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. NBC

    Yes, Carter you are right. Hillary will do good for the party but not Hillary as a vice. That what she will be a VICE!

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

    i think it would be the biggest mistake for him to put her on because all she's gonna do is set him back

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Frank H

    I'm with you.... Bad ideal from the start. No petition drive from Lanny Davis or Bob BET johnson is going to change my mind. It's a Joke!
    Maybe she can work at BET? Or just go back to NYC and do her work for the people there. That seems to be the best thought on what's next for her. WHO CARE WHAT SHE DOES? NO ONE ASK'S THE LOSER WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU. HE HAS A JOB TO DO WIN IN NOV.


    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. Jesse - San Antonio TX

    It's known that Carter plain doesnt like the Clintons. That much was obvious back in 2000 at the convention. Is it anywonder he says it's a mistake?

    This appeaser needs to retire and spare the nation his senility.

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. Nobama

    If elected Obama will be remebered as the first 'Carter' of the new millenium.

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

    I don't think he should rush too pick anyone. But as organized as that campaign is I am sure they already have that worked out. That is when those community organizing skills come in hand.

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

    I'm glad that someone prominent is publicly addressing this. A unified ticket would not be a good idea. If change is the buzzword for his campaign, he needs to move away from the Clintons and the Bushes.

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

    OMG! Carter was the worst president ever!He has some nerve.Go eat some peanuts.

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Ivar

    I agree with you Mr. President. Besides I am sure that the Clintons wont let his presidency be smooth

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. jj in texas

    Agreed ... you don't want a VP who could hijack your platform or worse yet, stab you in the back and then make the case for their selection come 2012 ... the combo of Bill and Hillary would drown out Obama's voice ... many other quality folks to choose from – Jim Webb, Evan Bayh, Kathleen Sebelius, Bill Richardson, or in a real gutsy move that might be more fantasy than reality but would prove the rise of a new politics, Chuck Hagel

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. Beth - Florida

    I agree, no VP for Hillary. Why should she try to help this racist bum!

    She will eventually fall in line and do the needful... then she'll write a few books and make enough to pay off her debt. However her supporters dont have to answer to anyone, and we hate NObama as much as his supporters hate the Clinton's. So were even.

    Hey folks, please keep the looting and race riots to a minimun in November when you loose.

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

    I don't hardly ever agree with Jimmy Carter...but in this case I think he is exactly correct.

    Hillary and Bill can't be trusted and Obama should not put ANY of his eggs in their basket. They are only looking out for themselves and would not have Obama's best interest at heart.

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. yes08

    Clinton doesn't understand the term "gracious concession". Obama doesn't need a VP (or is it two incl. Bill?) in the White House who's so stubborn as to be a detriment to the US and the world. We've already had 7 years of that character trait.

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. jj

    There are people who would vote for Obama if Clinton were the VP but there are also people who will not vote for Obama for any reason. I want experience in the Whitehouse this time, not someone, who like Bush, makes great speeches about Changes, but has no idea how to do it and he became a dictator. If Michele wouldn't vote for Clinton, why should any dem vote for Obama if they don't like him. There is plenty enough about him not to like too. Obama supporters are still trashing Clinton, it's been sickening and that is another reason I won't vote for him. If that's the kind of people he gets as his followers, I want no part of them.

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  15. Hillary Democrat

    Barack or Hillary could be 10 times the president you ever were, someone take his mircophone away. Talk like this doesn't help unify, especially if President Obama is considering taking Hillary as his running mate...

    Obama-Clinton 08!!!

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

    Jimmy Carter's presidency was the worst mistake.

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. LibertyQueen in Colorado

    So, Hillary should just pick someone else, someone who is qualified, and someone who hasn't sit in a pew for 20 years listening to black racist vitriol. Oh, and someone who is not sexist.

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

    Another very major and #1 reason Obama-Clinton ticket would be insane is: Majority of americans and Obama Supporters want CHANGE. Clinton is NO change! Her confusion and disorganization (evident in the campaign) is #2 – it will only pull Obama back – He's much more dynamic than she ever will be. The time he'll be explaining to the Clintons his well-organized visions and plans which will seem too complicated for them, he would have spent explaining to americans and putting the plan into action...

    June 4, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  19. Linda, Chandler AZ

    I couldn't agree more!!!!!

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

    Who cares what Carter says. Its not like he was the best President we had. He was a loser! and I voted for him. Obama will NOT win without Hillary. Obama divided the party and there are people who don't trust that snake.


    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. Arizona

    President Carter was one of our most honorable presidents, and since then the rest of the world gives him the respect his own country so foolishly withholds.
    I see his point about Hillary, have not thought of that before.

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. Jeff in Hampshire, IL

    Too much water under the bridge there. While their positions on most issues are nearly identical, their methods are to different. Hillary is the antithesis of Barack's message, and she has done plenty to undermine his chances and wave the flames of ignorance in his direction. She can't be trusted and went out of her way to prove it at the cost of potentially destroying her party.

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. pauline

    I agree with Carter. nobody knows about future

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. ga&pa

    Amen Mr. Carter on both accounts, NO Hillary and Yes for Sam Nunn. Nunn would shore up defense and foreign policy and aide in delivering the south.

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. david in seattle

    Frankly I dont give a hoot what Jimmy Carter has to say about anything. I think he was lousy as president and continues to make bad decisions about world affairs....yes he is a nice man, but it takes more than being a nice man to comprehend the evils before us....I dont think he had a clue, I dont think he has a clue, and I wish he would just go home and grow nice peanuts.

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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