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. phillip

    I have not been this exicted about politics in my life! I am 32 yrs old i currently serve in the army(12 yrs) and i am ashamed to say that i have never voted in a presedntial race. Barack Obama has me excited about politics i mean i loved bill but he never made me get off my but and vote. I see change with Obama his story is the American story he really speaks for most Americans and i believe he will make a great Commander in Chief . i dont see Obama as a black or white man i see him as a man who can lead this great country back to its rightful place in this world.

    January 30, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Henry

    Folks you ned to look at the Clinton Chronicles on the internet and find out what they really are and who they represent........

    January 30, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Kent

    George Albert is correct. Carter single handedly destroyed the US Farming institution with his symbolic embargos. As a President, he was one of the worst in modern times. Why do you think he was only a 1 term and out?

    January 30, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. IA. Democrat

    Former President Jimmy Carter is a wonderful statesman and fine gentleman. I sense yet another endorsement coming for the man who may very well be our next president. This is great day-

    January 30, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. IA. Democrat

    Posted by a backward thinking conservative...

    "D Lowery January 30, 2008 3:56 pm ET

    I believe Obama should give it to Hillary, he is too inexperienced and too young. And I don't believe America is ready for a Black Leader."

    January 30, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Henry A

    The democrats sure can pick at each other.

    January 30, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. Ralph

    Moderator, why won't you put anti liberal comments on???? Hurt your feelings. Too correct. TYPICAL MEDIA

    January 30, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. suspect82

    LOL –
    Carter, Ted Kenndy, and Jesse Jackson: Please stay away! Don't mess it up for Obama 08.......

    January 30, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. Help Me

    Well said Cliff. To both supporters of Obama and Clinton, let's change the tone of this debate. Please stop the negative posts/attacks. Don't let the media ruin this chance for the democrats to take the whitehouse.

    January 30, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. LIZ

    YES, WE CAN-–keep the good ole boys politics. Endoresments from Ted Kennedy who's been in Congress forever, John Kerry whose wife owns Heinz, and Jimmy Carter.

    Really a CHANGE!!!

    January 30, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  11. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    The New York Post backs Obama

    (CNN) – The New York Post – which endorsed Hillary Clinton during her last Senate run – has backed Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary, saying “Obama represents a fresh start.”

    In an editorial posted on the paper’s Web site Wednesday, the conservative editorial board said the Illinois senator “sorely lacks seasoning,” adding “We don't agree much with Obama on substantive issues. But many Democrats will. He should be their choice on Tuesday.”

    The paper has had a complicated relationship with Hillary Clinton. She and her husband have often been sharply criticized by the conservative editorial board, but the New York senator has developed a friendly relationship with the Post’s owner, Rupert Murdoch.

    On Wednesday, the board wrote that Obama’s “opponent, and her husband, stand for déjà vu all over again – a return to the opportunistic, scandal-scarred, morally muddled years of the almost infinitely self-indulgent Clinton co-presidency.”


    January 30, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. Azar


    I am Obama supporter. Why don't you post my previous comments?

    January 30, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  13. matt




    January 30, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  14. Stay focused


    Although this will be your first election.....you seem to be a lot more informed and intelligent than a lot of these older voters who have been posting on this board. Is this what is meant by "experienced individuals" because if it is, then Lord knows we don't need another uniformed, unintelligent, person running this country based on experience (or should I say, lack of)

    As a young person, you seem to be very informed.....that's the type of President we need. OBAMA '08

    January 30, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  15. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    OK Jimmy, everyone knows you were not exactly the best President we ever had.

    When it comes to best former presidents you be da man!

    January 30, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. Vic

    Uh-Oh, President Carter. You stepped into the race "thing" that you are so holier-than-thou castigating Bill Clinton for. Clinton's words: "Jesse Jackson won here, twice, and won both times. He ran a good campaign; Senator Obama is running a good campaign." Boy, did Clinton catch it! Carter's words: "He (Obama) has the rhetorical skill of Martin Luther King, Jr." Now all we need is something with which we can compare Obama to Ted Kennedy. Don't say JFK, because I was there, and believe me, "never the twain shall meet!"

    What's wrong with the above quotations?

