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. Harry, NY NY

    Clinton supporters should really hesitate before talking about Rezko. Apparently the memory of the fund raising scandals that haunted the Clinton Administration and Al Gore had to bear as a burden during has been forgotten.

    Before you go holding a sign regarding the Rezko cash, which has already been donated to charity, you should do a quick history of improper donations to the Clinton campaign.

    Let me refresh your memory from earlier in the campaign: Norman Hsu.

    January 30, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. HC

    "In international affairs, he was a goldfish in a shark tank"

    Yes, but one cannot discount the historical importance of Egypt/Israel which he put a lot of capital into.

    All Presidents get coverage if they continue to stay active after their presidency. Some do (like Carter, Bush 1, Clinton) and some dont (Reagan/Ford)

    January 30, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. Attacks by the Establishment on Ron Paul Continue

    Carter was a whimp and part of the establishment problem in Washington and as long as he did what they told him to do he was accepted!

    Enough with the MLK (Michael King crap). African Americans can find someone of much higher character to follow.

    Perhaps General Robert E. Lee or President Jefferson Davis or General Jonathan Stonewall Jackson who built churches for blacks in Virginia and tried to teach religion to them and help them become civilized. The continued racial problems in the Democratic party will definitely lead to a black/white voting pattern the rest of the election season.

    January 30, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. GSJ Cumming, Ga.

    Habitat for Humanity founder (Can't call him President) Jimmy Carter likes Obama. That would make me vote for Hitlerry Clintax. Not. Go GOP!

    January 30, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. sabastian

    Whatever people's opinions are about Jimmy Carter, until they win the Nobel Peace Price, they can shut up. When was the last time a Republican President or Vice President won the Nobel? When? The fact that more than half of Americans (and you know who you are) saw George W. Bush as the most fit to lead the free world, not once, but twice, is a testament to how far we have yet to go as a country...worthy of respect and admiration by the world. As it should be, with Obama, that day has finally arrived.

    January 30, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. Brian from Delaware

    I think the key words made by carter are that Obama "will be almost automatically a healing factor in the animosity now that exists, that relates to our country and its government." This is my main reason for supporting the Obama.

    January 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    America, wake up. There is more at stake here than just being democrat or republican. People like former Pres. Jimmy Carter and other powerful political leaders have been around the world spreading peace and democracy. They know the tone has been set, Obama is the one.

    January 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. Rob

    david January 30, 2008 11:32 am ET

    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???

    Yeah and where is the picture of the Clintons being bed buddies with the same guy during his first reign as president...swear to god you Clinton fanatics will dry and bring up anything to make HIllary look good...gtfoh...

    January 30, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  9. Geh

    If its gonna be between Obama and McCain there will probably be a whole lot of Republicans voting Democrat. Romney is the only one who gives the Republicans or anyone actually any chance at all in saving the country. ,but McCains win does show how dug in the present politicians are in the government, its going to ber hard to ever get a Real Citizen in who REALLY wants to represent the people. Even McCains thumbs up victory signs brings spooking memories of Nixon. Carter God Bless ya, if you had to endorse between Hillary and Obama, not a hard choice there, you picked the right one. Can't understand how you democrates justify slaughtering un-borns, thats a real problem for me.

    January 30, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. seektruth

    Obama 08!
    leadership of new genaration ! leader of unity leader of healing...

    January 30, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. Michael

    Gimme a break, Doris, why don't I just call you a racist for saying your opposition to Obama MUST be based on his race, and not some other issue. Playing that card won't win you this election, and only makes Hillary look weaker.

    January 30, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Bonnie O., Raleigh, NC

    Mr. Carter is right, Mr. Obama is an extraordinary man. For all of you who keep spouting that what he says is rhetoric, do yourself a favor and read "The Audacity of Hope". You will no longer be a doubter. He has what we need to heal and lead this country.

    And to Doris: Since I'm a woman I am certainly not a woman-hater–just a Hillary Clinton skeptic.

    Obama '08!

