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September 17th, 2009
08:01 AM ET

Carter again links racism to Obama treatment

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) - Former President Jimmy Carter reiterated Wednesday that he believes racism is an issue for President Obama in trying to lead the country.

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="In Atlanta, Georgia, on Wednesday, Jimmy Carter again linked harsh Obama criticism to racism. "]

"When a radical fringe element of demonstrators and others begin to attack the president of the United States as an animal or as a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler or when they wave signs in the air that said we should have buried Obama with Kennedy, those kinds of things are beyond the bounds," the Democrat who served from 1977-1981 told students at Emory University.

"I think people who are guilty of that kind of personal attack against Obama have been influenced to a major degree by a belief that he should not be president because he happens to be African American.

"It's a racist attitude, and my hope is and my expectation is that in the future both Democratic leaders and Republican leaders will take the initiative in condemning that kind of unprecedented attack on the president of the United States," Carter said. Watch Carter speak at Emory Video

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Filed under: Controversy
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Carroll Nace

    hilroy, you say lay off the President! I was not refering to President Obama! I was refering to Ex-President Carter! And Yes I DID SERVE IN VEITNAM, AND DID 24 YEARS IN THE U S NAVY!

    September 18, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  2. Duane

    When is this spiteful, hate filled anti semite going to finally get over losing re election? I am sick of this junk that anyone who disagrees with the annointed one is a racist. I disagree with most of his policies and I am not a racist. My disagreements and most of those who disagree with him based on issues. I do not believe a public option is the way to go with health care, I think spending like a drunken sailor is wrong. These beliefs do not make me a racist.

    September 18, 2009 at 7:09 pm |
  3. Candace Smith

    I know for a fact because I see it constantly that racism exist still but has gone underground. Emails fly behind the scences. Behind door chats are had. No not every American is racist and I do not believe this problem is just a "Southern Problem" as some would suggest. Former President Carter is right on with what he stated. I would like to believe as alot of people do that racism is a thing of the past but it's ugly head still rises. I have never seen so many people being so rude at town hall (or any public) meetings including the Presidential speach. I know that a lot of these people would not be participating were it not for race. I know that hate breeds hate and that it still exist today. Though I wish it were not true as many people do I cannot deny the fact that it does. I will not stand on a stump and swear there was never a tree there no matter how politically correct it may be.

    September 18, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  4. hilroy

    Even though a black president was elected, there are still a lot of angry young blacks out there with arms and lots of it.

    If these racist ring wingers and their friends, hannitites, rushties,and savigites want to keep playing with fire, are they going to be around to put it out? They are going to run and hide in their radio booths and stations.

    Lay off the president. Congressman John Lewis during the election said some racists are playing with fire, President Carter was right on the race issue, Nancy Palosi was right. We are looking at violence if this continues.

    Ever fought in Vietnam?

    September 18, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  5. Carroll Nace

    Ex-President Carter is the One whom Messed up the Government when He was in Office By giving Deserters and Trators Amnisty to get back in the Country, Because of His Brother Deserted the U S Navy! And by taking away the Military Requirement For holding or being Elected to Government Office!
    Who is he to starrt this thing about Racism, about President Obama?

    September 18, 2009 at 7:22 am |
  6. 62yearoldbusinessman

    Most of the republicans hide it, but joe wilson let it out there for all to see.

    September 17, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
  7. Richard

    Once again! There is a opportunity too remove the 600 lb gorilla. We should start having dialogue on true Racism. The truth about racism is it makes money. Everyone knows counties all over the world,have benefitted by using it as a crutch. The truth, is economies have an vested interest in not disscussiing it. When america uses it's resources or let some else use it;s resources,they receive restitution. They do not want this dialogue because, then they would have to admit, all the fallings and profits of slavery.. They would have to say, had they been the slaves. They were the victims of the America;s Holocuast. Bergered as collateral. Leveraged as a commidity. In many cases destoried as waste. The history taught in schools is a LIE. Those americans that oppose President Obama, WANT THEIR LIE ALIVE and back in place. As for as they are concern this is not open for discussion! Remember this is not perjudice. National health coverage would only help everybody. The nevere of Obama being a president for all the people. Damit we want our country back.

    September 17, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  8. Janet TAYLOR

    Most of what is going on in the Town Hall Meetings and the boisterous demonstrations on the street are racists comments, this has been going on since the Campaign. Anyone, including Mr. Obama and the American people whom haven't noticed the outrageous behaviour and they are also involving their kids; they feel the same or because they just don't care. I resides out of the US and I am terrified of what I am seeing on CNN, MSNBC and especially Fox News. Please Americans stop the hate it looks bad to the rest of the world, you are the leader.

