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. Sebastien

    He's right! Yesterday she really blew her chances by showing the entire world she has the same state of mind as the Bush administration. It's time to back out but she still doesn't see it. A unity ticket would only show that not the american people are at intrest but only personal interests rules.

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

    Clinton does not represent change. She will not sit well being #2 and
    will try to steal his thunder as she did last night. This is why, people think women are b--, she keeps changing the end of her campaign, and after her speech last night, I would never trust her and don't forget Bill is part of her baggage.

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  3. David

    I think the Obama supporters need to realize that they can not win this election without all of the Democratic party, and that includes the half that voted for Hillary. Enough with the negativity. If Obama doesn't choose Hillary, that's his perogative. I think we're already looking at a McCain win this November since the weakest candidate won the nomination.

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. DOH!

    Gary -- Go to Politico.com and THEN tell me she has the popular vote....she and her people have a funny way of NOT COUNTING the caucus states......

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. Mondal, Amarillo, TX

    Mr. Ex President- you are 100% correct!

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. franco

    A dream ticket? two Ivy League lawyers running the country??? OMG, Susan Sarandon, I am coming with you to Italy!

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. Bruce

    Carter is 2nd worst president of this country behind Bush, he should keep his opinions to himself. Go back to Plains!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. CMartinez

    There is only one thing that can be said about Hillary being the Veep on Obama's ticket – "NEVER". That being said, Hit the road Hillary and don't back no more. We are now "Winners" and there is no place on the ticket or in Obama's upcoming administation for the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

    June 4, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. atypical white person

    I, along with many others in my corner of the world, think Obama should not offer HRC the VP position–for several reasons.

    I hope he can stand his ground on this and chooses someone else as his running mate and create a greater level of unity.

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. Skyjuice Kissimmee, FL

    I'll second that. I know Barack is much smarter than that and would never allow that woman in as VP. She cant be trusted. I think after Bill cheated on her, she changed bigtime.

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. Terry

    What is the worst mistake? Winning or losing in November? Without Hillary, Nobam will lose. Which I guess is fine with me in the end. But if you want him to win, you need Hillary as VP. Unless of course Obama and his supporters can pull an additional 18 million voters out of hat.

    Carter fails to realize that half the Democrats voted for Hillary for her experience, drive, and actual plans to get things done. The other half voted for Obama for all his talk of change. Combined these are positives because you attract both sides of voting Democrats. Without Hillary Obama will be a double negative. Many of us who voted for Hillary because we believe experience is more important than talk will not vote for Obama because of this. With Hillary on the ticket we have a better reason to vote for Obama than Koolaid because if something happens to Obama we know we'll be in good hands with Hillary.

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. The Voice

    I support a joint ticket, to me that will wipe out McCain, But if all of you Obama supporters are that opposed then we'll see what happens in November.

    Can forget 18 million people voted for her. Carter is absolutely wrong. What will the Democrats do when over 40% of Hillary voters defect to not show or vote for McCain, this is by far more detrimental than taking negative hits from the GOP spin machine.

    We'll see what happens in November.

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. ct voter

    Those that are against this, I wonder if there is something we don't know about the Clintons that they know...I don't understand why they'd be so worried of a joint ticket unless there's somehting else...

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. Dream Team

    Hey, it would be something for those two to become running mates. It would definitely be something that the American people can look and embrace with a positive sense especially given the county's economic woes and issues with the Iraqi/Afghanistan mess that our Great President has gotten us into.

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. doofus

    If Hillary gets the VP spot she will most likely spend the next four years positioning herself for a 2012 run at President. I would seriously question her loyalty to Obama.

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. Andi

    Hillary should NOT accept a VP position. I say let the Obama supporters and their candidate lose all on their own to McCain and maybe after another 4-8 years (God forbid) of Republican leadership, the voters of this country will have learned their lesson. Hillary can run again in 2012 and after another 4-8 year thrashing, the Democrats will have learned the hard way to make a better choice the next time around. Not as glamorous or as shocking perhaps, but wiser.

    And I say this as a young left wing San Francisco liberal artist with innumerable friends around the country who simply won't vote for Obama. Though he's run an effective campaign, he has absolutely ZERO experience actually GOVERNING. As someone else wrote recently, the next time your house is on fire, call someone with absolutely NO experience fighting fires...go for a *NEW* perspective! Sure, your house might burn down, but what the heck.

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Fred

    Mr. President, you are absolutely correct. For Senator Obama to ask Senator Clinton to take the VP slot to try and convince the 'Hillary Women' to support Senator Obama; instead of voting for Senator McCain is a waste of time. If the 'Hillary Women' want to vote for Senator McCain instead – I have only this to say – upcoming Supreme Court nominatons !

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. xavier


    Clinton did not win the popular vote. She didn't win anything.

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. Carl of NYC


    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. Matt

    Congrads- president McCain!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. vic

    Here is the tally from USA dem primaries: Clinton – 17068659.
    Obama – 16816440. The voice of the People is the voice of God!
    Hilary Clinton should not be the Vice President. She should be the President!

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. Phil, CA

    Both ben and A CANUCK are right on target: I am an Obama voter and supporter, but if HC is an as VP ticket then I'm jumping ship (like so many others) and vote for McCain & Co just to NOT see another disgraceful WhiteHouse, for if she IS in as VP, then they are opening Pandora's box for more Bill's garbage and Hillary's lies and deceipts. Hallary: We are not dumb! We know you can't acept defeat, we know you only want to keep your foot in the door for any more future possibilities of getting another shot at the WH. Please, please please Obama, DO NOT (I REPEAT) DO NOT ALLOW ANY MORE CLINTONISMS. I'd just as well defect to Canada!

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. John

    One looks for two things in a vice president:

    1) Someone who would make a good president
    2) Someone loyal

    On the first item–yes, Clinton would make a good president. But on the second one–Hillary is causing me to doubt. This contest is O-V-E-R. Withholding her concession? What's the point in that? It says to me that she still wants to call the shots. That's not what you want in a VP.

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. Joel

    President Carter is spot on! Hillary would only use the VP spot as a springboard to insert her own agenda into the Obama presidency. She could make a significant contribution in the cabinet, but she would not help the ticket in November.

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. Lisa

    CNN....Don't moderate me out!!!

    Carter. Keep out of it. You've never been right on anything! Hillary supporters are far more likely to vote for Obama if their candidate is on the ticket. Otherwise, they are going to vote for McCain or not vote at all. As a woman, I can't think of anything more inspiring than making history not only by electing our first black President but a woman Vice President. They should run together!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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