Racism is driving the recent anger-charged criticism of President Barack Obama, ex-president Jimmy Carter has said.
"I think that an overwhelming proportion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, he's African-American," Carter, 84, told NBC television yesterday.
"I live in the South, and I have seen the South come a long way," Carter added.
"But that racism inclination still exists, and I think it has bubbled up to the surface because of a belief among many white people, not just in the South but across the country, that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country."
"It is an abominable circumstance, and grieves me and concerns me deeply," added Carter.
Carter's remarks come after a week in which a Republican lawmaker Joe Wilson shouted "You lie!" at the US president during a speech, and thousands protested against Obama administration policies in Washington.
A series of Democratic lawmakers and political columnists have pointed to the trends -- the heckling, the gun-toting, and the preachers leading congregations in prayers that Obama will die -- and warned of the danger therein.