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. BrianW

    He finds Obama's campaign "titillating?"

    Guess he is still confessing to lust. And at his age.

    January 30, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. sgj

    I'm a Florida republican mesmerized by Obama. He does remind me of what my parents told me about JFK. In a general election, my vote might just go democratic for the first time, if Obama is still in the race for president. My concern is that Hillary and Bill Clinton seem likely to do ANYTHING to whatever obstacle stands in their way back to power. I fear that Obama will fall the way RFK was done with. I can only pray that this inspirational leader will heal the rift between the parties as President, and get things moving. We need a President that inspires, that emboldens us as a people to do things we haven't done before. I believe Obama is that person. America is ready for him.

    January 30, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. Kevin

    I find it ironic that Obama, when the Michigan votes came in and there was a percentage for Undecided, that he touted that as a victory for him and a call against Hillary. So now all of a sudden when she gets the votes he's all about it being a beauty contest. For one thing, I believe that's quite the slap in the face to Florida voters that apparently can't research the issues themselves and make an informed vote without having the candidates come through their state. I also find it funny that this was a beauty contest but people standing up and raising their hands to vote in living rooms and gyms in the Iowa Caucus was a triumphant victory. If anything, that was beyond beauty contest and very high school.

    January 30, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. michelle

    Hilliary is full of it and so is her husband. How can you run a country when you can't even run your own home?!!!!!!
    To be honest, what changes has she really made?

    Didn't she vote for the Iraq War? hmmmm.....

    Obama 08

    January 30, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |

    Let's not forget the most important aspect of this race is not RACE or GENDER: I submit to you that the most important thing to remember is to ORGANIZE and VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. mbcsmith

    444 days in IRAN. Nobody cares what Carter thinks. A failed president.

    January 30, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Stamford

    CNN, you gave taken the comments out of context and out up a headline that distorts the conversation. The fact that Bill called Carter tells me a lot . It tells me he has character and a conscience. And he looks for guidance where needed.

    Obama has only called Oprah for money.

    January 30, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Anonymous


    So are you suggesting that those who vote for Obama have no brains? No brainers: The Kennedys, numerous governors, senators, congressmen, John Kerry, lawyers, students, professionals, hard working people across the nation etc... Or are only blacks not using their brains?

    And why would you be "offended" because of one's choice to support Obama over Clinton? Your race should not matter. Your comments are just as lopsided as the NY NOW comments.

    And how exactly is "Mrs. former President's wife" more qualified than any of the other candidates?

    If you support Hillary great. But please do not use your race to downplay the educated choice of others, whether black or white, to express your non-factual and incorrect statements.

    By the way, a poll taken at Yale, Clinton's alma mater, concluded that they too preferred Obama. But I guess you are offended by those no brainers as well.

    January 30, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. BobW

    What's up with voters that seem to think that Obama's eloquence of speech equates to a lack of political or executive talent? How does 35 years of fluff activism equate to being ready on day 1? How is it that a senior ex-president does not have any credibility but a junior formerly impeached ex-president does? It seems that the Hillary fans have some sort of blind obedience to her cause that defies all reason.

    January 30, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. Kim

    I have yet to hear Obama speak about issues... "Change" seems to be campaign slogan.. What? How? When? He is a great public speaker... What is he actually speaking about?

    January 30, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. Doug

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Mr Carter.
    Now we know he won't win!

    January 30, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  12. d

    You didn't want Bill as a former President to make comments, therefore President Carter should have kept his views to himself too !!

    January 30, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. Medi Marah

    Not everyone in Canada is in the Clinton camp. It is too sad to see that someone from Canada automatically decleared all Canadians are in support or want the Clinton's to win....What a shame! Canadians have different views about the elections, so if that,s you view then go ahead and vote Clinton...but for me I prefer someone that will bring unity to the American people.

    January 30, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. Jen

    Vote for Obama in the Primary then if you dont want Hillary.. seems her voters are turning out! I already placed my vote for him.

    January 30, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. taszilo

    An endorsement from Jimmy "The Horse" Carter is the equivalent of a kiss from a Mafia Don; a kiss of death. Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are. Bill Clinton's wife and Jimmy "The Horse" Carter's friend; what a pair to pull the Democrat's carriage INTO the mud.

    January 30, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. Nik, Houston, TX

    This is not an endorsement... why are the Obamanites howling at the moon?

    January 30, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Daniel

    It's time for America to realize that we need true INSPIRATION to better ourselves and our country – not just experience in the legislative process. President Carter has spent his post Presidency by inspiring people to do better and help those less fortunate.

    OBAMA can and will carry that INSPIRATION into the White House!

    All of this talk is nonsense though if we don't actually VOTE.

    January 30, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. Adarrah Branch

    Obama has proven he has enough experience to turn Washington upside down through this campaign. The democratic party is slowly but surely turning their backs to the Clintons and looking to the future.

    Obama 08'

    January 30, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. Mark

    Obama is certainly worthy of praise, but I feel like the media is taking it to extremes. CNN, in particular seems dedicated to spinning *every* political article in such a manner that Obama comes out looking like a god. Never before have I felt like such a pawn, with the media explicitly telling me for whom I should vote.

    January 30, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. A. Mickelson

    Oh my goodness....it appears that the people who are leaving comments have a very short memory of the Carter years.

    January 30, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  21. Gil - CA

    Wasn't sure about Obama until Carter spoke out. Now I definitely won't vote for him.

    January 30, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Archie C. Williams

    Sir, I do appreciate everything you have done and tried to do for this ungrateful country. You are a man among boys when it comes to your humbleness and thoughtfulness to your fellow men and women of this great country of ours. We should think GOD for you sir. You are indeed one of the greatest Presidents every to grace the White House. Thank you for your service. Indeed you are a great MAN.

    January 30, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. greg

    Put Obamas wife back in the spotlight, when people realize who the new first lady could be..... he'll be out of the race

    January 30, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. Larry, CA

    Wise Guy,

    Hillary supporters are crying and whinning and insecure??????? Gee, I wonder why.
    "I am woman hear me roar"

    January 30, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. Larry

    All the Major democrats in office now is looking for a LAP DOG and Obamos the one....Clinton is a BULL DOG...A fighter ...not a lap dog!!!

    January 30, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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