Jeff Jacoby: The Ghosts of Jimmy Carter





Jeff Jacoby is a columnist for The Boston Globe.

One of the more piquant details in the tale of Mitt Romney's damning "47 percent" video is that it was unearthed online by James Earl Carter IV, a grandson and namesake of the 39th president. The self-described "oppo researcher [and] political junkie" told NBC News that he tracked down the person who recorded Romney's remarks at a May fundraiser, then put him in touch with Mother Jones, the left-wing magazine that publicized the video last Monday. Carter's "research assistance" was credited in a terse endnote, but the reaction from his grandfather was more effusive: "James," the former president emailed, "This is extraordinary. Congratulations! Papa."
 
The younger Carter wasn't coy about why he facilitated the leak. "I'm a partisan Democrat," he said. "My motivation is to help Democrats get elected."
 
But it was also personal. According to NBC, he wanted to retaliate against Romney's "frequent attacks on the presidency of his grandfather" -- particularly the suggestion that Barack Obama's faltering foreign policy is Carteresque in its irresolution. "It gets under my skin -- mostly the weakness on the foreign policy stuff," the grandson said. "I just think it's ridiculous. I don't like criticism of my family."
 
Well, who does?..



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