Former Presidents Clinton and Carter urge Americans to choose Joe Biden over Trump

VIDEO | 04:58
Bill Clinton slams Trump on virus response and makes his case for Biden

Former Presidents Clinton and Carter urged Americans on Tuesday to back Joe Biden for the White House in November, arguing that the Democratic nominee has both the skills and the integrity to get the nation back on track.

Clinton castigated President Trump for his handling of the nation’s crises.

“Donald Trump says we’re leading the world. Well, we are the only major industrial economy to have its unemployment rate triple,” Clinton said. “At a time like this, the Oval Office should be a command center. Instead, it’s a storm center. There’s only chaos. Just one thing never changes — his determination to deny responsibility and shift the blame. The buck never stops there.”

Clinton, 73, made the contrast with Biden, whom he described as a responsible, no-flash, nose-to-the-grindstone leader.


“Our party is united in offering you a very different choice: a go-to-work president. A down-to-earth, get-the-job-done guy,” Clinton said. “A man with a mission: to take responsibility, not shift the blame; concentrate, not distract; unite, not divide. Our choice is Joe Biden.”

See Tuesday’s full lineup for the Democratic National Convention, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, singer John Legend and former President Bill Clinton.

Aug. 18, 2020

Carter, who has been in poor health in recent years and infrequently seen in public, focused on Biden’s rectitude. His wife, Rosalynn, spoke as well in the video played at the virtual convention.

“Joe has the experience, character and decency to bring us together and restore America’s greatness,” the 95-year-old said. “We deserve a person with integrity and judgment, someone who is honest and fair, someone who is committed to what is best for the American people.”

Former President Carter, pictured teaching Sunday school in Plains, Ga., in 2019, called Joe Biden "honest and fair."
Former President Carter, pictured last year, called Joe Biden “a person with integrity and judgment, someone who is honest and fair, someone who is committed to what is best for the American people.”
(Associated Press)

Clinton and Carter are two of three living Democratic presidents, Southerners who rose from humble beginnings in Arkansas and Georgia, respectively, became governors of their home states, and then won dark-horse races to become the Democratic nominees for president.


But their administrations and their lives after their presidencies differ sharply.

Clinton oversaw a rapidly expanding economy alongside personal failures during his two-term tenure. Carter’s one-term tenure was marked by inflation, recession, the energy crisis and the Iran hostage crisis.

Both men have been lauded for their post-presidential charitable work, but Clinton was the glitzier of the pair, hobnobbing with celebrities and giving high-dollar speeches around the world. Carter returned to the modest home in Plains, Ga., that he built in 1961. He taught Sunday school for decades, only stopping recently. The cancer survivor has had several health complications in recent years, including brain surgery in November to relieve pressure from bleeding linked to several falls.

The third living Democratic commander in chief, President Obama, will speak on Wednesday, the third night of the convention.

George W. Bush, the sole living former Republican president, did not attend the Republican National Convention in 2016 when Trump was named the party’s nominee. He did attend Trump’s inauguration but is not expected to appear at the RNC next week.