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. anthony

    Some of you dont even realize this but for so many blacks and whites , you all represent the predujice that is in your hearts. This country is so use to seeing A white Jesus, white presidents, white coaches, white lawyers, white doctors, white contractors, etc, For a black person they are so predujice against their color because they are use to seeing this also. That is why they feel like if someone is black there must be something wrong with it. In the American society blacks and whites feel that whites are superior because that is what we are use to seeing in positions of authority, Racism is deeper than that of the color of your skin. It is a thought that one race is inferior to the other. That is why it is so shocking to see a black man intelligent and prepared so well mentally. If we were all honest Hillary doesnt have any experience. Her husband does. She was the wife of a governor and the wife of a president. I am a licensed contractor but that does not mean that my wife knows how to build construction. We are really electing Bill Clinton not Hillary. She has very little experience. That is why you see Bill on the campaign trail, he has to help his little wife out. I wish Hillary could run off her own record and not Bill Clinton. We in this country has so far to go because our hearts are so wicked filled with hatred and quiet racisms about another race.

    January 30, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. Ralph

    Carter's relevance ended in 1979, he was a horrible president, I remember people pushing cars into long lines to get to a gas station, the economy went into the toilet and nobody around the world respected America, Inflation, Unemployment, Oh what a terrible president. Very articulate and smart though.

    January 30, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Francis

    Look who is talking, Jimmy Carter had the worst Presidency, I remember being out of work for almost two years. I do not care what Jimmy Carter says about Obama, I believe that Obama will do the same , take this country into recesion.

    January 30, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. proud democrat

    Former Democratic Presidents of our century have been riddled with so many imperfections, lapses of judgement, alcohol, infidelity, weakness and perfect hair – but what they lacked in perfection they not only doubled even tripled as humanists with that strong understanding, interest and concern for human welfare, values, justice and dignity...they are the true beacons 'of the people , by the people, for the people' and work extraordinarily hard to achieve that perfect state for the all the people they serve. I am a proud democrat and citizen of our country which stands for equality, freedom, courage, justice and selflessness .
    President Carter is a wonderful statesman he complimented rightfully so the work of Obama's campaign as extraordinary. He and along with all the Democratic elites (especially the Kennedys) are trying to quell the growing Great Divide that was forming out of control -tough love & medicine for a historical extraordinary time. This I admire and appreciate the restoration of our base and steer us back to our TRUE meaning as DEMOCRATS, our creed that we are one people of ONE NATION of ONE WORLD; to reinforce & solidify JFK & RFK's work & sacrafice. It is bigger than any one person it is the core of the party and resurgence to the principles of 'unlimited possibilities & potential' for everyone and anyone. The agenda is to be unified, strong, be discerning and educated to all the information we are bombarded with whether it is overt, covert, subtle or subliminal. We are the working people of hope. The map is in front of us to guide & challenge us to our 'unlimited possibilities and potential' – we all have this responsibility – the
    responsibility for POSSIBILITIES to BECOME reality. I am for Hillary.

    January 30, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. anonracist blackfemale

    Get real. What has Barack done? What has he produced for Illinois.

    Again, I don't care what anyone thinks. Barack is playing the racial card and that' s horrible in my book.

    This black girl with roots in Mississippi will campaign republican before voting Barack!

    He did not endorse the two black candidates running for mayor in Chicago. He's done nothing but talk just like George Bush did a long time ago.

    Think for yourselves folks!!!

    January 30, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. J Warren

    It is apparent that the recent language from former President Carter is telling about the sate of olitical affairs in America. Yes, I agree that Senator Obama is trully a candidate for our times, but it is the status quo emocratic elite tha is forging a rift between the young voters, who wants change. I hope that more of the Democratic elders would support his run for the White House.

    If the party nominates Senarot Clinton, as a Democratic voter, I would vote for the Republican candidate.

    J. Warren
    Brooklyn, New York

    January 30, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. libby in fl

    I love how Obama supporters are bashing Hillary for appearing in Florida to thank her supporters. Guess what ... you Obama supporters are losers!!! LOL!!! Hillary crushed Obama across every demographic group (except blacks), income level, age ... Obama was obliterated and his campaign is desperately trying to SPIN SPIN SPIN this really big loss. There are no delegates involved but we can honestly say that Florida rejected Obama!!!!! YEAH!!!

    January 30, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. Captain Al

    A Carter endorsement for anyone will be the kiss of death for that individual's career. Carter needs to go away and let everyone forget just how inept and leaderless his four years in the White House were. Remember the hostages? Gas lines? Amnesty? 'Nuff said.

    January 30, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. white-african

    No the sexist guy,wants to vote for clinot because she is a woman.Dont vote on symathy.Vote for qualities.Presidence has no woman or man.America needs Obama more than they need Hilary.Hillary has had her chance.Leadership is not about young or old.Its about inspration.
    I live in africa,most brilliant leaders were young , nelson mandela for example.
    The Clinots had a lot of rspect in africa but after what they said people in africa think they are a wolves in sheeps skins.Carter commands respect in africa and middle east.Check the headlines,they all have suported his comments.
    2008............................Obama.Iam in Durbun.South Africa

    January 30, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. Rick, Maryland

    O. K I've had it, put Saint Obama in the white house, cancel the election.
    Tell, John M the voting was called for Sainthood.
    We no longer have control of our mind's.
    One women said she decided when she heard his speech in Iowa
    and now she has her husband sold.
    This country has been taken over by alians, or maybe another Jimmy
    Jones, get out the cool aid.

