April 13th, 2008
03:55 PM ET
15 years ago

Carter: Going against popular vote would be 'serious mistake'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/13/art.carter0413.ap.jpg caption="Former President Carter says the popular vote should run in the Democratic nomination race."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Jimmy Carter reiterated the sentiments of many Democratic Party leaders on Sunday by saying that it would be a “serious mistake” for superdelegates to choose the candidate with fewer total delegates.

“I think it would be a very serious mistake for the Democratic Party…if a candidate had the majority of popular votes, the majority of delegates and a majority of states - all three - were the superdelegates to vote contrary to that, I think it would be very difficult to explain,” the former president told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.”

Carter is the latest in a series of prominent Democrats to say that nullifying the popular vote would be a flawed approach. He said that he “basically agreed” with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who on March 15 stated "if the votes of the superdelegates overturn what's happened in the elections, it would be harmful to the Democratic party.”

Heading into the key Pennsylvania primary on April 22, Hillary Clinton trails Barack Obama by 171 pledged delegates. Even well-known supporters of Clinton have declared publicly that she needs to come first in the popular vote to win the nomination.

"I'm a very aggressive supporter of Senator Clinton, but I think you need at least a popular vote,” Gov. Jon Corzine, D-New Jersey, expressed in an interview on April 3. Later that day, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania echoed the governor’s position, saying “she has to be ahead in the popular vote to have any chance at all of getting this nomination."

Though Carter has not officially endorsed a candidate and made no such announcement on Sunday, he hinted last week that he is going to vote for Obama.

"My town, which is home to 625 people, is for Obama, my children and their spouses are pro-Obama. My grandchildren are also pro-Obama… As a superdelegate, I would not disclose who I am rooting for but I leave you to make that guess," he said.

–CNN's Peter Lanier

soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Jazz

    Of course he and Pellosi say thatthey're campaigning for their guy. and if Hillary were in the lead they would say the opposite.The hierarchy can put him over the top but they can't make us vote for him.

    April 13, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. Bryan

    It would also be a big mistake to go to visit Hamas. But oh I forgot you buy into the Obama theory that we should talk to terrorist. The Obama has shown another shallow area in the area of CEO compensation according to Lou Dobbs. He should be ashamed for trying to fool us. Another blunder???

    Hillary or McCain 08

    April 13, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. Sally

    Addition: He was sunning himself on a tropical Island while the 4000th American trooper died in Iraq – did he ever go to iraq? NO, McCain did and Hillary went to Bosnia (regardless of what is being said) SHE WENT IN A TIME OF WAR. This man is VERY dangerous...look out America.

    April 13, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  4. Doug, Florida

    Carter for the first time I am proud of you.

    Go Obama

    April 13, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. marty

    Superdelegates need to vote for who would be the best president. That is Hillary.

    April 13, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  6. Sean

    I wonder if Hillary's wealthiest donors will send Carter a threatening letter like they did to Nancy Pelosi for saying this.

    It's hard for me to concede that Hillary Clinton is "in touch" with th epeople when she actively pushes to have the will of the voters overturned by pledged and super delegates.

    April 13, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  7. Richard

    It would make sense if Carter supports Obama- as both have no problem meeting up with terrorist leaders. It is absolutely ridiculous that Carter is even allowed to meet up with Hamas leadership.

    April 13, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  8. Keith T

    I am a life long democrat. If the candidate with the most popular votes, the most states won and the most delegates is denied the candidacy of the democratic party, I will most certainly vote for John mcCain in the general election. I will also vote against all those I am entitled to vote for who went against the majority leader.

    April 13, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  9. North Carolina

    I would take what you say just a wee bit more seriously, Mr. Carter, if you hadn't gone calling on Hamas.

    April 13, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  10. Democrat

    Didn't Carter lose when he ran for re-election? I wouldn't look to him for advice superdelegates.

    April 13, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  11. Jane

    Former President Jimmy Carter believes Obama should receive the nomination! That's because he knows how to pick a winner!



    April 13, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  12. moses

    When the popular vote is the result of a campaign of illusions, pushed by the liberal media, it is important for the Super Delegates to correct the situation. Super Delegates are suppose to be party elders, mature and unswayed by rhetoric, and looking for the interests of the country.

    April 13, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  13. Sara

    its very possible Clinton will have the popular vote.....what then. Also Im a true democrat but Carter was a awful president...I do remember the 90s where VERY kind to me.....not so much now...how soon people forget and turn to the kool-aid...

    April 13, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  14. G.N. Penley

    Wow! Jimmy Carter makes sense for once. Must have caught him on a good day.

    April 13, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  15. Sue

    this is a man of honor. The DNC better listen to waht he says because it is the truth.

    April 13, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  16. Canadian Neighbour

    The message is very clear. Hillary needs to just 'chill' and move with the the flow. She needs to throw her full support behind Obama in an effort to unite the Democratic party to campaign against the Republicans. This is the only way the party can be successful in November !!

    April 13, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  17. Dan

    The superdelagates should vote for whomever they feel is the best candidate even if it means crossing party lines.

    Even Though the former president is a Nobel Peace Prize holder and active in Habitat for Humanity. Based on his political record I no longer give much consideration to what he has to say

    April 13, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  18. Bill, Covington

    The only serious mistake I see here is Jeemie Carter, and if there is so such thing as evolution then that is the mistake of cerationism or the creator.Have a nice day, and best of luck on electing your rainbow candidate.

    April 13, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  19. john williams san diego, ca.

    do not believe anything jimmy carter says, he is anti-american.

    April 13, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  20. Jackie Bauer

    Jimmah Cahtah is a bitter and senile old man desperately seeking relevance after having a disasterous presidency in every area, but domestic and foreign. Pay no attention to the crazy uncle behind the curtain...

    April 13, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  21. Funny

    Funny... this coming from a guy who was a DISASTER as a president and meeting now with extremist terrorist groups...

    April 13, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. Nathan

    Count the Michigan and Florida delegates and then it certainly would be folly to give the nomination to Obama who would trail in delegates and the popular vote. Funny how there's nothing Democratic about the Democrats.

    April 13, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  23. alice2

    In this instance I agree with Pres Carter and Speaker Pelosi. I don't see how anything else could be seen as a demorcatic vote by the people., as it would be going against the will of the people.

    April 13, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  24. DM. Arlington Texas

    Peace in the world can only be brought about by those who are willing to talk.

    Kudo's to Jimmy Carter.

    April 13, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  25. Susan

    How are we supposed to put stock in what Jimmy Carter says? This is a man who wants to have peace talks with Hamas. For him to think he could trust what they tell him shows his lack of logical thinking.

    April 13, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
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