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. Cheryl

    GO Carter!! Help the Americans undecided make the right choice. Obama 2008. Change, better economy, jobs, end of war, is at our fingertips. Dont give the Republicans another 4 years. I fear this so much, the damage the Reps will do???

    January 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  2. JR

    seems like the extreme left just loves Obama.

    January 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. stan pitts pa

    thats right dear sir, Americans see and know a special opportunity when they see one too, obama 08!

    January 30, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. Dianna - Oklahoma

    I am so glad he has done this. He thinks for himself as everyone knows and I am proud of him for putting his two cents in it means alot to me as an Obama supporter and someone who has a great deal of respect for Jimmy Carter.

    January 30, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. david

    thank you cnn/obama network...

    where is your article about obama campaign returning money that he

    received from rezko who was arrested on monday and is now in jail???

    January 30, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  6. BabyGotMac.com

    Bill should listen to President Carters advice. Instead of getting rich and upsetting people, Carter has taken his post-Presidency and turned it into a legacy. He has become more of a statesman now than he was able to be as President.

    January 30, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. david

    I like Jimmy Carter and I am proud that I voted for him in the first presidential election in which I was able to vote, but he's got a history of being slightly off the mark on so very many issues and thinking that Obama is extraordinary is one of them. Rhetoric is not going to solve our problems, either at home or in the World Community. And other than claiming he is "for change", I don't hear much else of substance from Obama.

    January 30, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  8. CDR

    President Carter,

    You have it right. Barack Obama has the ability to revive and heal this Nation.


    January 30, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. Mike Glenn

    I am truly mystified as to why the media continues to pay so much attention to the opinions of Jimmy Carter. Evidently, most people have forgotten what his presidency was like. I, however, most certainly have not.

    During his tenure, the American military was in utter shambles. In international affairs, he was a goldfish in a shark tank. His response to a careening economy was to tell the country to "be satisfied with less."

    Not too long ago, he pronounced (with, I suspect, much relief) the Bush presidency to be the "worst in history." I think I agree with him on that one, but I also think I know who holds Second Place.

    And yet the media still treks to Jimmy Carter's doorstep to reverently sip from the font of his opinions.

    Yup; I'm confused.

    January 30, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. Doris

    Mr. President I will try to be kind sir, since you were the first candidate I ever voted for. You lost. I think you saying that they are running an exordinary campaign is a little odd. And most important was your comment "he will be almost automatically a healing factor in the animosity now that exists." He is the separating factor. All of you are just women haters. You are so afraid of women.

    "Maya Angelou, poet, educator

    "You can write me down in history with hateful, twisted lies, you can tread me in this very dirt, but still, like dust, I'll rise." Clinton 08

    January 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Paul Bermuda Dunes CA

    I have been waiting for a comment from President Carter! He could be a healing force between the Clinton and Obama camps.

    January 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. Terry, El Paso, TX

    President Carter is a man whose advice we should heed. He has been in the office. He has given a lot of thought to what he did right and what he did wrong. He would make an excellent president now – except for his age (81). The job is too demanding and Carter has certainly earned the right to a comfortable life.

    The presidents we have selected since Carter's single term – Reagan, Bush (the good one), Clinton, and Bush (the other one) – have not been such good choices. Reagan had the heart but not the brains. The elder Bush had the experience and the skill, but he just didn't get the "vision thing." Once he was president, he couldn't think of anything to do. He did, however, show us how a war should be fought. Clinton had the brains but not the heart for the job. He thought his job was politics, not governing. Bush the younger has been a miserable flop in all ways.

    (If you voted for Bush the younger, you should reimburse a Democrat for his portion of the national debt. You got us into this mess, and many of us saw it coming. Also, when the government has to raise taxes to pay that debt off, you should pay our portion of the tax increase. Unfortunately, in a democracy there is no penalty for voting stupidly. Your fellow citizens have to suffer with you for your mistake.)

    January 30, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Tracey

    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 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  14. Mary

    Having Jimmy Carter's endorsement is enough for me NOT to vote on O'Bama.

