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. JB Boston MA

    To al the Clintonistas-

    It is getting a bit old, having to listen to you all belittle anyone who comes out in favor of Obama. What endorsement would mean something? When Edwards comes out and endorses Obama, will you attack and degrade him as well?

    Not only do I want to see Hill and Bill go away, I want all you Clintonistas to go away as well. She is bad for this country as are you.

    If you are so blinded that you can't see that what she did in FL was disgusting then you should forfeit your right to vote!

    January 30, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. thad nze

    Bush – Clinton – Bush – Clinton????? And America continues to Grief – Do you Get it or not???
    WAKE UP AMERICA, it's time for a real change – VOTE OBAMA '08

    January 30, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. SC for Hillary

    Jimmy Carter, you should not voice any opinion, because you are one of the worst president's in history, I am a democrat, but I feel President Bush is a much better president than Carter in his worst years. Your praising Obama is a bad sign for Obama, because you were just as weak as Obama. Your opinion is wortthless, and no media should remind people of your horrible years as president, by interviewing you. You are a carbon copy of Obama, you were not ready and should never have been elected President, I am sure voters will not make the same mistake with Obama as they made with you.

    January 30, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. George Albert

    Carter is the worst president of the 20th century. He was a catalyst for Islamist terrorism, he killed the economy, he lost Iran to the jihadists.

    He is also a racist and a liar. Other than this stuff, Obama may want his support

    January 30, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. B Houff

    Did you know Jimmy Carter pronounces it "nucUler"?

    January 30, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. michael Rios

    President Carter did more out of office than in office, Obama should just skip his presidential career and just stay out of office. He would do better out than in. Jimmy Carter...am I the only one that sees this as another weapon in the Republican arsenal.."Obama is another Jimmy Carter...just ask Jimmy Carter"

    Vote Hillary...



    January 30, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Kiki

    I Agree, vote Obama and stop the cycle!! The Clintons probably have white sheets in their closet, anyway. What a joke they are! Who do they think their fooling!! It was okay for Bill to get the "black vote" (whatever that is) in SC, but when his wife doesn't win, Obama is compared to Jesse Jackson(?). Bill Clinton's racism is as subtle as the tsunami was in Thailand. Just as his extra marital affair in the White House, "Do you see my lips moving, then I must be lying." And to think I voted for Slick Willie in the 90's!!!

    Obama 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. Jon - Atlanta, GA

    To Burning Bridges: Does the same not apply to you? How smart, if your candidate is not the eventual nominee then vote Republican. Party unity at its best.

    January 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. david

    Carter is a good man, but he should stick to building houses. What did Carter really do when he was president. He could hurt Obama

    January 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Bryce

    Isn't it nice that CNN edited the interview for us......
    Thanks CNN.

    January 30, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. chude dublin

    clinton is bed time ! No need to continue just withdraw like Edward.Just give change a chance.Anyway you have no chance.

    January 30, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Nobama

    I don't care what Carter says.
    What I know for sure (which even Oprah doesn't know) is that Obama doesn't have "IT" to be a nominee, not to mention a president.
    Gone Obama!

    January 30, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Walt, Belton, TX

    That should be the kiss of death for Obama. He's being indorsed by the worst President in the last 100 years; the yellow peanut farmer from Georgia!!! Go buy yourself another Nobel Prize for idiocy and compare notes with your cousin Al.

    January 30, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. Crane

    1.) Read carefully, people. Carter's comments should not be considered endorsements. And I don't understand how people are telling Carter to shut his old mouth but we live in a country that prides itself on freedom of speech.
    2.) People also need to realize that Hillary as president does not automatically equal Bill Clinton as president. Sure Bill was one of the most popular presidents in recent history, but that does not mean that his wife's presidency would be a replica of his.
    3.) Let's face it, there is scandal surrounding the Clinton family. I'm pretty sure that if Hillary wins the nomination, her outspoken husband will support her in every way against the Republican nominee (McCain). I think McCain would eat Hillary alive.....The only way Hillary will win the presidency is if she runs against Romney or Huckabee. If Bill even opens his mouth, the Republicans will point fingers to his scandalous ways, and there are some voters who vote on emotions....Hillary would lose that battle even though she's the one who got cheated on by her husband. If you want to see a democrat in the White house, Obama is your best option.
    4.) My final comment is a bit racial, but it's probably the most realistic comment you have read all day....here it goes: The so called "terrorists" that the moron currently occupying the white house refers to, are pretty much people of middle eastern decent which is very close to Africa. Although they may be willing to "negotiate" with whomever has any common sense (which automatically excludes George W. Bush), they'd still be more comfortable with a man who's of African decent (Obama) for whatever it's worth. Now should we pick a president based on the racial make-up that most impresses middle easterners.....CERTAINLY NOT, but if "terrorism" is a concern to any of you, just remember that the so called terrorists really despise white america.

