Jimmy Carter Won't Endorse Before Convention

Speaking to ABC News this week, former President Jimmy Carter said he will not endorse a candidate before the Denver National Convention:

"The only thing I know is that, I have not made an endorsement, and don't intend to, until the time of the convention."

He also laid out his view of the superdelegates' role:

Carter said he agreed that superdelegates should not overturn the will of the people but that "any superdelegate who wishes to deviate from that opinion should be perfectly free to do so." He went on to warn that "it would be a very serious mistake for the Democratic Party... if a candidate had the majority of popular votes, the majority of delegates and a majority of states -- all three -- were the superdelegates to vote contrary to that, I think it would be very difficult to explain."

In other words, for Carter, it boils down to a trifecta of:

  • majority of popular vote
  • majority of delegates
  • majority of states

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    I wonder what he thinks supers should do... (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Maria Garcia on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:40:14 AM EST
    ...if all three aren't met? Will it then become 2 out of 3 or will any one point outweigh the others. Even this trifecta scenario is set up to benefit Obama because it leaves out electability, which would require making an independent judgment. It seems that in spite of having given superdelegates a role in the process, the Dems are afraid of allowing them to exercise their own judgment. But that's not surprising since most Dem Party leaders apparently don't like to do that anyway.

    Carter gives them carte blanche: (none / 0) (#36)
    by dotcommodity on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 01:15:12 PM EST
    per that ABC interview he said:
    regardless of the 3 conditions:
    "any superdelegate who wishes to deviate from that opinion should be perfectly free to do so."

    Actually, (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by cmugirl on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:41:37 AM EST
    I think this is good news for Hillary.  In January, Carter said he said the following:

    "Obama's campaign has been extraordinary and titillating for me and my family."


    "We have four children with their spouses, we have eleven grandchildren, four or five of them are married, and all of them, except one, are for Obama."


    "I think that Obama will be almost automatically a healing factor in the animosity now and the distrust that relates to our country and its government."


    But now he says he won't endorse until the convention?? And, the SD's should not overturn the  will of the people by who has the most states, the most delegates, AND the popular vote?  Well, who does think the will of the people should be overturned in that circumstance?  But he didn't say that if there is a split in the delegate count and the popular vote, then only the delegate count matters.

    No, I think this is good news for Hillary.

    Is it terrible of me? (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by stillife on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:24:34 PM EST
    I respect Jimmy Carter, but this

    "Obama's campaign has been extraordinary and titillating for me and my family."

    gave me a giggle.  It reminds me of Tweety's leg tingle.


    I think Carter is proving (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Kathy on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 01:29:12 PM EST
    that he has a strong character--unlike a lot of party elders who have staked out a position, he's taking the tact that he will support the winner, no matter who that is.

    I really respect him (none / 0) (#49)
    by Marvin42 on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 02:36:10 PM EST
    A friend asked what I thought of all the people who have endorsed Obama, and honestly I told him not one of the endorsements mattered to me or gave me pause. The only one that did/will is the one from Carter. I am not commenting on his politics, but I respect him and the work he has done. So there has to be something about his endorsement.

    Doesn't change my mind at the end though.


    Dean (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Step Beyond on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:48:49 AM EST
    So does "time of the convention" mean July 1st like Dean wants or the actual convention?

    I'm saddened but not terribly shocked he didn't mention Florida and Michigan.

    Since I have been out of touch for a few days (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by athyrio on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:53:42 AM EST
    does anyone know the odds of Hillary getting the popular vote majority?

    nearly 100% if you count FL (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by DandyTIger on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 01:19:52 PM EST
    and fully 100% if you count MI in some reasonable way. If you don't count either, then it's probably more like 15% odds. And of course if you don't count either, the dem can't win in November.

    I guess this debunks the idea... (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Universal on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:56:41 AM EST
    ...that Gore and Carter were going to end Clinton's run, then?


    "If" (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by LHinSeattle on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:57:31 AM EST
    a candidate gets the most: popular vote, delegates, states, then it would be hard to explain a SD voting against those.

