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. A. Harrison

    We all think Obama has a great campaign but now is not the time for test case Presidents for this country.

    We are in dire need of Action as well as change.

    HIllary 2008!

    January 30, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  2. TC

    Jimmy Carter is a great man, but he wasn't a great President. Obama would be the same way - great guy, crappy leader.

    January 30, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. Jether J.

    Let me be the first to say good for Obama, very good! I have nothing againt Hillary Clinto and I thought that her and Obama will be very good on the democratic ticket but John Edwards is a hard working man with great ideas about Healthcare and fighting poverty so Obama + Edwards = Democratic Dream team!

    Obama/Edwards 08!

    January 30, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Anonymous

    a onetime governor of Georgina?

    January 30, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. nick

    He may not have been a great President, but there are few people I respect more than Jimmy Carter.

    January 30, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Charles

    I'm a little depressed about how the Clinton campaign has been run. I hope the racial/gender issues "lie down" as well. We have a very unique and historic chance to choose between, not only a black man and a white woman, but two of the most qualified candidates the Democratic party has seen in a long while. This in fighting and mud slinging only serves to emphasize the need for change - and soon. I am sure we are going to see the Clinton camp change their strategy again after the poor results of making Bill the bad cop and Hillary the good cop. I am not sure it is enough, however, to convince me that this error in judgment wouldn't in some way reflect how they would (co)govern.
    America doesn't need more politics... it needs a new direction and its self confidence back. count me as another Clinton democrat voting for Obama. (sorry)

    January 30, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. GS

    Oh well now that Peanut head Liberal Jimmy endorses Obama that just changes everything in my mind!

    What a loon

    January 30, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. Joy in SC

    "Georgina" I guess I need a new flag. I didn't know we now had 51 states.

    January 30, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. Harry Katz

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for Carter. Although his presidency wasn't considered stellar, he was a president who tried very hard to do good for most of the disadvantaged people in this country. And when you try to do good you can run into a tremendous amount of opposition.

    The fact the Clinton called him is testimony to his being regarded as a well-respected leader, which he has been regarded as since he left office. He has been a great healer and a great diplomat over the last 30 years and the country is better off with him whenever he becomes public.

    January 30, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. Mike

    Didn't know Carter was the governor of Georgina, thought it was Georgia.

    January 30, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Texan for Obama

    Now Carter is a TRUE STATESMAN.

    I just bet ole BillyBoy called him. What is it that they say...better to ask for forgiveness than permission. Bill Clinton, I don't think America forgives you or that wicked woman you are married to in name only.

    The real deal for 08...Obama 08!

    January 30, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. MX

    Jimmy is losing it. Isn't it about time for someone to return him to the home. Obama's campaign has been "titillating"!!! Please give me a break.

    January 30, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. Frank, Dayton, Ohio

    Jimmy Carter was only a fair president, but is a great former president. He has set a wonderful example of how a former president should act as a senior statesman to his nation and his party. I appreciate his neutrality as far as the Democratic nomination is concerned. This is the kind of position a former president should take: above the fray, positive about the candidates until one is chosen, and ready to support whomever the party annoints. Bill Clinton, who was a fine president, could take some lessons from Carter on how to be a great former president.

    January 30, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. Eric

    Que the Hillary supporters claiming betrayal...

    January 30, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  15. colorblind

    OK ..... lets see the spin..... he's with Obama because...... He's the best for our country...... i can't wait to hear what said about this.... keep it tasteful today folks

    January 30, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. Jon

    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.

    January 30, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. Michael

    Who cares what this feckless character says?

    January 30, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Sal in Phoenix

    Who cares what he thinks..He has proven, by recent statements, that he's getting alittle old in his thinking process..Obama's strength is the way he speaks, not what he says because there is no substance to what he says.

    January 30, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  19. Just Wait

    When is CNN going to stop the bias and slanted coverage for Obama!?

    January 30, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. Cliff

    It is sad that the TV and printed presses (including the commemtators and pundits) INJECT RACE to the Democratic's Presidential Race.

    The media FOOLISHLY took the baits from Obama surrogates and SC Congressman Clyburn and turns the "fairy tale" comment by former President Clinton, and the "MLK and Johnson" comment by Senator Clinton into the race issue. The fairy tale and MLK and Johnson comments from the Clintons are factual and are NOT racial.

    The media took the “race card” spins from Obama surrogates and SC Congressman Clyburn. The truth is the Obama surrogates and SC Congressman Clyburn play the race card and successfully manipulated the press.

    Congressman Clyburn is NOT neutral. There is nothing wrong for Congressman Clyburn to perform his civic duty by voting for Senator Obama at the polling place. However, Congressman Clyburn is disingenuous for manipulating the press (particularly Joe Scarborough) to wrongly accuse the Clintons of playing the race card.

    I witness Congressman Clyburn used Joe Scarborough of the Morning Joe shown on the S.C. election day. On this particular show Congressman Clyburn implied that the Clintons' "fairy tale" and "MLK/Johnson" comments are RACIALLY MOTIVATED code words. Joe Scarborough stupidly bought Congressman Clyburn race-bait's trick.

    January 30, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. Frank, Waverly, NY

    Jimmy, just keep quiet!

    January 30, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. Wayne, Greenville TX

    I agree – I think Barack Obama is extraordinary, too. And I think he'll make a great president – much better than that drunken frat boy who's living in the White House now.....

    January 30, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. Mike

    Not sure I'd want support from the second worst president in US history.

    January 30, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. joe

    Notice the media does not mention that Hillary worked for Carter and the Clintons have a great relationship with the Carters.


    VOTE CLINTON 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. B, Atlanta

    If you look at the exit polls in the two primary that happened in south SC and FL, Whites are not voting for Obama. How does Carter comes to conclusion that southern states will be in game for GE if Obama is the nominee. Some of the polls on pollster and rasumessen shows some states like Arkansas may turn blue if Clinton is nominee and she has some fighting chance in FL if McCain the Nominee on republican side. I don't think Obama will be able to win FL because Latino voters will vote McCain than Obama because of McCain's stand on Immigration issue.

    January 30, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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