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. Charles

    With all due respect to President Carter, it was his policies (along with Ted Kennedy's campaign in primaries) which brought GOP to power for the next 12 years. Obama speaks well- and this is all about him

    January 30, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. Dan, TX

    Thank you President Carter. I share your enthusiasm for Obama.

    January 30, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. P Ogden

    I am a disable African American veteran, who is a registered voter in Florida. I am saddened at the way Hilary and Bill Clinton are conducted themselves (campaign). Are you willing to lose your moral/ethical character to gain the presidency? To personally attack Obama with half truths knowing your past is mind boggling to me. Because I am a woman or African American does not determine who I will vote for. what will determine who I vote for is the character of the candidate, which right now Hilary and Bill character is questionable because of their behavior and what they are willing to do to position themselves again in the White House.
    Bill cannot be label the first black president, because when I look in the mirror there is a constant reminder how society values me. you can sympathize/empathize but the Clinton’s will never be able to understand how I feel when people judge me because of my color and not me the person and what I bring to the table in a organization.
    I do not want a president that will cry to get ahead, that shows me you had nothing left to offer the people so you choose the crying game, how shameful. Hillary where is the substance in your campaign do not think I will vote for you because of your gender that is not enough to get my vote. Neither is your husband he has served his time.
    Fox please do not over examine this letter like the media is doing with the campaign. The media has turn this democratic campaign into black vs. feminist when it is about the best person represented the United States.

    January 30, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. Roger Davis

    One loser bragging on another, thats the liberal way. God have mercy on America if Mr, O is elected president.

    January 30, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. Diddy

    A former President with Integrity. Bill Clinton can learn allot from President Carter.
    President Carter is correct, Obama not only lifts the spirits to unite in the U.S. but will draw the instant respect and attention World Wide. A president for this new Generation is what we need and he clearly represents the future of America, not Business as usual.

    America needs a new image Nationally as well as Global, and Barack fits the description perfectly. On the World Stage there will be none like him since JFK. The republicans and independents are already showing willingness to cross party lines to vote for him. The leader of the free world in this day should have Universal Appeal not Partisan appeal.

    January 30, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. Bob, NY

    Where's Billy? I sure like his beer..

    January 30, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. S Williams

    This is great.

    But now that the Clintons and the media have made this a 'race war', Obama will have trouble getting white and latino votes.

    So, it's back to the Clinton-Bush-Clinton-Bush dynasties . . .

    January 30, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Steve Banny Toccoa Ga

    This endorsement is about as helpful as the NY Times endorsing John McCain. It makes you wonder what's wrong with the candidate when they get endorsed by a whacko or loser.

    January 30, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. tracey - Canada

    Dear Mr Carter,

    I know you are old school and can't imagine a woman doing anything but baking cookies and preparing your dinner, but, things have changed.


    By the way, the only race issues in this election were presented by Obama himself...and 80% of all BLACK people voting for a black candidate seems racist to me. The Clinton's are the last people on the plant to be racist.

    Hillary is a caring and proven change maker. She has done more for this world then Obama could ever imagine. Obama is well spoken and a great speech giver, but do not mistake these qualities as good enough to be President. As Obama is not ready or mature enough to take on that role-yet.

    The first woman President is much more of a landmark then another man becoming president. We need less male EGO and Testosterone in the White House.

    Mr. Carter, we are glad you are doing well, but the world has changed..IT'S TIME FOR A WOMAN TO BE PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!!!!

    All of Canada and the World hope America will vote for Hillary Clinton!

    Thank you,

    Tracey M.

    January 30, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. Pat

    Jimmy Carter is still a loser whose opinion means nothing.

    January 30, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. Vince, Arizona



    I am an Obama supporter… I will vote for him even though it seems the numbers are against him. Hillary's scorched earth campaign will get her the nomination, but she is EXACTLY who the Republicans want to run against. I challenge ANY of you to argue with that! (Fox News will throw a party the night she wins the nomination!)


    And you will have only yourselves to blame because of blind loyalty and refusal to open your minds.

    God help us all when we get another 4 years of Republican rule as they keep the White House, and re-take the Senate and House.

    You read it here, first.

