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. Generation X

    @fred and Gary; all I can say is you two are fools. ROTFLMAO Obama won the nominee and you two nuts are still ramping about Hillary. And, guess what we don't want her as VP. So, go vote for McCain. I rather Obama be a man standing then a fool on his knees to the Clintons. So, if he loses the GE, the Clintons will not be back in the White House. LOL

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Carter is correct. There are more highly qualified people on that "short list" that can bring more to Obama's nomination than Hillary. Further, there is no rule of law that Obama must pick Hillary because she lost.

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Honestly

    Are all of the people saying Obama can't win without Clinton the same people who said that Obama would never win the nomination?

    Just wondering.

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. Mark, St. Pete, Fl

    If Carter says it's a bad idea, then Obama-Clinton must be the right way to go...Thanks Jimmy! You speak, we do the opposite, thanks for making the decision an easy one.

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. rose, texas

    carter needs 2 stay out of it. he was one of worth presidents ever, i'm a shame that i voting 4 him.

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. billk

    Carter's right, for the reasons he's stated, and for more: with her formidable intellect, feeling of "entitlement" and gargantuan ego, would Ms. Clinton be content in a vice-presidential role? Of course not. Let's hope that Obama and his advisors know this. The "unity ticket" may well be electable. But Obama couldn't be comfortable feeling that his canny second in command is quietly engineering a comeback.

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. Hal

    And he's absolutely RIGHT !!!!

    Besides listening to HRC last night only reinforces my conviction that she's "in it " for her own egotistical agenda.

    She's effectively blackmailing the nominee. And if he caves in, it will be a show of weakness and bad jugemnet on his part. I do think that she should play a role in Obama's administration – in healthcare for instance – but when all is said and done this election will have been about 'change' and the fact that she embodies the mindset of the 90's is a clue to where she belongs : in 90's.

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. C Spurgeon

    Let Barack make his own decision..but I don't see Caroline Kennedy as qualified to make any decision...Not good..country going to favors??

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Latino from Sacramento

    I would NOT considered his jugment seriously at all. His presidency showed the kind of judgement he has, and where did he take us?

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. MJE WPG

    Lanny Davis is a joke a jerk and a complete idiot. Go crawl back under that rock!

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

    Jimmy should go back to his peanut farm and stay there!!!!! This coming from one of the worst Presidents in history....yeah take him for his word! I am one of the 18 million Hillary supporters who would jump ship if Obama doesn't take her as VP! Obama should really think about this large sector. The media is already doing the dog and pony show telling that Clinton's supporters are going for Obama. Wake up CNN and other medias...we are not going to go under the rug quietly!

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. DC Man

    My prayers are with Obama if he is so foolish as to select Hillary for his VP. That woman and her family would undoubtedly drive him and his staff insane causing all kinds of commotion and unnecessary attention.

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. Chris

    P.S. I'm a NY'r from Brooklyn (white, middle-aged male, by the way). Hilary won my borough by just barely 2% (and we are the largest most Democratic borough in the City).

    Obama can win NY and NYC without Hilary. She really should accept that her game is over – believe me when I say I know many people who see Obama as a 21st century President (not a 20th century insider who just didn't run her campaign w/ the times).

    June 4, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. Kaylee

    I agree!

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. Lisa

    Turning the page was yesterday. Today the page is turned and the new chapter closes the dynasties. The new chapter for the next 8.5 years is Barack Obama.

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. clfelton

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

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Pick a Moderate Republican

    Forget Hillary!!! If Obama means what he said in his speech last night then reach over and pick a Republican that closly matches his ideals. Lets hope we can fix the disaster in Iraq, healthcare, and the economy!! For Hillary its all about her; she had her chance with all her experience and nothing has changed. Time for a new direction!!

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. saddened

    After her speech last night, Obama would do well to keep as far away from her as possible. This woman is too self-centered and would ruin him. Still saying that she is the best candidate even after a nominee is chosen. I wonder what evil she has up her sleeve.

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Sue, Vienna, VA

    Clinton's, please go away!! It will be a disaster and a loss to put her on the ticket! Did it ever occur to anyone that just maybe Senator Obama can win the election WITHOUT Hillary?! He obviously has a top-notch team working for him that helped put him where he is today. Who needs the excess baggage of the Clinton's! BIG MISTAKE!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. Real Change

    The theory for putting Hillary on the ticket would be to win Pennsylvania and Ohio. Check out realclearpolitics.com and you'll see he is already ahead on those two states. As for this Kentucky and West Virginia business...no Democrat is going to win those two states anyway. Same with Florida (don't need it Penn and Oho go right).

    Meanwhile adding Hillary would very much harm his chances in Virginia, Iowa and Colorado.

    Finally...why does Senator Clinton even want to be VP? If she wants to be President she should go be Governor of New York. As Barack's VP she is inexorably linked to Barack come what may. As Gov. she would write her own resume.

    Carter makes some interesting points here that I think all Democrates (Hillary supporters and Obama supporters alike) would do well to consider.

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  21. james

    I agree although I think Jimmy has been a great humanitarian, he's also one of our most careless Presidents in history.

    I think the only place for Hillary is on the top – and since this was stolen from her she needs to stay silent and run in 2012 when McCain has served four years.

    Hillary supporters UNITE for 2012. Vote McCain, afterall he's about as moderate as Hill and Obama is an extreme leftist which is very dangerous for our great country. Don't trust him or his supporters.

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  22. kr

    I think Carter is absolutely right.

    She has said too many negative,disreestecful things about Senator OBAMA and so has Bill.

    He needs to pick someone else like Jim Webb, Gov Sebelious, or Sam Nunn. He needs to offer her Sec of Health and let her finally get universal healthcare.

    He needs to be his own manor President and succeed on his own.
    I have every confidence he will.

    OBAMA 08 YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  23. Brian, Atlanta

    So, after 4 months of hearing Clinton supporters threaten us (the true and loyal democrats) with voting for McCain if she doesn't win the nomination, we are now supposed to forget all of that, and satisfy her selfish, divisive supporters by making her the VP just to apease them?

    Since when do you reward children for being a brat? Doesn't that only make them bigger brats?

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  24. Dedrick from Atlanta (in Portland)

    I agree with Carter. She has baggage and there are those that already will never vote for Obama. Why add to the pot?

    Post my comments...

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. ben

    I rarely agree with former President Jimmy Carter, but he is correct about this. HRC does not belong on this ticket. I don't care how many petitions are circulated. She has lost, so let's move on. If she is on the ticket, then I may not vote (who cares any way?). HRC will not add anything positive to this ticket.

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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