"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, that he's African-American," Carter told NBC News. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shares the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans."

Carter's contention already CW among a certain segment of Americans (e.g. this Maureen Dowd column). But it's one thing for an NYT columnist to make this accusation; it's another thing for an ex-president. And Carter's charge is now almost certain to become a national topic of debate--which is just the sort of inflammatory debate on race Obama has wisely sought to avoid from the day he launched his presidential candidacy. I suppose Carter just thinks he's lending a helping hand to a Democratic president--there's certainly no indication he bears Obama any of the ill will he harbored toward Bill Clinton--but, really, if he wants to help Obama, he should just shut up.