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. Preston

    Jimmy Carter – A very smart man!

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


    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Low

    No she should not be VP. That will mean that Bill gets back in the White House . They had their time. They should not be there.

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. Scott Mayhew

    She did NOT win the popular vote - that is Clinton math, tossing out all the voters from caucuses because they are not politically expedient and not giving Obama ANY votes from Michigan. She lost by every single metric in a campaign she should have won (she was the incumbent, ready on day one, the former first lady, had Bill Clinton campaigning for her as if she were Al Gore and had been the VP). She stood by lousy advisors, didn't have a plan for an end-game, played cynical politics, threw the kitchen sink at a FELLOW democrat and was ingracious and acted entitled the whole way. Why people have stood behind her, when everyone I know who used to be Hillary supporter have had to peel away after one statement, gaffe, or lie after another is beyond me. Time for party unity. Time for Hillary to do what is in the best interest of the party, and right now, Hillary Clinton is NOT the best interest of the party.

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Not that I disagree with Carter, but, what does the media continue to give the worst president ever a platform. He is anti-semetic and continues to parade around the world championing the worst, most embarrasing foreign policy.

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. DJ, LA, CA

    Get over it Clinton fanatics. Obama won. Clinton did NOT win the popular vote. She only claims that by including FL and MI which did not count – that's cheating because his name wasn't even on the ballot to comply with the DNC rules.

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. Jimmy C

    Gary- FOREVER HILLARY, you are in the wrong party. The Democratic Party decides its Presidential Nominee using the Delegate System.
    In fact, you need to brush up on your Civic lessons – because even the Presidential Race is decided, not on popular votes, but on electoral colleges. Every child knows that!
    You are welcome to come to Denver. But please know this: It's Obama's party now 🙂

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. KO

    An Obama-Clinton ticket would put a big grin on my face.

    June 4, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. Tony

    Carter is an old has been. Knows nothing.

    Obama will never win alone. Without Clinton, McBush is a definite.

    So sick of the media in their usual ridiculous overkill reporting on Obama's nomination with headlines like, "Look What We Didi!", "America Chooses Obama", "America Has Spoken", blah, blah, blah.

    Let's face it. Obama did NOTHING. If it had not been for the white vote in Iowa he would have been out of the reace before he was even in it.

    If he had not played the race card and gotten the majority of the black community who are unable to think for themselves behind him from day one he would have been history, not made it, long ago AND if he does not pick Hillary as a running mate he may as well not even bother becaue he will lose in a landslide to McBush.

    Another fact is the majority of the Democratic voters, the Democratic Party and the superdelegates can't see beyond the end of their noses. The voters are ignorant and believe whatever they are told to believe, The Party will never learn, even after loss after loss in Congress and the White House, and the delegates are more concerned with gettign re-elected than anything else, even more than getting back both houses of Congress and the White House for the first time in decades.

    IF, and that is a big IF, Obama should win it will be because the white vote and Hillary on the ticket gave him the presidency, or without her on the ticket, it will be because more Americans than not have finally awakend from their 8 year sleep and realized that they are so disgusted with Bush and Cheney, who have always been interested in only two things – power and their bank accounts and to hell with the country and its peoplem and witih the Republican Party as a whole.

    Should Obama succeed it will not be because of anything he has done, just because he was carried to victory by what others have done for him.

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

    I totally agree NOT TO HAVE HER AS THE VP, we all had a chance to choose between both, I chose Obama, why would I have to vote for him in November having her( which is the one I did not like at all) as the VP.? In that case then we'll have Obama, Hillary, and Bill in the white house, and not to go without mentioning that , whoever vote for Mc Cain, it's voting for 4 more years of Bush, Whoever votes for (Obama and Clinton as VP) its voting for 4 more years of Bill Clinton... Thanks, Mario( from Florida), An independent latino voter.

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. Jason S.

    Finally, someone with a clear head speaks the truth. Clinton brings NOTHING to the ticket. No foreign policy experience, no economic expertise, and a very limited domestic resume.

    Former President Carter is absolutely, 100% correct when he says Obama needs someone like Sam Nunn. Someone with the experience and foreign policy background to compensate for his perceived weaknesses on the campaign trail not someone who is openly opportunistic and looking for a chance to steal the spotlight.

    Clinton is nothing more than a glory hound. Good riddance to her.

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

    Did anyone realize that almost all Carter's statements are made to the foreign press?

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. M in DC

    People, please know that Obama DOES NOT need Hillary to win....he has beat her. And the fact that people are attempting to strong arm him into offering her the VP job is ridiculous. He earned the nomination as well as the option to choose his VP. I have never in my life heard of the public choosing the VP slot for a nominee.

    Besides, Bill Clinton will not be a welcome distraction

    'Whocares' – you are crazy to think that Obama is somehow obligated to offer Clinton the VP spot. I'm sure if you were in his shoes, you would think differently. How can someone that a few short months ago said that you were not qualified for the Pres job be willing to serve as your VP?! That's is just as crazy as your comment.

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

    Gary you make no sense, the DNC was made up of 13 Clinton supports, 9 Obama, and 8 uncommitted. Obama won more states and he won the major cities were smart people live. It is time for a new era in the USA. No Regan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, or Clinton (McCain aka Bush) Lets turn the PAGE!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. Randy

    Didnt Carter the Enabler become irrelevant around 1980?

    From the story:

    "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. "

    I love the way he manned up and hid his preference until the end so not to offend the nominee. He must be bucking for more international hand jobs.

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  16. Dirk

    Carter is right. A unity ticket would be a huge mistake. For Hillary Clinton. Not even she could prevent that Obama will lose the general election. Why damage our own excellent chances for 2012?

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. Mary from Sarasota FL

    Jimmie Carter is no expert in choosing a VP. In fact, he is an expert in one area: building houses. Mary from Sarasota, FL

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  18. Jamaal Craig

    Thank you President Carter!

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Western Voter

    Jimmy Carter is right. Often the first idea that presents the easiest way out is the wrong choice. This is one of those. The Clintons need to back off, take a deep breath...accept the reality of her loss and let Obama be the one to make this choice in a manner consistent with who he is and what he believes.

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. Anita

    Hillary is too superior to Obama to be his VP.

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Jean

    No, she will get pay-back big time. She is a sore loser and it would suit her just fine to ruin his general election or ruin his presidency. She and Bill are not trustworthy, they have shown they don't care for party unity.

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Lori

    "Billary" had their time. Obama has proven that he deserves his time.

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. Bobby A

    Carter ran this country into the ground when he was president and left it open for 8 years of imperial Reagan rule.

    Why the hell is this peanut farmer still giving advice for? Go back to your farm, please!

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  24. aware

    Who listens to the guy who does his own thing regardless? 🙂

    Former Canadian to Canuck – become a citizen if you want to weigh in! I don't know why anyone would want to be on the ticket with the biracial guy. America might be better off if Hillary joined McCain or if she ran as an Independent.

    But, if she takes it to the convention to secure Universal Health Care or if she secures the next Supreme Court position she will continue to serve admirably! 🙂

    The foolish Dems have sealed their doom with their instant gratification rush to nominate the extreme left guy who has marinated in racial rhetoric and Black Liberation Theology for decades. 🙁

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  25. sheisone

    Get over it!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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