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. Taller today than yesterday

    Well pete try to spell thats in America where Carter was president, not American and just because the guy didn't put any money in corrupted pocketbooks is largely the reason why Carter's marks aren't high as President. at the time, the embargo was the Arabic influence trying their muscle out on us for the first time, and the mess with hostages in Iran certainly created a miserable exit for Carter, but
    give the Iranians some credit, they sure can wheel and deal (with Reagan)

    ho ho ho

    January 30, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. Don

    Ok, Jimmy Carter say's Obama is a good speaker. We know that. The question is can he be a good leader. Has not proven that yet. This is not an endorsement people, Just Carter stating what we know.

    Hillary is still he most qualified person for the job.

    January 30, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. radman

    Carter was a horrible President. He brought dishonor to our country and made us feel bad about ourselves and our national malaise.

    His recent publications show that he is able to look past the facts to get across whatever biased view he wants to propose.

    His center is funded by rich oil nations.

    Obama is very very interesting but untested. He is an ok speaker but when MLK spoke, it gave one the chills. It was poetry that inspired, written by him.

    Obama's speechwriters don't come close.. to compare his speaking to MLK is an insult to MLK.

    again, Obama speaks well, but nothing special... most analysts that have commented on this seem to have this opinion.

    Carter is just a self righteous, arrogant jerk who comes across with a demeanor that seems honest.. but he isn't

    January 30, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. jim

    I am hardly impressed by an endorsement from Carter. If he is coming out for Obama I may have to rethink my support.

    January 30, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Judith R. Parker

    While I admire ex-President Carter as a man and humanitarian, I think he is supporting the wrong person. We need a real leader, someone strong enough to really change the status quo and the only candidate with that kind of strength, courage and commitment to this country is HILLARY CLINTON.

    January 30, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. tomdavie

    Prez carter was a great ex pres. He wasnt a good president at all.

    His glowing remarks to Obama are wonderfull. He does inspire folks. The part about Clinton is cropped. President Carter also has concerns about how the MEDIA is spinning the racial circus. You can tell CNN specifically cropped what carter said to leave that out.

    I dont care if Obama is being ruthlessly portrayed as the next JFK . He has no experience and the DNC cronies that support him think he can WIN. I have a wife and child to support.

    If Obama could actually tell us HOW -thru experience- he is fit to run the country I would vote for him myself. I dont CARE bout stupid politics.

    He has NEVER made the case he can be president. The only case people make for him is they think he can WIN.

    I dont CARE if he can WIN. I care if he can BE PRESIDENT. This is the important thing.

    All these people ever talk about is if he can WIN.


    It doesnt seem to matter if they think he can do the job or not.

    Sometimes I really wonder if people have really gone OFF THEIR ROCKER .

    Never in the history of the US has some guy been voted into office with no experience before.

    Nobody in history has been chucked into the whitehouse who has never run a business, or city or state, nor has even a full term in Senate.

    My god people. Why on gods green earth would you want someone in power who has no actual ability to run the country????

    January 30, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. Jamie

    Anyone who is dismissive of Jimmy Carter and his contributions to our country and our world need not comment here. If you fail to see that President Carter is one of our nation's greatest men, then there is no hope for you. And for those of you who think it is "racist" of Carter to compare Obama to Martin Luther King, I think you are failing to see the point. Carter is not making that comparison based on race, he's making it based on message. Like King, Obama has a profound vision for the progress of this nation and his ability to speak about and communicate that vision has only been matched in the past by King and a few men before him.

    I personally have been a John Edwards supporter throughout this campaign. I am optimistic that now that Edwards has dropped from the race, he will endorse Obama and be chosen as his running mate. Between Obama and Edwards, I am confident that real change can happen and the direction of our nation will be turned towards a brighter future.

    January 30, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. Tracie

    Obama will get OWNED if he doesnt win this election. Edwards/Obama will not be a good ticket.

    Obama/Clinton will DOMINATE

    Anyway, Clinton 08

    January 30, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. ratt

    Looks like Obama just scored another super delegate for the nomination process.
    Whether you like Carter or not he's a former president that has owns a delegate for the dem national convention. GO OBAMA

    January 30, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. Marie

    No, I will NEVER join the Obama "train" that someday will crash. Regardless of CNN and MSNBC acting as if he is God's gift to America, he had done nothing but talk. And talk is cheap.. ... When all the real truths of Obama are ever allowed to be made public (when the media learns how to be journalist instead of slanted decision makers for Americans and are not running his commercials every 5 minutes to make millions) it will. I will vote for anyone before this arrogant, media made, "Kansas roots" boy. I hope all wake up before it is too late.

