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. Adam - TX

    Why haven't you been committed Carter? You're just as delusional as when your miraculously became president (ps, thanks for all those awful years)....

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

    Thank you for having the guts to tell it like it is. Barack Obama doesn't need to appease the Clinton supporters to get their vote. They must be responsible and vote for a candidate because of what they beleive in and not because of their skin color. If they beleive in tales of McCrips policy, let them vote McCain because Obama can tap into other groups to make up the difference which is something Hillary could never do.

    He needs someone that's likeable, has true foreign policy experience and not Bosnia "Sniper Fire" experience.

    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    chavez for president

    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    He needs her to win. He sat back as people bashed her like she was some kind of animal. He watched as his supporters alienated Hillary's supporters. Now Hillary's supporters say they will not vote Obama and he can't win without her supporters. Putting her on the same ticket is his best chance to get her supporters.

    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. C Spurgeon


    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. m

    the only things Clinton is fighting against is the Democratic process. The people made their choice. It's not about the candidate. It's not about ego. It's about the choice of the voters. The longer she stays in this, the more transparent her lust for power becomes, which proves she is a poor candidate to begin with.

    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Luke Brown, Charleston SC

    Gimme Jimmy ... he is absolutely right. Senator Clinton will never be happy as a second fiddle.

    Someone needs to take over Kennedy"s leadership on key issues... and she would be good at it.

    June 4, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. Dan

    Crap, Jimmy Carter agrees with me on something. Now I have to change my opinion.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. Your Conscience

    What Clintonistas fail to recognize is their judgement is flawed. With their infinite wisdom they backed a loser. Now they scream obama cannot win against McSame. Who is deficient in their appraisal and judgement?

    If the clintonistas own a mirror use it and look for the person with bad judgement.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. jeff storrs, ct

    i agree!

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Obama all the way..

    Well said Carter, hopefully the Dems listen to you!!!

    After her speech it is obvious she is all about...me me me me!!! Where is her unity? Where is her reaching out???

    Gary- Obviously, you are not familiar with the rules of a primary- popular vote doesn't win...it is delegates.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. dennis from texas

    if no bama does not pick clinton he will surely lose the nomination let us see how wise he is with soooooo little experience i like the clamor where is the beef change with no solutions sounds like george bush... secondly i wonder where all those contributions are really coming from internationally or nationally wait and see....

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. Beverly, NYC

    Dear WHoCares @ 1:58:

    One cannot accept what will NOT be offered.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Indiana Democrat

    President Carter is right, It would hurt our chances if Hillary were to try and pressure Barack into the second spot. She and Bill have had their day in the sun. This is a new day, a new change for the future of the nation. Hillary has too much past baggage to be effective in the second spot on our ticket. I do not think that the people of this nation who want change, will be so forgiving if she continually goes about being selfish, self-serving and detrimental to us reclaiming the Presidency as well as state and local races. HILLARY, GIVE IT UP.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. kristen in PA

    gary – you are delusional and you are discounting caucus states in your fuzzy math.
    get over it.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. richard

    i concur it will be a grave mistake and a negation of the new and ethical politics.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. s callahan

    Truthfully, I don't think Sen. Clinton would take the offer of VP either. I think she would be more effective as a Senator, she has the power now....she really wants to get the health care off the ground ..this would be the vehicle to ride.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. Party Crasher

    He could put her on the ticket and send her to every location that is either too small or too dangerous for the president.

    Atleast that what she said Bill use to do with her. I'm sure Bosnia would be happy for her to visit again.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. Shawn

    I think it's the only way to bring the Democratic party together after the protracted race. Both candidates have such strong loyalty among their factions that one will not win without the support of the other. I personally would rather have seen Hillary's name at the top of the ticket, but I think they'd make a good combination. Obama wants to bring about change and Hillary can help him do that relatively quickly given her experience and knowledge of how Washington works.

    I am sick and tired of all the negative comments directed at both Hillary and Obama; it is outright disgusting. Let's focus on the issues, not personal character flaws. These two would make a great team and get a lot done. With both the House and the Senate under Democratic control, and both Hillary and Obama in the White House, I think a LOT of good could be done for our country. So let's put aside the "he said, she said" crap that has tainted certain aspects of this race and work on building a coalition that will restore America's standing at home and throughout the world. Together, I think these two could move mountains.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. Nicole in NE

    LOL – no WORST president ever – George W. Bush

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. Colie Brice


    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. Eyes

    Hillary Clinton demands her right to stay in the election. How can she request the VP position when she is still running for President on the Democratic ticket?

    Obama needs to demand his right to pick whomever he wants to be VP. Obama needs to serve the country. The VP serves the President. Hillary's speech last night was all about her: "I", "I", "I". She has shown herself to be too self-entitled.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. Jimmy C

    I agree with President Carter. The negatives of both candidates (mainly Clinton's) would be all the Republicans call to attention – distracting from the great policies they have for the American people.
    Sen. Hillary would best serve in the Senate, where she can push the Democratic Agenda.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. DS

    President Carter is absolutely on the mark. The Democratic party needs to realize that Obama got the support he got because there is a whole lot of people who do not believe in Clinton. Clinton did not win because she did not have brand equity or financial backing or that she did not have the democratic party's institutional support; she lost despite all that. It only goes to prove how a vast majority of people have reject her, despite all the initial advantage. Also, the country is looking for a unity and Obama has stood for unity. Clintons have a track record of being divisive; the country was divided so badly during the Bill Clinton era.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  25. Erik

    Carter is right.

    There are so many people who hate McCain and Bush, but hate Clinton MUCH MUCH MUCH more, that they'll vote against Obama/Clinton just because they hate her so much.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
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