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. Unreal

    The sad part is – The POTUS needed to use this tape and misrepresent it and play it daily instead of running on his achievements and ability to lead and unite a country and a Congress. Anyone that is not a far left party knew that the tape was 47% of voters that no matter what was said, what was promised, what was truth....They would not change their vote – because when you are being hand fed – you dont bite the hand that feeds you. The Democrats wont the popular vote by I believe 2% – that is with the POTUS winning 99% of the black vote. -- Think about this – in 2016 – you think the black vote is going to come out in strong numbers for a non-black candidate? - this is not racist for those of you that will use that mantra to hide the truth....you should all really think about that in the upcoming election in a few years...

    February 21, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  2. Bill Clay

    Say what you will about Jimmy Carter's presidency, but he was the only President who never lied to us. He was an honest man who always told us the truth, good or bad.

    February 21, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
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