February 21st, 2013
04:45 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama thanked Carter's grandson, who found '47%' tape

(CNN) – President Barack Obama expressed gratitude last week to former President Jimmy Carter's grandson, who had a role in leaking secretly-recorded video of Mitt Romney's infamous "47%" comments, James Carter said Thursday on CNN.

Obama met James and his cousin, Georgia state Sen. Jason Carter, last week when the president was in Atlanta for a post-State of the Union visit.

"After (Jason) got his picture taken, he told Obama that I was the one that had found the 47% tape," James Carter said on CNN's "The Situation Room."

"Then Obama said, 'Hey, great, get over here.' And then he kind of half-embraced me, I want to say, put his arm around me, and we shook hands. He thanked me for my support, several times," he said.

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In the video, Romney argued at a private fundraiser in Florida that nearly half of Americans were victims "dependent" on the government and would vote for Obama "no matter what."

"There are 47% of people who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you-name-it," Romney said on the tape.

Adding to his argument about entitlement, Romney said his "job is not to worry about those people."

The moment caught on camera is still noted as a major turning point in the race and cited-even by Republicans-as one of the main reasons Romney lost the election. Many potential GOP 2016 contenders have sought to distance themselves from those comments.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, for example, said a week after Election Day that in order for the GOP to be "competitive," it has to "go after 100% of the votes, not 53%. We need to go after every single vote."

James Carter, an opposition researcher, said he found the video online and got the person responsible for the tape in touch with a writer for the left-leaning magazine Mother Jones.

Asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer if the person who filmed the video was a guest or a waiter at the event, Carter said, "It wasn't one of the people who had paid $50,000 to be there. But I'm not going to say anything more than that."

Carter added he had only seen a small portion of the hour-long tape at the time and had no idea it would blow up as much as it did last September.

"I obviously hoped that everything that I found would make a difference," he said. "It ended up being way beyond my wildest dreams."

Carter's grandfather, Jimmy Carter, bragged about his grandson's efforts in a separate interview to air Thursday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

The former president said he thought the video was a "pivotal moment" in the election.

"It was something (Romney) could not deny and it stuck with him for the rest of the election and I think it was a major factor, if not the major factor," he said.

"Carter won Obama the election," Morgan joked.

"I think so," Carter said, laughing.

Carter added he was not at last week's Atlanta event himself, as he was giving his own speech in the same city, but was invited.

Last year, the former president told Morgan that he didn't have much of a relationship with Obama.

Asked if that had changed, Carter said it was "about the same."

"He and I respect each other," he said.

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

– Catch the full interview with Jimmy Carter tonight on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," starting at 9 p.m. ET.

Filed under: Jimmy Carter • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Bob

    Yes, 47% of people were committed to Obama and Obama felt he wasn't interested in the white vote. There you go, the difference between a numbers guy and a ...organizer I guess.

    February 21, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    America also is thankful for Romney being exposed for what he truly is. He even looked down on lower income people that supported and voted for him. Yes my friends we have low income republicans too.

    February 21, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. cbr

    Jimmy Carter seems to have two places on the Ticker. I can imagine him stating that he and the President do not hang out together. Jimmy Carter is very much a man who has made his place in the world through the Carter Center, etc. Mrs. Carter, however, would and should be part of any discussion on mental illness particularly any component discussing the mental state of those who have been involved in these mass shootings. Sometimes we forget the people who have done so much in the past.

    Those won tend to malign President Carter should go back and read about what he was saying and doing. Many problems with energy, etc., were already showing up and we chose to ignore them. We continued to ignore the need to cut back and to be more frugal. The skyrocketing prices are being paid without any hesitation.

    February 21, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    The gop still feels the same way ,but just changed their propaganda message and people in the red hick states are dumb enough to still vote for the gop losers .

    February 21, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. Pete

    Isn't it great when expresidents come to the aid to assist the newer younger ones in Pres.Carter helping Pres.Obama..And with Pres.Carters grandsons info he was able singlehandly to derail the Romney republicans money machine with a term Romney and republicans will never get rid of in we're the "47%ers", but we are proud that we're a part of history that reelected Pres.Obamas the first black American as president of the Unites States..So there republicans so sit back and chew on that nasty fact for a very long time,another screwup in American political history that goes in the republicans column!!

