Former Carter pollster and Democratic consultant Pat Caddell tells National Review Online he is “not surprised” that President Obama has poor relations with Caddell’s former boss.
Carter is set to appear this evening on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight. In his last interview with Morgan, he revealed that he has no relationship with President Obama and a clip released in advance of tonight’s broadcast indicates that the two haven’t grown any closer. Asked whether his rapport with the president has improved over the past year, Carter says it’s “about the same.”
In a January 2012 interview, Carter said of Obama, “I met with him early in his administration. We don’t really have any relationship.” He went on to say that he wished he were “closer” to the president.
“I think it’s pretty disappointing but not surprising,” Caddell says. “Obama doesn’t have relationships with anybody.”
Though Obama and former president Bill Clinton were never close they developed a relationship in the months preceding the November election. Despite a lingering bitterness from the 2008 primary campaign, they began to play golf together, and Clinton served as an important surrogate and fundraiser for the president. According to Caddell, this was a political calculation on the president’s part. “He put up with Bill Clinton because he needed him,” he says.
Carter, throughout his presidency, had a warner relationship with his predecessors. “He and Ford became very close friends even though he defeated Ford,” Caddell recalls. “He got along with Nixon okay. Presidents tend to at least have some respect for each other, a respect for the person in the office.”
Caddell argues that the White House’s decision to keep Carter at a distance reflects a broader political strategy: “This is the nature of the Obama administration; it is loyal to no one.”