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. GM

    If Hillary is on the bus – I'm off the bus.

    June 4, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Scott Mayhew

    NO to HIllary as VP. Choose someone for positive reasons, not because otherwise you can't get rid of her. She burned any bridges that might have led to her being a VP by insinuating, if not outright claiming, that Obama wasn't ready, skilled, experienced, able enough to be president. Now, even if he wanted her as VP he couldn't because it was suggest he was too weak to be president alone. Sorry, Hillary, when you torpedoed Obama, you torpedoed yourself. Besides, with Hillary's ever changing metrics and her positions of political convenience, it wouldn't seem a stretch to imagine Hillary redefining VP as P and acting accordingly.

    A cabinet position, YES: Health and Human Services. Have her craft the Universal Health Care Plan.

    June 4, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. Obama is the One

    I can certainly see the strengths of having HRC as the veep.
    It's quite obvious what she would bring to the table.

    What is less obvious and what is more frightening is the lack of clarity concerning just how negative her negative aspects would be to his presidential campaign (meaning her and Bill). First of all, if she tries to overshawdow him at ANY point, that would be a disrespectful disaster. Second, she has tons of baggage that the Republicans will harp on wildly. It's so easy to take sounds bites from her that are extremely negative to Barack and play them over and over again. Basically, I think she has done herself in and destroyed her chances of becoming VP due to the outlandish methods by which her and Bill attacked Obama during the primary season. They attacked him like Republicans. And, it would look and sound absolutely awful to hear such negative things about Barack coming from hsi own running mate.

    So, basically, Billary didn't have the foresight to envision this major problem. They had blinders on. And, now they are gonna have to pay for it because the wisest choice would be to not put Hilalry on the ticket for MANY reasons... and certainly to avoid those negative soundbites which she can never take back. The Republicans will sue them anyway. What a disaster. Just another example of her lack of vision... just like voting for the war. She should've run a more positive campaign.

    June 4, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  4. DemocracyNow2008

    B-NYC we do not need you telling Obama supporters about Respect when Hillary ran a kitchen sink attack campaign on Senator Obama.
    Its time for Hillary supporters to respect Obama who is the Democratic Nominee not Hillary Clinton.

    Clinton needs to support the Nominee now of the Democratic Party regardless of weather you or any other Hillary supporter do this .

    Obama will win with or without your vote .
    Hillary has no upperhand or cards to deal with .
    Obama will find someone else for VP and it won't be Hillary.

    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Alex in TX

    Hillary would scare off a large number of Republicans who would cross the line and vote for Obama and any other VP.

    I think Hillary should be considered for a Secretary of State position.

    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  6. Tim

    I agree with the CNN analyst last night. If he names her as the VP candidate, he had better hire himself a food taster. The Clinton body trail is too long. If she is on the ticket...... long live Mc Cain.

    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. Florida voter

    GO HILLARY!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. james

    No VP slot for the one who should be Pres.

    Hillary – on to Denver or remain quiet and let us support McCain to get you in 2012.


    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. A New Mexican

    I'm sick if hearing how Obama supporters need to be respectful and nice to Clinton and her supporters when neither her nor some of her supporters show Barack any respect.

    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  10. John

    Why would anyone take advice from the second worst president in history? Would be almost as bad as McCain taking advice from the worst president in history.

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

    Clinton supporters = McCain Democrats = President McCain

    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. Daniel

    The Hillary supporters that said they won't vote Obama in november are ridiculous. Perhaps you don't realize that if McCain is elected president, that you can say goodbye to your right to get an abortion. The more politically astute have already realized that the next president will select 3 new supreme court justices. So, if you want your right to an abortion taken away, (plus the other elements of a republican president), then by all means, go ahead and ruin america.

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

    How can you consider voting for McCain if you were a Hilary supporter? Even Hilary will tell you to vote Obama.

    Blatant racism is the only thing that could explain such a ridiculous position.

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

    There should be no Obama/Clinton ticket. He stresses a need for change; she represents the old guard. He can’t capitulate to the Clinton machine if he has any hope of winning the general election. Obama has enough delegates to be nominated. Why Hillary feels she can use her supporters to hold him hostage is beyond me. If she doesn't get behind her party's candidate unconditionally, she risks becoming the woman who tore the party apart.

    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |


    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. Trenton Sims, Los Angeles

    OBAMA doesnt need You Billary..!

    You are more Electable?? ON WHICH PLANET Billary?

    He already respects your 17Million Imaginary Invisable People, white people.lol 🙂
    HE will make sure all Americans have Health Care if they want it.
    HE will make sure all Children can reach their maximum potential.
    HE will End the War.
    HE will make sure we are on bio deisel, sugar cane ethanol and free of the OPEC Cartel.

    HE will Accomplish everything you always dreamed of for 35 years but never did. Even when you had 8 years in the White House but you or Bill didn't do.

    See yah Hellary
    Your services, for what they've been worth..are no longer needed.

    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. Bukky

    Anyone and everyone that saw her speech can NOT disagree with this statement. If you were Obama would you want her as VP? Not just to win in November but to actually work in the WH with her....

    She may be very usefull in winning the WH but she will be impossible to work with. She believes that the presidency is rightfullly hers... and after last night.. I have no doubt that she will make it know to Obama every single chance she gets if she gets VP.

    Nothing personal against her... but her as VP to Obama is just illogical

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

    The Clintons are like a bad rash, get over it Billary. No to an Obama/Clinton ticket!

    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. flo

    Carter is absolutely right. Senator Obama does not need her to win. For Hillary supporters if you like vote for McCain, Senator Obama have nothing to lose, he will still be a Senator and an Attorney, doing well with his family, you all (Hillary suppoorters) will be the one to suffer Bush's third term.

    Obama '08

    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. civics lesson

    Dear supporters of Sen. Clinton and others,

    With all due respect, the Democratic party chooses their nominee based on the number of delegates, not the popular vote. Choosing the nominee based on the popular vote would disenfranchise the electorate of states that hold caucuses which do not rely on the popular vote for their choice. This is a legal standard that has stood in the Democratic party for decades and was well-understood by all candidates who entered the race. If you think that this method is unfair, then petition your local party representative to have the rules changed. Until then, please respect the voices of all the states, both popular vote states and caucus states, who, by their legal apportionment of delagates, have chosen Sen. Obama as the Democratic party nominee.

    Thank you.

    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. Chris

    I am very troubled by the amount of Clinton supporters who state that they will vote for McCain rather than Obama now that Obama is the presumptive democratic nominee. Come on people! What is the reasoning based on? Do you really think McCain's political stance is closer to Hillary's than Obama's? Or is it really something else that makes you uncomfortable in supporting him? Shame to say, I think we all know what that is.

    June 4, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. I used to be a Democrat

    Carter is right.

    Hillary needs to be free of Obama's shadow so she can win in 2012.

    Obama is going to lose in November.

    June 4, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. A. Harrison in Georgia

    It's time for you to shut up. It's over. No more influencing public opinion.

    June 4, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. Alice - Arizona

    You gotta love this...

    Put her on the ticket and Obama losses a lot of his own voters.

    Don't put her on the ticket and Obama losses most of her voters.

    Its a win-win my friends. See you all in November.

    Please remember Looting or race riots are not allowed.

    Go Mccain 08

    June 4, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. Mark

    Hillary will do just as much good in Obama's cabinet as she might do as the VP. If Hillary supporters will only vote for Obama if she's his VP they've got some serious priority issues.

    Make the VP someone from a swing-state who embraces change. Put Hillary in the cabinet and let her work on health care.

    June 4, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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