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. MS Gal

    No Hillary on the ticket...bottom line. Too much negative baggage. This is the time for a new, invigorated campaign! Out with the old, in with the new!

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

    She should be offered a high-ranking position, one that she could perform well at. But not VP. Giving her something at all will help the stubbornly proud Hillary supporters to vote for Obama, and by not giving her VP, Obama fans won't be terribly upset.

    I doubt her getting the VP nomination would affect too many Obama supporters, if any at all. But it would have a substantial effect on the undecided voters, Hillary supporters and the Republicans honestly considering voting for a Democrat.

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. KS

    Very well said President Carter!

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

    The Clintons are totally overlookin gthe historical fact and milestone this country has witnessed esterday and now selfishly holding hostage American Progress...And i wuld not trust Clinton being VP..it makesme think about JFK and Johnson..even so..RON BROWN makes me want to throw up the REd STOP sign..I think she is evil and conniving..She worked hard but lost...
    again..why has everyone forgot about ROn brown..Didnt she visit the country he took a flight froma week a before with Enron heads taking separate flights and ....OBAMA ..dont ever take her on the ticket..might be the most devastating thing u could ever do,,
    Watch out..!!

    June 4, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Bradley

    President Carter is 100% correct. I'm praying for an Obama/Richardson or Obama/Nunn ticket.

    June 4, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. eopeter

    Al Sharpton is better on the ticket than Hillary. That's how bad the unity ticket would be. A unity ticket will spell death to the democratic hope for Presidency in November

    June 4, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Will of Arkansas

    That is the dumbest thing that I have ever heard Carter!! The democratic party wants unity, but then you don't want a unity ticket. You Obama supporters want Clinton supporters support, but then you don't want the support of Hillary herself. Without a unity ticket, you guys have nothing. I promise you that you will lose part of the 18 million votes in the GE.

    June 4, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. Steve

    I have never agreed with anything former President Carter has said..................until NOW. I don't think Senator Obama has a large enough image or shadow to cover the ego of Senator Clinton. Let her get her campaign debts paid off with a book about her candidacy, then run in 2012.

    June 4, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. xavier


    Besides, the popular vote doesn't mean anything in a race about delegates.

    June 4, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. LibertyQueen in Colorado

    Yeah, the DNC subverted the votes in Michigan and Florida, Clinton won the popular vote AND the states needed to win the general election, so, on to Denver. DENVER! DENVER! DENVER!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. kingsley

    Why are the clintons such a bully? the blind brain washed americans can't see through it. Its the winners choice to build his own adminstration that gives him the comfort and trust to accomplish his mission of hope and change. not to be forced in his throat by lanny davis or BOB "ii will sell my soul to clinton JOHNSON.

    its not going to be easy for Obama regardless if clinton is on the ticket or not. but what he definately don't need is republicans flipping the ticket with hillary on top and destracting the election with clintons scandals. thats what they wanted from the begining. they have no intentions of staying on substances since mcain dont even know how to speak without reading and relying on 527


    June 4, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. General Election in the bag

    Obama has always had someone to tell him what to do to this point in his political career so he should feel at home having Hillary run his presidency. She does have experience running that office remotely.

    An Obama/Clinton ticket would be most interesting to watch and undoubtedly hilarious to see in office. However, this is not some sitcom and it's a relief to know that there's just no way Obama can win the office no matter who he selects to be his running mate. The job of running our country is serious and is no place for a novice and powermonger.

    As soon as McCain takes on Obama on stage without a script we will soon see the experience level of this freshman senator runs no deeper than, well, a freshman senator.

    June 4, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. Adamantia

    Jimmy Carter should not be giving campaign advice to anyone. Carter won in '76 because people were ticked off about Watergate. Any Democrat would have won that year. Then in 1980 Carter only had his own record to run on.....of course he lost.
    Kudos for the great work with Habitat for Humanity. But please don't stray too far from the peanut farm!

    June 4, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. No More Clintons, CA

    Agree 100 percent!

    Only those Clinton LOBBYISTS AND SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS are trying to bully their way to hang on power for her and themselves!

    NEVER another Clinton again!

    June 4, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. Eye Opener

    For a change Carter is right. They can never team up.

    Its not safe for Obama. You can see in her eyes how bad she is.

    if DNC tries to put pressure on Obama, he should ask Hillary to leave Bill Clinton and she would be more than willing to do that.

    Cos for her power and money is more important than anything.

    June 4, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. Rosanna

    Pride as one of the deadly sins is Hillary's downfall. Obama needs a running mate who shares his values of humility and an HONEST interest in the American people. Hillary's threat of how many voters she has demonstrates that she does not care about the Democratic Party nor uniting Americans to vote for one candidate. Bullying her way onto the ticket defies what Obama's campaign is about-CHANGE!

    June 4, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. Gerry

    Carter is exactly right. Hillary is too polarizing and has too many negatives. How can you run on a change platrom with her as a VP? Pick someone new and fresh.

    June 4, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. Xavier, St. Louis, MO

    I have to agree with Carter! This would be the worst mistake Obama ever make. Clinton is not owed the Vice President, nor has she earned it.

    Obama has turned the page, Clinton and McCain is on the wrong page, let's leave them there!

    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. BettiH, Indianapolis, IN.

    Gary- FOREVER HILLARY June 4th, 2008 1:58 pm ET

    ON TO DENVER!!!!! CUT the VP bull…… We won the popular vote.

    Gary-Please shut up., Nominee's aren't picked by the popular vote, they are selected by delegates. This isn't a high school talent show.

    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Sandy

    I can't help but agree with Carter. The Clintons just have to much dirt and baggage at a time when people really desire change. Clinton fought a dirty and at times spiteful campaign. She lost. She needs to admit she lost, and she needs to go back to the senate. Obama cannot be bullied into picking her as a VP. It is his choice to make, and no one else's. I truly believe that picking her would be the worst thing he could do after the bitter, negative, and spiteful campaign she ran. And she's also still $21 million indebt, by the way, bills she still hasn't paid.

    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. Sue

    I think this would be a terrible mistake. I will support Obama regardless who he chooses to be VP....however, I do think this would be a terrible mistake. She is, unfortunately, a part of the past. ...we need the future and a new direction. I'm not opposed to a woman on the ticket (nor was I opposed to a woman at the top of the ticket, just not Clinton).....there are many good possibilities out there and he needs to take the time to make the decision.

    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Raz

    I agree, for No joint ticket, PLEASE do not force him to have her as VP, we are talking about CHANGE, She as a VP, ( With Bill ) will be a BIG mistake.


    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. Larry

    Finally, Carter gets something right.

    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. Harry C

    AMEN President Carter I think you are absolutely correct. We WANT CHANGE and Ms Clinton is just sameosameo...

    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  25. Dennis

    He makes a big mistake in not selecting her. All McCain has to do is select a woman - Olympia Snow, Kay Bailey Hutcheson, Elizabeth Dole or Condie Rice - and watch the women's vote flood his way. I love Carter, but he's looking at it from a cup-half-empty perspective. Stop the fear mongering around the so-called "low approval ratings" and the race/gender challenge. Geez! If anything is old Washington think that is.

    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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