Former President Jimmy Carter has some advice for Barack Obama as he gears up for the 2012 election: Don't alienate voters with controversial positions.
The Georgia Democrat told The Associated Press on Tuesday that just about everything he did alienated voters, from sealing a treaty to hand over the Panama Canal to establishing diplomatic ties with China.
Carter said: "If your main goal is to get re-elected, avoid a controversial subject as much as you can in the first term."
Carter also faced Democratic opposition from Sen. Ted Kennedy during his 1980 re-election bid, which he said was a big handicap that Obama won't have.
The remarks came as Iowa residents cast the first votes of the 2012 presidential race to help determine Obama's Republican opponent.