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. George, Mason NH

    This Popular vote crap is the most disingenuous comments I have ever heard.

    It's not even worth reviewing with anyone the fuzzy math that can be made for either candidate having more of the popular vote.

    Enter the delegates. Many years ago, a more civic minded people came up with the delegate process for a reason.

    And beyond that, how can Hillary help anyone win an election when she couldn't even fend of a Green Horn senator who she insulted for the last several months.

    Winning over the mouth breathers Senator Clinton claims has her base won't be hard.

    Simply name Larry the Cable Guy as his running mate and watch the rednecks come running to his nomination; Then we can change the Obama Slogan from "Change We Can Believe In" to "Git Er Done".

    June 4, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. True voice

    Obama does not need to make a decision about VP right now. Let's wait for a few weeks and see what happens.

    June 4, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. Jesse R

    No Clintons ....? I have for words for that strategy: AL GORE, JOHN KERRY. No Michigan No Florida and No Clintons, that spells PRESIDENT MCCAIN.

    The democratic party abandoned the only two people that have made the party viable in the last 40 years. They also abandoned democracy all together. Changing the outcome of an election (i.e. Michigan) is the most un-democratic action in history.

    The Dems are more concerned with PARTY UNITY than VOTER INTEGRITY.


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

    That has to be the smartest thing I've ever heard Jimmy Carter say.

    June 4, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. The Bu

    The sad thing is that you now have Clinton supporters who are starting petitions to get Obama to put her on the ticket. If that is not desperation, I don't know what is. This would be too much change for people to take, I believe. The same people who will not vote for him because he's black, will not vote for her because she's a woman. Please face that reality, Clinton supporters. Obama needs to do this on his own. Clinton needs to rally her people behind him and whomever he selects. If that doesn't happen, her supporters may be right, that he won't win in the fall, but they would be the cause of it, because they didn't successfully support the Democratic candidate. If you're a Democratic supporter, just SUPPORT THE DEMOCRAT!!! All others, please step aside.

    Obama '08

    June 4, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. Phil

    For all of you who say you won't vote for Mr. Obama if HRC's Name is not on the ticket, don't vote for him , you were'nt going to vote for him no matter what. so just go and vote for Mcsame, that's your right,

    June 4, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. Ken

    I agree with President Carter! Contrary to the tide of high-level Democratic officials, senators and representatives in Congress who think Hillary should be on the Obama ticket, I think it would be a MAJOR mistake, and could cost Obama the election. Aside from the fact that she cheapened the primary campaign by impugning his background and ability and essentially weakened him in the process, Clinton does not represent the kind of fresh change that Obama’s supporters want, and that many non-Democratic leaning people are attracted to in the first place. Think about it – she’s a Washington insider. She operates the old way. She has and still alienates many, many people, including Democrats. She couldn’t get things done on health care before because she created too many enemies in the process. She split the Democratic party over the primary season. How do you think she would act as a VP? She won’t sit tidily back, that’s for sure. She will demand to have a major voice in the government, like Cheney does. This will create infighting within the party and administration. Obama will not feel free to take his own course and will be constantly dealing with how Clinton reacts to his policies. Perhaps most importantly, Clinton will cause many who might support Obama in the fall to stay away. I know several Republican leaning people who were enchanted with Obama early on and willing to give him a chance, despite being a liberal Democrat. They absolutely hate Hillary and the Clintons, and say that if she is on the ticket, there is NO WAY they will vote for Obama in the fall. Putting Hillary on the ticket could cost Obama the election. DON’T DO IT!!

    June 4, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. Patrick

    Can you media vultures please give the man some breathing room before you start hounding him with this speculation about Clinton as VP? SHE HASN'T EVEN CONCEDED YET. I don't see how she can possibly be VP when she 1) hasn't conceded and 2) hasn't even recognized him as the nominee. Until then this is just disrespectful.

    June 4, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  9. Denise from NJ

    This is probably the first time I've every agreed with Jimmy Carter about anything. "Change we can believe in" does not include Hillary.

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

    Carter should just endorse Sam Nunn...
    Who cares what he even thinks.

    Republicans posing as democrats don't want Hillary as the VP because it would be unstoppable.

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

    What if Carter is wrong? Democratic Party needs Hillary now more than ever!. She can make the best VP ever!! time to forget about the primaries and move on!.

    June 4, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |


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

    Interesting comment from HT. He should not bend under the pressure of political leaders. WHO DO YOU THINK GOT HIM NOMINATED!!

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

    In your wildest dreams, can you possibly imagine BILL on the campaign
    trail speaking on behalf of Obama??? GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!