    January 30, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. Al, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Does anybody listen to anything Jimmy Carter says anymore? However, it is nice to see him NOT support Hillary.

    He was a terrible President, but a good ex-President. For those of you old enough to remember his cartigan sweater and White House fireplace chats reminding American's that they needed to be satisified with less and turn their thermostats down to save fuel. The MISERY INDEX was created during his term which added together the prime rate and inflation rate and at times was 40%...

    His comments over the past several years have not been very well thought out and his book on the Palestine/Israel situation are disastrous.

    January 30, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. Peter R.

    Coming from Jimmy Carter (One of the worse Presidents ever) this should be no surprise that he would praise Obama.!!!

    January 30, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. dmw

    A true liberal. They are usually all talk and this is not a bad thing because they lift the spirit of America. Yet, they usually never get anything done because they are idealists and not realists. This does not surprise me about Carter. I voted for Carter when I was 18 because he made me feel good about myself and the possiblities. I would never vote for that type of person again, in hindsight, because we had it really bad as a country when Carter was President. He did not know how to run the country. When the rubber meets the road, I will go with Hillary over Obama anyday.

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

    You can add CNN to the woman hater list. Wake up women, are go going to "lie" down and have men dictate to us again?????

    January 30, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Texan for a United America

    Now that's a statesman!

    Everybody says Hillary has a plan; Obama has a plan too. The two things Obama gives this nation that Hillary never could are :
    1. hope for a better future
    2. a very real opportunity to unite this country again.

    I am thankful that Carter sees that and spoke up.

    And how could Bill Clinton possibly have been surprised at the backlash America had with his tactics? Because he knows no rules of decency and neither does Hillary.

    January 30, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  18. S Williams


    Those who don't want to vote for Hillary is NOT a hater of all women.

    You don't like Obama.

    Does that make you a racist and a male basher?

    January 30, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  19. Bij- New York

    This just confirms the obivious...Sentor Obama is an extraordinary leader and he'll make an extraordinary president!

    January 30, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. CHERYL


    January 30, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. Apollo

    Jimmy Carter?

    Stagflation Jimmy Carter? Double digit unemployment Jimmy Carter?

    444 Jimmy Carter (Iran invaded us and he cowered.)

    19% interest rates Jimmy Carter?

    ...He did broker Peace in the Mid East....yeah, that worked out very nicely...let the terrorists know that if they kill enough Jews that the US will force Israel to capitulate.

    Jimmy Carter...go grow some peanuts. How's Billy?

    January 30, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. CL

    I like Obama but Carter and Kennedy are awful people. Their endorsement is diminishing my opinion of Obama.

    January 30, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. Fred, Walnut Creek, CA

    I like the old saying that the one good thing about Jimmy Carter that Bill Clinton likes is that Bill Clinton will not go down in history as the worst President of modern times.

    Bill is JUST THE OPPOSITE of Jimmy...Jimmy has been an excellent ex-President while Bill is showing that he was a terrible President AND ex-President.

    Bill needs to go back to Hope, Ark and live out the remainder of his life hitting on young interns.

    He has been pathetic recently in his public appearances.

    January 30, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. Left wing loon

    Carter and all the liberals like him need to diasppear, take a plane ride over to Russia, just leave this country.

    January 30, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. mary Saleh

    Can you all just think a little below the surface . What Jimmy Carter said was that Obama's campagin is extraordinary ,not the man the machine behind him. I agree it is extraordinary or elso how to explain the garnished popularity that he received despite lack of all merit. On the last debate he said he worked for Rezco for 4 hours. After the man was arrested last week it turns out he was a fundraiser for Obama. There is a name for this LIAR UNDECICIVE IGNORANT OF ALL THE MAJOR ISSUES. Everybody is bashing Hillary Clinton but in the last debate she was only responding. Mr Obama started it no matter how hard you deny it. We need to brush off the distractions and look into the sustance of the candidates. America cannot withstand experiments. We need someone with an IQ and set of skills to save our country, leave the charisma and rhetoric for now their time will come in more comfortable phases of our life.

    January 30, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
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