    January 30, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Steve Newby

    Carter's looking pretty good bout now, huh? And ten years from now, everyone's probably gonna see Clinton as saintly after this monster that's in there today.

    January 30, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. John in Columbus, OH

    Barack Obama has charisma, the very essence of leadership. He doesn't have to do anything and people are charmed by his personal magnetism.

    Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has to work hard not to completely turn people off. She is not only hate by Republicans (they would no doubt vote in record numbers again) but she is hated by many Democrats. It's not because she is a woman; it's because she simply will say anything, do anything to get elected, and most people cannot tolerate that blatant lack of integrity. I would like to see a woman as President one day. For the longest time, since she became a New York Senator, I thought it would be Hillary Clinton, but after seeing her in action, I can see that she is not the ONE. One day, I hope to support a woman for President, one who is noble and honorable, one that we can be proud to call the First Woman President of the United States.

    January 30, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. John

    give me a break, why always Clinton have to explain becasue media twist and turn and republican are indirectly doing that so Obama can be highlight, so they can easily crush and win. Hillary is the best thing today America needed, enough this change crap and the old generations guys coming out saying change ya sure,. If you want republican to come as a president then vote for Obama they can wait till for that date because they will put him through a ringer, right now Obama is getting sympathy becasue of the he is african american and the african american are supporting him. But what they forgot to think is if Obama in power he cannot do anything for blacks because it will become raisist, against soanic and the white. So best is neutral president which is clinton is the choice and #1 choice.

    WAKE AMERICA VOTE FOR CLINTON! do you think you can change anything in politics give me a break, who can stop the iraq war or the funding it is all politics and Obama is kid in this game it more than just saying change, have to be careful what you say because the system is not that easy to change if anyone tries they will be kicked out or framed of something and will use that as card to use them as a puppy.

    January 30, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Oliver

    And another has-been endorsement for Obama – he really attracts the washed crowd – but no wonder

    January 30, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. gw

    As president Carter was a disaster – he is at his best when he is not commenting on politics and building houses.

    January 30, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. John

    VOTE HILARY – 08, she is the one can stand up to this republicans and fight. Dont make that mistake dont listen to media think reality dont get caught into the speech, easy to talk can he walk the talk...politician allways will be politician.

    January 30, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Tanner of LA

    I'd rather vote for someone with experience rather than someone who does not know what to do in Day one. We are in deep econonomic mess, the new president shoudl fix the problem created by George Bush. I don't need a neophyte president who just started his political career now. I need a Miracle worker president, this person is not Mc Cain, It will be HILLARY! I can sleep soundly at night having her as the leader of this great nation because I know she will fight for our cause! Go HILLARY!

    January 30, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. JBrown

    All this talk about race.....we still have a lot to deal with in this country...can you feel it when you read these posts?

    I'm reading "Deams of My Father" right now. Obama grew up in Hawaii when Hawaii was just coming into statehood. Divides existed among the native Hawaiians, the Japanese and the Chinese. No one paid much attention to a little boy being raised by his white grandparents.

    So if you really think about this, Barack only learned what its like to be Black in America when he came to the Mainland. His early years did not include the experience of most of African-Americans. Yet, some have judged HIM based on his color and have to interject color into everything that's said and done.

    So you must asked yourself–am I looking at Obama the person–or am I really influended by the skin color? It it were not for a father that was out of his life by the time he was 2 years old, we would not be talking about a BLACK MAN.

    In the African-American, community, we claim everyone. Obama, you are revered in our community and we understand what you are going through.
    Why can't you be just A MAN with a desire to make your country better?

    January 30, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. New Yorker, NYC, NY

    Since Carter Supports Obama ,

    Carter is against Israel. Look like obama is also against israel

    January 30, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. concerned

    Going for experience not for a great speaker. We need someone to get the change done.

    Go Hilliary.

    January 30, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. moeshorts

    yeah maybe bama can have rezko for vice pres!

    January 30, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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