    Otherwise, they are free to do whatever. Leaves lots of room for SDs.

    My $0.02 worth on what he said. Tho I think Jimmy Carter has been far more inspiring out of office than in office, and I take his wisdom as a campaigner with more than one grain of salt.

    Does Carter's trifecta (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by stillife on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:03:26 PM EST
    include MI and FL?

    The "trifecta" benefits Clinton (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by dianem on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:09:51 PM EST
    Carter is saying that if a candidate doesn't have a popular vote majority, then superdelegates have an out. Truthfully, if Obama has more delegates and the popular vote then I think it will be very hard to convince superdelegates to support Clinton.  The number of states, imo, is irrelevant. It's un-Democratic that a small state should be given as much power as a larger one.

    if hillary is polling higher (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by TheRefugee on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:18:11 PM EST
    than Obama in head to heads against McCain in swing states the SD's have an out.  All this crap about delegates and popular vote is fine but the way I'll be pissed is if the polls show Obama behind in a lot of swing states and the sd's still swing his way.

    The converse of the Bradley effect (5.00 / 4) (#23)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:22:30 PM EST
    Truth be told, the SDs, I don't trust them.  Good ole liberals they are will make the mistake of doing the PC vote, not the politically smart vote.  So, I am not counting on them.  It will be hard to publicly vote against the first black candidate.  If it was a secret vote they would.  Sorry, but I call it as I see it.  They will get bashed if they vote against him and accused of being racist if Hillary loses the GE.  I tell you they are in a pickle.  

    Even in a secret vote (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by stillife on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:27:34 PM EST
    I think they're afraid of Obama supporters rioting in the streets of Denver.  Women and low-information voters, on the other hand, are more easily pacified, or so they tell themselves.

    Sorry but (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:19:12 PM EST
    On political advice, I will follow the ex two term Dem winning president.  I know...I know Gore won, but.  He did not win did he now?  

    So, should I listen to their advice?  I love both of them dearly.  But, give me the fighting Clintons any day.  

    Majority of states (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by zebedee on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:25:03 PM EST
    An easy way to detect the agenda of so-called "neutrals' or non-endorsers (like Carter and Pelosi, maybe even Brazile) is if they bring up the majority of states as a yardstick. Has this ever been relevant? CA counts the same as WY? If so, we are doomed. Bush beat Gore 30 states to 20 having lost the pop vote.

    And BTW, what's wrong the EV yardstick? Using the same one as the real election, the GE, makes a lot of sense.

    Majority of states a silly argument (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:28:15 PM EST
    that does not matter, unless and until we amend the Constitution.  And a constitutional law "prof" like Obama ought to know it.

    Yes (none / 0) (#34)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 01:09:44 PM EST
    I'm pretty sure Republicans frequently win the majority of states in a general election, even when they lose the election.  Should majority of states count in a GE too?

    Majority of States (none / 0) (#35)
    by BDB on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 01:12:36 PM EST
    I hope they aren't going to use that metric in the general election.  Even if you give Florida to Gore, Bush still won 28 states.  Unless, of  course, Carter agrees with Bush v. Gore.

    It's better than just Bush v. Gore (none / 0) (#48)
    by joc on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 02:12:04 PM EST
    Ford beats Carter if you use that metric:

    Ford won 27.
    Carter won 23.


    Jimmie Carter talks about Obama (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by hairspray on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 01:06:13 PM EST
    as the candidate to heal the divisions in this country.  If that is what the foggy heads of the Democratic establishement are thinking, then I think this is the wrong premise. The GOP today is full of mean and nasty politicians whose sole purpose is to destroy the "liberals" and their  "socialistic ideas." The destruction of Bill Clinton was all about that. But make no mistake it was not about Bill it was about destroying the progressive movement in this country. Obama will not be spared any of this viciousness no matter how nice he makes.  Thinking otherwise if folly.

    But Jimmy Carter will Endorse . . . (1.00 / 1) (#42)
    by daryl herbert on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 01:39:28 PM EST
    HAMAS.  He's meeting with them despite that both the Clinton and Obama campaigns have asked him not to.

