Former President Carter (search) said Wednesday that he does not plan to endorse Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean (search) when the two meet this weekend.

Carter issued a statement, described as a clarification of news reports about Dean's visit Sunday in Carter's hometown of Plains, Ga.

"This meeting is not an endorsement of his candidacy, but an opportunity for me to learn more about the candidate and his views," Carter said.

Aides to both men have said the former president plans to offer words of praise for Dean, but no endorsement was expected. Carter has said he will not express any preference about who should be the nominee.

Carter said he previously has met with Dean and with retired Gen. Wesley Clark (search), another Democratic presidential hopeful.

"These meetings were arranged at the request of the candidates. As in the past, I welcome meetings with any Democratic presidential candidate."

Carter said he plans to attend church and Sunday school with Dean, a former Vermont governor.

Dean has sought Carter's advice throughout the campaign. During a televised appearance in September, Carter said he sees a little of himself in Dean.