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. benvictor

    "Titallating?" Jimmy, did you say titallating? Now, now, let's slow this down a bit. Nice to see you and Teddy, however, in the same camp. I never thought that I would see this day. Actually, this is surreal. I see SNL hopping on this one.

    January 30, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Kevin, Illinois

    I have alot of Respect for Jimmy Carter. He took office during one of the toughest economic times in our nation. Many remember the long lines that the gas stations, and President Carter held the nation together as Iran has held American hostages for 444 days. President Carter is correct. Obama has the ability heal our national divides which has made our nation stagnant for too long. I love Hillary Rodam Clinton, but she will make a better Vice President in these times, and move into the Oval Office after Obama's two terms.

    January 30, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. Tisha Todd, Hampton, Virginia

    Dear BabyGotMac.com

    Please stop relying on 2-3 minute sound bites from the media to determine what Obama's substance is. Have you even gone to his website? It is FULL of substance.

    It is amazing to me that the American people claim they want change and they want to have more money in their pockets, get out of a senseless war, provide Americans with jobs, and our children with healthcare and an education...BUT are willing to support the same-ol-same-ol. And NOTHING screams the same-ol-same-ol more then McCain.

    He has been in Washington since before I was born (I am in my 20's). HE is what is wrong with America (and so is Billary for that matter).

    The ONLY way we can get change is with a new vision.....OBAMA!!

    Obama ' 08

    January 30, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. K. Chan

    Carter's endorsement has no value. Realistically speaking, race is playing an important part in this election. It is demonstrated in South Carolina.

    January 30, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. Phyllis MacDonald Media, Pa

    Former president Carter is s true statesman. He did give Obama credit for his oratory ability and helping to generate interest in the primaries. However, Jimmy carter did NOT endorse Obama.

    Most people remember only the last year of president Carters and forget his many accomplishments, In his final year,1981, he was struggling to get hostages held by Iran free. However, their freedom did take place SHORTLY after he left office.

    In contrast to Obama who has weak experience, Jimmy Carter had strong experience prior to becoming president. He was a 2 term senator, governor of Georgia and a very successful naval career.

    January 30, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. Heart

    As a multi-generational as well as proud lifelong Republican, I have been pretty vehemently opposed to all Democrats, their policies, their bullhorn tactics and more for decades.

    BUT, I can honestly tell you that I've been moved and inspired by Obama.

    If Obama wins the Presidency, I would feel relief that our divisive and hateful politics can finally be put to rest. I would open my mind to opposing views and encourage others in my sphere to do the same so that our country can MOVE ON, to DO better, to re-learn how to LOVE each other and the rest of the world again.

    Hillary CANNOT POSSIBLY bring that change to our country, let alone our world. She and Bill have even divided their own party. That is a strong signal, people, a very strong signal as to the Clinton's capabilities to unite – it is zero!

    January 30, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Cliff CA

    David, I'm wondering why Obama tried to mislead everyone earlier when he said his campaign had returned all the donations from Tony Rezko. That may technically have been correct, but there was more than $100,000 from Rezko's wife and Rezko-linked donors that wasn't returned. Yesterday they announced they had returned, I believe, $60,000 more. Where is the rest of it?

    And when will Obama come clean about the work he did in Illinois (both as an attorney and in his official capacity as State Senator) to help Rezko receive tens of millions of taxpayer dollars in the form of government subsidies?

    I hope CNN will publish this. Pretty often the messages I submit are not posted.

    January 30, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Dave Powell, NY

    Thank God CNN is not sucking up to Hillary for once! Maybe because Wolf Blitzer is not there at the moment ...

    It is very glaring, Hillary hungers for the power too much that she is willing to cause wars, division and separation within families, races, genders, parties, congress and the nation.

    This woman is evil and tricky and needs to be stopped !!!

    God save us from the dictatorship of the Clinton Dynasty !!

    January 30, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. Jusu A. Gow

    Why is everyone turning on Bill because of his suport to his wife campaign? Is it evil to do such? Why aren't you commenting on Oprah's open support to Obama. Even if his (Obama) wife (Michelle) was a heavyweight she would have done the same. It's natural and afterall that's what family is all about.

    Bill Clinton is one of the greatest leaders america has ever produced and to this very date he's still admired at home and abroad for his legacy.

    I can see that most of you are waiting to state his greatness in his eulogy.


