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. showluv400+

    why wouldnt you vote for Obama? who would you vote for susan?

    June 4, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  2. Thank you Hillary for never giving up!

    Do you remember, a few months ago, the horrible specter that one candidate might win the popular vote but that the super delegates would go into a "smoke-filled room" and give it to the other one?
    Do you remember, last week, that the rules committee would not make a decision about Florida and Michigan which would alter the outcome of the election?
    Well, it looks like both things happened. Obama has 1,762 pledged delegates and could not have reached 2,118 without more than half of the super delegates, and Hillary would also have reached that threshold if she had received delegates according to votes in Florida and Michigan.
    This situation has been unavoidable due to the closeness of the race, so I am not faulting Obama for it. I have no problem with congratulating Obama for his success in mustering the delegates to become the presumptive nominee, but I don't think that people should criticize Hillary for not accepting defeat more immediately and more explicitly. It’s not like his victory was won in the voting booth, after all.
    The primary was a tie, at best, with the final decision determined only by 27 committee members and 680 super delegates. Why don't we just do the whole thing over again? If that's not really possible, perhaps we should all just respect each other a little bit and recognize that both of them could be on the ticket.

    June 4, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. Carl

    I pray to God that Senator Clinton is not considered for Vice President. Her speech last night was, as usual, about her, and now today, she is offering as a generous gesture to be Senator Obama's running mate. How very kind and thoughtful. Having Senator Clinton as a running mate for the Vice Presidency is the very last thing this campaign needs. Let's pick a person qualified to be there when the phone rings at 3AM. Remember this choice is one heartbeat away from the oval office. This is not some repayment of a political favor. Get rid of the political favors and all the closed back room politics. Who ever is ultimately picked should be qualified. Period. And picked for no other reason!

    June 4, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. Indiana Democrat

    Also, I am a woman. I will be voting for Jill Long-Thompson for Governor of this great state, but I still would not vote for HILLARY because she does not embody what we women have long fought through the "good ole boy system" to claim our rightful places as leaders in all facets of the private and public sector. HILLARY GET SOME HUMILITY and realize that it is NOT ABOUT YOU but THE PEOPLE.

    June 4, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. Daggone

    Why does this keep getting thrown out there? The "national conversation" about an Obama/Clinton ticket is a product of a wishful media cabol.

    June 4, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. AJ

    Carter is an idiot. He was a horrible president and is a worse power broker. Of course I won't vote for any ticket that has Obama on it but...

    June 4, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Willis, Texas







    June 4, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. akaDoug

    At one point I was a Clinton supporter and gave her campaign money and my time...that was 7 months ago. Since that time I have seen the best candidate win. That being said Carter is exactly right...picking Hillary as a running mate would be the worst mistake Obama could make!

    I for one a loyal and devote supporter of Obama will not vote for any ticket that has Clinton on the ticket...she is too divisive and brings nothing other than bad feelings and bad memories! And her supporters are mean and nasty (did you see the demons last Saturday on TV – SCARY)!

    Obama/ABC '08

    June 4, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Anon

    Hillary's supporters seem to be as delusional and deranged as she is. Ironically, the people who threaten to vote for McCain are the people who NEED a Democrat. Hmmmm. Figures: they're uneducated hicks.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. alice

    Obama Supporters:

    Do you realize if he is elected something terrible will happen, duh!

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

    Right on, Jimmy! It's so wonderful having your wise and tested experience for the matters before us as Democrats. Thank you, sir. Agreed.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. Gerald

    I am a U.S. citizen but have lost my right ot vote, and consider myself to be an Independent Republican. I strictly believe that farming is the US's biggest business and children are the future, so education must become better. Jobs must stay here in the US to make a stronger ecomony. However, I have watched this campaign inside and out. All i ever hear about is how the Democratic Party is unitfied. I shall see just how unified they are by making it very clear to the rebulicans that it is time for a change. If they mean this then they only have 1 choice – Obama and Clinton ticket. They want to unify the party then this WOULD be the only way. I have talked to many of my friends who can vote (republicans) and if this was thier choice then they would have to vote for them because the economy and other factors must come first before their party. This is America and the Repulicans are doing more damage to it than anyone else can right now.

