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. Jodie, Idaho

    There are significant differences in policy between John McCain and Barack Obama. Hillary said it herself that her and Obama have a lot more in common as far as policies are concerned. Way more so than McCain. If Clinton supporters are so mad that policy does not matter, then there is no changing their minds. If I were Obama I would not be forced into anything. He has worked his tail off to be where he is, and he deserves the respect and room to choose his own running mate. If he decides it should be Hillary, then so be it. But, if he decides it shouldn't be then so be it to. IT IS HIS DECISION!!! Who cares what HIllary supporters do. Let them vote for McCain and they will have to pay the consequences for 4 more years. But, he should not let fear guide his decisions.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. James

    I am shocked by all this Carter bashing. Jimmy Carter has had possibly the finest post-presidency of any of our presidents, actually helping to spread democracy, and earning himself a Nobel prize. He is now saying what everyone knows but no one wants to hear. These two are a mismatch. There may be a spot for Clinton in the Obama administration but it is not vp.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Just an American

    There is only one thing Clinton can do to help the Democratic ticket, and that is to dig down and discover the grace and strength necessary to say "Good job, Senator Obama, what can I do to help?" Without this, her supporters continue to badmouth the apparent candidate. How sad.

    I do wonder, however, just how many of these so called supporters are elephants in disguise, posting only to make support of Obama seem impossible.

    I would rather see a vice presidential candidate who doesn't have to be "won over" by Obama. One who is supportive and experienced in a way that would be impossible for Hillary to pretend.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. Angela Frazier

    I agee with Mr. Carter, but shouldn't someone tell Hillary it is over? She seems to still be running for president! She has yet to admit she lost. Last night, she appeared to still be campaigning!

    In fact, all her followers seemed to be in some kind of induced delusional state. They were all over the TV talking like Obama hadn't won the nomination! Seemingly impervious to the facts. Saying last night should have been her night and we needed to give her time.

    Her night? She lost the nomination! Give her time? Hell, she has had 2 months! How much time does she need? Any honest person will admit that this race has been over mathematically for a some time! While I applaud her tenacity, she never seems to know when to say when!

    She and her people are living in Clintonville. A land located just around the bend from the twilight zone!

    Still, there are more cons than pros for this match up. Republicans will rise from the grave to vote against her, not to mention Bill with his connections to a scam that targeted thousands of elderly Americans and his very questionable dealings with Dubai. One Aide even reported that they were afraid to leave him alone in any hotel lobby for fear of WHO he might get into, not just what!

    What Hillary needs to do is admit defeat, endorse Obama, bring her 18 million people into the fold and find another position of power in Washington from which she can work to help those she claims to care about.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. Jeff

    You're either: (1) too young to remember Jimmy Carter, (2) have a very poor memory, or (3) just plain stupid. As bad as GWB is, he's still not as bad as Carter was. I wouldn't trust anything Carter says.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. WestCoast

    To all Hillary Supporters: Please put this behind you and vote for Obama. I know it probably hurts to think it now but you would be voting against yourselves if you voted for McCain. He will take us down the same road that this country absolutely cannot afford to keep going on.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  7. Mark

    I agree with Jimmy Carter.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. vince Chicago

    Obama should not pick or offer the VP spot to Hillary. It goes against his Hope and Change that he has been running on. I also believe that Hillary should reject his offer if made. Obama will not win the GE with or without Hillary as his VP. Most people believe that all of Hillarys supporters will unite under Obama. That is a HUGE mistake. I would bet that 50% are Hillary supporters and 50% actually believe (like me) that Obama is unfit to be POTUS. Obama is doomed. Let him try and steer his wayward ship alone. Don't do it Hillary. There is NO WAY that I will ever support Obama. I wouldn't vote for him if he put MY MOTHER on the ballot. I live in a state that has been bankrupt by Obama and his cronies. I can not and simply will not vote for this garbage to move to the WH.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. Paul in Seattle

    I think it would be a good decision to pair them up. You could take Hillary's "win at all cost" attitude and complement it with Obama's obvious charisma and charm. They could "good cop, bad cop" other countries and our own government. Clinton could do all of Obama's dirty work, and leave Obama looking like the saint that he is. Kind of like Cheney and Bush. Although they decided to go "bad cop, idiot cop" to confuse everyone.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  10. Steve

    Thank you, President Carter, for speaking out. I'm ready for Obama/Biden or Obama/Richardson.

    We are all ready for a change in the direction of this country.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. Tonie

    Obama should have the right to pick and choose whom he can work with on his own terms.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. TJ

    Hillary's supporters just cannot accept rules, unless the rules favor Hillary. One more time for those with low IQs, the candidate with a majority of the delegates wins. That would be Obama, so get over yourselves.

    Obama would be nuts to choose Hillary as VP. He probably would not survive until the inauguration.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Mr. Walker

    By most of these comments it shows just how devided our country really is. I feel that at this point, no matter who Mr. Obama picks as his running mate he will be our next president. He has shown great poise and shown great judgement troughtout this race and his political career. Who ever he chooses as his VP we should all support him. We all need to come together as "One Nation..." It is about time.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Clive G.

