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WASHINGTON – The White House says President Barack Obama doesn’t believe he’s being criticized because of his race. Spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday that Obama — the nation’s first black president — doesn’t think that criticism of his policies is “based on the color of his skin.”

Gibbs was asked about the topic following comments on Tuesday by former President Jimmy Carter. Gibbs says some people have disagreements with some of Obama’s decisions but that those concerns were not because of his race.

On Tuesday, Carter said Tuesday that Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst to President Obama during a speech to Congress last week was an act “based on racism” and rooted in fears of a black president.

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[10:04 a.m. 9/16/2009]

Former President Jimmy Carter says Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst to President Barack Obama last week was an act “based on racism.” Carter called Wilson’s comment “dastardly” and part of an “inherent feeling” held by some in this country who feel that a black man should not be president.

The South Carolina Republican lawmaker was formally rebuked Tuesday in a House vote divided by party lines. Wilson shouted “You lie!” during Obama’s speech to Congress last Wednesday.

Carter spoke Tuesday night at a town hall held at his presidential center in Atlanta.

A spokesman for Wilson was not immediately available for comment.

But a former leader of the South Carolina Democratic party disagreed with Carter. Dick Harpootlian says Wilson’s comment was asinine, but not racist.

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