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. paulina

    He is absolutely right.
    Given her behaviour on the campaign trail, she should have no place on his ticket or in his administration – People, she still refuses to concede.

    What arrogance on the part of the Clintons – they believed themselves entitled to the presidency and now believe themselves entitled to the vice-presidency.

    CNN – this is Sen. Obama's moment, don't dimish it because your candidate of choice lost.

    My brother Barack, you'll have to watch your back and keep an eye on her the way JFK should have watched LBJ. She is poison.

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

    All I have to say is, I am from Michigan and voted for Clinton, if she is not on the ticket, I will for the first time in 26 years be voting republican.

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Mark

    Thank you Mr. Carter. This is by far the most intelligent perspective I have seen regarding a Obama/Clinton ticket. IMO, the problem wouldn't be Hillary as much as it would be Bill Clinton.

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

    The problem is the thousands if not millions who voted for Barack to keep Hillary off the ticket would consequently not vote Barack in the Fall if she were the VP. Being from Texas, this was clearly the case at the primaries. Also, being a former supporter of the Bush administration, I am open to the idea of change like Obama is promoting and would vote for him in the Fall...but not with the Clinton strings attached.

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. Kelly

    Although I am a democrat, I don't want to vote for Obama. I have supported Hilary and am now undecided as to how I will vote. Obama can not call this a clear victory and may find himself short in the election. When people are so clearly divided, I think that more than myself may have trouble simply shifting our allegiance so someone we didn't want in the first place.

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  6. Pascal

    Finally someone who says how it is. It would be a nightmare. It's time for the American People to make a decision. Obama for President and turning the page or McSame as Bush and disapearing from the World Map.

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. Anna

    Brian Seattle, i think the worst President of United States is MR. GWB.

    btw, Carter is right. No more Clintons.

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. Mackin Denver

    Putting Hillary in a position where she has 1 person to kill to get to the top would be a HUGE mistake.

    June 4, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  9. HT

    Its definitely a mistake for Obama to select Hillary as a running mate. People aren't stupid, and they're not fooled by their pretentious behavior, supposedly supporting each other now that the race is over. We haven't forgotten the accusations, and the "shame on you" comments, and many more attacks that would only come from enemies, not peers. Obama will lose my vote if he selects Hillary. He should not bend under pressure from the Democratic political leaders. It would not be a dream ticket, it would qualify more for a nightmare ticket in my opinion. If Hillary is on the ticket I'm not voting at all.

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. Nathan

    I think the party should be looking at the other young, charismatic party leader that they have when looking at potential VPs:

    Howard Dean for Vice-President!

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |

    CARTER I CAN'T BELIEVE ANYONE AS STUPID AS YOU COULD BE SO RIGHT. Yes I believe it would be disastorus for HILLARY to ruin her political career by joing such a lizard as OBAMA. This man is corrupt like 90% of his supporters. There is no one in his Campaign you can trust. I certainly do not entertain the good of this country with him at the helm. Another problem we have is we don't have any statesment in congress anymore who will stand up for the people. OH WOE IS AMERICA IF JOHN McCAIN DOESN'T WIN THE WHITE HOUSE.

    Come on Hillary backers unite for one goal and that is to keep OBAMA OUT. This is not a get even speech this is, "A SAVE AMERICA SPEECH."

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Democrats '08- Houston

    Hillary will have a positive impact on the country no matter what capacity. I would agree that with all things considered her as a VP would NOT be the smartest move...especially since she and major supporters are trying to strong arm Barack to do so. Thats not cool. Fate has it that the Clinton Presidential Era is over. Can we just move on and fight together for a better country without bitterness...geez!

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. Kim

    All of you should go away. President Carter I have much respect for you when you are out there working for humanity. Thanks for all you do, but you need to leave this along. Why do you think you know so much about who needs to be on the ticket as VP? Sam Nun who? He's old like you are and needs to retire. We need a fresh head on the ticket. Hillary is a smart choice. No matter what the people say, she should be picking and not Obama. Obama will never make his own decision because if he did, it will be Hillary. He's afraid to pick her because that would make the people who help get him there angry.

    He needs her to win because if he doesn't choose her, I personally will not vote for him. I'm serious about health care, the economy, and the war and I don't see him as being the person to fix it. He's getting his feet wet and people like Senator Kennedy can easily boss him around and get him to do things that they want. That would have been hard to boss Hillary around. Even Bill can't do that.

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. B

    I love President Carter for telling the truth.

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Kiah

    How many articles are going to written about this? It's such a shame!

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. mark- Las vegas

    Isnt carter ready to die yet???

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. joe smith

    say what you will about former president Carter; he is a man of princple; and I fully agree with his reaction to a unity ticket; perhaps, mr obama might consult with Mr. Carter on the options..

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Marc

    I respect Carter alot, but I think he's wrong on this. Clinton would be a great choice for VP. She brings with her 18 Million Americans who voted for her. And those rabid Obama supporters will still vote for Obama regardless of the VP pick.

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. Voting Obama

    Carter is right. I don't want Hilary to be on the ticket! She really showed her true colors and doesn't deserve it. I think she would try and over shadow Obama and then her supporters would have even more to say. He is right.

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. Good 4 Carter

    Brian: Carter worst president? Hello... I guess you've been sleeping for the last 7.5 years. Or maybe your the 26% who still thinks Bush is doing a great job.

    I agree with Carter after the speeches last night NO to Hillary for VP!!!! She has to much baggage to much the same tired old politics. If we lose then lets lose with Obama's message and not win with Hillary's baggage.

    Obama/No Hillary '08 and '12!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  21. Izmir the Astarach

    Could not agree more. What a way to solidify the opposition. Combine all the people who hate Clinton with all those who are afraid or unsure of Obama.

    Do the Democrats not understand that this campaign is going to be about courting the vote of independents and dissatisfied Republicans?

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. BettiH, Indianapolis, IN.

    I agree with Carter. My heart goes out to Clinton because she lost and I know that has to be hard because she had pegged herself the winner before the primaries even began. But I think Obama should give her a high cabinet in his staff, but VP? I would have to say NO...The Clinton's have never struck me as no-one number 2. I am hoping her and her supporters don't feel like Obama owes that to her, because he doesn't.

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  23. ChrisD

    Carter doesn't know what is good or bad he was the worst so he should just keep quite. I hope Hillary doesn't go for the veep spot so when Obama loses, she can run for President again in 2012. Why would she want the v.p spot when she is way more qualified then he is.

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. David K in New York, NY

    If Hillary is for unity ,she should come out, concede defeat and wholeheartedly endorse Obama. Her actions over the past months and weeks suggest that she is interested in herself, not the party. Her help to heal the party which she and Billl have fractured is needed and wanted but not if is only offered as a quid pro quo.

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Sammy Gibson

    Jimmy Carter obviously has a problem with Hillary Clinton and he thinks he has enough influence to deny her a role with Obama.
    Obama & Hillary are the best candidates to come forward and a combined ticket could lead to an overwhelming victory for the party.

    Jimmy has had his day..he should go count peanuts now and keep his resentment to himself.

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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