News / USA

    Jimmy Carter: Negative Political Ads are Dividing the Nation

    Former President Jimmy Carter speaks at a ceremony at the Carter Center in Atlanta, October 2010. (file photo)
    Former President Jimmy Carter speaks at a ceremony at the Carter Center in Atlanta, October 2010. (file photo)

    As presidential contenders campaign for the Republican Party nomination, advertising that supports or attacks each of the candidates is already costing millions of dollars. In an interview former President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat who defeated Republican President Gerald Ford in the 1976 election, but who lost to Republican Ronald Reagan in 1980, says negative advertising is polarizing American politics.

    Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich promoted his plan to run a campaign free of negative attack ads in the run-up to the January 3 Iowa caucuses. “Our ads have been positive; the speeches have been positive.  You have a chance tonight to send a signal to America that the consultant driven, viciously negative campaigns are totally wrong for this year when America is in these kinds of problems,” Gingrish said.

    But negative advertising sponsored by a political action committee that supported Gingrich’s rival, Mitt Romney, helped influence voters in Iowa.  “Newt has a ton of baggage.  He was fined $300,000 for [House of Representatives] ethics violations and took $1.6 million from [mortgage] Freddie Mac before it helped cause the economic meltdown," said one ad.

    Gingrich placed fourth in the Iowa caucuses.  

    His campaign changed for the South Carolina primary election, and began negative attacks on his main rival, Romney.

    “Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney.  He can’t be trusted.
    I’m Newt Gingrich, and I approve this message.”

    Millions of dollars are flooding into Florida ahead of that state's Republican primary for similar ads, as the Republican presidential hopefuls and the political action committees, or PACs, that support them, fight for the lead in the party's nomination.

    Former President Jimmy Carter says it is a very different atmosphere from the campaigns of 1976 and 1980.

    “When I ran against Gerald Ford, who was an incumbent president, and later when Ronald Reagan ran against me, as the Governor of California, we never had any dream of having negative advertisements.  We would just refer to each other as "my distinguished opponent," and that's all,” Mr. Carter said.

    Mr. Carter says much of the money he spent on his campaign for the presidency in 1976 came from a general fund of taxpayer contributions of one dollar each, based on a voluntary election on annual income tax forms.

    “This massive injection of millions and millions -- hundreds of millions of dollars -- and the spending of a lot of that money on a negative campaign to destroy the reputation and character of our opponents is what has divided our country.  That division takes place not only in the congressional district or in a state, but it carries over into Washington.  It also permeates, I think, the general society, where you have very rigid, now, blue states and red states, [i.e., Democrat and Republican leaning states] which we didn't really know when I was in politics,” Mr. Carter said.

    Although Republican President Gerald Ford was defeated by Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1976, the two men overcame their differences.

    In his Inaugural address in January 1977, President Carter thanked Gerald Ford for helping heal the nation in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

    Mr. Carter says from that moment, the two men formed a bond that was the closest of any two presidents in U.S. history.

    “When I was with Jerry Ford and we were riding somewhere together in the same car, we always hated to get where we were going because we just liked to be with each other.  I think that's a kind of a personal relationship that used to exist, even among senators who are Democrats and Republicans, and members of the House [of Representatives] 25 years ago.  It no longer exists.  And there's an incompatibility and an animosity,” Mr. Carter said.

    Mr. Carter says he and former President Ford attended library dedications side by side and took part in post-presidential events together.  They also participated in an reform commission that addressed the irregularities of the 2000 general election.

    Then, in 2006, an ailing Gerald Ford made one last telephone call to his friend . . .“ and asked me if I would give the eulogy at his funeral.  I was kind of taken aback, so I said, 'Jerry, I'll do it on one condition -- that you give the eulogy at my funeral,' and so we made an agreement,” Mr. Carter said.

    Former President Carter lived up to his end of that agreement on January 3, 2007, when he delivered the eulogy at former President Gerald Ford’s funeral service in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Mr. Ford’s hometown.


    Kane Farabaugh

    Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora