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. SC Voter

    Obama needs to wait until McCain has picked his running mate, or at least narrowed the field to a few possibilities. That way he can pick one that counteracts McCains. I think some good choices for Obama would be Bill Richardson – he'd help pull a lot more hispanic vote, probably Cuban voters in Florida, and votes in Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado, which could help Obama win without worrying about Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. I'm just not sure, despite the primary process, that Clinton brings much to the ticket, and I don't think that those who voted on race will vote for Obama even with Hillary on the ticket.

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. Philip

    I believe that President Carter is absolutely correct! Not only is Hillary's past comments and actions unethically and borderly racist's her supporter like Johnson and Bill Clinton are cut from the same cloth. Real change does not include these status quo individulas.

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  3. Dean

    What we would really like to know is how much $$ have the
    3 candidates spent so far on their campaign's? Also, who are their largest contributors?

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. jluo@austin.rr.com

    i really see republic have another chance this year...as BO for the dem, I will vote for republic...

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. Debby

    This is so funny Carter is the worse President ever in history and he is giving Obama advice. hahaha

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. DRicks

    Senator Obama does not need Hillary on his ticket for VP. She ran a great race and we now respectfully ask that she "stand down" and take the back seat to the Sen. Barack Obama who, whether you like it or not, is the Presumptive Democratic Nominee and he should NOT offer her a seat on the ticket!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. Eddie G

    Jimmy Carter is RIGHT ON! Remember, he knows something about winning...he is still referred to as President Carter!

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. ArtC

    Mr. Carter makes some sense but he doesn't see the full picture and that is the large number of voters who would vote for the ticket and not for Obama. Mr. Carter has been clearly trying to stay relevent. He was never relevent when he was President and he's not relevent now. the worst thing that he could do right now is keep opening his mouth and the best thing he could do is stay put and shut up.

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  9. Bob in Charlotte

    Considering President Carter's track record for intelligent decision-making, we should listen carefully to what he says....then run in the opposite direction.

    Choosing Clinton as VP is, in my opinion, the only way Obama is guaranteed to beat McCain.

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. Antonio in Los Angeles

    While I don't agree with Carter about Clinton helping the ticket, don't thinks she truly wants to be Vice President. We've known that the math for weeks would eventually make Obama the nominee. To not be prepared to concede at this point – coupled with the philosophical differences these individuals have – would suggest she actually has no interest in being vice president. I think Clinton supporters want her to be VP more than she does. This is all still a very big shock to Sen. Clinton, let us not forget her campaign did not plan beyond "Super Tuesday." Lets give them both more time, but I see the both of them comming to a lets-just-go-our-separate-ways type of conclusion by the end of this week.

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. eu

    Carter, stay out of politics. GO home and water your plants, please.

    June 4, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. independent

    I support hc, but I wont vote for Obama if shes on the ticket or not. I dont think hes got the resume to back up all his talk. So I will vote write in of my first choice. If mccain would tone down the drum beat for the war. I could vote for him

    June 4, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |

    I totaly agree with carter that these would be the worst mistake that obama can make because hillary represents the old gutter poltitics of yesterday besides she and bill will undermine baraks presidency because they have no respect for him.let him look for someone he can wok with ike jim webb etc

    June 4, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. Nia

    That's putting it lightly. Hillary isn't looking to play 2nd fidel or do any of the actual roles of a true VP. She is trying to get in by any means neccesary even if it means strong arming her way into a VP spot to try and run the presidency. She doesn't strike me as willing to listen and follow every thing Mr obama puts in line, which is what a VP does. She will and does undermine everything Obama's foundation of change is built on. And then there is Bill and the Clinton drama and baggage that Obama will have to deal with for the next 4 years. We have to look past just Nov. and think of the next 4 years. If he does, he will have to sleep with one eye open, hire a food taster, possibly a body double, just to deal with the Clintons. The fact that Hillary has yet to conceed like she has been saying she would for months, when a nominee is chosen, says alot about how she will try to run the Presidency buy holding the party hostage to get what she wants. Cause it is all about her...lets all bow down all hale Hillary and Bill the entitlement gift that keeps on giving

    June 4, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. Johnny McCain

    Jimmy Carter is a dope. Look back at his weak presidency. He also can't keep his mouth shut. What ex-President ever speaks ill of his successors?

    June 4, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. obamafan

    i agree with you jimmy carter

    June 4, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. Glenn

    Carter is exactly right on target! The only thing that Hillary cares about is Hillary! It is all about Hillary. She once again showed that she lacks character and integrity to make the critical decision. She showed tonight that this election was about Hillary, not the Democratic Party, not her supporters and certainly not about the country. Hillary is truly pathetic! She brings so much negative baggage, and that doesn't even include her biggest cross that she bears which is Bill. Bill has simply gone off the deep end.

    June 4, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. jose

    Yes , Clinton's supporter should..i myself have already moved on Ben, and I am moving either towards not voting at all or voting McCain..Good enough for you?

    June 4, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. Kaylee

    You have to be concerned about someone who wants the presidency so badly. Particularly if you are Obama.

    I agree with Carter!

    June 4, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. poyoray

    I think Carter is doing this to get attention, go away. I think he really understand that there are still 18 million Hillary supporters that are not leftist

    June 4, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. CWatson

    I agree in general with Jimmy Carter.

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. Kenneth M


    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. cathy lechien

    Carter needs to retire-for real.

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. R.I.F.

    I agree with the former president. First, at least give Obama a little time to take in this vicorty and access the lay of the land before he picks a VP or makes a commitment. People are quick to see Hillary's stengths but failt o see that she has many weaknesses as well. If she was that stong then she would've wrapped this up by Feb. 5 as she had predicted. She has VERY high negatives and adding her to a ticket could be political suicide. I believe having her on the ticket will almost for certain fire up the GOP base as no one in the GOP wants to see a Clinton anywhere near the White House again. As much time and money that they speent trying to get Bill out, I'm sure they don't even want him at stones throw of the White House.

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  25. Mary

    The Democratic Party has been sold out to the ultra radical left–socialist/marxist/communist. Hillary is smart to stay away. Obama does not have America's interest first and will lose to a real American, Senator McCain.

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
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