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. Peter FROM NJ

    President Carter you should stop talking.
    The decision to have Obama as nominee was clear since the beginning.
    In an election that the democratic could have a landslide victory, you, The DNC and establishment made it a potential defeat in November.
    Take in consideration that without Clinton in the ticket we will lose the W.H.

    HILLARY 08

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

    I think Carter is completely wrong. What you're trying to secure is the white-blue collar worker is heavily pro-Clinton, and it appears to be somewhat negative on Obama. Without Clinton you lose Ohio and maybe Pa. Which means you lose the presidency. With her, I think both of those states are guaranteed.

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Kris

    Obama just handedly beat the toughest competition the Democratic Party has, against a foe that will and did try every underhanded trick in the book. He did this because he actually has substance to his message, the man thinks through every situation and actually has fresh ideas for everything. Hillary is a disgrace for not accepting DEFEAT gracefully, but instead shows the true side of her character. Obama has nothing to worry about with her 18 millions votes because after the first debate with McCain, he'll win about half of those from the get go. McCain makes GWB look like he has fresh ideas and even his speech was bush-like. Landslide victory for Obama as long as he doesn’t choose Hillary!

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

    A horrible mistake to even THINK of putting Hillary on the Obama ticket. Wasn't 8 years in the White House enough for her? I believe her intentions were shady from the very beginning. Maybe she thinks she should be legally calling the shots as she was doing behind the scenes when Bill was in office. Enough is enough, go home and enjoy the many perks that the government is already giving you and your husband from his previous seat in the White House. Retire already!

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Linda

    Instead of asking what Hillary Clinton's options are, why aren't we asking why does she have options? Why do the Clinton's have to overshadow everthing. Now Hillary is digging in her heels and stonewalling...."What does Hillary want" ? Jimmy Carter is right.

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. Chula

    The Washington Elite....keep insisting on insulting and trashing Hillary Clinton.

    This continued effort to trash a former First Lady and the woman who has captured the hearts of over 18 million Americans....the woman who has received more votes than Obama ....is going to be the demise of the Democratic party this year.

    As a life long Democrat I am certainly NOT going to vote for OBAMA if Hillary is not on the ticket and millions of Americans feel the same way.

    So the Washington Elite can continue with their good old boy network tactics and disrespect of women if they wish......in the end we will make our voices heard loud and clear.


    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. cvr924

    Carter should go back to habitat for humanity, his own presidency was a slow train wreck disaster, who suddenly thinks he's an expert on everything is beyond logic. Obama and the DNC would be smart to combine this ticket, but then they haven't shown much brilliance throughout the primaries. McCain is getting the boost he's needed, so keep it going take all the time in the world to pick a VP and keep pretending Obama won all the majors or better yet keep pretending his lead over her in the states was significant enough to to get by in a general election when you disenfranchise close to 50% of your flock.

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. Tiachi

    she beat him up too much for him to ask her and she is a sore loser... I wish she would just go away with her lying ways.

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. Danielle

    After Hillary's speech last night Obama should definitely NOT invite her to be VP. Her speech had a negative tone, she only applauded the states she won, she continued to divide with the “my supporters” vs. “his supporters” type of statements, and she fails to realize this is a delegate race in which Obama "whipped" her 2158 to 1926. Furthermore, Obama would contradict his campaign of “Change” and of a new Washington by having Hillary, someone from the 90’s who is well accustomed to the old politics on his ticket. Obama needs to look elsewhere.

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. JJ

    I have less use for Jimmy Carter than I ever did for Bill Clinton (and I have no use for Bill at all!). That said, Carter's right. It's so amusing to see former Clinton loyalists horrified at how self-serving Hillary and Bill are. They never dreamed that they were–and are–actually in it for themselves and couldn't give a ______ about the party–or worse, the country! Everyone knows B&H would treat poor Obama like a low rent puppet if he were ever dumb enough to give her the VP nod. And don't you love how all of her lieutenants are out trying to pressure him with online petitions and phone calls demanding that he do just that? I may have to hold my nose when I vote for McCain in November, but at least we still have a 2 party system that allows us to choose between a proven public servant and a 3 ring circus–which is what we'll get 4 years of if Obama and Clinton hook up and win. The only thing that is funnier still is all the sheep who'll fall for that team, like all would actually be forgiven and they could really work together with Obama in the driver's seat and Bill nowhere in sight. Yeah–good luck with that. 🙂

