September 16th, 2009
03:29 PM ET

Afternoon Buzz: Is Carter right about racism?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/09/15/carter.obama/art.carter.nbc.jpg]

Ella Perlis
AC360° Associate Producer

We are continuing our series on medical malpractice. Tonight, Randi Kaye profiles a doctor who saved a patient’s life and was sued months later for malpractice. She was cleared of all wrongdoing, but is left with the emotional trauma of the legal proceedings, and a hefty annual bill for malpractice insurance. A recent Harvard study reported that 40% of lawsuits brought against doctors are without merit. How do unfounded lawsuits affect medical treatment and the health care industry overall? We’ll dig deeper on this issue.

President Carter said he believes recent protests against President Obama are “based on racism.” He was asked specifically about Rep. Joe Wilson’s “you lie” outburst, but also said many Americans are demonstrating because they simply do not want an African American president. Do you think President Carter is right to assume that feelings of discontent are based on the President’s skin color? Will anyone who speaks out against President Obama’s policies be accused of being a racist? Is this happening only in the south (Joe Wilson represents South Carolina), or is that a misconception? How do you think President Obama feels about Carter’s statement, and will he address it this Sunday when appears on 5 talk shows, and as a guest on Letterman next Monday?

Michael Steele, the African American chair of the GOP, said President Carter is “flat out wrong,” and accused the Democrats of creating a distraction to take attention away from the health care debate.  Steele also called on President Obama to rebuff Carter’s statement. Rep. Wilson’s son, Alan, also joined the fray to defend his father, calling the allegations “ludicrous.”

Today Sen. Max Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, presented a summary of his long-awaited health care reform bill. It would cost $856 billion over 10 years (but not add to the federal deficit), and mandate insurance coverage for every American. The plan does not include a public option, but does incorporate nonprofit health care cooperatives. After so much hype about the gang of 6 reaching a bipartisan agreement, not 1 of the 3 Republican Senators is backing Baucus’s bill! Are you surprised that they couldn’t see eye to eye?

We are also following up on the investigation into Annie Le’s murder. Police are calling Raymond Clark, a Yale University animal research technician, a “person of interest.” Authorities took DNA samples from Clark when he was in custody Tuesday, but released him today as they continue their search for evidence. Clark lives with his fiancé who also works in the Yale lab. Tonight we'll have more on Le's murder, the cause of death, and new details about Clark.

What else are you following? Let us know and see you at 10 p.m. ET!

Filed under: Ella Perlis • The Buzz
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Katherine, Athens, Georgia

    On a previous comment, to most of which I concur, another Katherine stated:

    "I think people from the south are hyper-sensitive to racism due to the negative history of race relations prominent in that region"

    May I respond to her that we southerners are not hyper-sensitive to racism. We understand it from deep inside the belly of the beast and, as such, are better equipped to recognize the nuances than those who are not so intimately acquainted with this sad and unfortunate mindset that still has a death grip on many people in this country. It is not the blatant racists that are dangerous; we know where they stand immediately and can dismiss their speech. It is the fence-riders who struggle to seem fair-minded and accepting who present the most dangerous affront because they themselves may not even realize just how much their struggle with racist thinking affects everything that they say and do.

    September 17, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  2. Al

    At 61 years of age, African American, marched for civil rights, grew
    up and educated in the segregated south, attended college in
    New York and lived there for 13 years, I have first hand knowledge
    of racism and it's applications. President Carter also knows first
    hand what a racist and racism is. Those expressing fatique at
    the use of the term will never be able to subvert my recognition
    of the practise especially when their protests are filled with
    denegrading symbols. Most don't even know they are the remmnants
    of "jim crow".

    September 17, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  3. Toni

    President Carter should be heralded for taking such a stance, being Southern and white, yet calling a spade a spade. Racism is the very root of the problem, manifesting itself in the various kinds of actions we see being displayed for all the world to see. Although we are in 2009 and nobody wants to admit it (even the White House) it is evident to even the sight-challenged among us.

    Again, this is where prayers come in. Pray for the nation.

    September 17, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  4. Cad

    Anderson, True, racism is out there.(on both sides) I think it's a distraction from the real issues. This President is losing this health care debate. There are many of us that want reform. Just not in the way this administration is going about it. The town hall meetings, the way the left has talked down to these people is terrible. Those are the people who will foot the bill for this.

    Jimmy Carter should stay out of this, bottom line he has done more harm than good.. Roland put the race card up. I knew you would be acting like this 8 months ago when Obama was elected. Roland are you raciest? Looks like you got some hate in you.

    September 17, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  5. Milada

    As a former Alabama southerner (white), I applaud Pres. Carter's willingness to speak the truth. I need go no further than my own family: a mother who turns off the TV whenever a black face appears, who can't stand the idea of a black man in the White House (he must be a communist); siblings who assiduously follow Glen Beck, O'Reilly,etc. These are not rednecks, but people with college degrees. Do they have friends of similar persuasion? You bet!!
    And have you ever heard people of their ilk identify themselves as racist? Never!! (With the exception of my Mom, who states that she is a fair bigot – she hates everybody equally)

    September 17, 2009 at 6:22 am |
  6. Terry, TX

    Jimmy Carter is a moron.....I am sick of Carville, Belago and the rest of them when they losing their strategy ....throw the race card down.....You will silence us with that crappola.....just because people don't agree with the White House Agenda.

