Brian Williams, known conservative, does his best to soft-peddle the truth former President Carter is speaking by using mushy phrases that suggest it's not fact, it's just an opinion ("spoke out against what he has seen … we talked about what some see"), and imply it's not widespread ("a certain number of signs and images") and contained to fringe elements of the conservative movement, rather than something in which sitting Republicans and conservative writers and talking heads are engaging ("at last weekend's big Tea Party march on Washington and at other recent events"), and he twice uses "racial" ("a heightened climate of racial and other hate speech … [signs have] featured racial and other violent themes") instead of "racist."
Still and all, it's tough to effectively undermine a statement as blunt and straightforward and uncompromising and unqualified as this: 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.
It's frankly amazing to me that sentiment is even considered controversial, no less debatable.
Williams: This morning in Atlanta, former President Carter spoke up and spoke out against what he has seen emerging in some of the public protests against President Obama. We were in Atlanta to interview President Carter at the Carter Center for air at a later date in connection with his upcoming eighty-fifth birthday. During the interview, we talked about what some see as a heightened climate of racial and other hate speech since the election of President Obama—a certain number of signs and images at last weekend's big Tea Party march on Washington and at other recent events have featured racial and other violent themes, and President Carter today said he is extremely worried by it.
Carter: 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. 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 shared the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans—that racism, in connection, still exists. And I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of a belief from many white people, not just in the South but from around the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It's an abominable circumstance, and grieves me and concerns me very deeply.
Williams: President Carter in Atlanta today. He went on to say that because of President Obama's personal qualities, he will be able to, quote, "triumph over the racist attitude that is the basis for the negative environment that we see so vividly demonstrated in public affairs in recent days." End of quote.