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. ap

    Wow! Jimmy Carter's statement, "a unity ticket would be the worst mistake" is the first choice I am in agreement with during this presidential election!

    Obama needs to choose a VP who isn't greater than him...the VP is second in command. Hillary Clinton doesn not meet that qualification because, as the people have voted, she is better that Obama.

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

    Clinton should run as an independant. The DNC has shown they don't want her and her supporters, so forget them.

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  3. mj - Florida

    Carter is right. I respect HRC, but she adds little to the ticket in respects to bringing voters. Yes she would bring many of her current supports, but a lot of them will vote for the democrat when they realize that voting for McCain means staying at war, suppressing women’s reproductive rights, and turning their collective backs on universal health care.

    Hillary Clinton is despised by republicans and a lot of independents. Democrats need some of these people to win and Clinton will drive them away.

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

    Obama will NOT win without Clinton, let's be REAL! and let's remember, when Bill Clinton was our President, all of us were in much better shape for 8 years, HE WAS A GREAT PRESIDENT, remember???? so bs with "i don't trust them" grow up and be REAL!
    Watch now, Obama without Clinton = McCain in the WH.

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. Rob R

    President Carter is right though I'm sure Clinton supporters don't care. It's one thing through the spirit of debate to attack each other on the issues and then come to a resolution, but the level of attacks that Clinton and Obama volleyed back and forth along with Obama's platform of change does not make for an authentic ticket.

    This level of bitterness did not exist between Kerry and Edwards in 2004. They had disagreements on policy and probably weren't the best of friends, but they could live with each other. I'm not sure if Obama and Hillary can live with each other. Hillary's ego is just too enormous to handle a #2 role. The right thing to do would be to decline such an offer on the condition that she have a vital role in his Cabinet so that she can advance her healthcare initiatives. I think letting Hillary champion healthcare reform would be a good way to bring the 2 sides together.

    The media needs to really let Obama take center stage now and plan for the General Election. Worrying about Hillary and her craxy supporters is only going to make for a distracting sideshow that Obama doesn't need. Her supporters need to see the bigger picture and look beyond what they perceive as an injustice – whether there was really an injustice or not – since Michigan was severely flawed and those extra 4 delegates weren't going to do a bit a good for her anyway.

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. Mark Blackwell

    Barrack Obama needs Hillary Clinton in order to secure a VICTORY in November! There is nobody else that can help Obama that he can enlist that has everything needed to claim a landslide vistory!
    We have had far too many problems with the likes of George W. as President. It would appear that Jimmy Carter forgot to take his medication...AGAIN!
    Being a lifelong DEMOCRAT and a native born "Michigander", I truly believe that in order for Obama to win, AND carry my home state of Michigan, he needs Hillary as a running-mate. I can think of no one else better to serve as Vice-President , and also in the event that she would have to step-in to take over as President if somehting were to happen to Obama.
    An Obama/Clinton ticket is a guranteed VICTORY in November!

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. Jesse - San Antonio TX

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

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

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

    Carter is sooo correct here! She would undermine everything he'd try to do. She'd be Dick Cheney all over again. And then there's Bill. Honestly, Pres. Obama would need a taster! Nothing would get done, at least, nothing would get done w/o constant bickering and it would be all over the media. The choice of VP is a huge test for him. He must choose wisely or we'll be handling Clinton baggage for another 4 years because that's all he'll get. She'd make sure of it. She's going to try to make sure he only does 4 years anyway, but there's no point in her working from the inside out.

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. Barbara

    I don't think HIlary would make a good VP. Better off to put her in the state department or in charge of health care reform. Bill has gotten out of hand lately and he would be part of the package. I also get the sense that Hilary would be lurking like a black widow spider waiting to pounce. I cannot see her swallowing her pride and taking second place

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. Candi Lace, Atlanta GA

    Hmm, Hillary's experience and popularity a "detraction" from Sen. Obama's election run? Please! This inexperienced, feel-good politician absolutely needs her in the White House to make the decisions, rally the support of her overseas alliances (and there are many in contrast to him not even traveling to these hot-spot places), and appeal to the will of the people as a whole. She will lose nothing by rejecting the VP slot, however, because she has the most integrity, brilliance, and strength than any presidential candidate in history and she will go on to do amazing, significant improvements in the world. When you voted for Sen. Obama, you voted for the unknown. I just hope everyone's prepared to deal with the outcomes of that glaring gap....

