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. Sandi

    I agree with Jimmy Carter – nothing good could possibly come from that "marriage". Bill & Hillary have already had their time in the White House – it just belies all logic that she won't do the honorable thing and congratulate him on WINNING and concede that she LOST!! She is not, under any circumstances, going to be the nominee, and if Obama and his advisors work smart they will come to the conclusion that Hillary and her extra baggage will only hurt him. The party will unify with her.

    June 4, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. J. E. Young

    Carter's reasoning is so obsurd and divisive, but that no loner matters because the Democratic Party has already made "the worst mistake" by clearing the way for Obama to be nominated. The Party moved one step closer to losing the November election, and I don't think Carter has the courage to acknowledge that. Come on, show us some wisdom.

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

    Jimmy Carter: The Worst Ex-President in History

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

    i agree i will not vote for Obama if he selects a cliniton for the VP slot that is such an unattractive and turnoff if he plans on running for change in Nov i will vote Mccain if her name is on the ticket sorry Obama...

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. Tyrone

    Hillary Clinton is an ungrateful, evil, calculating, sad and sorry excuse for an elected official. There is no way that he should allow her to be on his ticket and as a matter of fact he shouldn't even give her a position in his cabinet. She has proven herself to be a total distraction to what's important to the american people right now.

    Move to Norway or something. the American people have spoken and voted....... WE REJECT YOU!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. kjhen

    Carter has some nerve, one of the worst Democratic presidents in recent history. Carter was such a terrible president that a member of his own party challenged him for reelection. He needs to focus on building his homes and whatnot.

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. Rick in Florida

    Gary-Forever Hillary...........All I can say is that to live in a delusional state must be very comforting for you. Apparently logic and truth and actual facts have no meaning in your world.....so do us a favor. Go to Denver, picket outside for Hillary, who will be long-since forgotten by then........and then go vote for McCain.

    We DON'T CARE !!! You LOST !!! GET OVER IT !!! wow.

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. Trina Winters

    I agree with Jimmy Carter. Earlier in the primaries I thought it was a good idea, however, as time went by and the Clinton's showed they would not play by the rules, they certainly will be a negative distraction to the ticket. Last night Hillary confirmed that theory by being defiant in the wake of Barack's win.

    Her run is over. The right thing to do is to leave gracefully. But, she will not do that. but, that's ok. It's her right to show the entire world that as a running mate, she will do her own thing no matter what, according to her rules, only.

    The nomination went to the right candidate. Barack showed American's that if they actual gave him a righteous chance, he is the right person to represent the Democratic Party in November.

    Now walk on son, and make all Democrats proud by picking your choice of a running mate who will be best for the party and all Americans.

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. Gerald F.

    What would be far more damaging is Senator Obama not make any gesture at all. Regardless of personal feelings out there. If he ignores her entirely and asks another woman or man. The slight (even if NOT intened) would be looked for and then taken out of context for hype.
    If Senator Obama is the smart thinker he claims to be. Then make the gesture to Senator Clinton. If she accepts. Fine. If she decides not to (for what ever reason). thats fine to. What is important is the consideration of making the gesture. It would be the wiser way to go.

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

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” There is nothing in there, that I see, regarding Obama’s premise that it is a living document to be modified as he or his fellow dems see fit. The founding fathers were for a limited government, a government that was limited, and the freedom of the people. It has been the most successfully experiment in democracy in the history of the world and Mr. Obama, we don’t need you to change it. We need you to protect and defend it if you want the job.

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

    Another bad decision from the worst president in US history, (and I voted for him). How could Obama not choose Hillary? She won the popular vote, has almost half the US in favor of her. How would it benefit Obama to piss her voters off, pick someone with no real name recognition and still have enough votes to beat McCain? Winning the Democratic nomination does not meant McCain is of no consequence. Racist types will come out of the woodwork to vote against Obama. Obama will need Hillary to win. It never hurts to have a qualified copilot in the cockpit. Remember Obama has never even managed a 7-11 store and he would be trying to run the largest business in the world!

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Anonymous


    How many votes did YOU get? I know Sen. Clinton got millions, but how many did you bring in?

    I think you might be just a touch on the deluded side.

