Local Politics

Carter pays homage to his mother in new book

Posted May 1, 2008
Updated May 7, 2008

— Lillian Carter had an indomitable spirit. She was outspoken – almost to an extreme, her son says – and she used her talents and abilities to change things she thought were wrong.

"She never did fear criticism or condemnation or even, sometimes, ostracism," former President Jimmy Carter said of his mother in an exclusive WRAL interview promoting his new book, "A Remarkable Mother." (He will sign copies of the book Friday at noon at the Wal-Mart Supercenter at 12873 U.S. 70 Business Highway West in Clayton.)

The 39th president ascribes to her the inspiration for his own life's work of commitment and faith, saying she epitomized what a "superb American citizen ought to be."

"Mother devoted her life to serving people who were downtrodden and scorned and often felt the stigma of gross discrimination," Carter remembered.

She tried to "put into practical application the essence of her Christian faith" – peace, justice, humility, service, forgiveness, compassion and love, Carter said.

Carter, now 83, said it's those values that he has tried to embody as a humanitarian and peace activist, whether he's working with his foundation, the Carter Center, to eradicate "neglected diseases" in third-world countries or is on his personal mission to help bring peace to Israel and Palestine.

A meeting last month in the Middle East with exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal drew criticism and condemnation from both Israel and the United States – which considers the Palestinian political party a terrorist organization.

"I don't strive to be provocative," Carter said. "I do what I think is right. In my subconscious, I do what I think my mama would approve of."

Lillian Carter also spoke out against racial segregation in one of the most conservative areas of south Georgia, Carter said, 30 years before the Civil Rights movement and leaders such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. became famous for their work to end desegregation.

And she'd be delighted today by the Democratic race for the White House, Carter said.

"I think she would be excited, titillated. I think, if asked, if whether either one of them should withdraw from the race, she would say: 'Why? As long as they have a remote chance, stay in,'" Carter said.

"She would not be afraid of seeing this tough contest between two attractive and very competent campaigners," the former president said.

Carter was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win North Carolina. That was in 1976. Bill Clinton came close to carrying the state, but the inability to do so is something that continues to frustrate and puzzle some party leaders.

"It's a race issue. There's no doubt," Carter said. "Ever since Lyndon Johnson became a hero in the Democratic  party for ending racial discrimination, Republicans have been very shrewd in capitalizing on the race issue by different means."

He added, however, that he thinks race is becoming a less important factor than it had been.

"I think there is kind of a reverse tide that was demonstrated by the fact that Georgia, in the primary campaign for the Democratic Party, went overwhelmingly for Obama," he said.


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  • whatelseisnew May 2, 2008


    It is myopic people like yourself that end up putting people like Carter in office. Unfortunately for all of us, we basically have 3 peas in a pod from which to choose.

  • veyor May 2, 2008

    Actually, during Carter's administration interest rates were 18% and inflation was 23%. Of that I am absolutely certain. Our business all but collapsed.

  • nodoginthisfight May 2, 2008

    Third try--- I believe this sweet beloved former president has misspoken (please note sarcasm,and WRAL censorship due to political bias). Had it not been for the republican the 1964 civil rights bill would never have passed. I'm sure the democrats just had a oversight in this matter and people like SEN. Thurmond and Byrd were leading the charge to see this bill pass and just forgot. It is amazing how time clouds history.

  • nbforrest May 2, 2008

    I see you snatched this fool from the front pages.

  • Sopranos Justice May 2, 2008

    unfortuanately, I remember how bad the Carter years were...and if the youngsters knew more, they wouldn't be badmouthing our current slowdown so much...

  • HARDWRKR May 2, 2008

    Since so much negative has already been posted, perhaps I should not add any more, but I cannot help myself. I, too lived through the hard times that he brought on and lost a business and almost lost everything I had worked for all my life. Because of President Jimmy Carter, I will never vote for another Democrat for any office simply because not one Democrat has had the guts to declare him insane and obsessed with himself. If this is what they think is a leader, then I will not offer a single vote to help that way of thinking.

  • APPMAN May 2, 2008

    Carter is a blessing compared to that idiot Bush. You call what he's doing "leading the country?" I think air biscuit has been hit in the head with a few too many biscuits.

  • Sopranos Justice May 2, 2008

    seankelly...do you doubt there were 15% mortgages or just when they were?

    the 15% rates were in early 80's, but the inflationary pressures began in the late 70's


  • seankelly15 May 2, 2008

    OLD PIRATE 2 - Please refresh my memory; perhaps provide some news articles about 20% interest car loans and 16% interest home loans.

  • jsanders May 2, 2008

    Only one Democrat has won the presidency since 1976, and Carter thinks the problem in NC is RACE?