    February 21, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Huck

    @jkane sfl the gop national disgrace party will be swept out like the trash they are in2014 ?

    The gop still feels the same way ,but just changed their propaganda message and people in the red hick states are dumb enough to still vote for the gop losers .

    Wow, you sound just like the racists who used to be describe blacks as stupid and lazy.
    Congratulations Adolf, you are now officially a bigot.

    February 21, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Rick in OP

    Jimmy Carter????
    Spare me please. Four years under Carter was like chinese water torture. I wish him a long life, but please, go away.

    February 21, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Mittens should be thanking him too. Successful plutocrats are eventually dead plutocrats. Ask Robespierre.

    February 21, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. rs

    Mr. Obama likely would have won the election anyway, but the 47% tape was the death knell for Mr. Romney's fact-free campaign. If nothing else it exposed the GOP for being the party for plutocrats (only), working against the interests of the majority of Americans.

    February 21, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    Funny how Dem presidents always seem to go on to do big, charitable, effective works and become universally lvoed the world over and the only people who continue to hate at them are their own GOP/Teatrolls countrymen, eh? And what contributions to worldwide society did Reagan, Bush 1 and Dubya make after holding office?

    February 21, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. MaryM

    The 47% was the final nail in the coffin for the GOP and mitt. Thank you Carters grandson

    February 21, 2013 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  12. n5cte

    The 47% comment was a mistake. It was (is) true, but Obama voters don't like the truth. They will ride the "freebie" bus until it is broken beyond repair.

    February 21, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  13. Buzz

    Carter, you and your grandson make me sick.

    February 21, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  14. Eat Yur Puddin

    Good, now that Florida officials know who violated state laws in taping that, I expect to see charges filed and this criminal arrested, tried and convicted.

    February 21, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  15. Evergreen

    I am sure it was the GOP constantly bashing and ridiculing his grandfather that motivated the grandson to get even. Job well done.

    February 21, 2013 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  16. just sayin

    Mittens should be thanking him too. Successful plutocrats are eventually dead plutocrats. Ask Robespierre.
    violent leftists every where. another reason we need to protect our 2nd amendment rights.

    February 21, 2013 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  17. Name lynn

    When did Jimmy Carter starting talking about 47% wheres his 1% comment. Obama had more votes in the race than roomey 47% roomey lost an obama had the rest. Obama never said nothing about % in the race yet he won the president seat.

    February 21, 2013 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  18. g

    republicans are working very hard to make sure the 47% never get to vote again .

    February 21, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  19. The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....Arming Mentally Unbalanced People to Kill Innocent Children

    With the many insults that have been hurled at President Jimmy Carter by the GOP, including Mitt Robme himself during the election....this was indeed a pivotal moment and the last laugh for Jimmy Carter!!!!

    Mitt Robme will NEVER EVER be president....but yep, he will always remain president Jimmy Carter!!!

    "Carter won Obama the election," and "Obama gave Carter a won election" to laugh at the insulting GOP & Mitt Robme!

    Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! LOL

    February 21, 2013 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. Valentina

    I think Obama will truly be embarrassed by Carter's admission that "Obama ran across the room, embraced [James] and thanked him profusely". And this is the president whom media is trying to portray that he was re-elected because his is this great guy and people like him? Nonsense, Carter's statement just proves that he was re-elected because he ran this dirty and divisive campaign – that's the only reason.

    February 21, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  21. Pkm duster

    Mr carter has done a lot in public service bless his grand son

    February 21, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  22. slowson

    I don't suppose the accurate 47% number is of any concern to posters here. What say you when the number passes 50%? Just who do you think pays for these handouts?

    February 21, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  23. kayla

    i would call the 47% tape MANNA FROM HEAVEN.

    February 21, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  24. sharky

    LOL Carter can thank Obama as Obama has beaten Carter to be the worst President in recent times.

    February 21, 2013 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  25. Ed in ML

    I thought that secretly recording someone was a Federal crime. If someone had done this to Obama, I am almost certain that they would have been arrested and prosecuted. How come Jimmy's grandson gets off Scott free? And if he was willing to break the law to help out Obama win re-election, one wonders what else they are willing to do.

    February 21, 2013 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
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