Jimmy Carter on Clinton's 'Uncomfortable' Path to the Nomination

Jimmy Carter is still on his book tour, and still hinting at support for Barack Obama without saying it directly.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer taped for The Situation Room, Carter said that if superdelegates overturn what is nearly certain to be a majority of pledged delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Denver (the only way Hillary Clinton can win at this point), it would be "uncomfortable." Carter, while admitting to having a favorite, still refuses to say who he voted for in the primary, or who he plans to support at the convention.

Carter is one of the Democratic Party elders, along with Al Gore, who could conceivably play a role in tipping the nominating process towards one candidate by weighing in at some point. In Carter’s case, at least, that candidate would probably be Obama. (Carter previously told a Nigerian newspaper, "My children and their spouses are pro-Obama. My grandchildren are also pro-Obama.")

Here’s the transcript of the exchange, sent over by the CNN:

BLITZER: Well, what if Hillary Clinton gets the nomination because of the super-delegates, not because of the pledged delegates? Don’t you think that Obama’s supporters, whether young people, African-Americans, will see that as stealing the nomination, in effect?

 

CARTER: I think a lot of those people that you just mentioned who have not ordinarily been deeply involved in the political campaign might very well refrain from going to the polls. I don’t think they are going to go out and vote for John McCain, but I think they might very well not be enthusiastic if that should happen.

But I can’t imagine a candidate — I won’t say which one — getting a majority of the delegates and then having the super-delegates go the other way. That would be almost…

BLITZER: Because it looks almost certainly as, irrespective of what happens in the remaining nine contests, that Barack Obama will emerge with the most pledged delegates, the super-delegates that will be the decisive factor.

CARTER: That’s true. But, you know, the Democratic primary and the Republican primary both is set up to deal with delegates, not popular votes, not the number of states you carry and that sort of thing; it’s just delegates only. And so, it would be very, I think, uncomfortable to see the super-delegates go contrary to the way that Democratic voters…

BLITZER: But they’re entitled to them. If they want…

CARTER: That’s right, they are entitled.

BLITZER: If they think that one candidate is more electable or would be a better president…

CARTER: Right.

BLITZER: They created that rule precisely to go against the pledged delegates if necessary.

CARTER: And it was cleared after the 1980 election…

BLITZER: After your experience.

CARTER: … when I…

BLITZER: So you know a lot about the history of why they came up these super-delegates.

CARTER: I certainly remember very well.

BLITZER: So, they’re entitled to do it. What, in your opinion, would be more important as a super-delegate — who has the most pledged or elected delegates, or who has more of the popular vote in all of these 50-plus contests?

CARTER: The pledged delegates, because that’s a whole rule. I mean, there’s no rule at all that says the popular vote gets the nomination. The rules of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party only refer to the delegates.

BLITZER: So that — someone argued, having heard what you just said, that’s code for Barack Obama.

CARTER: Not necessarily. He hasn’t got the majority of delegates.

BLITZER: But he’s almost certainly going to get the most pledged delegates.

CARTER: Well, I don’t know yet. They’ve got nine more states to go.