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The Boston Globe

Opinion

opinion | Jeff Jacoby

The ghosts of Jimmy Carter

On Obama’s weak foreign policy, the comparisons are fair

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. Carter 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 effusive: “James,” the former president e-mailed, “This is extraordinary. Congratulations! Papa.”

The younger Carter wasn’t coy about why he facilitated the leak. He wanted to retaliate, NBC News said, 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.”

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