And the Obama, Carter comparison saga continues

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Washington, Jan. 31 (ANI): Even before President Barack Obama entered the White House, presidential historians had begun drawing comparisons between him and former President Jimmy Carter.

And the similarities were uncanny.

Carter studied nuclear physics and taught Sunday School. Obama edited the Harvard Law Review and taught constitutional law. Both can flash a million-dollar smile. And both won the Nobel Peace Prize.

"His rhetoric is more like Jimmy Carter's than any other Democratic president in recent memory. He has talked about rejecting the old politics, attacking special interests and lobbyists, wearing his Christian ideals on his sleeve. All of that is very much Carteresque in many ways," The Times quoted Sean Wilentz, a Princeton University historian, as saying.

And now, the latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine, published by The Washington Post Co., takes the comparison even further.

Historian Walter Russell Mead argues both men came to power after exceptionally turbulent times. The Vietnam-Watergate era for Carter. The post-9/11 "war on terror" period for Obama.

"Both Obama and Carter were in some ways visionary idealists. And they're worried about issues like genocide, like poverty, tyranny around the world. And so it becomes very hard: How do you balance a human rights agenda with a kind of live-and-let live agenda?" he said.

"You reach out to Iran and you ask Russia for help, that means that now Putin and Ahmadinejad have the power to either make you look good or look bad. So when you set out to try to reduce tensions with adversaries, you can sometime give hostages to fortune," he added.

However, there are two key differences between the two former presidents.

Obama won the presidency with a much larger margin of victory and thus a greater claim to a mandate from the American people than Carter enjoyed in 1976.

And of course, Obama is only one year into his term, giving him an eternity, in political terms, to write for his presidency a much different ending than Carter's. (ANI)

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