Carter Backs Obama, Almost

Ex-president won't endorse, but calls senator 'extraordinary and titillating'
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2008 11:07 AM CST
Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter pose for a portrait during the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Monday, Sept. 10, 2007. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Jimmy Carter came tantalizingly close to endorsing Barack Obama in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, calling the Illinois senator's campaign "extraordinary and titillating for me and my family." While he's officially neutral, the former president and Nobel Prize winner heaped praise on Obama, predicting that he could win southern states that Democrats have written off in the past.

Since leaving the White House in 1981, Carter has avoided party politics, making his lavish praise for the candidate the more surprising. "I think that Obama will be almost automatically a healing factor in the animosity now that exists," Carter said. He also reported a call from Bill Clinton, who Carter said defended himself against criticism that he had injected race into the Democratic contest. Clinton "has said a few things that I think he wishes he hadn't said," Carter noted.