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. G. Briggs

    I'm THRILLED, EXCITED THAT Senator Obama hit the MARK...and then announced his NOMINATION! I had faith he WAS ABLE ! He embodies the concept that repeating the same mistakes will NOT provide new answers. CHANGE is OVERDUE! I'm awestruck on how he is able to take the "high ground" when faced with adversity ...I think he has the STUFF that Presidents are made of!. As for Hillary being on the ticket – I SAY NO WAY! Her failure to a the very minimum acknowledge Obama's LANDMARK, HISTORICAL Accomplishment
    was nothing short of showing her true self.! Self centered and reliant on "special intereset to pull her through! Seeing Bob Johnson, first thing this AM urging The Black Cuacus to URGE Obama to put Hilary on the ticket for UNITY with Hillary ( with her knowledge ) smacks of the very thing that Obama detest...Lobbying by special interest groups! You CANNOT build yourself up by putting someone down and her disregard of his moment is only a precusor of her unwillingness to be a cohesive VP! There are other choices that will best serve Obama and keep him on the path of CHANGE.. Hillary I'm a 50 something female and I'm ashamed that the one thing you seem not to have learned is MANNERS, and RESPECT for the NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA !!

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. Steve - Minneapolis

    It's over and time to move on. We need to see Barack picking "qualified" individuals for key positions in the administration. Most important is someone who can craft an energy policy. Lessons could be learned here from McCain. Now that Hillary is out and the back stabbing from our own ranks is over we should see some bold initiatives. Nuclear energy is one.

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  13. william

    why dont you just go to the old foke home

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

    Carter is a joke! Who cares what he thinks. He was one of our WORST presidents!

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. Peggy Lucas, Middletown, Pennsylvania

    I am good Democrat who will support Barack; however, what Jimmy Carter's says is wrong! Hillary would make a fantastic Vice President. She would give Barack the women's vote that he needs. She would also give him Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. Jimmy better go back to the peanut farm. I am disappointed in him!!

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. John Smith

    Carter should shut up ! For a man that had one of the worst presidencies in the history of the country he should keep his peanuts too himself !!!

    Having an Obama/Clinton ticket is a GUARANTEE that the Democrats will win back the White House. There are way too many old people left in this country, that vote, and outnumber the minority. So until that changes this is the only way that history can be made in our great nation.


    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Hillary supporter!!!

    The "real" game is about to begin and I am going to set back and watch it unfold. BHO has been competing against another Democrat for over 15 months. It's been easy for him, AND he's had enormous help and support from the mainstream media, super delegates, etc. But now, he has to compete against the Republicans. Entirely different ball game! Now maybe some people will take off their blinders and see what he's really all about. She's too good of a candidate to be on the same ticket with him. Let the mainstream media, and his racist supporters help him win. He won't get there with my vote!!

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. Obama Fan

    On that point Carter is right .

    Hillary has too much baggage, Obama will make it anyways as the world
    expects new and solid leadership!!

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  19. Paul

    Jim Webb. Do it.

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. MARLA


    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. tim CA

    Carter is right for the wrong reasons.

    Since Obama's message is "Change", inviting the Clintons to join the ticket is foolish. An encore by Bill & Hill would just mire Obama
    in the Dark Ages.

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

    I don't often agree with Carter anymore, but he is right on target when he say Clinton should NOT be Obama's choice for Vice President. She has not even recognized yet that he (Obama) has won the candidate race, so what would she be like if she were his VP choice; She would still be running for President

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. TL

    It's time people stop belittling and ignorantly dismissing the achievements of President Carter. While president, Carter raised fuel efficiency standards by 150%, created the Department of Energy to curb our reliance on foreign oil (the first president to make that a cornerstone of his administration), renewed America's standing in the world community by pursuing a foreign policy underpinned by human rights, and, perhaps most importantly, brought peace to Israel via the Camp David Accords. His failings, while many, were largely due to circumstances beyond his control (oil crisis, effects of Nixonian economics, etc). Even the hostage crisis was brought about by decades of American support for the corrupt and autocratic regime of the Shah.
    Seriously, do some research before you criticize. At least Carter's shortcomings weren't of his own making, unlike our current president.

    June 4, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. Debbie,NJ

    B – NYC. If you were honest you would admit that Hillary and her supporters started this fight. In order to get respect you have to give it. Hillary never apologizes when she's wrong and her supporters blame Obama for everything that goes wrong with her. When she concedes or acknowledge his nomination we will give her respect. Until then what goes around comes around.

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. Lynn

    And what do you know Mr. Carter? I mean after all you were rated the worst President ever until Mr. Bush came along and has tied you. You are just biased and don't really care about unity. If you did, you would be pushing this for unity because I can promise you and all of the pundits out there that think I will change my mind later on and vote for Barack when he has shunned Hillary – you'll will have a real wakeup call come November – rightfully so.

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
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