    January 30, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. Joann for Hillary!

    So I guess just because Florida does not have any delegates means Hillary's win there means nothing?? I seriously doubt that ALL Floridians know nothing about Obama or Hillary just because they did not campaign there. I think it is a VERY impressive win for her and it was a HUGE turnout for Democratic voters. Just because the DNC took away the delgates does not mean the people of Florida's vote does not matter!! She is still ahead in the polls for many of the states on super Tues, so I think it is FAR from over!

    January 30, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. paul

    david your right

    obama rhetoric is great but where is his substance after the doors close?


    obama is chairman of senate foreign relations subcommittee on europe

    obama has NOT visited the region and he has NOT held one single policy

    oriented hearing since chairman

    great in rhetoric but no substance and we need substance with all the issues

    that we are feeling today in our pocket books and our health care and the war

    January 30, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  12. Nick

    This again reinforces the vision that when more and more people get an opportunity to see, meet and hear OBAMA they will understand his vision. I AM A registered REPULICAN, but plan on changing my registration and vote for OBAMA. He definitely is the one candidate that can unite this county and bring us respectability across the world. No body is perfect and he does not claim to be. He is the first to talk about his weakness and past transgressions very openly with the country and the world to see. That is what you want in your next president. A man of integrity and humility. OBAMA 08 YES WE CAN.

    January 30, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  13. Melvin Banks, Royal Oak, Michigan

    I love Jimmy Carter and Obama. Go, GO, GO, Obama all the way to the white house.

    January 30, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. v.ananthan


    January 30, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. shirley h smith

    I can't understand Jimmy Carter.s statement. Obama is no Dr. Martin Luther King.
    Barack has the image of George W. Bush. Some of our Americans are out of touch with the US as well as the World. Vote Hillary the experienced, former first lady and senator who has what the United States of America needs.

    January 30, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. Robert SS.

    Thank you, President Carter, for your kind words on our future President!!

    God Bless America!

    January 30, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    Regardless of which candidate you support, at least appreciate the sentiment behind President Carter's praise. Please, if you are a Clinton supporter, appreciate the idea that a candidate could heal the divide in this country. Take this idea to heart before perpetuating the divisiveness of this race by making negative comments on behalf of your candidate.

    January 30, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. Zac

    Mr. Carter sees in Obama what many Americans are seeing. Obama has changed the whole campaign game. It's not easy for a "Barack Obama" to destroy the inevitabilty of a Former President's wife unless if he is really good at work he does. Obama makes politics a cool thing and most importantly a truthfull

    January 30, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Chris Portland, OR

    Kerry, Teddy, and Jimmy...

    Sounds like a bunch of washed up, old-time losers from the past.
    What was this talk about the future?

    Also, great job "ONN" not reporting on the fact that RFK's kids endorsed Hillary.

    January 30, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. xtina - chicago IL

    Carter praises Obama for what? What has he done in his short time as a Junior Senator that could possibly be looked at as changing government?

    January 30, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. Dudley Fernandez

    Mr President

    I do not think you should endorse either candidate. Let people make up their own mind about a candidate.

    January 30, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. Summerville, SC

    The only way to get anything on CNN is to praise Obama. This is truly ridiculous. I think my once-favorite network is nothing more than a promotion site for him. It's disgusting.

    January 30, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. DB

    Next time I hear about Rezko, ask your self about Hillary and the people she interacts with. Search for Ron Paul and Clinton. That may be the biggest fraud towards campaign contributions ever. There is a great youtube docuentary video that has a video of her thanking him, then denying she knew him, then asking for money. Slow starter but worth the 10 minutes.

    January 30, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. Beans

    oh, david, get off it–you and others who think CNN is pulling for Obama. As an Obama supporter, I see quite the opposite. I could fly some accusations too. Get off it–you're being too much like Hillary and Bill!

    January 30, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. pd

    For someone who is representing change, Obama sure has a lot of old, old, old guard rallying around him. I wonder why? While I have the deepest respect for Carter as a person, his presidency was an absolute disaster. What was the net result, 12 years of Republican rule. Carter is an idealist that could not make decisions. Kinda reminds me of Obama's let's-put a-committee-together- and- talk about it approach. Remember Obama says"yes we can," but Hillary says "yes we will." Which one do you think will get more done?!!!

    January 30, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32