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. Jim

    If after the negativitiy Clinton threw at Obama during the campaign, for him to forget all of it and act like it never happened and choose her as her running mate will show that he is just another run of the mill politician, not really interested in change.

    June 4, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Tim in Canada

    He is like gasoline and she is a cigarete butt and she'll burn him down if he takes her. It would be a mistake.

    June 4, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. obama == supporter== arkansas

    mr carter you are exactly right
    i admire you for speaking up.
    obama is about change not the same old==same old politics of washington
    have a good day sir

    June 4, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |

    ON TO DENVER!!!!! CUT the VP bull...... We won the popular vote. we won all the big blue states, & swing states!!!!!!! Let's based it on the voice of the people, not the voice of the few delegates!

    June 4, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. Eloise

    I pray that Barack Obama will not make Hillary Clinton his VP. He will never win with her on the ticket...if by chance he does...Hillary and Bill will be distractions that will never allow him to get the job done for America and the American people...she is out of control and does not listen...his job would become dealing with her and not doing the people’s business.

    I will vote for Barack Obama...but I will not vote for an Obama/Clinton ticket.

    After hearing her speech last night and seeing her behavior last night...I made the decision to never vote for Hillary Clinton...on any ticket...


    No, Hillary not this time.....

    June 4, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. ACitizen

    I thought Carter was a true statesman... No anymore... he should not be meddling in current politics... Stick to the charities and preserve whatever is left of your legacy!!!

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. 58 old white ladies for OBAMA


    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Matt

    These hillary supporters have no understanding of politics.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Vanity is a SIN, Hillary

    Hillary will be lucky to get ANYTHING the way she is acting.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. Democrats, it is time to unite

    NO to Hillary as VP. It undermines Obama's entire message.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. Eric

    I really hope he choose the candidate the best works for him in the country. Not because some people feel it’s owed to someone else. People let’s come together as Americans and Democrats, get behind Obama, to alleviate another 4 years of Bush policies.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. T Burrus Rochester MN

    I think Bill Richardson would be the best choice for Obama. I'm disappointed Hillary is being such a sore loser.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  13. LibertyQueen in Colorado

    Actually, if you take the 50% who wouldn't vote for B.O. that would be a big problem for Democratic Presidential Nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Rick

    If only he showed such judgement as President or in his continuing attempts to conduct foreign policy.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. Greg

    Whatever happened to old presidents keeping their mouths shut? This whole thing about 70 being the new 60 is killing me... go build a house or teach Sunday school, the older you get the the more peanut farmer you sound. Obama/Clinton would be unstoppable... just the sheer numbers that have turned out for the democratic primaries show this is their election to lose, if anyone should be conceding, it should be McCain't... Billary is in it until Obama pays off her debt and whatever ransom she demands, but if she is off the ticket, better find another female, because if the Republicans add Condi Rice as McCain's running mate, it could be an even more historic election, and one with the highest voter turnout ever.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  16. xhuga2

    Please ex President Carter, Shut Up! It's Obama's choice not yours.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  17. JM

    Carter is irrelevant. Who cares what he thinks? He's really over-simplifying the dynamics of both candidate's voter base.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  18. Alex

    Do you know what happens to be the worst mistake the US has made over the past 50 years?

    Electing Jimmy Carter President.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Gov-vie in DC

    Clinton is too aggressive. After spending more than 1 year bashing Obama, how could she possibly be his running mate????

    The Republicans would have a field day with that one!!! Hillary is a walking soundbite of negative comments about Barack.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Brazza Man

    Chuck Hagel.

    Barack should show the Republicans he really means business – and extend the unity theme completely across the bow of the democratic ship!

    It would put McCain, Hannity and Limbaugh into apoplectic fits!

    Congratulations Mr. Obama. Best wishes as you embark on this historic campaign. A 72-year old John McCain will barely be able to keep pace with your enthusiasm, integrity, vision and unity message.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Jeff Doucette

    With all respects to president Carter....I have to disagree. You know this year has been an incredible Democratic race. I am canadian, a political arm chair junkie who enjoys american politics way more than our Canadian politics. You have two candidates who have mesmorized the American people to start breathing and actually care about change and breaking barriers. if Barack picks Hilary as vp, it is not a return to the politics of old. The politics of old would push her out the door and go your own way. If he is about dialogue with rogue countries, then first make peace with your neighbor in Hilary. President Carter did that by talking with Hamas. Take the first step and acknowledge that in nearly 20 million wanted her for president and respect the will of the people and show that a tough race and a love for your country move us beyond our own agendas. A little humility on both sides work wonders.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. Ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    I think he has a very valid point......Barack and Hillary are not exactly MFEO...

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Jen in Florida

    Go Hillary oops I mean go McCain!

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. Tom

    Hillary as VEEP would be a disaster. From Day 1 should would begin running to unseat Obama in 2012, upstaging him at every opportunity and being a constant distraction - as would Bill. If we are to have true change, the Clinton's must leave the stage. Obama needs to be able to lead without the baggage of Billary.

    What Hillary ought to do is go back to the Senate and unseat Harry Reid as Senate majority leader.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |

    he ain't the only one who thinks that

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44