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)


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

    Clinton has put herself above the party. I don't know if it's an attempt to preserve a so called legacy, (which I might add is steadily declining), or pure greed.

    If she were truly interested in "the party" and "the people", I believe she would have conceded last night and tried to unite the party.

    Instead she's fielding e-mails about what she should do next. Right! She's attempting to strong-arm her way into the VP chair.

    How's that for a legacy. Holding the country hostage to advance your own self interests.

    Don't do it Obama!

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  3. peter

    If I were Obama I wouldnt want the Clintons standing behind me as veep

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

    Change is coming to America!

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Josh

    Let's be clear on one thing, many, if not most, of these "Vote McCain if not Hillary" people are apart of operation chaos. They are Rush fans and McSame supporters trying to stir the pot. Let's move past them.

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


    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Doris Dunigan

    Obama PLEASE DO NOT HAVE Hilary Clinton as your running mate – that would be the worst mistake you will ever make. She WOULD NOT let you run the White House as you would like it to do so, 'cause she'll always be bossing you around – just like she did Bill! We didn't vote for her – we voted for you!!!!! Please take former President Jimmy Carter's advice – get another running mate – how about John Edwards???? Now you two would make a great team!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  8. Jason

    She received 18 million votes. Who is Sam Nunn? Who cares? This is the DEMOCRATIC PARTY. How can you leave someone off the ticket who actually received more votes than you did? Obama and Hillary appeal two different segments of people and would likely heal the division in the party. Barack Obama is welcome to choose whomever he wants but... if this candidate doesn't have the kind of appeal to broaden his coalition, he may lose in November and Hillary supporters will be saying, "I told you so," until we can elect her in 2012.

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. Mary Anne Scanlon

    Hilary should be offered a cabinet post, but no to the VP. There is too much bad blood between them for her to be a good second mate. Besides, Bill is too much of a presence and he had his run.

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. Sandy

    I agree. Hillary's huge negative rating, all the gaffes she made during the campaign, the unbelievable baggage that she and her husband would bring to the ticket would be used over and over during the next few months.

    Plus having her as VP would galvanize the Republican base like nothing else could.

    I think a lot of Hillary's fans are rather amazed at the graceless way she's handled herself these past few weeks. Last night's speech has caught a lot of them by surprise.

    I'm wondering how many of 'Hillary's bargaining chips' would love to have their votes back?

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. Sunny

    Having Carter as a democrat has been the worst mistake of the century!! He should just shut up and sit in the corner with Nancy Pelosi since they are so old now!!

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. San

    I think that the democatic voters need to get a grip. It would be plain stupid to cut off your own foot (gas prices, mortgage crises, job loss, war) because of a personal feeling about liking or disliking a choice of clinton being on the ticket. If Obama wasn't on the ticket we all would have voted for Clinton. The republicans don't care about human beings. They care about corporate America. McCain is a flunky for the party because they know that the American people won't vote for Republicans. Bush didn't win the election remember. Al Gore and John Carey did. The Republicans took the election for thier greedy oil based agenda.

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. Venus

    B – NYC 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…

    You are indeed a true Hillary supporters!
    You act just like her................... keep dreaming!

    If Obama needs Hillary he should not be running for president!
    Also – Hillary will soon find herself outside of the Dems-Party!

    You go ahead and continue to let Hillary use you as a bargining chip– Hillary has no power over Obama nor our Demo-Paty!

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  14. NR MD

    What president Carter is talking is a total nonsense. He is centainly old enough to shut up but not wise enough to talk. Obama did not win. Clinton was mistreated. If Obama picks Clinton, he will get my vote. If he picks up any other I will refrain from voting this time. If he picks up Bill Richardson, I will vote for McCain. I am sure majority of American will feel the same way.

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. Charlotte

    Here we go again, why is a loser like Carter allowed to constantly voice his opinion? I hope Hillary does not accept a spot on the ticket. Obama might bring them both down to defeat. i will write Hillary Clinton on my ballot in November, unless she chooses to be a VP with him then I will choke and vote for him.

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. Dave

    I'm thinking the ticket will be Obama/Edwards 08.

