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. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    This is indeed wonderful news for the Obama campaign. I deeply respect former President Carter and value his opinion.

    January 30, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. ernest

    Could people just stop calling Bill Clinton a racist, a few months ago he was the first "black president". We get to South Carolina and everything he says is put in the prism of race, please. If you can not criticize a candidate who happens to be black wityout being called racist, this country has not evolved as much as they will like to believe. Obama is an extraordianry campaiger, yes but he is no way qualified to be president,2 years ago he was a state senator, you cant be serious and this is coming from a black guy, Go Hillary

    January 30, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  3. truth

    I donot understand why people still do not see the Clintons through....Democrats should realize that Obama has the best chance winning against any republicans...I donot have anything against Hillary. She would also be a very good president for USA. But, she has so much negetaivity..and definitely in a weaker position to beat a republican candidate (specially if it si Mccain).

    Wake up democrats... Look at how the best democrats in our life times are supporting Obama for the same reason...

    January 30, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Lucas, Nashville TN

    Another patriarch of the party dashes Bill Clinton on the rocks of his own fallacy. Thank you, Uncle Jimmy! Obama... YES WE CAN.

    January 30, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  5. KM

    This is not surprising given Jimmy Carters concerns about international diplomacy and poverty here and abroad.

    January 30, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  6. Lone Star

    Everyone is comparing Obama to MLK–his speeches, etc., and he's capitalizing on that. Sen. Clinton is an excellent and eloquent speaker and her speeches are from the heart. What you see is what you get. Sen. Clinton doesn’t have to try to prove to be someone else. Of course she doesn't deliver her speeches like MLK–she's not African American! Too bad people are caught up in this movement! I know I tire of his style of speaking.

    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." Does this mean he doesn't believe Sen. Clinton can do it? Why am I not surprised about his comments? Because it’s another White male! Also, he should know all about making "inappropriate" comments. I’m so sick of all this! I cannot wait until Sen. Clinton takes the White House!

    January 30, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  7. Kylie

    A really decent man supporting a really decent man, good job Jimmy!

    January 30, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  8. Chris

    I agree with Carter. That's why I'm a Republican voting for Obama. Please, no more animosity.

    January 30, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  9. Biggdawg

    It would be nice to hear the entire interview and learn what he said about Hillary herself. I'm guessing he had positive to things to say about her as well, since any mention of her during the interview is oddly omitted in the MSM's effort keep the Obama halo glowing. If he'd said something negative I have no doubt it would have been all over this article. As it is, CNN and the WSJ managed what negative they could in mentioning his rather tepid comments about Bill.

    Funny, but the only thing he really said about Obama is he speaks well. But then again, that is about all there is to say.

    January 30, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. AJ, IL

    Yes, yes Jimmy we understand. You don't want to offend a former Democratic President and his spouse. You give great praise to the Obama campaign. My question is if Carter and Bill Clinton don't speak often, why did Bill call up Carter to give him his long-winded explanation of his ill-advised behavior on the campaign trail? Sounds like Bill Clinton is trying to tramp down any of the Obama campaign fire spreading to Superdelegates like Carter.

    Obama in '08!

    January 30, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Johnson Blah

    All the major democratic candidates are backing Obama. They all realize that it is a time for change. But more importantly, they realize that Obama can form a NEW coalition for the democratic part that can last for the next decade. Obama can bring them both independents, republicans, and core democrats with his message of change. Hillary is such a polarizing figure that she will rarely be able to reach across party lines to get the Republicans to work with her on issues. I think those two concepts are making all the top democrats throw their support behind Obama. Can't say I blame them.

    January 30, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. S. Wright

    Of course, Jimmy Carter thinks Obama is "extraordinary", in that the conditions that got Carter elected are following the same alignment that could get Obama elected.

    Democrats were screaming about "change" back then, too. In 1976, we got that change, and it was for the worse.

    If I were Obama, I would be concerned having not only Jimmy Carter fall over himself for my election, but that I have also garnered the affections of Ted Kennedy.

    Something about the company you keep, and all that...

    January 30, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. Todd

    Amazing, this is what most called Jimmy Carter's campaigne oh so so so long ago. He turned out to be nothing more than a peanut farmer and went home after 4 years.


    January 30, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  14. WW - New York

    I'm so glad to see this! This should be a wake up call to America. Obama is the hope for the future.
    It appears that past leaders see that it's time for change! The old way just doesn't work. Enough is enough! it's time for change and Obama is it! When will Bill say....?

    January 30, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. JW

    This is big news, and should be getting much more attention than it is.

    January 30, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. Captain America

    I'll take "Experience " over "Change" any day. The only two people in this race with experience is Clinton and McCain. I'll vote for the person that wins their parties nomination. If they both do, I'll vote for Clinton. Plain and simple.

    January 30, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. Linda

    President Carter is right to feel impressed with Obama. Many share and hope Obama will have the opportunity to help instill a much needed, and long sought honesty and intergerity into our government. They have been absent so long, most Americans have begin to actually believe this is how it should be, that political lying speaks to the political game and not the character of the politicians playing the game, despite the fact such reasoning exists no where else in American reality. Fortunately, Sen. Obama not only reminds all Americans this should not be, but that our government belongs to Americans.


    January 30, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. Reagan and Bush 4 life

    We need another Carter because without a Carter probably we wouldn't have another Reagan.

    January 30, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  19. Ron, TX

    It's time we look to the future. Expect Hillary-fans to trash and slander Carter starting immediately. This is trash and slander of the past, of divisive politics. The fact of the matter is, Carter was an ex-president, and an ex-president thinks Obama will do a better job than Clinton. Bill called and tried to stop him, just like he called and tried to stop Kennedy. Bill, embrace the new. The division and partisan fights of the past are coming to an end.

    January 30, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. Rob

    This man has people ralling to his call of true change every day...if its not a senator is a fromer president....for people to think that The Billary Twins has this locked up your extremely delustional...every time I turn on the tv I see somone new endorsing Obama....I've yet to see a major name that Obama has under his belt endorse them yet...I said it before and I'll say it again....Clintons are running a campaign....Obama is a movement...

    January 30, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. adriane

    Great! Listen to a wise Democrat, somebody who has been a president and it is as impartial as he can be. I wonder why Clinton is calling President Carter? To confess his sins? ;-)or to try to get an endorsement??!!! I wouldn't be surprised.

    January 30, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. ddmk

    Jimmy Carter enters in the game
    Do not forget we are in California where " DRAMA" Happens
    It's like lakers' game and we are in fouth's with 22 seconds (super tuesday at stake) remaining.
    I think (that my opinion ) may be something really happened at South carolina
    Look: Who can remember when Ted kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, Jimmy Carter did endorse a candidat for "NOMINATION"? even carter said he does not officially a candidat, but I can read under the line that he does when he said Obama's campaign is quote: "EXTRAORDINARY"

    Who's next?: Gore? Dean? Kennedy himself from the graves?or maybe Bill himself (he's so unpredictible this times!!!).


    GOD bless America!

    January 30, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. Daisy

    Coming from Carter while as President was awful

    January 30, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. Get real

    Sure Jimmy, give him some advise on how to run the economy!!

    January 30, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. Woz - Los Gatos, CA

    "extraordinary and titillating "

    Whoa there, Jimmy!!

    January 30, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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