    September 17, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  9. Becky

    Does that mean that Bill Maher, David Letterman and other "broadcasters" are racist against whites because they constantly belittled and called President Bush foul names? Come on people, GROW UP! Talk about the facts and if you don't know what you're talking about...

    September 17, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  10. jay m

    I think these racist radio and TV shows are putting a lot of false information in peoples head, and using scare tactics.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  11. Bridget Hannahan

    Because Americans with "white guilt" see Obama's presidency as the ultimate affirmative action, they see any criticism of him as an indictment of his race. Obama is-first and foremost-the President of the United States, and our country has a long history of openly criticizing our elected officials. It has nothing to do with his race and everything to do with freedom of speech.

    September 17, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  12. Fred dean weaver Oklahoma city, Oklahoma

    America is against Obaba because of race. Reoulican are sayinfg its Obama policy. Obama policy are working great in Oklahoma City. CNN money said stock market is fist to come back, housing next then Jobs. stock market up Home sell up home value up job next. Home sold in Oklahoma City for $65.000 value $63,000. I dont agree with everything Obama has done but result is great. Policy dont count Result dose and Obama result in short 9 month is more then I or America should epect. Any American dont like Obama result on encomy is a racist. Im White male 63 years old and proud what Obama has done so far wityhout Racist America,

    September 17, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  13. Juergen Ernst

    As a German National living permanently in the US as part of a typical American family, I wonder if my children will live to see a better world and if we get over racial and religious issues that still separate us in their lifetime. Let's face it: this country is still deeply devided and the American as such does not really exist. There are many different Americans living in many different Americas; some are white, some black, some yellow, some are incredibly rich and others incredibly poor, unprecedented in the western world, and while the dream lives on, it is pretty much still every man for himself and each ethnic or religious group or whichever lines people are divided by for themselves. We are all so jealously and suspiciously watching each other, building new fences every time one gets torn down. Like many of my neigbors, friends and family in white suburbia, I have used the "N"-word myself although, like most of my friends, I don't use it along racial lines but rather along lines of conduct. If you are acting like a "N", you deserve to be called out and it does not matter what color you are. Unfortunately, a large portion of Americans have not made that distinction yet. Being from Germany, a country with a well known racist history although more than 60 years in the past and well before my own time, people are often very forecoming, assuming that with my background I would certainly not have any objections to their racist remarks and maybe more than many domestic born Americans, I get to hear a lot of those comments. Don't kid yourselves: we are only a few years past 1968 and most Americans alive today are born before that... We all have our prejudices, and I do not believe myself either that we all are the same, and maybe that makes me a bit of a racist as well. If you want to find out if you are a racist, just imagine your daughter dating a black guy and wanting to marry him. If the answer is: no way, guess what! If he is Tiger Woods and your answer changes, there is at least hope for you.

    September 17, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  14. Becky

    I find it hard to relate to these other people. Their hatred toward the conservative view is apparent. It is also apparent that they did not do well in school since most of them cannot even spell correctly. Everyone has a right to have their opinion heard but please, try to do so with decent grammar and spelling. Racism is not the problem here. It is hatred for all those who hold their government accountable for it's actions. Their only reply is to call names and point their fingers at others. Instead of picking up on a few extreme views against Pres. Obama's plans how about listening to the millions of us who could care less what color he is but care about what his political views are and who he surrounds himself with. You are so in love with the idea of a "black" president, that you can't see that he is a "wolf" in sheeps wool. He promises one thing but delivers another. He promises healthcare but really takes away our ability to keep our own healthcare. RESEARCH PEOPLE!!!! THINK FOR YOURSELVES!!! Don't be swayed by good looks and a great personality. God gave you a brain, use it!! I can go anywhere in the country and find prejudiced blacks and whites whether they are Democrat or Republican. Hatred in not a racial thing, It is not a political thing. It is a personal thing. Keep it at home!!! And by the way, President Obama is as much WHITE AS HE IS BLACK. THEREFORE HE IS NOT THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN PRESIDENT. HE IS THE FIRST BI-RACIAL PRESIDENT. So why don't we drop the racial cards and start researching what is really going on and have an intelligent conversation on the topics and not on the stupidity of people and their hatred toward others whether white or black.

    September 17, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  15. Tierra A Phila, PA region

    In my opinion what a lot of people interpret as racism is not always racism. I am not trying to say racism is dead and gone on the contrary it alive and thriving, but usually (especially in the northern states) it’s just hidden better than the ‘60’s which makes us all feel better about the idea of living in a racism free society. This unrealistic ideal isn’t fixing anything. Running from racism & being so quick to judge something as racist is detrimental to our society.

    While I won’t be so quick as to blame Joe Wilson of racism without personally knowing the man I will say that I believe that a lot of the nitpicking done over President Obamas policies by other politician’s democrat or republican IS racially motivated.

