters about cnn is highlighting all of Obama's endorsements but not Hillary's. Com'on you all cry babies, Hillary is doing too well in the polls, what are you so insecure about? And, believe me I have seen plenty of her endorsements on CNN, so cut the cry drama! Be adults and face a few facts.

    January 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  23. marie

    Obama's going to win.

    January 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. observer

    I find it more than interesting that Obama has started his campaign to the Hispanics and is going to feature Ted Kennedys picture. Does he really feel like the Hispanic have not watched the news ? Is he trying to confuse them ? Is he somehow trying to now disguise that he is a black man? Does he some how think they will confuse Ted Kennedy with Bill Clinton? What is this man up to now? Vote Hillary.

    January 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. Eleanor

    I am a Canadian but I have deep respect for former President Jimmy Carter
    He has a lasting legacy for striving for peace and a Nobel Peace prize to prove it
    I think his opinion matters a great deal to a lot of people around the world

    His vision also matters and if he can see these qualities in Obama then Americans need to take a good long look at Obama for true change in American
    Someone with a different vision and the qualities and abilities to reach out to everyone regardless of what party they are in...what gender or what ethnic group
    Good Luck Senator Obama in 08

    January 30, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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