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. kate

    If Carter knew anything about what it takes to win a national election (especially in the face of a moderate-appealing Republican rival), American history would be entirely different. He should keep his opinions to himself.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. Kim

    Carter is right. She has been bitter since the beginning and is still bitter today despite the final results. What kind of person would ask her supporters to start a petition even though reality is staring them right in the face? A sore loser. Obama would have to continue taking the knives out of his back, besides, there is only one VP spot no room for Bill so she wouldn't be a good choice.

    June 4, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  3. JBD

    Obama will be Jimmy Carter's second term. An untested feel good liberal who is naive at the way the world works.

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

    This from one of the worst president ! He would not know a dream ticket if it hit him in the face. Obama needs Hillary to help him win this if not my vote will go to McCain. If all the nice thing he said about Hillary was how he really feels he will ask her, if not it was for show, What a great guy I am! Please don'nt call me names as MICHELLE OBAMA said she was not sure she could vote for Hillary. Obama/ Clinton 08.

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

    he's not the only one who thinks that

    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Andrea, California

    Yeah and he knows what makes a great presidency? HAH! One of the worst presidents ever, he needs to keep his opinions to himself.

    Obama/Hillary 08' (it will keep my vote from staying home or going for McCain)

    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. Okafor

    The severely contested race is over. Hillary should acknowledge this and leave Obama to do the work destined for him. God is blessing us with CHANGE. We are poised for CHANGE. Infusing yourself in the CHANGE is like putting an old wine in a new casket. The new casket will still bring-forth sour wine.

    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA



    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. Accountant Guy

    He is correct, Obama does not need her for anything. She can not be trusted as his VP and I think he knows that. I have faith that he will pick a suitable running mate and put our country back on the right path.

    Obama '08

    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. Dave

    She had her chance and didn't win, get over it. She and Bill also had 8 years in power, she had many chances to advance her agenda in 8 years as 1st lady; (Bill honey, I really want you to support this law, or well, I may decide to make an issue out of all the affairs you have had.....now what would that do your Presidency)

    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |

    biggest mistake if she's on the ticket with him. all she'll do is hog the spotlight.

    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. Terrence (Winston Salem, NC)

    I agree with Carter. I think she should work in the administration but not as a VP for many reasons. She will be exactly what the Repubs will target if she's on the ticket. Not to mention she's already done enough damage. All of her supporters are now Repubs (voting for McCain) anyway.

    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. confused

    Whoever Obama chooses, it should be someone he implicitly trusts. Does he trust Hillary (and Bill) after all of this?

    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. Joe O

    Jimmy Carter was worst the American President ever. So I cant take anything he has to say seriously. He is an example of what is wrong with Old American politics. Dwelling on the negatives instead of the positives. The truth is that there is no candidate out there that can pull Hilary's supporters into the fold. JFK knew that with Lyndon Johnson, unfortunately Jimmy Carter knows nothing about. What is ironic is that he is willing to dialogue with Hamas, but thinks that Obama and Clinton wont work.

    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. The Bush Twins : George and John

    The man speaks the truth. There is too much baggage that comes with Hillary, his name is Bill.

    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. Nina

    You are absolutely right. He should choose someone he is comfortable with on his own terms.

    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  17. Tanis

    Carter you were a terrible President and you don't know what you are talking about.
    If Obama doesn't' take Clinton, he is an idiot. Where do you think the 18 million people that voted for Clinton are going to go.......
    To McCain that's where.

    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. L. Menezes

    For the sake of the good of all his supporters and for the sake of running an administration devoid of untainted distractions, I hope and pray, Senator Obama will use good judgement as he has always done and wisdom from Above to decide how helpful it will be to keep Hillary Clinton and her baggage and her unbearable husband away from himself and his governance for the next 8 years.

    As for winning her supporters, if Obama could clinch the nomination beating the so called "two for one" team, he can surely beat McCain in the general election. Besides there are other ways of winning over the so called ..... democrats.

    But the dream ticket with Hillary – FORGET IT!!

    June 4, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. Tom

    Sound words of advice from the least effective President in U.S. history to who will likely be the second least effective President in U.S. history.

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. CPS

    I completely agree with President Carter. Obama needs to show strength and demonstrate tht he does not need her. Especially after her non concession speech Tuesday night.

    I view the message in her speech to be "give me what I want or you can't have my 18 million votes" extortion at its best in my opinion. To offer her the VP slot would only indicate weakness.

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. RG

    Obama's voters don't want her, Hillary's voters don't want him. In this case 1 + 1 no 2 ! That could be a mistake. And there are independant people, or young people who want to vote for Omabama for Change...so Hilary..

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Julio

    What is Carter doing?
    Shouldn't we be writing his obituary?
    Lets just send him to Lebanon and have him continue talking to adversaries in the M.E.
    He has no weight in this election.
    he really doesnt.


    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. Stevie ray

    SORE LOSER!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. for Obama

    This woman has no shame.
    Please, NO more Clintons.

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  25. s

    couldn't agree more!!!

    Obama '08

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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