    I am copying this, sending it to myself, and will pull it out and re-post it after McCain beats the brakes off of Hillary in November, just so I can say.. I TOLD YOU SO!

    January 30, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. david

    as he should obama is an honorable uniter and he speaks for the american people gone head endorse him carter it's safe.

    obama 08!!

    January 30, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. Blueray98

    Let's not forget, Hillary won Florida!

    By a nearly 17 point margin, Hillary won the highest turnout Democratic primary in Florida history. More than 1.5 million Democrats voted – more than cast votes in Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, and New Hampshire combined. "Hillary's victory. gives her the bragging rights that come with winning the biggest, most diverse state to vote so far."

    Hillary received more votes in Florida than Sen. McCain, the winner of the Republican primary. Hillary also received more votes in Florida alone that Sen. Obama received in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina combined.

    Hillary Clinton 2008!

    January 30, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. Intellectuals

    Why do intellectuals always find the greatness in Obama?

    Obama - once-in-a-lifetime-candidate, that's why.

    Intellectuals for Obama

    January 30, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. BionicWoman

    May I remind that Carter had a failed presidency and was not elected to a second term. He could not get along with Congress. His opinion is not relevant. Nor is Ted Kennedy – who was kicked out of Harvard for cheating, and later left a girl to die. He is not well regarded by his own constituency and is only in the Senate because he is a Kennedy. Caroline suddenly pops up and shows a lack of judgment by using her father shamelessly. Kerry was a wannabe president that nobody wanted to hear from again. Then we have Oprah putting on a floor show to attract attention to Obama. All she accomplished is that she made a lot of money for the advertisers. What we have here, folks, is a hall of loosers lining up behind Obama. Some thought needs to go into evaluating the media coverage that thrives on sensationalism at all cost.

    January 30, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  16. Vancouver-Truth

    I think it's good that people are speaking well of Obama. It helps take the "race" issue out of the equation.
    Whatever happens in the media, I hope people will vote for the candidate that is best prepared to take the country forward in a real way – not just an emotional fix. Vice Presidents can do that job.

    January 30, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  17. Will Graves

    I agree 100%, President Carter. Barack Obama inspires me and I can't wait until he is elected President this November.

    January 30, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. Henry

    Mr Carter is not endorsing Mr Obama but his statements clearly show that he's supporting Mr Obama and I think he hopes that Mr Obama will be the Dem's nominee for the general election, it's obvious. he sees Mr Obama as a factor of unity for all the Americans.


    January 30, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. Stacy Clarks, Texas

    OBAMA/EDWARDS 08!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. SecondSage

    Not an endorsement but quite a statement. Carter did the right thing by staying out of it. Whoevers wins has to make Edwards the VP. He ran an admirable campaign. The loser should think about '12 provided the Republicans win.

    January 30, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. D-MT

    So what, who cares what Carter thinks. He made how many good decisions when he was president? This is a lousy opinion from a man who was a lousy president. Obama would be a lousy choice for president. He has no ability to unite party lines when he cannot even show decency to fellow running mates in the same party, how's that for unity. He talks of change, has no experience to deliver it. He gives excuses, whines, whines, whines, talks, talks, talks. Talk is cheap, and judging from his actions during the election being more loyal to delegates and politicians for endorsements than the people that are actually voting I think the guy would be a horrible choice for president. Another all talk and no action kind of guy. His action during the election has to be scrutinized, it may be the closest indicator to what he is really made of since he doesn't have a lot in the way of real experience.

    January 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. john williams san diego, ca.

    who would want the endorsement ot the worst president and even worse ex-president ever..carter is anti-american. He and Bubba should take a long walk to Hades.

    January 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. Lee Halyard

    If this is not an Endorsement, what is it?

    January 30, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. Al, Sacramento Ca

    Rhetorical skills, but can Obama add substance to his position and give us voters an actual plan if he wants to land the White House.

    January 30, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. LDS in SC

    Oh sure, you can fix the spelling for Georgia, but you never did correct yourselves when you left out the most important part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Nice work CNN. Maybe if you try real hard, you might someday be a legitimate news source. I doubt it though.

    January 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
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