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. Jason

    Oh great Carter's gonna try to run this show too, he told Bill C. what to do and has criticized G W Bush for 7 years, now he wants a piece of this pie too. It's time to put old failed Jimmy out to pasture. He had 4 years and made a mess. My guess is BO will make as much of a mess as Jimmy, but we'll see. BHO has all of Jimmy's old advisors, what's that tell you. I'm voting for McCain

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. Hillary Supporters

    1) Denial
    2) Anger
    3) Bargaining <<<
    4) Accept and GO AWAY!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. Luis

    Lonely, old, terrorist appeasing, peanut farming, peanut brained, worst ever (unless Obama wins) President.....................he and Obama are a perfect match.

    Vote McCain or join the insane..

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Peased OFF


    Please don't pick her. It would be the worst mistake EVER.

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. Logic Man

    If Obama compromises his change message by bringing Hillary Clinton on the ticket, I will not vote...and I am a strong Obama supporter. He will completely contradict his entire message by bringing her on the ticket. He will disenchant his base constituency, including me. Don't make that mistake Obama! Don't succomb to political pressure. Stick to your message and you will be fine.

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. Chuck

    I like Jimmy Carter a lot. He is a great man. I disagree with him on this.

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. William, from Cali

    I thought we were free from the Clintons, once and for all; but it looks ,that we aren't.Obama is being "played again".Look, why can't a Blackman get an even break, in this country, without the "race card" being played.Hillary for VP, that's a joke...........................................

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. Y

    I agree 100%. Obama cannot put Hillary on the ticket to serve a short-term purpose. She will not serve him well as VP. If Hillary's supporters say they prefer to vote for the war instead of Obama if Hillary is not on the ticket, all the Democratic Party has to do is recruit new voters to make up for the 18 million that Hillary holds so dear to her heart. If we thought voter turn out was high for the primaries, wait till we see how many new voters there will be in the general. Over 120 million voted in the 2004 election. We could possibly see 200 million this November. Obama is going to win big with or without Hillary's posse.

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  9. Bri, VA for President Obama

    I agree Carter. Hillary can not be trusted, she's shown that over and over again.

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

    we don't need the delusional to join the sane we need someone a little more stable and that person's name is not Hillary Rodham Clinton and Company.

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. chris

    A few things for Obama to think of –

    If you ask her to be your VP nominee hire a food taster.

    Don't go for walks in the park.

    Watch your back.

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. CR

    Thank you for your wise comment Mr. Carter !!!

    We on the Obama Blog agree!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. MyVoteCounts

    The math is simple – if Obama loses just 10% of the Hillary supporters to McCain, he loses the general.

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Ola from Canadfa

    I think this has shown that the nomination for the clintons is all about them. Yesterday, Clinton surrogates were saying it was supposed to be her moment, except they were the only people who felt that way. Yesteday was a histoirc day in the history of America, and the clintons still felt the spotlight should have been on them. If she is ever ofered the VP spot, she will not only take it, but use it as a bargaining chip to get her way in an Obama government. I see using her 18 million votes to try and get her way, saying well I deserved it, 18 million people voted for me, etc. It will be a great mistake to ask her to be the VP. All said an don, she ran good race, she is obviously not more electable as she claims otherwise she should be ahead in delegates, and she just needs to congratulate Obama, who ran an excellent campaign and by that has shown he can run America! Obama like any other nominee should be allowed to choose his own VP, withought any gun pointing to his head. I also find the petitions from people like Lanny ridiculous. If they really want to unite the party, they should negotiate and discuss, not petition. How can you petition a nominee to include someone on his ticket, and say that will unite the party? I think we should realize that the Democratic party now has a new leader, a new era, which unfortunately does not have the clintons as chief anchor. This is a new time an new season for America and as Obama has said, our time has come. The clintons should support the new movement and just hands off. They have done their best and the country and the party needs to move on.

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. andrea, Illinois

    Couldn't agree more!!
    My husband who has always voted Republican will vote for Obama, but would NEVER vote for Clinton because of their reputation, baggage and their recent campaign behavior!!

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. Setemup

    Brian in Seattle – not even close to the worst ever! He was an adaquate president at a bad (actually just bland) time in American history.

    George "W" wins worst ever hands down. And that not just because he's the most resent in mind. His terms started by reading kids books while the World Trade Centers fell, presided over two terms of worsening economy, social elitism, corporate cronyism, and political appointments that bordered on crimes, and has ended with a pointless war that has mad the US less safe with more radical elements out to do us harm than ever before! Thats your worst president ever!

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  17. Darren M.

    Hillary continues to prove she's not trustworthy. She would become VP, then sabotage Obama.

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. Susan

    Carter is out of touch with the divisions in the party. He only sees the negatives and not the positives which clearly outweigh them. Not to mention, Obama hardly wants to follow in Carter's footsteps as a liberal one term president that gave the country back to the Republicans. If Obama is truly the uniter he claims he is, he will put Hillary on that ticket asap so the dems can move forward united into Nov.

    June 4, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  19. Summer

    Thank you, President Carter. I'm glad SOMEONE is speaking up against Hillary's people who are pushing this disastrous idea. You can't be the candidate for change and have the face of old politics as your running mate, people.

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

    Thank you Carter I agree, McCain McSame as George Bush Worst President!

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Agent of Change from FL



    CNN POST!!!!!!!!!!

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

    Clinton does not represent "Change" AND there's the problem of Bill. Every time anyone sees him they will think Monica and impeachment......the past. he & Hill make too big a target for the republicans & the far right.
    What about Bill Richardson?

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  23. Ak Portland

    I admire Jimmy Carter. But, I do not agree with him.
    This unity pulls the best of the strength of the entire Democratic party.
    And tells the world that we as Americans can put aside our
    differences and work towards a common good.

    I think the two are historical in nature. An African America and a

    It would be a tragedy, not to have made this journey to date, and not see what the two of could do.

    Together i see a New America. Obama is right, its time for change.

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  24. Kenneth

    We need to look at this with a clear head Carter is right she would have a hard time being secnod chair ;when she wanted to be first chair .

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  25. S.Case

    God forbid he picks Billary, it would be like Ceasar picking Brutis to be his running mate.

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