    Wilson said "you lie".....he apologized .....it's done. You want talk about white racism.....how about black racism.....in their owns ....and on video... CZAR Van Jones....Rev Wright.....Farakahn....Kanou Kambon...Hank Johnson....on and on

    September 17, 2009 at 4:15 am |
  7. nea

    Why are the Republicans lashing out against Former Pres. Jimmy Carter he is telling the truth as far as i can see it NO! not all that opposes President Obama is racist but some are i wish they would just be honest about it if you dont like the man because he is black just say so then maybe you can be healed from racism, but by denying it will not help anyone. Its ok for the republicans to oppose the president because his views are different from theirs. When they say his bill will increase the deficit its ok to say that and have a honest debate about it but when you agrue against his policies and dont try to offer solutions thats another agurement.Then keep saying NO to everything he proposes that do make me wonder and then have tea party rallies with signs thats not about his policies, but racial tones.

    September 17, 2009 at 3:22 am |
  8. bran o'connell

    Racism is not about color or rac.It is about how you behave .Actlike a civil intelligent human being and you will be treated like one.I ask you,is kanye wests behavior toward a white taylor swift racists?.,I believe so.

    September 17, 2009 at 2:08 am |
  9. Antonio

    I support President Carter and until we recognize the elephant in the room we are always going to have this topic of conversation.

    September 17, 2009 at 1:43 am |
  10. Rudy from St. Louis

    I think he's right on point

    September 16, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  11. concern denver Co

    Carter has lived thru racisum and should know it well when he see it

    September 16, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  12. Marta Luz

    Of course it's racism bubbling over; are you kidding me? I hail President Carter for having the courage to speak out and stand by what he says. I feel much better knowing that what I have felt all along (as far as the way President Obama has been personally treated and attacked) is extremely racist. I live in rural PA and the fear some of these people have around here about having a black president, is scary.

    September 16, 2009 at 10:11 pm |
  13. Annie Kate

    I don't agree with President Carter's remarks on whether these protests are fueled by racism or not. I'm willing to bet there are some people in that crowd that are racially motivated but not the majority. I think most of the protestors just don't want the type of change Obama is trying to deliver and are mad that someone who promised change is not delivering the type of change they wanted.

    On health care – I'm beginning to think there will never be anything agreed on and that the US will continue to be substandard on health care for everyone. It does no good to mandate that you have health insurance when you can't afford it and nothing is done to make insurance more affordable by the majority of the uninsured.

    September 16, 2009 at 9:50 pm |
  14. mscrabbtree5

    I think there is some truth in his statement regarding racism. This is a man that has seen alot throughout his life. I think he would know it when he sees it. The odor of racism smells awful; but it's certainly not fair, in this day and time; to say all white people are racist, that is absurd!

    September 16, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  15. gbree

    If Obama's father was Mexican or Japanese there would none of this birther crap. You bet it's racist! Everything they say about the president you can tell they hesitate to make sure their wording will not be misinterpreted.

    September 16, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  16. Katherine

    I think people from the south are hyper-sensitive to racism due to the negative history of race relations prominent in that region, and I find disrespectful behavior, such as shouting out “You lie”, deplorable no matter who does it from whichever party.

    I appreciate President Obama’s acknowledgment that criticisms of his policies and health care plan proposal are not based on the color of his skin. Also, I agree with his assessment of Kanye West’s unacceptable behavior the other day. Obama does get somethings right sometimes. Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, appears to not get much right at all.

    September 16, 2009 at 8:43 pm |
  17. Joyce

    i believe what former president carter said is true everybody else talked about it behind closed doors, he just brought it out to the public.
    congressman wilson was out of order and he did not respect president obama with that outburst "you lie".
    from the signs many people were holding them up to me is racist saying we want our country back.
    i believe it is only a small minority that is racist because the majority of the white, black, hispanics and other races voted him in office by a landslide that couldn't be disputed.

    September 16, 2009 at 8:39 pm |
  18. trish

    Racism?maybe some but its not all from the south, I've lived in the South all my life and I don't have a bad taste left in my mouth because of RACE, I have a bad taste in my mouth due to arrogance. And what does it teach our Children for ppl to sit on the front lawn and drink beers? Come On Y'all. That sounds like something that would go on at Billy Carter's house. Some of these "changes" that have been bought to the white house are not welcomed changes. We like "class" and dignity and most of all EXPERIENCE. It is Jimmy Carters Opinion that it is racism... OK well its my OPINION that: that ain't what its ALL about!

    September 16, 2009 at 8:29 pm |
  19. Toni Cameron, CANADA

    Hello Anderson: I have to agree with President Carter. Listen to the wise Anderson, he hit the nail on the head! It is obvious to many of us in UR sister country Canada,the undertone,the needless opposition, those carrying the "seed" of hatred will never change. To me it is pure and simple – he is too popular, especially around the world, like no other since JFK and he is BLACK! U yourself, could speak UP Anderson, stop following these racists, condemn them for what they are and STOP fueling the fire.

    September 16, 2009 at 8:24 pm |
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