    It doesn't matter who Obama picks as his running mate.
    If he picks Hillary, it'll help heal the party, which will probably be the best possible outcome.

    Bottom line is that Obama is a *liberal* and the chance of an L-person being president these days, in the good ol' US of A, is zero.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. M.S. Indiana

    B – NYC, you are right, at least she still have a Senate seat, but next year it will be up for grasp....

    After doing such a wonderful campaign, he will need to really look at the people who could be VP or other openings for running this country....

    We need leaders who are uplifting and caring about us the people and the world...

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. franco

    Hillary- I vigorously supported you, please do not even consider in your nightmares to be the VP. You should have been the bride not the
    bride's maid. You would never be allowed to make any meaningful
    decisions, or receive any support for your ideas. Don't do it.

    If you are serious about serving the people of the USA, please stay in
    the Senate and be the BEST New York senator ever. If Edward Kennedy is not able to serve on account of his health, the country will
    need a strong leader to continue programs vital to our citizens.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  17. David5992

    The "popular" vote is not a valid measure in a party primary. This is for a very simple reason. The vast majority of primaries in both parties are CLOSED primaries, where only registered voters in that party may vote for a candidate. Thus, and independent voter could not vote for a candidate of either major party, nor could a voter cross from his or her registered party to vote in the other party's primary.

    It is disingenuous and dishonest to claim winning the "popular" vote when the established political practice - of both parties - disenfranchies approximately half of the electorate based on party affiliation.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  18. Mike NYC

    I have not heard ONE good reason why all these Hillary Supporters who would not vote for Obama in a general election except out of spite.

    Please one supporter of Hillary who comes on this and comments "I will not vote for Obama and instead vote for McCain" please explain why. Instead you all sound like teenagers who have a fit because they did not get their way. Grow up and act like an adult.

    It is an extremely childish action to vote for a candidate that could cause this entire country to continue in the wrong direction vs choosing someone who has similar ideals and attitudes just because you are mad. What a shame and selfish act that is those people do not see the big picture.

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. OJW

    If Obama offers Clinton the VP spot it shouldn't have anything to due with the votes she received... that's c-r-a-z-y... I'm in the Superbowl New England could have said, "What about our 14 points we scored?.." duh... it counts... but the fact is the Giants still "are" the champs...

    June 4, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  20. Gail

    For one who doesn't want each candidate's negatives to be concentrated in one ticket, Pres. Carter did a swell job of listing several of Obama's "perceived" negatives. Just shut about it, Jim.

    Anyway, let's have Bill Richardson. As far as I know, nobody hates him yet, he fills a lot of Obama's gaps, and he's Hispanic.

    June 4, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. The Truth

    Terry McCullough is so disingenuous and totally a lying spin machine. To introduce Hillary as the Democratic Nominee is totally outrageous and Hillary strong arming the Democratic Party. She keeps saying that she has a army behind her.. NO she doesn't. If you Name is not on the ballot you have to make a choice Obama or McCain. Her voters should realize how wrong this is. The way you conduct yourself means everything. Stealing the spotlight on day when he wins the Nomination is just not right no matter who you like. This does not warrant any consideration for VP. McCain is challenging Obama and he needs to be able to respond. Not answering Hillary questions everyday. She deserves absolutely No VP consideration.

    June 4, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. Electricmen

    BTW: Does Mr. Carter think HILLARY and supportter , kore than 50% of democrats, campaigning for OBAMA will also be poisonous for Obama? May be OBAMA can win on his own.

    I think, if there was an Election today, only between OBAMA and CLINTON, Clinton would win by a huge majority.

    Obama got the majority delegates, but by help of indirect voting and Super Deligate, by not giving Hillary all the Vote from Florida, Michigan etc AND spending FOUR times the money!!!

    What about the Nov. election, everyone will vote, no? How many votes the superdeligate will have out of millions and millions? Just ONE each.

    June 4, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. Laura, Phx, Az

    First, I wish SOMEONE would actually say how, when and where Obama was rude and sexist to Clinton? I heard plenty of racial stuff thrown at Obama by big name Clinton supporters, including Bill, but name something Obama has done.

    Do not mistake bloggers and posters tearing each candidate apart as something that either candidate (and ex-candidate) said or is saying to the other. If you cannot discern private people typing on CNN from political people bashing each others, we have bigger problems here.

    To all of you supporting Clinton and swearing not to vote for Obama, or to write her in....do it. Then, when McCain wins the election because you split the party, cry to someone else when gas is $6 a gallon or more, more young men and women are killed in Iraq and no one can afford healthcare. It's your choice....choose wisely.

    June 4, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. rexx

    Well Carter should know all about mistakes. His whole term in office was one big mistake. Welcome to President McCain.

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

    The WORST mistake would probably be Obama/Carter.

    That's not to say that Obama/Clinton would be all that much better, but it's really hard to suck as badly as Carter.

    June 4, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
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