DENVER — Former president Jimmy Carter called Republican presidential candidate John McCain a "distinguished naval officer," but he said the Arizona senator has been "milking every possible drop of advantage" from his time served as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
Carter spoke Thursday with USA TODAY and Gannett News Service reporters before Barack Obama's acceptance speech to cap off the Democratic National Convention. Carter spoke of Obama's challenges facing the lingering effects of racism in the United States and the ability of the Clintons to bring their supporters over to Obama. He decried Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman's decision to "abandon" the Democrats by speaking at the Republican convention next week.
Carter, however, focused heavily on McCain. He said he was bewildered by McCain's performance at the Saddleback Presidential Forum hosted by pastor and author Rick Warren in Lake Forest, Calif., earlier this month.
Carter said that whether he was asked about religion, domestic or foreign affairs, every answer came back to McCain's 5½ years as a POW.
...Carter also spoke of the segregation he saw growing up and said racism is "always a subtle factor" in American politics. He called this November's election possibly the most "momentous, important" U.S. election in the past 100 years, and he was confident that Obama could overcome the racial divide.
But he said race could ultimately be the deciding factor. http://www.usatoday.com/news/politic...terstitialskip