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. AMN

    I am not so sure about this so called dream ticket...

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

    I am focused on the Democratic Party candidate now. This is no longer about Senator Clinton. She should move on. I also agree with President Carter.

    Senator Obama deserves the full attention and support all Democrats and other voters desiring of a fresh start. And I believe that his choice for Vice President will be as inspiring and motivating as his campaign.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Dream Team

    I will say this, Jimmy Carter belongs in a nursing home. Maybe Hamas should take care of him. They can show him how to blow things up. Carter would fit right in since he is quite an expert at blowing his mouth and spewing words of chaos, discouragement and bewilderment all over the world.

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

    There are times that I highly respect Jimmy Carter, but this is not one of them. Not white enough? This has not been the issue for some time. I am black and I didn't vote for Obama and it has nothing to do with race obviously. I want a black man in office but not one carrying this baggage. If we are going to change let's look at some of the positives such as Hillary has 18 million voters that Obama needs. We will truly see how their positives come together if we are to believe that they want this for the democratic party.

    June 4, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. Steve in Albuquerque, NM

    He's right.

    And for the last time, Hillary did not win the popular vote. Unless you think Obama would have received zero votes in MI and don't count the people who voted for him in the caucuses, which is ridiculous.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. GR

    I will not vote for him unless Hillary is on the ticket. Why does Carter keep talking? He runs his mouth so much more than anyone who has been president before and he was not even a very good one.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. Annamica, OH

    The man who won a grand total of 3 states in his run has the nerve to say this? LOL

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. Hucklesberries

    I will be very happy to vote for a woman for president of the United States, provided that I feel she is the most qualified person running for the position. This is called gender-neutrality.

    Voting for a woman wholly or in part because she is a woman is called gender-biasing, and it is demeaning to women (and men). I don't understand why that is so difficult to understand.

    IMO, Hillary would set a bad precedent as president. She has demonstrated tendencies for duplicity and dishonesty, and she has lost the trust of many Obama supporters. Being female does not somehow make a lack of commitment to these fundamental principles acceptable.

    Those of you who will be transferring to the McCain camp out of spite are woefully misguided. I would ask you to consider the common good over your petty gender divisiveness.

    We will have a woman president in my lifetime, i am very confident. Here's hoping she earns the position based on merit rather than prejudice.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. amtFresno,CA

    Pres. Carter on the particular issue of Obama/Clinton ticket is 100% plus correct. Barack's message of NEW politics, turning the page of the old way Washington does business, Not taking PAC money(Which Clinton's do) Clinton's are from the PAST. Barack represents a new vision of how Washington works & Completely new plan of how to help our country move ahead. WH no place for Clintons.!! Obama can beat McCan't no doubt about it & he does not need Hillary Clinton on as Veep to do it. Congrats to Obama, the next Pres. of U.S.

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

    carter is right,again!

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. Lucia

    Unfortunately or systematicaly, Obama's minister and others were not suraced until AFTER most of the primaries were completed. I believe there would have been a MUCH different result had WE THE PEOPLE know of his affiliations. If Hillary Clinton is not the nominee, I will most difinately vote McCain, and hope for Clinton in 22012!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. Colie Brice


    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. Harry C

    Brian Seattle how old are you? President Carter goes down in History as one of the finest Presidents this country ever had...Some of you Clintonite's need to wake up.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. Foreign Observer

    Clinton should be offered a high-level cabinet post instead. Secretary of State, most plausibly. A high honor, but not a position that might well jeopardize the Dem's chances in November.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Mike

    He's like the cool kid in high school you always wanted to be. Everyone wants to be close to him. I wish I could meet Obama.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. NWilson

    I am one of 18 million voters who voted for Hillary Clinton and if Barack does not at least offer Her the VP position he can expect many of her supporters to protest the General Election by any means necessary.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. Monte Brown

    The Hillary hating choir just can't stop singing.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. magicpiano

    If Hillary Clinton is VP, I bet that the President-VP relationship would be like a coalition government. Just look at her unwillingness to congratulate Obama on his crossing the 2118 votes line. Hillary would be a bully as VP.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  19. Matt--Nebraska

    The Obama ticket PERIOD is the worst mistake.

    Doesn't matter who is on the VP side.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. clfelton

    I say if Obama dont ask her Hillary should run as a independent she has enough followers and she know how the cacaus work now. i

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. atypical white person

    and what is all this media hype saying that the majority of Democrats want HRC as the VP when just recently a poll indicated that over 50% (the majority) did not trust her. Careful; could be that some Republicans are up to another one of their manipulative mind games.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. Sarah

    I heard somewhere that a unity ticket would be a great idea – but only if Chelsea were made the official taster! I say Sam Nunn would make a great V.P.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. Sunny,

    I am also againts a unity ticket between Obama & Clinton. I think she would be hard to work with and frankly her lack of moral demonstrated in the way she ran her campaign is a liability for Obama. Bill Clinton would also make the situation more messy. Obama needs someone that he can work with well so he can attend to the issues of the people.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. ue heinz

    Given her past rhetorics that Obama isn't 'qualified' to be president (or that she's better), why does Clinton wants to be his VP now?

    In the long term, although a joint ticket might increase the odd of winning the general election, would the resulting dysfunctional administration from such union justify it?

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. SPOT


    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
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