    January 30, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. Louise Perkins

    Shame on Jimmy Carter!! He is a democrat before a child of God. So sad!!!

    January 30, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. Jennifer

    I agree with Ernest... as a Black woman, I'm appalled that anyone who critices Obama is "selling out" or "racist" or "acting white" – as some of my more ignoriant Black friends have said to me. Obama being a great speaker – comparing him to MLK and others – is fine, but he is not ready to be President of this nation. I think we, as a country, have made great strides in equality for all, but we are not there quite yet. People need to look at the qualifications and experience for the job and not the fact that the man has Black skin. Oh, an another thing, with all the "injecting race" into the contest from the Obama people, he's in Kansas now (my birth state) touting the fact that his mother was white... what a joke his campaign is turnout out to be. I'm voting for Hillary Clinton... you go gurl!

    January 30, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. dw

    In response to Lynne please inform me of the definition of (CHANGE). I do believe you may have explained what change means within your statement. I like what i'm seeing and hearing from this canidate who just happens to be a black man.

    January 30, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. greg

    the big headline should be REPUBLICANS WIN AGAIN now democrats have no choice... its sad to see all of the people who actually think Nobama has a chance

    January 30, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  15. Geraldine

    Carter is not supporting anyone. You all blasted him . Now all of a sudden you think this is so great. Obama turned his back on Hillay at the state of the union speech. A picture tells a thousand words. Another liar like Bush. He will turn his back on us too. He's all words. I hear nothing from him. At least Hillary takes ouestions from the people.

    January 30, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. Harrison

    God helps us all! Every ONE!

    The "gomer" from Georgia has endorsed Barack Obama; that should be the ultimate endorsement. Carter, one of the the WORST PRESIDENTS in the last 100 years, wants to convince everyone that he knows stuff about being president. Carter was worse than Hoover!

    It you needed any additional SIGNS, this is IT! Hilliary is it to be the overwhelming winner in 2008!

    January 30, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. AmericansAbroad

    This spells BAD news for Nobama. To have another of the old guard give you praise means Nobama won't be able to separate himself from the status quo. We have now fully decided to abandon the Nobama campaign and vote fro Hillary, especially after the snub at the state of the union.Instead of admitting to it Nobama tried to come up with a typical excuse that everyone would use. LIAR, two faced.No wonder he never talks about specifics. If you can't cordially shake hands with one in your own party, how are you going bring Dems & Repubs, blacks & whites, asians & latinos together? WHAT A JOKE!

    January 30, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. colorblind

    let ever voice be heard

    January 30, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. Carole

    Looks like Obama is getting the nod and/or endorsements from all of the "old" timers. Thought he wanted to "change" things. An endorsement from Kennedy is for sure something borrowed-something old!! Obama is no Kennedy and he does not stir up that same feeling in me that I had when President Kennedy ran and won – no way!! He as yet to say what his "new change plans are" – he is just riding on the coat tail of others. Jimmey Carter should stick to peanuts.

    Go Hillary!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. Crocodile

    There are many crazy people out there to support the democrat man. I am not republican but I will vote for J. McCain. Once again the democrats disappointed me. They can not find somebody who will be able to send a clear message to the people. If somebody have a curiosity to listen to what the democrat says, you will be surprise to hear only bla, bla, bla, bla, over and over and over again. I think, he does not belive in what he is saying it! Is it this a hypocrisy?

    January 30, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. di

    obama is ready to do the right thing on day one. can someone tell me why so many high ranking democrats who are seasoned fear the bitter inter party fussing that could occur with a third clinton presidency..... lastline how did it happen that a successful president like bill clinton came to be called buba... amazing...

    January 30, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. BillC

    Jimmy Carter wasn't a great president mainly because he was really too nice
    a man. That said he was still better than what we have now and was ten times
    a better person personally and professionally.
    Anything Jimmy Carter has to say is worth listening to.

    January 30, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. Ann, MO

    I felt sorry for the "Clinton voters" in Florida last night, because I felt that they voted for Hillary because she went on TV announcing that she was going to fight to get their delegates seated at the convention. She went to Florida for campaign funding and spoke to the news media every chance she got to encourage Floridians to vote because she would "fight" to get the delegates seated. Soooo...she "won" the election that gave her no delegates, and then on TV said "IF I win the nomination I will ask my delegates to vote to have the Florida and Michigan delegates seated"

    Please note that she said "IF"

    Does that mean that "IF" she is not the winner of the nomination that she will fight against having them seated?

    Does that mean that she knows that there is no way that she actually did win anything, but was using the Florida voters just as she uses every other group when she is trying to sway public opinion?

    January 30, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. Taller today than yesterday

    Any of you that dissed Carter today should move to a foreign land, beat it and get your stuff out of the USA! because that man is an example to how an American dignitary acts and speaks. He's the only one of his kind in our land! Wisdom, huge that this man who had a less than extraordinary Presidency became the best thing the USA has to show the rest of the world. Sling mud at the candidates all you want, but this man is above reproach!

    January 30, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. Luis

    The kiss of death.....LOL

    Obama is doomed now...............

    Vote McCain

    January 30, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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