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

    What are you thinking, HRC supporters? Is it so important to you to prevail that you would vote in 4 more years of failed Republican policies, prolong the war in Iraq, stay right where we are on health care, and see another conservative justice on the Supreme Court where they will be freed to overturn Roe vs. Wade? Any feminist who would vote for McCain over Obama needs to step up and admit they have abandoned their principles- Any black person who would cast their vote for the party that consistently fights against affirmative action and programs to lift up minorities in our country needs to step up and admint they have abandoned the struggles of their leaders in civil rights. The rest of you Clinton supporters who have historically voted Democratic and would vote for McCain need to step up and just admit you have flat out lost your minds. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  14. Obama is the One

    Hillary... you cannot all of sudden just "jump behind him" as if ANY of us Americans... Democrats and Republicans and Independents... are unaware of or will forget how you attacked Obama during the primary. All of that is going to come up over and over again. It would unfortunately look absurd to have youon the ticket. I wish you would've been more positive. We'd love to have your strengths... with women and beyond. It really is too bad.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. JV Donnant

    Former President Carter seems to imply the only reasons a voter might have not to vote for Mr. Obama are things like skin color, age, or middle name. That is a disgusting and disgraceful display of cynicism!

    Are there persons that petty? Yes, of course...just as there are persons who WILL vote for Mr. Obama purely on the basis of race or gender or age.

    The former president ignores the possibility that there may be voters who examine issues and the qualifications a given candidate possesses for successfully dealing with those issues.

    Are there voters that conscientious? Yes, of course...not each and every voter, but there still are, Mr. Carter, voters who take their responsibility more seriously than you evidently believe they will do.

    I think it is time for the former president to return to building houses for the disadvantaged and leave political punditry to more fair-minded individuals.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. WestCoast

    Hey Brian, Seattle, The worst president of all time is easily GWB. You must be one of those Hannity's america guys.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Len in Princeton

    Jimmy Carter has long since lost his credibility in the eyes of the general public (in fact, I think ESPN just called him "Mr Irrelevant President") but I have to agree with him on this one. Don't let her strong-arm you onto the ticket, Barack. She will be just as happy (and probably more influential) as a Senate Majority Leader. He needs someone who can help him with a Southern swing state (like Virginia) or Midwest "purple" state like Missouri.

    Senator Webb, can we talk?

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

    I will never give carter another dime for his foundation for wanting Obama the unexperienced one.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. Hillary ftl

    whoever thinks that adding hillary, a sore loser and one who has said some horrible things about the Obama campaign is a good idea is an idiot, he is far off better without her, remember his campaign is about CHANGE and HOPE clintons stand for neither.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. Moodz4Modernz

    Six months ago, I thought that would be a dream ticket. Now… Oh, the horror. I believe she would work covertly undermine President Obama and establish herself as some sort of co-president.

    I hope Senator Obama does not allow himself to be pressured into putting her on the ticket. It would be Kennedy-Johnson all over again. And we all know how things worked out for them.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. tiger

    " June 4th, 2008 1:58 pm ET

    With due respects to Senator Obama for running a good campaign, despite needing four times the money and the title of "media darling" to win.

    His supporters need to realize a few things… They have been rude and disrespectful to Senator Clinton therefore, rude to her supporters… What they are failing to realize is that HE NEEDS HER, SHE DOES NOT NEED HIM and we will NOT support him, which means, he will in fact not have enough votes to win in November…

    I would start being a bit respectful if I were you…


    Hillary Clinton and her supporters have been very rude, racist and ignorant towards Senator Obama. Obama NEVER played the race card, Obama NEVER played the sexist card, Obama didn't say that Sen. JOHN McCain was ready to lead but not Senator Clinton, and Obama has been very gracious towards Senator Clinton (a hell of a lot more gracious than I would've been), but she refuses to acknowledge his great victory and it's pretty clear that it is all about her and what SHE wants! Obama DOES NOT need spurned, racist, older white women to win this election and he WILL NOT be bullied into choosing Hillary Clinton. And more than like he will NOT choose her, I truly hope to GOD that he doesn't choose her.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. Maria in London

    It would be a terrible ticket, with Obama and Clinton. They are completely different when it comes to policy. She is so narcissistic and he so genuinely loyal to his country and his democratic party.

    Jimmy Carter is absolutely right! With all due respect to the Clintons, they need to move on to retirement.

    An Obama/Gore ticket would be a 'dream ticket'., in my humble but considered opinion.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. jimmy

    Hillary needs to run in 2012.

    Until then, all us supporters need to UNITE to make this happen and vote McCain. Just stay silent and vote McCain. We know what really happened with the Caucuses, Media Bias and the DNC. And we will NOT forget.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. Less, Austin Tx

    If you bake a cake made from fresh ingredients added in one-by-one, it's great. If you bake a cake from a box, it just doesn't taste the same.

    Hillary should have made her cake using fresh ingredients added in one-by-one, instead of using the box.

    In otherwords, Hillary's cake doesn't compare to Obama's cake that is made with the fresh, real ingredients.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. T.J. Marshall

    Carter's right – if Obama picks Clinton, I'm voting. For McCain. If she wants a role, let her be Secretary of State, Treasury, Defense, even Attorney General. But VP? First in the line of succession? Sorry, Dems, if that's the case, I'm not buying your brand.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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