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Will

    Hillary lost the delegates, the superdelegates, the most states and YES, the popular vote (You can't say 'count all the votes' and then say the caucus votes don't cont. COUNT ALL THE VOTES!), so please, please let it go before your selfishness destroys the party. Hillary lost, she has no one to blame but her advisors. The question now is who do you want to help win? Obama or McCain, if the answer is McCain get the hell out of my party because YOU ARE NO DEMOCRAT.

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. Rus in St. Paul, MN

    I just think it's odd that the people trying to force Hillary on the ticket now are the same ones that were complaining about others trying to force her out of the race.

    Guess it's my fault, looking for logical consistency in politics and all.

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. Rob

    In response to Gary- FOREVER HILLARY, what does it say about Hillary that she won the popular vote (using her math), the largest states, and swing states, and super delegates were still lining up to support Obama?

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. Charlie, Upstate NY

    Jimmy Carter's opinions on these matters are counterproductive and irrelevant.

    Barack Obama is confident, strong, and worldly-wise enough that he'll pick whomever he wants regardless of the pundits' advice. If he paid attention to the pundits, he'd be back in D.C. debating sewer appropriations for Joliet. I'm guessing people will be pleasantly surprised by his selection and that the ticket will sail to a stunningly easy electoral college majority in November. And then the healing can begin.

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. Foreign Observer

    Gary, do the words "rule of law" mean anything to you?

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. Elvira

    give the people what they want...HILLARY.

    Why are the delegates voting against the people..the people vote for Hillary and the delegates vote for Obama.

    Is the old boys club too weak and threstened to accept Hillary Clinton?

    If Obama was white, he wouldn't have had a hope in hell. The idea is good though.

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. American Girl

    I concurr! Hillary would be a disaster!

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. Jay Jones

    If Hillary wanted to accept a VP spot, she should have thought of that sooner – before saying Obama was unfit to be president, before the RFK remark, and before her non-concession and non-congratulatory speech.

    However, that doesn't mean her talents cannot be used in a more suitable position in the Obama administration.

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  21. AK in LA

    Can we just come out of denial and maybe pose the question that Obama may not be in the strongest position to win the election? If he was so unstoppable, as he is deemed, why has he lost the last many primaries (and at double digits no less). He's just NOT a sure thing, people. Let's keep all our options open if we want a democrat in the White House!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. ladylove

    I agree. Obama do not need Hillary to win. She did not even congratulate him last night for a win, so why.... just why would he include her on his ticket. What she did las night was not considered UNITY, but instead it was considered SELFISH CLINTON. I hope Michelle will use her woman power and talk to her husband and encourage him to place her in another office and the the VP spot. I wish the media would cut out the pressure.

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. Allison R.

    I fully agree with Carter on this one. Obama has become our nominee because he represents something different than the same old politics in Washington. Taking Hillary as his veep would only undermine his message of change–and quite frankly, I believe that both her and her husband would simply not be okay with second best. They'd step all over Obama's toes and overshadow him in anyway possible. Not to mention that the world has heard enough out of Bill's mouth for awhile. I'm pulling for either Richardson or Biden. The party will unite. Do you really think a bunch of disappointed women will vote for McCain, who himself opposes women's rights? That's absurd.

    June 4, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |

    Eloise – don't be stupid. Hillary did not have to praise Obama. If you'd listened to her speech you would have heard no concession in her speech. She still has options. They have not been played yet unless she decides to let them go. When she does then she will make a concession speech. BUT I CERTAINLY PRAY IT WILL NOT BE A SPEECH PRAISING OBAMA. He along with his supporters and people like you are not deserving for him to be in the White House. After all that has come out on him you people seem to just shrug them off. He can lie one day then the next day cover it with another lie and you people say, 'OH MY CAN'T HE MAKE SUCH WONDERFUL SPEECHES." Just like the snake in the tree of the, "Garden of Eden," he was a smooth talker also. BEWARE AMERICA you have a snake on the ground. McCAIN 08

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. HH

    Its like throwing gas on a already hot fire. Its only going to get bigger.

    After Hillary said Obama has a speech. The attack ads, and having to control Bill is a HUGE hill to climb.

    I would rather cut my losses and look else where.

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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