The Corner

Jimmy C. II

After his video and walk-around, Carter was interviewed by Jim Lehrer on PBS. He was very sharp, very fluent — and interesting. (Carter, I mean.) He is much better talking about politics, about which he knows a huge amount, than he is about foreign policy. 

He said that there were still some “holdbacks,” among the Hillary people — interesting word, “holdbacks.” And he made an analogy to 1976. 

The Ford and Reagan people fought bitterly, he remembered. They had a rough convention. And a lot of Reagan people swore that they would never support President Ford. But, over the weeks, they moved to him. And Carter’s big lead shrank. In the end, he won by very little. 

But “I won with a majority, by the way,” Carter said – I thought he might have had in mind Clinton, who won twice with a plurality. 

Carter thinks that the Hillary people will move much more quickly to Obama than the Reagan people moved to Ford (and I agree). 

He was asked whether Obama has enough experience to be president. Carter gave a very crisp, sharp answer — almost as though it had been prepared. He said Obama has had “grassroots experience” in Chicago, some time in the U.S. Senate, etc. And “that’s enough experience — maybe more than governor of Georgia [big grin], maybe more than governor of Arkansas [still grinning], or certainly of Texas [big, big grin].” 

Carter also said that, when he watched Obama’s ballyhooed speech on race, some months ago, he wept, right there in front of his television. Geez. 

Further on, he referred to Obama as “this black boy,” which was rather interesting — who was brought up by “a loving mother and grandparents, and that’s just about all he had.” Quite interesting — seldom does the behavior of Obama’s father get mentioned. The father is just celebrated for being Kenyan. 

A final word, having to do with language: Carter said “reticence” over and over, when he meant “reluctance” (as in, “The Hillary people have been reticent to support Obama up to now”). But that is a widespread American malady.

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