Is former President Carter an effective weapon in Mitt Romney's campaign against President Obama?
May 15th, 2012
03:56 PM ET

Is former President Carter an effective weapon in Mitt Romney's campaign against President Obama?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Mitt Romney is hoping Jimmy Carter can help him win the White House.

The likely Republican nominee has been comparing President Barack Obama to the former Democratic president on the campaign trail.

For example, when Romney was asked if he would have approved the bin Laden raid, he answered "even Jimmy Carter would have given that order."

And when talking about the economy, Romney described the Obama White House as "the most anti-small business administration... probably since Carter."

For many, the name alone evokes an incompetent, liberal commander-in-chief and a time of recession, inflation, unemployment, high taxes and gas prices, more government and a sort of national malaise..

And, as Politico points out, by framing yourself as Carter's enemy, you can try to make yourself Ronald Reagan. Brilliant. If it works.

Meanwhile Michael Barone suggests in a column on "Real Clear Politics" that the 2012 election could mirror what happened in the 1980 race between Carter and Reagan. There was a late break away from the incumbent that year.

Jimmy Carter actually led Ronald Reagan in the polls for much of the race. His job rating was kept higher by attempts to free the Iran hostages even though voters were unhappy with the economy and other issues.

But during a debate just days before the election, Reagan famously asked: "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Suddenly the polls took a 10 point shift in Reagan's favor. He won in a landslide.

Barone suggests that despite economic concerns and opposition to Mr. Obama's policies, voters might be keeping his ratings artificially high for fear of rejecting the first black president. They might change their support to Romney at the last minute.

Here’s my question to you: Is former President Carter an effective weapon in Mitt Romney's campaign against President Obama?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

September 16th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Does racism have anything to do with opposition to Pres. Obama?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Former President Jimmy Carter says racism plays a major role in the recent opposition to President Obama. Carter says part of this "intensely demonstrated animosity" is based on the fact that the president is black.

Former President Carter tells "NBC Nightly News" that racism has surfaced in opposition to President Obama.

Carter says that racism is bubbling up among many white people all around the country because they think African-Americans aren't qualified to lead. he calls it "an abominable circumstance."

The former president also says racism was at play in the recent outburst by Republican Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina, who called President Obama a liar. Some say a white president would never be treated this way.

But critics say all this is nonsense. The head of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele says President Carter is "flat-out wrong." Steele, who is black, says the opposition isn't about race, but rather about policy. He calls these charges of racism a distraction by Democrats to shift the debate away from health care reform.

Then there's Rush Limbaugh - he talks about how race rules all in what he calls "Obama's America." The right wing radio host suggests that race is at play in nearly every aspect of society today... including the story of the white kid who got beat up on an Illinois bus by black students.

Limbaugh also says racism is behind the media's treatment of Kanye West after his stunt at the video music awards, which Limbaugh considered relatively mild behavior.

Here’s my question to you: Does racism have anything to do with the opposition to President Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


April 18th, 2008
05:01 PM ET

Appropriate role for former presidents?


Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak meets with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in Cairo on Thursday. Carter also met with top Hamas officials in both Egypt and Syria. (PHOTO CREDIT:AP)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Former President Jimmy Carter has been making waves this week with his trip to the Middle East.

Today, Carter met with an exiled Hamas politician in Damascus, Syria. Earlier this week, he met with two other senior Hamas politicians in Cairo.

Carter's trip drew condemnation from the U.S. and Israeli governments; both consider Hamas a terrorist organization. Carter has said he's not a negotiator, but that he's "just trying to understand different opinions and... provide communications between people who won't communicate with each other." Critics say it's not useful to engage in diplomacy with a group like Hamas, and most Israeli officials have refused to meet with Carter.

His trip raises larger questions about what exactly former presidents should be doing with their time out of office, which could be many years for someone like Bill Clinton or the current President George Bush. In recent years, Clinton teamed up with former President George H.W. Bush to raise money for victims of the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Clinton also has a foundation that deals with issues like HIV/AIDS and climate change, and Carter has donated countless hours to Habitat for Humanity.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has said that if she's elected president, she would make her husband a roaming ambassador to the world to help repair our tattered image abroad.

But is there a line these men who used to hold the highest office in the land shouldn't cross?

Here’s my question to you: What’s the appropriate role for former presidents?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Foreign Policy • Jimmy Carter