Fmr. President Carter hints of Obama support

April 3, 2008 6:17:05 PM PDT
Former President Carter wouldn't quite say it, but he left little doubt this week about who he'd like to see in the White House next year. Speaking to local reporters Wednesday on a trip to Nigeria, the former Democratic president noted that Barack Obama had won his home state of Georgia and his hometown of Plains.

"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."

Carter's spokeswoman confirmed the remarks.

Asked about the comments, Hillary Rodham Clinton's communications director, Howard Wolfson, said: "Both Senator Clinton and President Clinton have a great deal of respect for President Carter and have enjoyed their relationship with him over the years. And, obviously, he is free to make whatever decision he thinks is appropriate."

Asked if there was concern that Carter would be regarded as particularly influential, Wolfson said Carter is "clearly a distinguished former leader of our party and is a superdelegate. And I'm sure that people will be interested in the choice that he makes. But no, nothing beyond that."

Carter is one of 13 Georgia Democratic superdelegates - elected officials and party elders who have a vote at the national convention this August in Denver and are free to support the candidate of their choice.

Only three of those have not said who they support: Carter, state Rep. Jim Marshall, and former Rep. Richard Ray, who is president of the Georgia chapter of the AFL-CIO.

Among those who have committed, Obama holds a 7-3 lead.

Carter was in Nigeria for a ceremony celebrating a reduction in Guinea worm disease in West Africa.

------- Associated Press Writer Ann Sanner contributed to this report.