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. Dennis

    B-NYC: As long as we are talking about manners, lets be clear. Senator Clinton's supporters are not without sin. Her supporters have regularly called Senator Obama's supporters spoiled children, impressionable, Obamabots, naive, cult followers, etc. At the same time, they have said all sorts of nasty things about Senator Obama including: that he is a snake oil salesman, he is just a rockstar, he is racist, he is slimy, he is a crybaby, etc. All of those things I have taken off of message boards today.

    I agree that Senator Obama needs a majority of Senator Clinton's supporters to get elected. However, don't be so sure that Senator Clinton doesn't need him. If she and her supporters don't work hard to support him, you can expect the same treatment from Senator Obama's supporters come 2012 should he lose.

    Truth is, the party needs to unite. I understand what it is that Senator Clinton means to many of her supporters. What I don't understand is how willing they are to completely flip on their values and policies and side with the opposite party. We're going to be better off with Senator Obama as president than we would with Senator McCain. Don't let your greivance with the media get in the way of that. Find another way of punishing them for the treatment they gave your candidate. Don't punish them at the expense of your country and party.

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. Johnsole

    As usual, Mr. Carter is absolutely correct and brave enough to speak out on a point that is unpopular. If Mr. Obama truly is for "change" putting another Clinton in the White House again is not the way to go. He should carefully select new blood for the position. We all know the VP is primarily a spare part, with very little job function or influence. At this point, the chosen mate's purpose is to draw votes and for that reason Mr. Obama should choose wisely.

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. KN

    Obama should take Carter as your VP. That should give you the "unconditional" talk with Iran.

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. Independent in New Mexico

    The former President is correct . My impression, after listening to all three canidates last night, was that she is threating to hold the party hostage for her personal gain . Perhaps it is just my impression, but she doesn't come across as a "team player" unless she is the one calling the plays........

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

    The job of a VP is to OBEY the president, do everything the president says and be 100% loyal to the president.

    Does that sound like a job the Clintons can do? The Clintons are only loyal to the Clintons. Billary should not be the VP and I would never vote for a ticket with Billary on it.

    There is NO WAY the Clintons should ever step foot in the White House again. If she can not recognize his victory, the backstabber will never be a good VP.

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

    To all you billary supporter's you suck barack dosn't need any person that dosn't no how to concede, Maybe you billary supporter's should tech a old dog like her how to bow out gracefully. And let the Man get to work healing the nation and it would be nice is he had you backing him " So Get ReaL"

    Yes We All Cann OBAMA 08!

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. Jane Doe

    in the last line of first paragraph, I meant to say "a premature decision or a forced decision." Edited the wrong adjective 🙂

    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  24. Erik on Wall St.

    B – NYC: You must be a Clinton political shill! The Clintons are history - good riddence!

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

    (Phone Rings)

    Answering Machine picks up: Hello, this is Barack Obama the Democratic Presidential Nominee. I am sorry I missed your call but please feel free to leave a message and I will return your call."

    Hillary Clinton: Yes, Barack........(sniff, sniff)...this is Hillary. I was wondering if.....er......uh.......I had a thought that maybe..........if you needed a VP......(sobbing)...........

    Pres. Nominee Barack Obama Answers: Hello, Hillary is that you? Sorry i was on the other line with the press. You were saying?

    Hillary Clinton: Sniff......i was just wondering since I won the most votes...

    Pres. Nominee Barack Obama: But you did not count all the votes of the Caucus and my name was not on the Michigan ballot. Are you writing for the Pravda press now and support a banana Republic elections?

    Hillary Clinton: No, you are right I had to spin the truth to my followers so they would still support me. I am sorry for that deception. Sniff....I had some time on my hands and thought I could maybe........let you choose me as the VP since I was entitled to win the nomination and then you stole it.....you know....OK?

    Pres. Nominee Barack Obama: No thanks Hillary, we are going in the direction of actual CHANGE for the country and not go backwards. Besides I actually want to win which I could not do with your negatives. Thanks for calling and good luck in the Senate.

    Hillary Clinton: but.....but.........WAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!


    June 4, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44