    January 30, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  11. Deloris Rozier

    I love former President Carter but he needs to know that for many of us in South Carolina the Clintons are out!!

    The remarks made in this state concerning race while many of us were dealing with issues reminds us of "Jim Crow" and share cropping. We do not want to hear coded racial messages from anyone. We want real change not patronizing old establishment who will not move over and allow the future generation to use new energy, skills and vision to shape Americas' future.

    I love this country and the only way to move forward is to elect someone without the baggage of the past. If you want to discuss race and gender issues in this country do not code it-- just have the conversation.

    I understand making mistakes but the Clintons were very calculating almost mean-spirited in thinking that voters in South Carolina are stupid. We too are educated, well read and understand coded messages.

    January 30, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  12. shw

    What's funny to me is that all of the hillary supporters claim that the media is biased... open your eyes, kids – it is biased – TOWARDS HILLARY!

    January 30, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  13. ron

    Well there's a great reason NOT to vote for Obama

    January 30, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. GSJ

    I love how Obama supporters talk about his plan. "Texan for a United America" above lists the following for a plan from Obama.

    1. hope for a better future
    2. a very real opportunity to unite this country again.

    These are not plans but soundbytes. The same goes for Hillary and McCain. America needs to wake up because of the canidates left in the race only Romney, Huckabee and Paul have offerred real plans and NOT soundbytes.

    January 30, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Macunaima

    As a Floridian I resented the Media calling our primary a "beauty contest", This is demeaning to all Floridians. If Obama had won everybody would make a big deal hey will praise him. . NBC and CNN should be ashamed of their cover. Their political analysts should be objective but they sided completely with the Obama mith.

    For those that want to diminuish Hillary's victory in Florida saying that she won because Obama did not campaign in Florida. I have news for you. He did not come to Florida but his supporters campaigned fiercely. I received more that three telephone calls on his behalf asking donations of $ 150 dollars. They did not want any lower amount. He also ran several adds. So don't think he did not campaign. Some analysts say that when Obama comes to a room and shake people's hand they immediately are taking by him. If this is thue, our country is in trouble. We are going to elect president not a rock and roll star

    I like President Carter but this time he is wrong. Obama is a wonderful speaker but there is no substance. He does not deserve the nomination. He needs first to do his job as a Senator. What is wrong with experience. It reminds me of young people coming to a job and wanted to move ahead knocking down folks that have worked their way through the ranks proving their value.

    I never understood why folks hate Hillary Clinton. When you ask, they never can tell you their reason.

    January 30, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  16. Molly

    Carter may not have been known as a great president, but he will always be known as a great man who has been a part of great change among real people. His words mean something as we look towards electing a president who can not only be the office, but who can have the character and integrity that counts. We are a nation who needs something positive to believe it. Let it be this. Let it be Obama.

    January 30, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. Laurie, Vancouver, Canada

    It's slightly amusing to see yet another grandee of the Democratic Party has endorsed Barrack Obama, a candidate that claims he is against politics as usual and the democratic establishment. The motives behind these endorsements are unclear but one suspects it is as much to do with their desire to remain relevant to the political media rather than the policies of the candidate.
    What is more confusing is why Barrack Obama, a man who clearly wants to break with the old guard is so happy to have them on his side. Another Obama contradiction.

    January 30, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. JM

    High praise from the most ineffective president of the 20th century.

    January 30, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. Alicia

    "Bridget, Lansing" a lot of rich, people with "power" were behind Hittler...look how it all ended. Now, that's is yet the most convincing RETHORIC from a maybe future Obama follower.

    Make up your own mind and don't just follow what "rich powerful" people do.

    January 30, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. blkjazz

    Jimmy Carter is a Statesman. A victim of circumstances more than anything else as president, he has nevertheless shown great integrity and caring for ordinary people all over the world. I'm happy to see him support Barack.

    January 30, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Adam

    The media isn't biased towards Hillary more than Obama....its just the experts know she is the most viable candidate for the nomination. They are only reporting what makes sense. When Oba can make a rational thought on his own, maybe that'll be his chance for some breaking news!

    Hillary '08!!

    January 30, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. Duop Chak

    It is not always good to deny the fact.

    January 30, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Anonymous


    January 30, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Joelle, Milwaukee, WI

    Amy January 30, 2008 10:44 am ET

    Everyone is getting on the Obama train!!! Edwards supporters, we will carry on his work. Hop on board the Obama train!

    Obama '08


    As a CONSTANT FANATIC OBABA SUPPORTER you should know that the Obama train is now gone... to hell where slick talkin', empty headed buffons all eventually go.

    January 30, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. pauline roosegaarde

    Good for you Mr. Carter. I knew you would be impressed by Barack Obama.

    January 30, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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