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. Captain Al

    James Buchanan or Jimmy Carter? Its a tie for the worst president of all time.

    January 30, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. s hayes

    Jimmy Carter is crazy as a fox for saying Barack Obama is extraordinary. I'm
    sorry I voted for the peanut man.

    January 30, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. pete silbering

    The ultimate nightmare: The endorsement of the reigning worst retired President in American!!

    January 30, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Burning Bridges

    To allHillary supporters: Every time youbash and bad mouth Obama is one less person that will pull the lever for her in NOvember. You need to remember the importance of party unity (at least on the surface).
    If you think that you will be able to blow all this off and then come ask me for my vote claiming 'oh well, that was just politics", now vote for Hillary....then you will be greeted with 2 words and a hand gesture. ..if you catch my drift. Remember that when she becomes the nominee.
    You are burning your bridges.

    Clintons have become all about conflict, payback, and retribution against the GOP. The feeling is justified on the surface, but will take us back to the same partisan bickering we all want a change from. I dont want that for the next 4 years. Do you?
    If you do, vote for Hillary. If you dont, vote for Obama.
    If Hillary becomes the nominee, then consider writing in Obama anyway or voting for McCain.
    At least the GOP base is struggling with McCain because they think he will compromise (pursue bi-partisanship). Since Obama and McCain are the only ones talking bi-partisanship, then they become the only 2 choices for me.

    January 30, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. Bill

    Kerry, Kennedy, Carter.........NOW THAT IS CHANGE!!!!!! If Obama doesn't create some space with these guys he's in trouble....


    January 30, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. veronica lynne

    Another liberal speaking praise for Obama??
    Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, now Jimmy Carter?
    At the GOP headquarters right now, they surely are discussing how McCain will crush BO in the general election should he get the nomination.
    I'm looking for someone more moderate in their views, and for me that is HRC!

    January 30, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. KR

    First off, anybody who can bash Carter has some problems of their own. A truly great man is Carter. I see a lot of frustrations in these posts today. Work on those and get out of that armchair and do some good for this country.

    January 30, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. BM

    Hillary to me is not someone who I believe will strongly lead this country. I don't want to vote for a "corporate manager," but a real leader. Sorry if this offends, but this country will be so divided if she and Bill are elected again.

    January 30, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. jeannette

    Blindness is a terrible condition, but when it pertains to the Thought process, it's even worst!

    John Edwards was too easy of a person to like, but well who wants a President one could like!

    Obama, well he is too American, in as far as being two sides of the coin. Lets see, his mother was WHITE AMERICAN and his father was from Kenya and Black.

    Unfortunately, they only see the BLACK! Why not see just the """"AMERICAN"""""" PERSONA?

    Some say he is too unexperience, well just look at the MESSSEY JOB we have NOW? One would say unexperience or experience doesn't hold WATER in a Bucket full of HOLES!?????

    The Thought PROCESS on really how the Government Works, different politicians in all levels and houses, vote and take a stand on every issue. Members of the Oval Office and Advisors, and oh yea then the President who seeks those who are AIDES and ADVISORS to Govern the Country. WELL, LO and BEHOLD!

    Maybe its time to look to the FUTURE and take only the Positive Lines from the Past, because the Negative Lines are only going to make just dig deeper and deeper into the Darker Side of the WORLD as we are seeing now.

    Lets Wake Up and Start Thinking like a NEW DAWN and put THINK back into our lives and the Future lives!

    Please, Don't hang on and be blinded by the words of those spinning "The Good Old Boys Club" and especially don't vote for Gender just because we think its time.

    The Right Women President will came sooner than we think, YES THINK! Maybe this isn't the time.
    I am a White American Woman, and sorry, no disrespect fo Mrs. Bill Clinton, the time is now!

    January 30, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. MC, in MD

    Monte Brown New York, NY What? Please re-read your post. Do you really think "some" Democrats who support Obama are only doing so to get back at the Clintons? That is definately a reach.

    January 30, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. Jo, ATL GA

    Funny CNN. If the endosement was for Hillary you would have said ....Oh... how it is going to hurt her chances... If Kennedy's endosement was for Hillary you would say ...oh she is finished....

    Grow up CNN.....

    GO HILLARY.... do this for my daugthers...

    January 30, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Peter Waters

    Like Obama... nice guy, weak leader.

    HILLARY 2008!

    January 30, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Larry

    hey 'tom from cal'...are u saying that the people of Florida shouldnt be thanked for supporting Hillary?....They Voted didnt they?....because theres no delegates doesnt mean their voices shouldnt be heard!!!!

    January 30, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. BM

    I don't think any of the Obama supporters are thinking of Carter as what he was when he was president, but who he became and what he's accomplished recently.

    January 30, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. Bob

    Well who care what the old man says. He lost his mind along time ago and this is just more proof of it.

