June 4th, 2008
03:44 PM ET
11 years ago

Carter says unity ticket would be 'worst mistake'

ALT TEXT

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. IT'S FINALLY OVER NOW FOR THE REAL BEGINNING

    WHO WOULDN'T AGREE WITH J.C.? OH THAT'S RIGHT HER DELUSIONAL SUPPORTERS WHO CAN'T GET OVER THE FACT THAT HE WON FAIR AND SQUARE. SHE SHOULD NOT GET ON THIS TICKET WITH BARACK HE CAN HANDLE THIS ELECTION WITHOUT HER EITHER TAKING THE SPOTLIGHT AWAY FROM HIM OR HANDING THE REP. UNNECESSARY BAGGAGE THAT HE DOESN'T NEED. AND HER'S IS A LOT FULLER THAN HIS. SHE'S GOT TRUCK LOADS WHILE OBAMA JUST HAD A SCOOTER. AT THE END OF THE DAY WHICH DO YOU THINK WOULD BE BETTER.

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

    B-NYC -

    Hillary is not a God and does not deserve any more respect from me than Obama deserved from you! You and your Clinton Cult Members need to get onboard with the DEMOCRATIC PARTY!!!!

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

    kjhen–Yeah, that Carter guy was really pitiful when he told the country 30 years ago that our relying on foreign oil was going to be our downfall. What a Crackpot!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Hillary Fan in NW

    I am disappointed of the former president for speaking out before the polls closed in SD and Montana. Like the voters have no right to speak. He like other superdelegates rushed the process and hand carry Obama to the finish line, like they know better than the voters, eventhought the result would have been the same but the notion of all voice heard would have been preserved.

    Hillary should not accept the VP position but not because of what the ex president says. She will be poised to run again after McCain's one term office.

    June 4, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. tony, Princeton, NJ

    I totally agree with the former President Carter. It is a very bad idea and one which Hillary Clinton would do everything in her power to undermine Obama's presidency. Hillary Clinton would not be a team player. What she has to do to gain respect from most of Americans is to go away quitely.

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. YO

    AGREED.

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. OBAMACAN- CA

    Carter is so smart.

    HRC still needs to help unify and bring back all her Jacksonian Democrats who oddly swore to FLIP to McCain.

    HRC needs to also show us she can hit back harder when the Republican Smear Machine tries to land a punch on Obama.

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. Rap Insomniac

    Just read that Obama just booked Wu-tang for the inaugural...

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. jc

    To B in NYC

    Obama has shown nothing but respect for Mrs. Clinton. She has shown none for him.

    Last nite was the latest and one of the most blatant acts of disrespect.

    The McCain camp is already running Clips of Senator Clinton's disrespectful comments toward Obama as part of their campaign.

    I will agree that many of the bloggers on all sides are crude and hateful and disrespectful, but that's the blogosphere, and Senator Obama has gone way ,way out of the way to show respect to Senator Clinton as well as her husband.

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Hard Working Martha

    Why is that everyone think Obama and his staff was rude to Senator Clinton? Who gave she and her supporters the right of ownership to "special handling". Wake up – SHE LOST! HRC supporters – you are weaker than she is. Listen to what she is saying....she's a TRUE DEM and will be helping to unify the party; therefore meaning, I have a job and reputation to protect. The hype you're giving her is keeping her afloat. Everything I start feeling sorry for her, I think about her retiring with $110M on hand and not having to sit around the table and wonder if her bills are going to be paid. It's a job and her life does not depend on it. She will be back in the Senate or whatever and will be working hard so EVERYONE can reap the benefits of her labor. Think about it. She will be okay and if you HRC supporters don't calm your nerves, you will be the ones needing her healthcare plan.

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Mark

    Carter is correct on this one. And tose of you who call him the worst president in the history of the United States obviously haven't heard of George W. Bush.

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Denise P Quinton

    With all due respect President Carter, you gave away the Panama Canal so who are you to judge someone fit to be V P of our great country. And sometimes past presidents are better off just not voicing their opinions. There is no unity in the DNC, this rift has been created by going against the voices and votes of the people in a government that is supposed to be for the people.....so this lifelong senior Democrat will never cast a vote for Obama, not because I am uneducated, more so because I can see right through his empty rhetoric and his connetions to Kennedy money.

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

    It should be obvious that President Carter is right. It would be a disaster for the Democrats in the general election, and a bigger disaster if they should win; the Clintons would constantly be undermining Obama's Presidency!

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

    I for one do not want Senator Clinton on the ticket. She just like her supporters seem to have this idea that she was entitled & thus cheated out of the nomination. I really don't see it but thats the appearance that they give. As for supporters being disrespectfull, let's ask Mr Clyburn. Seems his office was filled with hateful calls from dare I say Clinton supporters. And to listen to some of them on Saturday, I honestly would be afraid to meet them on the street. They came accross as fanatics.