    January 30, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  17. Marie

    Thanks CNN for NEVER putting my anti Obama comments on the blog. But of course, I am not voting for CNN's candidate.

    January 30, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  18. Randy - Denver

    Isn't it interesting how all these people post about tyhe "insiders' and "old guard" supporting Obama and then say he does not know how to get things done in Washington? I suppose running on a platform that says the old ways of doing things are wrong and then CONVINCING the "old guard" and "insiders" to go along with you is somehow not a sing that you can make things happen and is a sign that you are too inexperianced for the job? I also must ask how being married to a president makes you experianced enough for the job? I was married to a bartender and yet I manage to spill soda every time I pour it and cannot honestly tell you the difference between gin and vermouth... and my wife was married to a sailor for 21 years and yet she gets seasick on a calm day and has no idea how to fix a seawater pump. I am not one to worry aobut dynasties or any of that type of crap but I do find that after reading the platforms of BOTH Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama, and going to both their websites, and doing the research on their ideas at other sites, that while they are close in most regards in ideas and plans the Mr. obama has a better chance of implementing these ideas. After all he has convinced the "old guard" or "insiders" to support him as well as older people and younger people. For the record I am a white male and would love to vote for a woman who could do the job and actually get things done but both my wife and I agree Ms. Clinton would not be able to work beyond those who, justly or unjustly, hate her she tends to attack when provoked whereas Mr. Obama tends to smile. I think that is a more mature response.

    January 30, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. matt

    Mr. Stay Focused:-

    It looks like I'm living in Iran or China or Cuba. This is a blog and let people write. Please do not delete the posts unless they are Obscene!
    Many people are feeling exactly the same as I'm doing.

    January 30, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  20. stan pitts pa

    i believe the democrats will take the white house this time, but only if obama is the nominee!

    January 30, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  21. john Gio, NYC

    Jimmy Carter. Probably the WORST president ever. 14% Inflation, 14% unemployment, Iran hostage crisis. One term loser!

    January 30, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  22. matt

    Stay Focused:_
    Sorry I commented thinking that you deleted my post. I appreceiate your thoughts.
    I just want a person who can show me the future.

    January 30, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  23. Crane

    About experience.....Last time I checked, the president of the U.S does not isolate himself in his bedroom with the door locked, when making decisions for America. He usually has advisors and several other people who influence the decisions.....There goes the silly argument about Obama not having any experience. I think the experience argument is most commonly used by whites who don't want to see a black man in office (even if the woman who broght him into this world is a white woman). As for Blacks who make the same lame argument, they are just misinformed as to how the president makes decisions. Also, I am curious as to what experience Hillary has, that Barack lacks. Being the wife of the president does not make you president. Here's a radical comment, but I'll make it anyway: The fact that Bill cheated on Hillary could suggest that their marriage during his presidency was not as close as it should have been. With that logic, it's hard to imagine that he shared much of his presidential knowledge with her, during his presidency. Sure she has an advantage (sleeping every night in the same bed as one of the most popular presidents in history – Bill) but that does not make Hillary an experienced person, as far as the American presidency is concerned.

    January 30, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  24. Constance

    The reason that Obama can bring change is becasue he IS the change. His continued decency demonstrates that. He is not cynical. I want a leader who faces challenges with hope. This is a marvelous qualification.

    I can't believe that any candidate would be capable of stepping into the Presidency with all the answers and knowledge. That seems unreasonable. The world is a dynamic and changing place. A person with solid character would be capable of facing what comes with an attitude that promotes finding genuine solutions that serve many.

    It would seem to me that having good character is a meaningful and legitimate qualification for being President.

    I would love to see this country pull out of it's spiraling decline into cynicism. I understand that Hillary may have more experience, but that is insufficent.

    Obama '08

    January 30, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  25. John G, New York, NY

    Regardless of what you may think of President Carter's politics or his effectiveness while serving in the White House, posting hateful and vitriolic things about a genuinely good man is not a virtue and it reflects poorly on your character.

    Writing mean-spirited things is easy – dedicating your life to a "calling" of doing good with your life is hard. Whether you voted for him...or even whether you like him...to question Jimmy Carter's heart and soul is a shameful thing.

    January 30, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
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