    He's meeting with them despite that their organizational document (the HAMAS Charter) calls for a world-wide extermination of Jewish people in order to bring about religious end times.

    Remember 1980?  Sen. Obama is following the Jimmy Carter script.  If Carter endorses Obama, it will only remind people of that disaster.  If Carter endorses Clinton, it will show that Carter thinks his mini-me (Obama) is unelectable.

    Stop Lying (5.00 / 2) (#46)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 01:59:51 PM EST
    And repeating OT GOP talking points here. Carter is not endorsing Hamas. He is doing what 63% of Israelies, and several Israeli leaders believe is the right thing to do, which is start open dialogue with Hamas.

    Not So Fast (none / 0) (#52)
    by daryl herbert on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 07:35:01 PM EST
    Shimon Peres, former Prime Minister of Israel for the Labor party, said today that Jimmy Carter has done grave damage to Israel, and to the peace process, and that Carter's meeting with HAMAS is a terrible mistake.

    According to the poll you've mentioned, 64% of Israelis want their own government--not Jimmy Carter--to negotiate directly with HAMAS regarding the return of Gilad Shalit and a ceasefire.

    Israelis from the right and left don't want Jimmy Carter flying in for a propaganda photo op.

    The next president of the United States doesn't want Jimmy Carter flying in for a propaganda photo op.  (All three presidential campaigns told Carter not to go.)

    Shimon Peres is the man who became PM after Rabin was assassinated.  He's the man who tried desperately to make the peace process work, while it was being undermined by HAMAS and Arafat/Fatah. He's a liberal.  He knows something about the peace process.  When he condemns Jimmy Carter, that's not right-wing talking points.


    Your Points Are (none / 0) (#53)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 08:46:05 PM EST
    Right Wing talking points. Let the talks begin.

    That is bad news (none / 0) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:29:43 AM EST
    for Clinton. It would HELP her if Carter endorsed Obama.

    I admire Jimmy carter but he is political poison.

    Carter Had Already Essentially Endorsed Obama (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by BDB on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:36:15 AM EST
    Here's what he said earlier in the month, while declining to say how he'd vote as an SD:

    "My children and their spouses are pro-Obama. My grandchildren are also pro-Obama," he said at a news conference, according to the Nigerian newspaper This Day. "As a superdelegate, I would not disclose who I am rooting for, but I leave you to make that guess."

    So either he's pretending to be neutral or, for some reason, is having second thoughts about Obama.


    I think you're right that he's poison (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:37:46 AM EST
    but frankly, I don't much like him myself.

    He Has Admitted (none / 0) (#11)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:43:30 AM EST
    That his endorsement would harm Obama, and that is why he is not giving it until after the convention.

    Which I thought was funny (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by standingup on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:30:20 PM EST
    because how much more of an endorsement do you need to say Carter is backing Obama in the primary?

    Also (none / 0) (#37)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 01:16:46 PM EST
    The comments were made in Nigeria. One thing he did say, which speaks to lessons learned, is that no Dem is going to repeat the same mistake Kennedy made by not shaking his hand after losing to him  2-1.

    The underdog will support the winner no matter what. Obviously this has been discussed.


    The Scotsman says Gore and Clinton (none / 0) (#2)
    by AdrianLesher on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:29:56 AM EST
    plan to pressure Clinton to bow out. I wonder who is correct.

    Obviously not Carter (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Stellaaa on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:32:16 AM EST
    cause he said this today.  The Scotsman is cause Kos said.

    We are at war with Asia. We have always been (none / 0) (#39)
    by dotcommodity on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 01:17:52 PM EST
    at war with Asia...

    obviously Carter (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:34:40 AM EST
    You can take his own words or you can take an unnamed source for a reporter from a Scottish newspaper.

    I Thought It Was Hype (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:46:54 AM EST
    But then again, what the Scottsman article said and what Carter said are not mutually exclusive. IOW asking Clinton to bow out, is a somewhat different act than officially endorsing Obama.