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Adis

    I agree completely. I think Obama should show his presidential authority and chose a VP that he can work with. Hillary can't bully him into taking her as VP. This is not done, to impose yourself on a candidate as VP. If Obama can't win without her, then, he should not be running. He is the presumptive nominee and he should start acting like one and pay less attention to the Clinton gimmicks. Obama has paid due respect to Hillary and it is about time she stops pushing it.

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. David Newport, OR

    She adds nothing to the ticket in convincing the swing voters in the swing states. The General election IS NOT ABOUT popular vote people. Time to get over it. It is about winning the electoral college. It is all or nothing. What Obama needs is someone who can bolster his foreign policy and lack of military experience. THAT is how you win elections.

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. Laura Kate Baker

    Jimmy Carter is a very wise man. He has done more since leaving the White House than any other President in history.
    Senator Obama needs time to interview all prospective VP candidates and make the best decision for the country and his Presidency. I don't see Ms. Clinton being the VP because she would undermine his authority and try to run the administration. Plus she supported going to war in Iraq which is contradictory to Obama's position. She is also the personification of "old gridlock Washington style politics" which is also contradictory to Obama's message and the tone he wants to set.

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. Elfego Baca

    For once I agree with "The National Scold"!

    Hillary's behavior throughout the day was ungraceful and rude. Meanwhile, "Bozo/Bubba" is running his mouth about how mean everybody is to her...and calling people "Scumbags" (how's that for hubris??)

    The whole day was NOT the way to position oneself for the VP bid.

    If Oby has courage (not a sure thing) he will get as far away from them as humanly possible and end their imposition on the national consciousness.
    Even then, they won't disappear.

    Not "Narcissist", but "Sociopaths'"!!

    June 4, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. mary, Dallas, Tx

    I agree with Carter. This would not work!

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. MaggieB

    I agree with Carter that it isn't a good idea to have Clinton as VP. Obama has a vision for America and a new way of doing business in Washington. Mrs. Clinton represents the status-quo – the "old guard". Having Clinton on his ticket contradicts his vision.

    Alberta, Canada

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. fred

    I agree with Carter. Why are people forcing this?

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. Didine - Maryland

    Hillary please get over it and move on for the good of our party. The people have spoken, the elections are over for the nomination. Barack Obama is the nominee of the Democratic party. You can not change this reallity. You promised Americans that who ever is the nominee, you will make sure that a democrate will win in November. It is time to unify with Barack and campaign hard to bring our country together.

    Obama '08

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. Robert

    Pres. Carter is right. Clinton as VP is a horrible idea. She would completely poison Obama's whole message of "change." She's the exact opposite of change - she's same-old-same-old Clinton machine politics = a nightmare. He can't have the Clinton family drama/circus distracting from his campaign and presidency. Please, just turn the page on the Bushes AND the Clintons.

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  20. Jimbo

    It's time all of us unite and fight!!!! If we do Hillary will take back what is rightfully hers!!! Hillary can expose the sexism that is rampant within the DNC and by doing so destroy and castrate that wholly male instrument. We must not let the fact that Obama received as many popular votes as Hillary dissuade us!!! We must not let the fact that Obama received more pledge delegates interfere!!!! We must not let the fact the Obama received more super delegates silence our screams. WE ARE WOMEN, HEAR US ROAR!!!!

    Hillary can still win as long as she continues to run her campaign the way her women supporters run their lives; with an absence of logical and decisions based purely on emotion.


    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  21. Keith

    While I normally believe that Jimmy should just wrap a big roll of duct tape around his mouth...he is actually right this time. By himself, Obama should be able to beat McCain. Add in Hillary, and every right wing conservative that is lukewarm to McCain will come out in droves just to keep the Clintons away from power.

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. B - NYC

    There would be negative aspects to ANY person running... Hence, lame statement.

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. DOH!


    and to Brian in Seattle-- the WORST PRESIDENT is our CURRENT PRESIDENT!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. Louie

    Carter is off his tree. He has been making bizaree statements in the last year or so. He should shut up and go away to the peanut farm.

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  25. Mike, Iowa

    In the beginning it sounded like a great idea and i would have supported the idea but the complete change in her attitude and strategy after she fell behind just really turned me off. I think she should deffinetly have a spot on the team but i when i think of her as a VP I just dont see it as a good idea after everything she said and did against Obama. I do hope she will concede soon and support Obama regardless of weather or not she is chosen as VP. I just see her doing more harm then good specially after the tone of her speech last night. If Obama wants her as his VP then so be it but I just hope he isnt pressured into it just so Hillary and her supporters will be happy. No matter what happens we should ALL support Obama he is our parties nominee and thats all that really needs to be said.

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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