Earlier today the Obama campaign announced that Jimmy Carter would address the Democratic National Committee via video feed.
The speech will be in prime time, and marks something of both a step up and a step down for the former president. In 2008, he attended the convention but did not speak. In 2004, he spoke on the first night, and in 2000, he was likewise honored on the first night as the only living Democratic ex-president. In 1996, Mr. Carter got a late invitation for a speaking slot after a temporary detente was called in his tumultuous relationship with President Bill Clinton.
This year’s appearance however brought considerable jeers from the GOP.
“When President Obama picked President Carter to give a primetime address at this year’s Democratic Convention, he couldn’t have picked a more appropriate surrogate,” said Ryan Williams, a Romney campaign spokesman in release entitled, MALAISE TAKES CENTER STATE AT OBAMA’S CONVENTION. “From high unemployment to a broken deficit pledge, both presidents disappointed the nation by failing to get the economy back on track. ”
The release goes on to note that under both presidents unemployment rose, the deficit widened, gas prices skyrocketed, and indeed the ghost of Jimmy Carter has haunted Democratic candidates since 1980 as a symbol for ineffective wishy-washiness that voters tire off after a while.
Of course, the GOP has their own past president problem–neither George W. Bush nor George H.W. Bush will be appearing at the Republican Convention in Tampa.