ABC News’ Karen Travers reports:
Atlanta lawyer Jason Carter has a famous last name, a familiar smile and now he has joined the family business.
On “Top Line” today, Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter (D) talked about his successful campaign for a seat in Georgia’s state Senate and his take on the finger pointing over the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Carter, who became the first in his family to win elected office since his grandfather took the White House in 1977, said that he chose to not run on the family name because most people already knew who he was – “that message was going to be carried on its own,” he said – and he did not want it to be the center of his campaign.
“I decided to handle it the way I have my whole life, which was to introduce myself, and then when it comes up, say, ‘Yeah, absolutely. I'm Jimmy Carter's grandson, and I'm really proud of it, and here's how it's impacted my life,’” he said. “The campaign had to be about the future and not about who we were related to.”
Carter said that in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill, there has been too much “political posturing.” He called the criticism of the Obama Administration’s response “opportunism.”
“I think the Republicans who took so much heat when the Bush administration failed to respond appropriately to Katrina have decided to make this issue Obama's Katrina, and I don't think that the comparisons are apt, at all,” he said. “I think that it's looking like a political opportunity for the Republicans, and they're jumping on it. That's my personal opinion.”
“I don't think that President Obama can go plug the leak,” he said when asked about the administration’s response to the spill and BP’s efforts to fix the problem. “I think that that's what has to happen first, and if BP, as they've said, can't do it on their own, then absolutely -- we have to step in and bring all of the resources that we can marshal to bear on the problem.”
Carter noted that politics has changed considerably since his grandfather was out on the campaign trail, but said the former president told him when he got into the business to “work as hard as you can and you always tell the truth, you'll be fine.”
Asked what the future holds for him, Carter demurred from any political predictions and said his focus is on the present.
“I hope to be as good a state senator as I can be, and I have a three-year old and a 16-month old, and so I've got no plans beyond next week, frankly,” he said.
Watch the full interview with Carter HERE .
We also spoke to Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post who said that these days, having a famous last name and a political pedigree is not a guarantee for electoral success.
Cillizza said that it “used to be that if you had a last name that was known in politics, that's three-quarters of the battle” but lately that has changed.
“It's become more of an impediment of late in this political environment, people are so anti-incumbent,” he said.
You can watch our interview with Cillizza, including his take on how the Obama Administration has handled the Gulf oil spill HERE :