At a town hall held today at his presidential center, Jimmy Carter stated about Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s speech to Congress last week that:
“I think it’s based on racism. There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president… I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man.”
Mr. Carter believes Wilson’s outburst is part of a trend directed at President Obama:
“Those kind of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care. It’s deeper than that.”
To counter Mr. Carter’s belief, Dick Harpootlian, a former chairman of the Democratic Party in South Carolina and someone who has known Wilson for a long time, stated:
“I think Joe’s conduct was asinine, but I think it would be asinine no matter what the color of the president. I don’t think Joe’s outburst was caused by President Obama being African-American. I think it was caused by no filter being between his brain and his mouth.
“You have a bunch of folks out there looking for some comfort in their racial issues. They have a problem with an African-American president. But was he motivated by that? I don’t think so. I respectfully disagree with President Carter, though it gives validity to racism.”
Here is Mr. Carter speaking on MSNBC:
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