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Tony

    Frankly I think Hillary should tell Obama and the Democratic Party to go to Hell. They had their chance and blew it with this fool. Now let us lose AGAIN and see if the light in the attic goes on or the bulb stays off for another four years.

    Most Americans are apathetic, lazy, whiny and just follow along. Major Kool-Aid drinkers.

    All politicians are interested in only three things: Power, Money and Themselves.

    The country and its citizens rarely enter their minds...unless of course it's election time.

    I'm a die hard Democrat who intends to sit this one out and let the chips fall where they may.

    The Democrats have earned the reputation for shooting themselves in the foot over and over, just as the Republicans have earned theirs for being known as liars, cheaters, crooks, and frauds....and the American voter keeps asking....ANYMORE KOOL-AID?

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

    It will be interesting to see what happens if Obama does not pick Clinton for his VP running mate. As a Hillary supporter myself, it is difficult for me to cast that vote for Obama when his supporters are rude and derogatory about her.

    I'm guessing many other supporters are in a similar situation, and there is a chance many Clinton supporters may fall to the wrong side of the fence (and by that I mean McCain). When I supported Clinton, I also supported Obama and recognized his strengths as a leader. But it seem the Obama supporters don't take on this same attitude. If this continues, my vote will not go towards Obama.

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. beevee

    I am not so sure it is such a bad idea. But the let the emotions cool off a little bit first and then think carefully about the VP nominee. When the wounds heal and the party unites as one again all democrats will suport the nominees (president and VP).

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

    I agree with you,HT. There is too much baggage with the Clintons.
    Don't forget whitewater, Vince Foster, Ron Brown and that scandal with her staff. She is a part of the Washington that needs to be changed. Please Obama, don't let anyone force you to pick her. I am so tired of hearing dems say they will vote for McCain if they can't have her...what about the ones who will not vote at all if she is forced on us? This election will be no better than the Bush/Gore fiasco if she is on ticket.
    Talk about hanging chads...what about nagging hags!

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. rabblerouser

    Carter was one of the worst presidents we've had in recent times. I think he also ran on a platform of change from the Washington politics as usual.

    For some reason, no one seems to get it though. Maybe education really is failing in America, with so many stupid people around.

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

    If Obama adds Clinton to his ticket the US will have a Clinton or a Bush in the White House for the last 31 years since 1981 and it will be completely against Obama’s tag line of “vote for change.” Although stranger things have happened.

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

    Thanks for someone speaking the truth. An Obama/Hillary ticket works in her favor, not his, not this party’s and definitely not this country’s.

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. for Obama

    To susan sosh:
    Dear, he does not need you. Calm down.

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. Politico

    Obama needs Clinton more than Clinton needs him?! That's just silly! Clinton supporters may like to bring up the fact that Obama has suffered among blue collar workers, but they completely disregard the moderate independents and convert republicans who support him (and would never vote for him with her on the ticket)–many of whom, I might add, were ineligible to vote in a democratic primary, so have largely remained unheard. Even without their support, in the heat of all this political conflict, he's still polling better than her in national poll v. McCain.

    Clinton needs Obama if she has any prayer of ever having a successful presidential candidacy. She's burned so many bridges this primary season with her unfathomable divisiveness. Even now, she doesn't exhibit enough grace to even admit that she's lost! If she isn't VP, she won't have much of an opportunity to reinstate her reputation among the other half of party loyalists who simply cannot stand her anymore. I sincerely doubt he'll pick her, so really, she's likely ruined the best chance she ever had.

    For what it's worth, I'm a woman and a former Clinton supporter who staunchly believes that all her bitterness, hatred, and downright naivety about Obama's potential has done more to hurt my sex than help us.

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. Jane Doe

    Why the rush? McCain has had the Republican nomination locked up for months and still hasn't chosen a vice-president. Haven't we learned from GWB what happens when decisions are hurried on incomplete information. Let Obama take the time to decide. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing a vice-president and he should not be forced into either an early decision or premature decision.

    BTW, as a woman, I am shocked by the immaturity of some of the women who have commented. Because Hillary lost, you are now willing to vote for McCain. Do you realize that the next president will be appointing a number of people to the Supreme Court as justices retire. Right now it only takes one more conservative justice to overturn Roe v. Wade. Tell your daughter why you supported the candidate who limited her rights because you were vengeful about the primaries.

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. IT'S FINALLY OVER NOW FOR THE REAL BEGINNING

    NO HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON NOWHERE NEAR THAT TICKET TAKE HER AWAY FAR FAR AWAY FROM THE TICKET OF V.P. GET SOMEONE ELSE ANYBODY ELSE!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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