    January 30, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. Steven C Luke

    I don't know what to think of this whole process. I don't like Hiliary, but after listening too some things Obama has said really isn't so new, refreshing, and changing as one might preceive. I do believe Obama is presidential material, but for the sake of the nation, I don't think either candidate understands war! OK, like I do? I've only participated in them. For either too make statements of pulling out and pulling out fast concerning Iraq is just a bunch of political nonesense. Which candidate can make the most noise, attract the most people at their pep rallys and still sleep at night with both eyes closed will for sure win.
    Sorry President Carter, I really respect you more for what you have done this past 20 years, but your half hearted endorsement for Barack Oboma is really superficial. I'm sure we'll respect Bill & George W. someday too. For now, anyone who is endorsing Obama are mostly self-serving Democratic republicans. Teddy Kennedy, Tommy Daschel, Arnold (how come I can't spell that foreigners name) and today I heard GARY HART as an adorsee. Is anybody old enough in the Oboma camp to even remember Gary Hart? Do your research all you Clinton haters.
    So come November, when Hiliary and McCain square off, may the best man win.
    Pun intended.

    January 30, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. SP

    Former President Carter is wise for noticing what many people in America can't /wont' see about Obama because they are blind.

    Democrats have a notorious reputation of complaining and bickering so much, people in their own party switch sides just to get away from it. SO much animosity within a party only brings division. And that is why Democrats have such a hard time being taken seriously.

    Republicans have had their opportunity in office, but have failed to do their job. American People want a change, but they are not ready to do what it takes to make change happen.

    This is why many people either switch parties or they vote independent.

    America has a history of its governments and how it build this nation that it wants to hide and wish away. Americans are not ready for a female president nor are they ready for a president who does not have white skin. Whether its Clinton or Obama in the end against a Republican – America will vote for the white male Republican to be the next president of the United States. Which will most likely be McCann. But he's so old, his Vice President will eventually take over (whomever that is).

    Carter is correct and entitled to his own opinion like we all are.

    America cries and whines for change, but when it comes to invoking it – actions speak a little different. While Obama is giving a valiant effort and is the obvious choice to fit the bill of what America needs; Replublicans will win this one. Watch and see. Every vote counts – make yours!

    January 30, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. Michael

    Another reason not to vote for Obama. Idiot........

    January 30, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Sally

    @Bill, I think I will trust JFK's brother and daughter to judge who most resembles JFK and his principles.

    January 30, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. B. Ruff

    He's done some good as a consumer advocate in the past but he and Carl Rove gave us George Bush for the last 7 years. He should be strongly advised to forget it!!!

    January 30, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. Marcus, Independence MO

    Jimmy Carter and the Kennedy's are some of the great American icons. Especially in the Black community. From reading these posts it looks as if the Democraic party is not ready for a major change and if that is the case than neither is America. These are the worse times of our great nation yet in the face of it we fight each other.....race/ gender still cloud the minds of the most tolerant(democrats) and now. Now we have resorted to attacking everyone from Ted Kennedy to Jimmy Carter all in an effort to justify some of our own "wants." Most of the negative posts I read come from the East Coast the "smarter" America. So somebody please tell me how long do we think this nation has left before we are remembered like the Roman Empire.

    January 30, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Decision2008

    Please don't mislead!!! Carter praised Obama's campaign extraordinary, NOT Obama, according to your own article: "Obama's campaign has been extraordinary and titillating for me and my family,”. This is one of many dirty tricks you media always play. That is how you lose your credibility as well.

    January 30, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. Matt

    wow I get the feeling that there is not one Democrat that wants Hillary in office. I guess they all know she can't win, only wants the power and does not have America's best interest at heart.

    January 30, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. Rachelle, Arizonan in Prague

    First, Carter didn't call Bush the worst President in history. I don't remember the exact quote, but I know that he called Bush the worst President in history with regard to one specific issue, that being the handling of the military in relation to the war in Iraq. Clinton was the worst President with respect to his ability to lie about sex. That doesn't make him a complete failure (regardless of what some would have one believe).

    Second, I see the Obama-Carter similarities, too, and it worries me. Our political system isn't cut out for an idealist. I like Obama a lot, and it's actually exciting to not only hear a Presidential candidate who can really speak, but who also says things that actually make *sense*. Still, I think people are right to raise questions about his ability to make the changes that he proposes. And the reason that those changes probably appear empty to so many is that they're not concrete "I will cut taxes/bring the troops home/create more jobs" changes. They're changes in the way that the government functions. Get rid of the doublespeak. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Less political maneuvering, more honest attempts to address real issues with real solutions.

    Third, the MLK Jr. comment was a bit dodgy under the circumstances, but in Carter's defense, he didn't skip three or four other more recent or apt examples to go back to the black guy. When I think of inspirational speeches, MLKJ is the first person that comes to mind. I suspect that it may be the same for many Americans.

    January 30, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. California voter

    I did not think that Carter was a great President so I am not sure I would jump on the Obama bandwagen because of his comments. I do believe Carter great human being and has done far more good for the country since he left the presidency. By the same token I do not think Obama would be a great President; he could do far more good for the country doing something else for humanity.

    January 30, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
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