President Jimmy Carter acknowledged the tension between Barack Obama and the Clintons in an interview, but said it added excitement to the Democratic convention and set the stage for last night’s dramatic speeches that ultimately left the Democrats better off.
“I thought Bill Clinton made a perfect speech,” said Carter, speaking to The Observer in the hallway of a downtown Denver hotel. “And I thought Joe Biden did superbly. It was the best night by far. I thought that Bill’s speech was much more total commitment to Obama, even than Hillary’s, and I thought that Hillary’s was a good speech. And I believe it will go a long way toward healing the, you know, competition – it wasn’t an animosity – between Hillary’s supporters and Obama’s.”
Asked if he had sensed that tension in the days and weeks leading up to last night’s speeches, Carter replied, “Oh yeah. I could see it in the Georgia delegation. I’m part of it, I’m a superdelegate. But the tension was there and the allegiance to Hillary was very deep. People had campaigned for her and raised money for her and walked the streets and handed out pamphlets and so forth for her. I know how that feels to win and to lose. And so she needed, and Bill needed, together to reassure their supporters that they were not betraying her interests by casting their lot now totally and completely and enthusiastically for Obama.”