The Giuliani campaign is clearly reveling in being attacked by none other than Jimmy Carter on CNN last night. Carter – proving once again that he has zero intention of going quietly into the night – called Giuliani “foolish” for his contention the United States should be open to using force against Iran.
By this morning the Giuliani campaign was emailing around choice snippets from Carter’s interview with Wolf Blitzer, under the subject hearing, “In Case You Were Weren’t Clear That Rudy Is The Right Man To Keep Us On Offense In The Terrorists War On Us.”
Clearly, Carter’s barbs (like when he said the GOP contenders are “competing with each other to appeal to the ultra-right-wing, war-mongering element in our country,”) are only music to the ears of the GOP field. Carter acknowledged as much when he declined to tell Blitzer which Republican he fears the most.
“If I condemn one of them, it might escalate him to the top position in the Republican ranks,” Carter said.
As much as the Republicans love (to hate) Carter, the Democratic frontrunners are clearly going to spend the race hating (having to pretend to not hate) him.
Carter told CNN he disagreed with positions taken by Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who have declined to promise to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq over the following four years if elected president next year.
Given the influence of the Israel lobby — the most powerful in the country, according to Carter — he is not convinced that another president would be willing to do what he considers necessary to bring peace to Israel-Palestine.
“Can the next president say that Palestinian rights need to be protected?” he asked. “Can the next president say that settlements in the West Bank are an obstacle to peace? I don’t know.”
With a new, new book out – “Beyond the White House: Waging Peace, Fighting Disease and Building Hope” (Simon & Schuster) – Carter is, by his own admission, on another book tour that feels “like being on the campaign trail.”
The question, down the road, is how will his potential criticism of Clinton and Obama play? It may make them seem trustworthy and mainstream to average Americans, but it may also help galvanize critics in the Democratic base.