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. Dylan

    Obama seems to be getting more and more endorsements, more and more momentum...but Clinton keeps on winning the primaries...

    January 30, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Larry

    maybe i could change my mind if i knew where Obamo stood on things, how he will try to change things...so far i havent heard ANYTHING on how he will do ANYTHING !!!...yes he is on msnbc everyday 24/7 speaking that speach someone wrote for him but its a speach without substances..Tell me Something to change my mind!!!!...until then i'm sticking with clinton

    January 30, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Andrea, Anaheim

    I realize Hillary supporters don't think Independents matter. Taking a page out of the Rovian playbook, they plan on squeaking out a 50.1%-49.9% and then giving America the proverbial manual gesture.

    Hope it works ladies and old guard in the Democratic Party. Because if John McCain is the nominee, there are a whole lot of Independents who will say, "I despise the war and I think he's dead wrong on that but he will not be as dogmatic about it as Bush and I will NOT vote for another Bush in office, even if she's in Democratic clothing." What we have seen from Hillary, Bill, and their rabid supporters over the past month is some of the most divisive junk I've ever seen.

    And no, I won't buy it when Bill is suddenly "good Bill" again and Hillary is all "sweetness and light." People's true colors show up when they're under pressure. What we saw the past 4 weeks is who they are.

    January 30, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. Dan Campbell

    Let me start by saying I like BOTH Clinton and Obama. However, I am very concerned by the blatant and deliberate use of the 'race card' being used by the media (and Obama's press people) to propel Obama in the SC primary. I have followed the campaign very closely and investigated each and every so-called "race-baiting' issue that was thrown at Bill and Hillary. It is wrong and American voter need to stand up to the media and recognize that you were just "played" in a major way over the past few weeks. While thowing it back on the Clinton campaign (as though they were the guilty party), it doesn't take a genius to understand that the media/Obama strategy was 'only' employed after Iowa and NH where it could benefit only one candidate.

    I will support the Dem nominee, but am deeply alarmed by the involvement of so many in the media in this obvious tactic. I realize many in the media still feel unsatisfied that they didn't bury Clinton in the past and they are highly motivated to finish that job – but that is not necessarily serving our democracy.

    January 30, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. XBuckeye

    Mr. Carter is a fine old statesman and not to be impuned but I read the WSJ article and I believe his words are being blown way out of proportion. Shame on the media for rewording things just for sensationalism.

    January 30, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Judy Tyrer

    Oh My God, first Kerry, Kennedy and now Carter – The three stooges have spoken. I was a life long democrat but no longer. McCain you have my vote!!!.

    Judy T

    January 30, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. Alicia

    I truly don't see how the Obomonians can claim change, when they praise the backing of such individuals as Kerry, Kennedy and now Carter.... aren't all of these people from the "old gang"? with "old tricks"

    Wonder how the obomonians are going to "rethorized" 🙂 this one.

    Obama inspires me yes, inspires me to vote for McCain

    January 30, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Anita

    Its not like he lost his mind. At least I hope not. But his comments were off. For Carter to say that Obama is a healing factor for our country. Sir, you must not be listening to people. I respect Mr. Carter – and will leave it at that. Hillary shouldnt be too concerned. Her backers are solid. We will not sway we will not waver. We are here to see this woman take the nomination. My daughter is correct – the media will say what it will. People who praise Obama will say what they want. But don't ever under estimate the support of the people who back Hillary.

    January 30, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  9. Macunaima

    It is so sad to see some Obama supporters saying that if Hillary is nominated they would vote for Repubicans. God help us. So your hate is stronger that your love for this country. You really don't care about the issues (Iraque War, Health Care, Economy, Energy) you really only cares about personality. I guess you all want to have a beer with Obama.

    January 30, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Watching Carefully

    Great, wimp politics. Just what we need to face the problems Bush created. Ya think Obama can give a speech and convince Iran not to develop nukes? Doubt it!

    Go Sen. Clinton!

    January 30, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. johnny

    The only thing "extraordinary" about Obama is that he is one of the least experienced Senators in Congress and has somehow shot to the top of presidential candidates along with the almost as equally inexperienced Hillary Clinton. Something smells rotten in Denmark.

    January 30, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Kimmie

    I am excited about the Presidential Race. Thanks to all the comments I read everyday. I am convinced Senator Obama will be the next President. I'm ready for change, not the same old stuff with Hillary and Bill. I believe with all my heart Bill Clinton will tell Hillary what to do. Thanks for those who wrote about Hillary's past experience, I wonder what she did for 35 years. Thanks

    Vote Obama!

    January 30, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |

    William Jefferson Clinton: "I am relevant."
    George W. Bush "I am relevant"

    Jimmy Carter- Was he ever relevant? I think of him and I think of the Iranian hostage crisis, mortgage rates hovering above 12% for conforming loans, Amy, Billy, Ms. Lillian and all the other Plains transplants that were like fish out of the tiny pond and thank my lucky stars that these days are, hopefully, long behind us, never to return.