    The Scotsman article suggested... (none / 0) (#18)
    by dianem on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:05:53 PM EST
    ...that Carter and Gore would both come forward and endorse Obama in order to force Clinton out of the race. Carter has made it clear that this is not a possibility.

    Scotman article had facts wrong (5.00 / 1) (#26)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:25:17 PM EST
    and is from a reporter "clinging" to the coast, in New York, far from the hinterlands where the most recent Obama misstep still is taking effect.  All this hand-wringing is way too soon, trying to stop the process before super-delegates can see what will happen.  And that is their task -- not looking back and being held by what happened months ago in atypical states and in caucuses but trying to figure out what will happen in the general election in fall.

    Way Too Soon? (none / 0) (#27)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:27:25 PM EST
    At the soonest the conversation will happen after PA. Nothing in the article suggested any time sooner.

    A day can be like a lifetime (none / 0) (#30)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:29:22 PM EST
    in politics, as we have seen this week.  It's way too soon.

    But (none / 0) (#20)
    by squeaky on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:17:56 PM EST
    The Scotsman said that it would only happen if Clinton loses Pennsylvania or wins by a small margin. Also the supposed "conversation" would most likely be in private. I do not see how that is mutually exclusive of the fact that Carter will not officially endorse until after the Convention.

    Many will urge Clinton to drop out if she does not win PA with big numbers.


    Gore (none / 0) (#32)
    by Step Beyond on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 12:59:15 PM EST
    But do you actually think Gore would be involved? He seems pretty determined to stay out of politics lest his important message be lost in politics. I just see no advantage to him or even reason why he would agree to this.

    Especially since no matter who asks, Clinton alone decides when to end her campaign. So just because Carter and Gore would ask, doesn't mean it would change anything. And just the act could further split a divided party as it could be painted that party leaders are once again trying to pressure Clinton to quit when Obama hasn't actually won.

    I just don't think this seems likely.


    Heh (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:36:01 AM EST
    The Scotsman (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 11:38:44 AM EST
    is the newspaper that published Samantha Powers "monster" description of Clinton. Are they tabloid or are they more likely to tell the truth?

    Did Carter decide not to endorse AFTER the Obama Pennsylvania gaffe, or after talking to Gore?

    The voting rights activist Carter and the railroaded-in-Florida Gore have both been completely silent on Michigan and Florida.  They are both partisan politicians first and foremost.  Who knows what they would do.  It doesn't matter what they say, their actions are unpredictable.


    I read that (none / 0) (#43)
    by Andy08 on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 01:47:22 PM EST
    article too; citing "Carter aides" as the source for their claims that Carter and Gore and in conversations to abort Clinton's run. Which is why I wonder why are his aides spreading these rumors on the one hand and Carter himself is making this type of claims on the other?

    majority of states? (none / 0) (#38)
    by DandyTIger on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 01:17:43 PM EST
    That's just the silliest thing I've ever heard. That alone makes what he says suspect.

    What does Carter think of Michigan and Florida? (none / 0) (#45)
    by g8grl on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 01:57:24 PM EST
    Do the popular vote totals include those numbers even without a revote?  What about the delegate totals, is it absolute?  What if one candidate is down by only five? ten?  fifteen?  Even if Carter doesn't endorse before the convention, will he weigh in on whether Florida and Michigan should be counted, whether Obama should benefit from obstructionism?  Carter needs to say more or stop saying anything.

    Population of 19 states=Pop. of FL & MI (none / 0) (#50)
    by Exeter on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 03:20:37 PM EST
    That's right, the total population of Michigan and Florida equals the total population of 19 smaller states.

    So, who really cares about states?

    Carter said Ted Kennedy wouldn't shake his hand! (none / 0) (#51)
    by dazedreamer52 on Sun Apr 13, 2008 at 04:00:15 PM EST
    Jimmy Carter reminded everyone that bitter Ted Kennedy wouldn't shake his hand at the 1980 democratic convention.
    you can hear the audio at:

    http://inewstube.com/smm/ carter_...ke_my_hand.html