The tea party and "9/12" protests against President Barack Obama are largely motivated by race, Former President Jimmy Carter said in an interview on Tuesday.

"I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he's a black man. That he is African American," Carter told NBC's Nightly News. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way ... That racism inclination still exists, and I think it's bubbled up to the surface because of the belief of many white people, not just in the South but around the country, that African Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. Its an abominable circumstance and grieves me and concerns me very deeply."

But, Carter added, Obama will be able to "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."