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. Enough

    I hope Barack doesn't offer to her.

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  2. tidho

    He's right, besides Hillary for VP just doesn't make sense.

    Hillary for a brand new cabinet position in charge of new Federal initiatives makes a lot of sense. The current cabinet postitions are designed to run the government, you're going to need an additional one to fundementally change it.

    Republicans are already airing clips of her as attack adds on Obama. How is she going to debate his qualifications? She'd have to flip flop on the core position of a VP nominee – that the Presidential nominee is the right person for the job. If she campaigned that she was better, you could make that issue go away, but she campaigned that he was incapable – that doesn't go away.

    Finally, if Hillary is as good as everyone thinks, you need her actually focused on issues and not cutting ribbons and traveling to shake the hands of foreign leaders that aren't even relevent to our policies.

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. Dinesh

    he's right, its not even fair for her to force her way into this vp nomination

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Mighty Blogger, Seattle, Wash

    Let a vetting process for the VP position take the time it needs to understand the new demographics and loyalties a VP would bring.

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Griff

    Now the World will watch the, Ticking Time Bomb....

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. Carter also thought


    talking to Hamas is a great idea

    restricting oil and causing gas shortage was a great idea

    inflation of 20% is normal

    just shut up

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  7. Superdelegae Bob

    Does he mean a bigger mistake than his own presidency? Now, that's BIG!

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. Kaylee

    I agree!
    He needs to be careful for more than one reason!

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. john



    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. Lorna, NY

    I agree!

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Jill in Chicago

    This coming from the worst democratic presidential administration in history...we should take your advice. Gee, weren't we paying high prices for gas, the equivalent of $4.00 per gallon at that time, in the 80's during the worst inflation ever!!!

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. Dennis

    I don' t know who the Vice President should be. I'll even grant President Carter that he knows more about politics than I do. However, I'm not certain he really understands what is best for the Presidential race right now.

    Sure, you'll group all their negatives, but that is true when adding any Vice President to the ticket.

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Stacy

    My dream ticket is Obama/ Gore

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Enlightened Voter - No hillary for VP

    Who cares what she wants. It is Obama's choice and clinton needs to dig deep down and find some grace and exit this race gracefully if she cares for the country which we know she doesn't. I for one am adamently opposed to her being his vp. We need new blood in the Whitehouse.

    June 4, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. The real Anderson!

    True.,, I'm sick of the clintons! They lost a lot of my respect..
    There supporters are crazzzzzzzzzzzzy.. She needs to just go away ,
    its not about her and bill anymore.. plz just go...goooo!.. tY..

    Obaaaaama plz don't put her as your vp!

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Michael, Los Angeles, CA

    I like Carter but he's being kind of an idiot in this case. People aren't robots. And for Carter to think that both candidates running together would cancel out their respective votes via negative thoughts for the other is ridiculous. It would actually be the BEST ticket in history.
    I know several women who are die-hard Clinton fans and several people who hate her. And both will vote for a 'wonder duo' if that is the case. Because both get what they want.
    Carter is out of touch with what people want. Americans want change. And that ticket would give it to them two fold.

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. David

    He is right on this, though he didn't articulate it well.
    Clinton has told many lies about Obama.

    Mr Obama, you can't play with fire and go free.

    A word is enough for a wise.

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Anne

    Oh really Ben? Well if Hillary isn't VP I am going to think LONG
    and HARD before I vote for Obama. I AM very disgruntled by the
    primary process and the sexism that was demonstrated to all by
    the media in the past 6 months. I'm not a happy Democrat today.

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. lopez

    Please, please, please lead the country and don't be led by Hillary. She can do much better some other position, not VP!!

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. No Adivce Please

    Carter, please don't give out advice about presidential campains.

    It has been you and other superdelegates that have made this party laughable up until now.

    Barach will make the right choice. If he doesn't, a lot of Democrats will do the same thing they did when you campained.

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. jeff

    Who cares about that hick loser CARTER! Tell him to take out his false teeth and shut up!

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Christine D

    As a Clinton supporter I don't want her to take VP, she Is better than that. I will be voting for Nader unless Mccain picks a woman as VP.

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. David Shine, London, England

    Absolutely no to the joint ticket. Hillary continues her viciousness, she asks people to tell her what to do; she's never been one to listen to people, only when it suits her. On her website, there's a counter and she will use this to let people know that x number of people want me to continue.
    Further, using a sports analogy, you don't win a game based on shots on goal or how close you came to scoring a goal. You win it on predecided rules.

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  24. Ramon

    Hillary should go to DENVER!

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. leebee1963

    I hope he takes heed to Jimmy Carter. I couldn't agree with him more.

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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