    If the majority of the American population wants something isn’t it the job of our policy makers to make it so? I thought that’s why they were in office not to represent their own ideas but to represent the ideas of the american people.

    (polls show that 55%,8599,1913426,00.html -85% [] of Americans & the majority of small business owners want gov’t backed healthcare)

    September 17, 2009 at 10:24 am |
  16. Mark from Boston

    I feel former President Carter's comments are irresponsible. Anyone who knows how delicate the race topic is should know better. It doesn't matter if you're correct, which he was. You'd have to be blind not to realize the Limbaugh's and becks of the world are throwing rocks and hiding their hands to distract The Obama Administration. NOT WORKING! Americans, especially intolerant ones, hate looking in the mirror. Being a former President and from the south, Carter should know this better than anyone.

    As I said when President Obama won the Primary, “Now Obama won’t be able to fart without it being scrutinized in the conservative media.” I’ll leave you with my favorite Yul Brynner quote from the movie Ten Commandments, “Let them rave on that men shall know them mad!” (literally)


    September 17, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  17. kevin

    I, as a black man, salute our president Carter. Seeing President Carter, as an old white man, and a former President during a time when race was much more divisive and less televised, stand before his very own fellow white people and the world and honestly speak the truth. He didn't sugar coat it, and he wasn't accusing anyone. Viewer's and participants of these "tea-parties" and town-halls are not all racist. But they are all skeptics, and enabler's of the sickest behavior displayed at their assembly's. Fox news is racist as any klansman, and Michael Steele is a disgrace to black people that have fought to get him where he is. It saddens me to see other black men down the president on unfair, and unrealistic points. Thanks to CNN, and CSPAN, fair minded and real Americans can make their own judgements, and if some or the majority disagree with the president then at least it can be based on facts and true criticism, not racist rants, and attacks on our color.

    September 17, 2009 at 9:09 am |
  18. ronvan

    President Carter has only said what many have been thinking! President Obama knows this, but will not allow it to get him off track of his agenda! And what good would it bring? We have dealt with racism in this country throughout history. These "people" and those countries that want to destroy us are from the same mold, taught from birth to hate! Hopefully one day, not in my lifetime, this will only be another part of our "negative history".

    September 17, 2009 at 9:05 am |
  19. Geraldine Sparks

    Carter is right. I have never seen so much hate for any President. People are down right rude. Let's face race has a great part in it. So many people like Glen Beck are stirring things up. Racist people think there is going to be a race war. We must stop this now.

    September 17, 2009 at 9:02 am |
  20. Jay Muller

    To allege racism as a motive where it does not exist is in itself racist. To make the charge for "many" when it is may be true of "some" is to tar by association all. It reduces debate and discourse to ad hominem name calling adding only heat without light. and shuts off mature dialog. There are more than enough hot heads on both sides and such remarks only fan the flames. Mr. Carter himself was castigated as "antisemitic" for his book "Peace, Not Apartheid" for advocating civil treatment of Palestinian civilians, his brokering the Camp Davis Accords notwithstanding. It should be possible to disagree on substance respectfully. That's the essence of civility, the essence of civil rights.

    mr. Carter was

    September 17, 2009 at 9:01 am |
  21. Janet Glazier

    President Carter is Correct.It was just something no one was willing to admit publicly until now.
    Now if only we could fix this problem.Probably won't happen.

    September 17, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  22. Richard

    I have been driving back and forth from NY to Austin for the past three months due to my mother having cancer... I would stop at truck stops for breakfast.... and what I saw, not from most truckers buy locals of the area was out of control rasism... the things I heard were freightening... it was like the '60's all over again and someone let the rabid racist out of their cage.... I had Obama sticker on my car and was subjected to single finger waves, verbal abuse and even forced off the road.... I listen to talk radio where people advocated arming and taking over the government touting the second amendment...
    This hate has nothing to do about health care, is about racism...
    all the time their spouting claims of socialism and support the constitution... these are hate mongers fueled by the rabid talk show host on Murdock radio... this is a foreign billionaire steering American politics...I can get international heath care with life, prescription and dental via a US insurer for less if I lived in Europe than what I pay here... just the facts of where the US ranks amoung the world in health care should be enough to incite support for fixing the system....

    September 17, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  23. Elaine

    come on here, some people are using the health care debate to promote racism. when i see people with signs like "idoit is missing in Kenya in the Jungle and its Obama. Former President Jimmy Carter is right and we need not pretend this is not so.

    We need both parties together to step up to the plate and tell the people this is not right.

    seems the right like this because it help their cause, I am from Canada and i have never seen so much disrepect for a President , the tone is there. this is just not about health care. black people have live it and we can only comment on somthing like this.

    when the right comes on CNN and say it not and it will only get worst and smiling about it.......this not good, listen to the people.