    January 30, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Randy - Denver

    I guess I did not read the same article as everyone else here as I did not see an endorsement from President Carter for Obama just a statement that he liked the way he ran his campaign. I agree with President Carter, Obama is running a good campaign. As for the comments about race.. I would simply point out that those who quote the 80% blacks support him, often seem to forget the % or women that support Ms. Clinton. It is racist (sexist) to support someone who have something in common with? I think not so let's drop those silly issues. Finally my last point is for those who say that Obama cannot get things done, that all he is, is a great (or good) orator. I would ask you exactly what you think any president can accomplish without being able to talk people into doing what they want? Without being able to inspire people to follow their plan? The best ideas proposed and supported by someone who cannot get others to follow them (except by blindly following party lines and we have seen the results of THAT) will not ever be implemented. A leader is, most importantly, someone who can inspire others to follow, and who can, when needed, make the hard decsions. To me that person is Mr. Obama, I find Ms. Clinton too devisive.

    January 30, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  15. Beverly

    where's my comment from yesterday for heaven sake, that didn't just take a few minutes. Never seen it posted???????????????????????

    January 30, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  16. JEN

    Tracey M. from Canada-

    You said “…and 80% of all BLACK people voting for a black candidate seems racist to me”, but went on to say “we need less male EGO and Testosterone in the White House”. Is racism is wrong while sexism is acceptable? It is just as wrong for blacks to support Obama based on his race as it is for women to support Clinton because of her gender and white men to support McCain, Romney, or Huckabee because these gentlemen are neither female nor a ‘minority’. I guess an ‘ism’ is only negative if it works against you and your cause.

    January 30, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  17. ADF

    Let's face it everyone, race is an issue. Being a white guy living in MI, I must say the white guys currently in office have been horrible to say the least. Bush had a great opportunity and will leave a legacy as the worst President in US history (waging war is NOT pro-life by the way). Change is needed, and hopefully not from another white guy. Hopefully, super-Tuesday will reflect our (formerly) great country's need for change. I'm voting a straight Democratic ticket in the upcoming election (as I have for the past several elections). I'm glad to hear many of my Republican friends will be doing the same.

    January 30, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  18. Jon

    With supporters like Jimmy Carter and Teddy "Chappaquiddick" Kennedy as supporters, who needs enemies! Carter needs to stick to building houses and helping the poor, thats what he's been good at. Good man, bad President. And be quiet about media bias toward any of the Dem candidates, because when it comes to the general election whichever Dem wins the nomination will walk on water as far as the media is concerned.

    January 30, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  19. lc


    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 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  20. Braineel

    Carter too? Looks like another super delegate to me!

    January 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. douadavid

    Jimmy carter is among one of the worst former president of United States. He could not give any good advise to anyone. His legacy could not even compare to the worst president ,George w Bush. If Obama become a president , his administration will depends on his advisors so every thing will become black and white again so he will blame on racism for his problem. Vote fo Hillary is to eliminate all the problems that will face this nation in the future. Go Hillary.

    January 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. SA

    Obama/Hillary would dominate the elections. Strong enough to cobat McCain. But there's too much anomosity between them to ever run together.

    Obama '08

    January 30, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. Nathaniel Smith

    Obama's vote did not send America cap in hand to China for funds to pay for a war that should never have been waged!
    Barak's vision and plans to promote the best for education , industry and scientific research , will ensure that America will return to its rightful place as a nation of opportunity,peace and prosperity .

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

    Lynne and One Opinion: you are two sick puppies

    January 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. Lynne

    Oh Lydia, you know what you say. According, to you, even black people who criticize Obama are racists. As an educated black woman who has been in countless situations over the years where someone white has told me to my face that I am "different" from "regular" black people, I think I have a right to take offense when Obama is heaped with superlatives and compliments that paint him as the second coming. Regardless, I agree with you about the issues, which is why I suggested in my earlier post that we pay attention to the candidates platforms and not all this silliness about race and gender. WHat I find really funny about all this blogging is that people are taking such rigid positions of pro/con Hillary/Obama and the real truth is that on the issues they are quite similar. If we were to go down the list of issues from getting out of Iraq, to reproductive choice, both Hillary and Obama believe the same thing, they just have different plans to accomplish them and in my view different abilities in terms of navigating through Washington (which is a requirement for the job, even if we want Washington to "change"). I absolutely will support the Dem nominee, even if it is Obama and any Obama-supporters are utter fools not to do likewise if Hillary gets the nomination. Understand this, the Republicans, every one of them, including McCain (who is no moderate) will keep this country on the downhill path we are on, mired in wars, economy in a recession, and personal freedoms destroyed.

    Go Democrats!

    January 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
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