    January 30, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. Brian Tampa, FL

    If Jim Bob and Teddy like him, it gives me pause. Jimmy was by far the worst President of the modern era. He made Clinton and GWB look like Roosevelt and Reagan. The guy was a disaster in office and a quasi-American after he left. His opinion like his Presidency should be taken lightly and soon forgotten.

    January 30, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. GaryO Virginia Beach

    I read that article in the Wall Street Journal. Here's the title ; " Carter Stays Neutral in Race, But Praises Obama's Oratory"

    He praised Obama's oratory. This is the quote in the Wall Street Journal:
    "He has an extraordinary oratory...I think that Obama will be almost automatically a healing factor in the animosity now that exists, that relates to our country and its government."

    Words can be soothing no doubt. But those words will play only a small factor in any healing if they are not backed up by ability, knowledge based on experience, and a reasonable plan of action.

    Obama has his oratory, and that can be a healing factor; but if he cannot quickly back up those words with real ability, then those words are useless.

    So far, Obama has shown us that he knows how to speak in generalities. He knows how to orate and inspire, But how would he deal with specific problems?

    It looks to me like Obama's oratory IS Obama.

    We need a President with substance.

    Vote NO to Obama.

    January 30, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. Tim Sunderland, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

    The hits just keep on coming!!!

    This is another huge feather for Obama. Carter is much respected.

    January 30, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. SR

    OBAMA 08!!!

    January 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. NZ

    It's funny how the media and obama proclaimed that the clintons brought race into the elections. the truth is that it is the media and obama who brought in race. the media and it's lovechild obama were the first to cry race when the issue about LBJ came up and the word fairytale to describe obama's record. Any educated person can see that this in NO WAY conjectured race. It is a distortion by the media and obama that this somehow related to race. and by playing on this, obama was able to win over the votes of black people in SC. Let’s face it....his victory in SC was not a surprise and simply a victory b/c of the black votes (and it's quite sad that these are the same people who seem to forget how much the clintons have done for them). take a look even at the cartoons that are posted by the media....they all make fun of Hillary and there not a single cartoon that pokes at obama....why....with all the hypocracy and immaturity on his part...it's b/c the cartoonists and the media do not want to be portrayed as racists. so obama gets a free ride on everything...I am for affirmative action but my God, we have to draw the line somewhere...the presidency will become a joke...elect the black man with no experience and no definition of his so-called change, just b/c he is black and the media does not want to be labeled as racist. I am so repulsed by the stupidity of the people in the media I don't even want to participate in the general election if obama wins the primary. I am not saying that you don;t say the positive's about the media's lovechild obama, but my GOD!!!!! stop being biased and also report on the negative.....stop the constant insults on Hillary and GROW UP....report on the issues comparatively for both candidates...WE ARE A DEMOCRACY so PLEASE LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You guys have to stop this obamania and be professional journalists that can gain back your credibility. You did the same thing for George W. when he declared war...complete bias against anyone who opposed it.......and I started respecting you again when you woke up and started reporting the truth, but now you again have gone too far with your obsession and awe for obama that you are biased against hillary. Again, please start reporting fairly and let the people decide!!!!!!!

    January 30, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Tolu, Minneapolis, MN

    Not a huge fan of the Carter factor, but well said, Mr. President!

    January 30, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  21. Gail, San Diego, California

    I'm glad Jimmy Carter is only praising Obama.

    Some people could try to twist this, but Jimmy Carter's Information Freedom Act was a great achievement.

    Barack Obama is winning not over the American people, but his PEERS!

    January 30, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. Joann

    What a bunch of crap.

    January 30, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. Lance

    First Kennedy endorses Obama, now Carter speaks well of him. How dare these men speak their opinions. Will the NOW now target Carter for betrayal?

    January 30, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  24. Chris in FL

    hey corey, this wasn't an endorsement. carter just remarked that obama's campaign has been fun to watch. admittedly, it is. but it's not going to get him the nom. don't read into this too much.

    January 30, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  25. Rob Johnson

    Jimmy is trying to be discrete – clearly this is an endorsement for Obama.

    January 30, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
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