    September 17, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  24. patricia

    I think Former President Carter was really out of line by saying racism was involved in the outburst from Mr Wilson. It shows how hard Mr Carter is trying to get media attention on his own and maybe for his polical party by adding comments like he is now saying and adding more "fuel" to a very delicate subject matter that media and activists love to hear about. Besides since when making an objection it is RACIAL, just because someone disagrees doesn't mean it is because that person is racist. I think the racist one is the person who happens to mention it. IT is all political theater and probably by making this comment, Mr Carter it shows the age hasn't brought intelligence and wisdom. I am just a regular citizen ,but IT REALLY bugs me and hurts when ANYTHING THAT HAPPENS THAT IS WRONG AND / OR RUDE THE RACIST Word ALWAYS HAS to come up. AT your age MR Carter , you need to GET OVER IT AND BE A GOOD EXAMPLE TO ALL AMERICANS AND THE WORLD. Yes , your comments was heard around the world!!!

    September 17, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  25. Matt, Washington DC

    Every time someone disagrees with conservatives they’re ostracized. Look at what they did to Colin Powell and Meg Whitman, and they are Republicans. Now they’re attacking former President Carter. They believe the rest of us including Warren Buffett, the richest man in the world, are under some sort of mass delusion simply because we disagree – as if we all enjoyed being screwed by Wall Street then assuming trillions in debt to bail them out. Look idiots, NO ONE EVER said you’re racist SIMPLY because you disagree with the policies of the current administration. So, stop trying to twist and spin what’s not being said. If you stop dealing cards like, ObamaBucks, ObamaCare, BlackFaced Joker Photos, Welfare Thug Comments, Barack The Magic Negro Songs, Obama Monkey T-Shirts with chicken and watermelon maybe people will stop playing them.

    September 17, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  26. Margaret Canniff

    Of course some of the attacks on President Obama are racist – who can look at the depiction of him as an African Witch Doctor and deny that? But most of it I think is the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party which listens to Rush Limbaugh and is trying to "make him fail." What other explanation is there for these Tea Partyers who were silent when Bush and the Republican-dominated Congress ran up their deficits?

    I guess deficits are okay to wage war but not okay to meet the health needs of the people you represent.

    Might I also remind these people – it was a DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT who paid off the deficit and handed over a surplus to the Republican President!!! Give me a break! It's time for people and the media to deal in facts – not opinion.

    September 17, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  27. Bernetta Lewis

    President Carter hit the nail on he head. I'm finally glad the someone finally spoke the truth about whats really going on. President Obama has been disrespected on many levels, especially by those that didn't vote for him and never wanted him to beccome president from the jump. Whats wrong with the American People?Some are at these rallies holding signs saying Go back to Kenya, thats what they use to say back in the day when they would say, go back to Africa n......they are carrying guns when the President is holding meetings; in the name of having the right to bare arms, praying in church the the president dies.I know we have the right to free speech but, some have crossed the line. I would say be careful what you wish, the ditch you digg for others may be the one you fall into yourself.

    September 17, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  28. ken

    Carter is right again. I don't understand why obama and his press secretary gibbs keep saying that none of the people who disagree with him are racists. If people who carry signs saying obama is a monkey , an african tribe leader, a muslim, he was born in africa, and wave the rebel flag are not racists what are they. Why is obama in denial that he is a black man, and why are some of the supporters of the protesters in denial. If you are a racist just admit it. At least the kkk is honest.

    September 17, 2009 at 8:28 am |
  29. Henry

    When asked if you are a racist, folks generally have the decency to deny it. Unless you are a politician from South Carolina, you at least need to deny racism, even if it is just a formality. Let’s start looking for the illegitimate bi-racial child now…

    September 17, 2009 at 8:26 am |
  30. Matt, Washington DC

    You can tell the economy is bad because America’s true colors are showing. (White & Not-White). This is just like the 1930s. It’s like a bad remake of the Twilight Zone episode “Maple Street.” By this time next year, Italian Americans will be fighting with Asian and Spanish Americans, and Homosexuals will be tussling with midgets.

    Contrary to what conservatives believe, people who disagree with them are also afforded an opinion in America; Even former President Carter. So, STOP trying to screw us without kissing us first. Just look at what other countries are saying about us. If you don’t travel like I do, go to the foreign news blogs. Unlike us, they don’t seem to be confused. The southern states are only hurting their tourism industry.

    September 17, 2009 at 8:21 am |
  31. Roberto

    Racism is the ONLY reason. They can't stand a Democrat and on top of that a black one in the White House. God help us.

    September 17, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  32. Jonathan

    Race is being used to distract our focus on the real issues of health care. Sure there is racism in America, and that will always be to some degree. LET’S FOCUS ON OVERHALLING HEALTH CARE!!!!!


    September 17, 2009 at 8:14 am |