April 13th, 2008
03:55 PM ET
14 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. Wilma ,in Georgia

    Jimmy Carter needs to raise peanuts and sell Billy Beer and leave the rest of the world alone.

    April 13, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |

    Sure it is for the Party, sounds like a commie saying. This is suppose to be for the country, not the "party" you lib idiots, get it right peanut farmer, nobody listens to you or Pugosi anyway.

    April 13, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  3. Independant/Iowa

    That a no-brainer/

    April 13, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. Peter

    In 1976, Gerald Ford carried more states than Jimmy Carter. Does President Carter consider his administration a "serious mistake?"

    In 2008, when totaling the delegates and the popular votes for this Democratic primary and caucus season, does Jimmy Carter think the Democrats should include those from Florida and Michigan? Or would that be a "serious mistake" for this former president who has championed democracy in so many other lands?

    Peter S.

    April 13, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. Mike

    Go Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Carter suprised me (by endorsing NObama), Carter is a smart man, and was a descent President, he simply surrounded himself by stupid people.

    One of those stupid individuals must be advising him now!

    Oh by the way, NObama would simply be stupid, but perhaps surrounding himself by smart people?

    Hillary will win Pa.!!!!!!!

    April 13, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  6. paul, nyc ny

    I agree across the board with what Nancy Pelosi and Pres Carter have said about superdelegates and their vote being reflective of the popular vote. But what they must see is that if Hillary Clinton won the popular vote say in New York then the superdelegates should vote for her. This has been a state by state primary, not a UNITED STATES primary, because if it was then this would have been over a long time ago.

    Basically the votes at the convention should be that of each state. Then allow the superdelegates to vote by the popular vote of their state or district or locale. To say that if Barack won the most popluar votes nationwide than all superdelegates should vote for him is just as wrong as to say the same if it were true for Hillary.

    We vote for a president by popular vote and by delegates. Each candidate wins the state and the one with the most delegates/popular vote wins. In essence, Hillary could come out of this the winner if the delegates vote by their state and not by the leader of the national popular vote.

    Please don't mix it up leaders and others.

    April 13, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. Brian D Alger II

    I'm glad to say Carter knows what he is talking about. The Clinton idea is not to talk to enemies, and after our previous infliction we left them to suffer, now that we're back we need to leave in a way that is diplomatic to the middle east. We have hurt [the nature of creation] so much, and for a nation of freedom, have restricted our [place of ocupancy] last hope in the name of profit. Obama has the only true action that is needed for our [leaving war] entering peace and understanding.

    Brian D Alger II

    April 13, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. Feron

    HR has been going around talking as if Obama said all white people are going to hell or something. The audacity of her after Bill made the following comments:

    "The reason (George H. W. Bush's tactic) works so well now is that you have all these economically insecure white people who are scared to death," Clinton was quoted saying by the Los Angeles Times in September 1991.

    April 13, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  9. you set the stage

    Problem is... Obama is only where he is- slightly ahead- because of the corruption of the DNC and the mistakes of the democratic party leaders.

    The caucus format is flawed and counts the votes of the few over the votes of the many who wanted to but could not vote.

    Not counting Fl and Mi is another pro-Obama ploy. Toss votes that went to his opponent.

    Then the media bias driving his rise to stardom creates momentum and advantage.

    So really... IS HE the people's choice?

    And... is he winning fairly or by being given unfair advantages?

    And is Hillary behind because of her positions on issues or because of the handicaps, sabotage and swiftboating of her campaign?

    April 13, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  10. Steve

    Either he is on the Obama bandwagon or he seems to be a proponent of logic and reason.

    Obama '08

    April 13, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  11. jet

    Jimmy Carter was not a very effective president. He may is a sincere person but not a very decisive one.

    April 13, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  12. Roger

    It's just a flowed system period if Hillary wins the primary in Texas, but ends up getting less delegates because Obama won the caucuses. By the rules, the superdelegates can do whatever they want to do. It's not right for Carter and Pelosi to manipulate the superdelegates like this.

    April 13, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  13. Charles

    No matter how one tries to spin this fact, it is the plain truth. To go against the will of the delegates, and especially if nominating Hillary means going against the popular vote as well, would be more than disaster. It kind of means the democratic process is null and void. How can you claim to be the party representative if the majority of the party didn't vote for you? There is simply no argument that can refute that fact. The claim that Obama is unelectable – a silly claim made by people that simply don't want Obama as the nominee no matter what – is foolish. There are many reasons to throw that claim back your faces but one main one is that so many Clinton supporters say there is more prejudice against a woman candidate than on the black candidate. The fact that Hillary is a woman means she has a harder time of it. That kind of means she's less electable, by your definition. I'm saying nothing against her being a woman as I wanted her as president as much as anyone else until she starrted opening her mouth and I realized she's not her husband and we can't get those golden years back. Obama has run the perfect campaign and has won the people and deserves the vote as a result.

    April 13, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  14. Grif

    You mean Obama!! Why not say so Idiot?? Borack Obama will never see the White House, has his Home... Never. Never. Never..
    Hapana Kabisa. If Obama is chosen by the Dems. Then John McCain will win with a Landslide Victory.... Guaranteed..

    April 13, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  15. OlvrWhit

    Carter, an Obama supporter, should not be meeting with terrorist like Hamas either, but will that stop him..

    April 13, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  16. Sure

    Now Fox News has him saying superdelegates should back whomever they feel can best lead the country regardless of popular vote or pledged delegates.


    April 13, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  17. Pete, Pa

    Never fear to negotiate and always try to make friends.

    Way to go Carter!!

    April 13, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  18. lorraine

    In this case this make sure that each and every voter has their vote counted. A new election should be held in Florida and Michigan

    April 13, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  19. Kent, Illinois

    It will be a Democrat elected this year. If they overturned anything it may not turn out that way. As Democrats, lets just be happy with whomever we get , win the election, and go from there. Carter is a very smart guy and Pelosi knows what she is talking about.

    April 13, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. NoBama

    The only "serious mistake" Carter, you retard, was your four years in the White House.

    Please just shut your trap and go back to lusting after women and seeing space-bunnies on lakes.

    April 13, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  21. California Voter

    Isn't this story a repeat?

    April 13, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  22. Kaya, Houston, Texas

    They better not overturn the candidate leading in pledged delegates and popular vote.

    April 13, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  23. jrzshor

    a really simple solution for the democrazies.

    DO NOT let the superdelegates vote!

    April 13, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  24. Dr. H. Proctor

    . . . "I think it would be very difficult to explain". Jimmy Carter, you a trip.

    Obama 08.

    April 13, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. AA For Change

    As a Republican, I want the democrats to choose Obama.. Hes set himself up for what could be the biggest defeat since McGovern.

    April 13, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
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