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

    Carter knows how to pick a VP.
    .When Carter took office in 1977, he received a moderately growing economy in which inflation was 5.4 percent and interest rates were around 8 percent. When he left office, the Soviets were entrenched in Afghanistan, Iranian students had been holding US State Department personnel and US Marines hostage for 444 days, the American military had been gutted by the administration's post-Vietnam cutbacks, American prestige was in tatters abroad and inflation was in the double digits and interest rates were so high it was impossible for Americans to finance large purchases like homes and cars. Carter's administration is without a doubt the worst in modern American history, yet Carter himself blamed his failures on a "national malaise". This "malaise" kept his Democratic party out of power for 12 years; even today it wrestles to free itself from Carter's legacy.

    Jimmy Carter was a failure within the United States and the admission of North Korea only shows once again that he is a failure abroad as well. A Nobel Prize will never obscure these facts.

    June 4, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. Electricmen

    Mr Carter: On the other hand IF HILLARY is not in the Ticket, my wife's Vote goes to McCain! He has 30 years of being a centrist, though republican party. He has proven record on many front, his liability is his party band name in 2008, not his policy as much.

    This is an issue that is not going to go away, even if Hillary is asking to support Obama. And No, it is NOT his race.

    Why do some of those politician wanting to dump Clinton, is it becasue , with Clintons around, they will have less influence to play, or is it genuine doubt about electibility.

    With as many people Voting Clinton AFTER all senior leaders like CARTER trying to Knock her off and pulling her down, Popple DID VOTE FOR CLINTON till the last day.

    Any effort to ignore that will likely infuriate and divide the part base.

    What are the REASON people will NOT vote for mr Carter's OBAMA as president, when Hilllary is the VP?

    Does OBAMA has than any strong Appeal and leadership that will NOT go away when a "less likable" "not likable" candidate, for some, Hillary Clinton here, for just being on he VP slot on the tocket?

    With some asking her to be VP and some like Carter saying on the face that as "Worst mistake", The Divide in Democrat party is coming out more OPEN and going the wrong direction I think.

    Good Luck!

    June 4, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. Steve in MN

    Dear Moderator: Why are you refusing to post my comment? I have attempted to post on several of your blogs and they continue to leave me in moderation until suddenly comments are close without mine being posted. It seems a bit unethical to me.

    June 4, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. Dario Andino

    I cannot see an Obama-Clinton team at the White House. First and foremost he would have to VPs as opposed to one. Lastly, I cannot help but wonder if anyone, particularly Mr Obama, has given any thought to Mr Fred Thompson as a possible running mate. Mr Thompson is very diversed and has been in the political arena for quite some time and believe that they would complement each other very well.

    June 4, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. rab

    It is to early to agree on this. Why not wait to endorse the idea when its obvious like they did in the old days? Not to be disrespectful but I think when McCain annouces his VEEP Obama can then annouce his. Chill until then. Control is part of it.

    June 4, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |

    hey Jimmy, aren't there some peanuts that need your attention?

    June 4, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  21. Christine

    I was sooo disappointed in Hillary's speech last night. She is not posting her supporters views on her blog unless they are blogs telling her to keep going. She supposedly cares about her supporters, but ONLY if they say what she wants to hear. I do not trust her, I do not trust Bill. The baggage they bring to the table will burn Obama and stain his leadership. Hillary should not be offered the VP slot, she should either be given a cabinet level position (Health) or be told to go back to the Senate.

    June 4, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  22. wycliffe, NJ


    June 4, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Unknown from Canada

    I just deeply belive that the so-called Unity ticket would NOT bring blessing to Obama. As his bame suggests, he is blessed with such a noble duty and the way Clinton ran the campaign, I am convinced that she would try to overshadow Obama instead of working under HIS shadow.

    June 4, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. chris

    i would like to weigh in on all the talk about this superticket, with hillary as the vp. has anyone looked at how different the two are on matters of policy? they have fought so hard to show how different they are. this ticket would put bill clinton back in the white house, essentially making obama a puppet, with hillary and bill controlling the puppet. america will not accept that. obama could gain all that he is missing by picking the great governor of kansas as his running mate. he would gain those women and blue-collar workers, as well as the hispanic voters with this running mate. she also brings experience. she is also campaign tested. to me this would be the superticket. OBAMA/SEBELIUS the dems would surely succeed with this ticket. one last note, she also has forgein policy experience . there would be no rift in the ticket or railroading the nominee in this regard. OBAMA-SEBELIUS 08 NOW THERE IS A DREAM TICKET.

    June 4, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |

    People are always bashing Carter... freaking ingrates... The man's presidency was hijacked by the Iran hostage crises. AND HE BROUGHT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM HOME ALIVE...

    oh yeah... isn't this the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE winner.... HE GOT ISRAEL AND EGYPT to sign a peace agreement.

    let that that sink in.... Enemies from BLIBLICAL TIMES..... achieved peace.

    (i get better debate arguments from my kindergartener)

    June 4, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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