June 4th, 2008
03:44 PM ET
11 years ago

Carter says unity ticket would be 'worst mistake'


Jimmy Carter is not a fan of the idea of an Obama-Clinton ticket.

(CNN) - A host of prominent Democrats are pushing for an Obama-Clinton unity ticket - but Jimmy Carter isn't one of them.

The former president, who publicly endorsed Barack Obama shortly before polls closed Tuesday in the final two primary states, told a London newspaper that a joint ticket between the two former rivals would be "the worst mistake that could be made."

"That would just accumulate the negative aspects of both candidates," Carter told the Guardian, saying that both candidates' vulnerabilities could overshadow that the ticket if the two team up together.

"If you take that 50 percent who just don't want to vote for Clinton and add it to whatever element there might be who don't think Obama is white enough or old enough or experienced enough or because he's got a middle name that sounds Arab, you could have the worst of both worlds," he said.

This is not the first time the former president has expressed doubt in the success of a unity ticket. Speaking at a Houston event late last month, Carter called the prospect "highly unlikely," and said other potential picks could better serve the Illinois senator.

"I think it would be highly unlikely for Obama to ask her to take it," he said then. "Because I don't see how it would help his ticket. I think he needs somebody like a [former Georgia Sen.] Sam Nunn, but I won't name others. But I think if he asked her, she would take it."

Carter largely stayed on the sidelines during his party's prolonged presidential nomination fight, though the Georgia Democrat had long hinted his preference for Obama. Speaking with Sky News last month before he made his endorsement, Carter said that once the final two contests had been held June 3, it would be time for Clinton to give up her presidential bid.

soundoff (1,076 Responses)
  1. SLO Bear

    Smart, noble man. Not buying into the extortion attempt–in which the media seems to be complicit.

    June 4, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. McClinton Voter

    With his legacy, I'd think he knows nothing about mistakes!

    Obama can't win without Clinton.

    June 4, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. Jessica

    CNN your headlines are pathetic. It is not unity ticket, it is Clinton on the ticket!

    I am with you carter on this one, just like Ted Kennedy said!

    June 4, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. Beltway Insider

    Have to agree with President Carter on this one. He seems to have gained some wisdom in the last quarter-century.

    Senator Obama MUST not be forced to accept Mrs. Clinton as his running mate. It would completely undermine his image and message and would drive away many of his supporters who are independents and cross-over republicans.

    HUGE MISTAKE...please do not do it Senator Obama.

    June 4, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. Alexandra

    I agree.
    Hillary really dissappointed me and a alot of other women yesterday. I was rooting for her until i heard her defiant and divisive speech last night.
    Clinton as VP NEVER!!!
    Obama/anybody but Billary '08

    June 4, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Joseph

    There are plenty of talented democrats that would make better choices for VP, and bring more to the table than Clinton does.

    The fact that Hillary brings Bill along with her is a HUGE issue. Would he give up the donors to his foundation to add Hillary to the ticket?

    June 4, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. noemi of reason, latina for obama!

    Please go to HillaryClinton.com. You will see a tiny form to fill out...

    Send her a message to step down...

    ..Ask her to put our Country first..our Democratic values first...

    ...Remind her that the "Dream Ticket" is impossible because of her primaries anti-Obama rhetoric....

    ...Let her know we don't want her as our Veep...


    Obama-Richardson 2008

    June 4, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Juan from L.A

    I'm no Carter fan but he is 100% correct. Its time for a CHANGE. Its disgusting how Clinton reacted last night. All about 'me' and rude dirty fighting.

    June 4, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. Venus

    Thank you again Mr. Carter! Now – could you please start a petition against Hillary as Obama's VP!

    June 4, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. Thomas

    Good because it wont help me vote for Obama anyway, and if shes VP I cant write her in!

    I know its not much but I know 23 people who are writing in Hillary and we are going to try our hardest to get more and more to do the same by November!

    Hillary 08'

    June 4, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. vic nashville,Tn

    Barack Huessien Obama for president
    Jeremiah Wright for vice president

    June 4, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. ben

    Hillary need to get over it and her people. Obama needs to move on and look for a good running mate. Someone he has no hard feelings about!

    June 4, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    I completely agree!

    Her negatives are too high, and then there is the issue of dealing with Bill's yapper.

    She could be more beneficial to the country and the party as Senate Leader, or a high position in an Obama cabinet!

    Obama/Nunn in 2008!

    June 4, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. Carol MI

    Big mistake taking her for Vice. Totally goes against his pledge to bring change and who wants her and Bill upstaging him and constantly vieing for the spotlight. He got this far without any help from her for sure and can go just as far without her. As of last night, she still is asking for money and still campaging.

    June 4, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. king from toronto

    seems like carter, knew what he was saying all along.

    June 4, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. Matthew

    He is dead on the money

    June 4, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Jimmy

    God why would Carter ever voice his opinion he was a failed President and needs to stay out of politics.

    June 4, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. Lisa in OH


    Let's talk about REAL party unity. To have Senator Clinton on the ticket would be a way to garner an additional 18 MILLION votes. This isn't rocket science people. The numbers would be helpful. It is sad to see that many do not view Senator Clinton as a change agent. Even Senator Obama has said as much. Here is where REAL humility must come into play. If we all want what's best for the party, then we, as supporters of either candidate must give a little to get 4 years of Democratic rule in return. Senator Clinton earned her right to be celebratory last night. She congratulated Senator Obama and almost guaranteed that in the next few days she'll offer her support. We are ALL human and deserve better than resorting to the sheer anger that often appears on these posts. Are we all ready to be humble and really offer party unity. It starts with each of us as individuals…regardless of which candidate you favor. If any of us answers "no" to this need for coming together…then sadly we do not deserve real change.

    DEMOCRATS '08!

    June 4, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. Travis (in the real world)

    Let me guess....all the losers are screaming now to put Billary on the ticket so she can get his MILLIONS paid for....Bill is all mouth, but won't put his money where his mouth is...(and he has lots of mouth)...you don't think he wants to dip into his Columbia money to pay for something he says "she's entitled" to.

    What a bunch of losers...they're scrambling to weasle out of the hole they've dug and laughing all the way to the bank with a "little boys $400 bike money"...true sleezebags.

    June 4, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. Lynn

    A loser giving advice to a loser. What about the nearly 18 million Democrat voters who voted for Hillary. Wake up – they don't think they need us. Lets show them in November.

    June 4, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. Kaylee

    I completely agree!
    You always have to be concerned about someone who wants the presidency so badly.

    June 4, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. Matthew

    Truth to power, this rocks, I knew that two man rat can never existing or cohabitat in the same hole.

    June 4, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. Laura, Phx, Az

    Here's the problem with having Clinton as a side kick: Every major decision liked by supporters of Clinton would be seen as her idea and Obama will look like a puppet.

    He needs a strong running mate that is military grounded and seasoned in politics.

    Clinton is not the woman for the job. She can't even concede an election and congratulate the winner. Wonder how many people are staying out of her way today? I bet the temper trantum was huge.

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. Randy - Denver

    I agree with President Carter. A wise man who was beaten not by any fault of his own but by circumstances surrounding him. But stand by here come the cries of "worst president ever" and "failure" too bad people do not actually LOOk at what he did as President but only complain about the things he could not fix.

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  25. Jaime

    Choosing Hillary will be a disastrous choice. No more Clintons/bushes in power... let's end the dictatorships right here right now...

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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