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. Adam

    If Hillary voters are willing to lose the election because they won't vote for Obama with out her, than so be it. Let the next four years be on the heads of the ignorant who rather vote based on emotional attachment to a candidate, rather than the actual issues.

    This decision will decide what kind of president Obama will be. Is he going to be one to cave under the pressure of others forcing him into a choice, or will he make the choice based on his principles, views, and values, regardless of the cost?

    This discussion is the reason why America is going down the drain. Think about it: You would rather support McCain, a person who has opposing views and stances to your candidate, over another candidate (Obama) whose views are aligned with your own? Thats just about the stupidest thing I ever heard. I support Obama, but if he didn't win, I'd still support the Dem nominee. I care about the issues and the message, the messenger is secondary to the policy decisions.

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

    People vote for the President , not the VP.

    Whatever good she would bring she brings and equal amount of drama and baggage.. Not exactly the "change" we were seeking.

    Time for Hillary to face reality and start unifying the party. This will be the real test of her –if she really does that . But at the moment it appears not. Her ego, her time frame, it's all about HER !!!!!!!! As usual. Some things never change.

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

    To B in NYC,

    I think you are incorrect. We don't need you to win the election. Polls show that either Obama or Clinton would just barely eke out a win against McCain with the supporters they have. I don't pander to childish behavior. If you don't want to vote for Obama, dont. I don't care. Either way, your candidate still didn't win.

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

    It's going to be great when Hillary is faded out of sight!

    Happy she won't be on Obama's ticket!

    And--- to some of Hillary's supporters-------

    In your face!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hillary lost! And so did many of her supporters! Hillary's campaign is broke and in debt------
    it's you Hillary supporters who let her down!

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

    Without Hillary, HE WILL NEVER WIN.

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

    I agree with President Carter. President Carter has one constant ,He is
    Honest and Loves to Help people.

    June 4, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Dems for Mc Cain

    Yea, lets ask Carter, another of Obamas radical friends.
    Obama should be so lucky to get Hilary. I think either she should run as an Independent or do her good work for all the grateful and some ungrateful Americans.
    Mc Cain Democrat

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

    Carter is absolutely right. Senator Obama does not need her to win. For Hillary supporters if you like vote for McCain, Senator Obama have nothing to lose, he will still be a Senator and an Attorney, doing well with his family, you all (Hillary suppoorters) will be the one to suffer Bush's third term.

    Obama '08

    June 4, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Realist in Maryland

    I rarely agree with Carter, but for once I do.

    A so-called "Dream Ticket" would never work. Clinton would never settle for #2. She would want to be Co-President.

    Furthermore there is no room for a threesome in the Whitehouse – Obama – Hillary – Bill

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

    This is oddly like the McCain backlash on the Republican side of things. All the Evangelicals got pissed just like all you blue collar un-educated philistines are now. The fact of the matter is however pissed you are now you will still end up coming around and voting Dem regardless of who is running, because if you don't then the alternative is another Republican, and your welfare loving, EO toting, tax hiking, forced medical coverage wanting butts just couldn't live with that. I'm an independent, and you all need to grow up and realize a Dem is a Dem is a Dem. Don't get pissed because your particular flavor of Dem didn't get elected. I mean at the end of the day is there really that big of a difference?

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

    As a one term President, who had some remarkable failures while in office, who better to give advice?

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

    It's time all of us unite and fight!!!! If we do Hillary will take back what is rightfully hers!!! Hillary can expose the sexism that is rampant within the DNC and by doing so destroy and castrate that wholly male instrument. We must not let the fact that Obama received as many popular votes as Hillary dissuade us!!! We must not let the fact that Obama received more pledge delegates interfere!!!! We must not let the fact the Obama received more super delegates silence our screams. WE ARE WOMEN, HEAR US ROAR!!!!

    Hillary can still win as long as she continues to run her campaign the way her women supporters run their lives; with an absence of logic and decisions based purely on emotion.


    June 4, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Tim SD

    He's right. The republicans would have a field day with that ticket. Barak Hussein Obama and Hillary Clinton. I bet Rush and those like him are falling all over themselves hoping it will happen.

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. The Hills

    Carter is retarded. There is no way in hell that Obama can win without her help.

    Carter can say hello to President McCain for all of us.

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. truth

    Hillary should not be on the ticket, l think because now if he wins it would be because of her and if he lose it will be l told you so she was the stronger one and she will still feels that way even when she lost in every way even the POPULAR VOTE for those who know that every vote must count right, caucuses are votes like Hillary says let every vote be counted, are we now going to back track on that to you can not allow her to make a case on her effort or lack of. She cant be trusted and it would do more harm then good she dog the race over and over and now she want admitt its over keeping voters divided for an attempt to turn voters away from the democratic party she never spoke about unity to her supporters because she need the division for her gain this is why she lost and the voters choosed Obama, Cater is right she is not about change if she was we would of said in her speech last night to get behind Obama and unite but again it was about her and what she think should be in play for her not the party if you say you will do for the party then do dont demand its not good politics

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Al

    The critical thing here is for Obama to show that he is the decision maker here, not the media, not Hillary.

    Also, it's ridiculous how much heat Carter takes for actually doing what makes sense....if you lived in the middle east you would agree with him. 60 percent of Israelis say their gov. should meet w/ hamas. Why? Because they're tired of the violence, and fighting fire w/ fire is not very productive. These people have proven that violence will only strengthen them and allow them to exploit their population, who are extremely vulnerable in their impoverished and hopeless situation.
    Of course, this notion does not make sense to people who believe in stereotypes and that the arabs and palestinians are just inheritantly evil, which is completely ridiculous, but that's the true logic behind the whole no negotiation, cowboy "diplomacy"

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. Bill H

    Any Clinton supporter who vows to vote for McCain over Obama is either unintelligent or racist. McCain and Clinton have nothing in common in terms of policy.

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Proud American

    I totally agree with Carter. Lets move forward.

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Ed - Washington DC

    I agree with Jimmy Carter.

    Hillary is still running for co-President.

    "Hillary. Oh Hillary ***"

    Did I hear "Robert Mugabe?"

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. DeeGee2

    To all of you who are threatening not to vote for Obama, vote for McCain or not vote at all...who are you hurting??? You vote for McCain we stand to have at least four more years of the way things are now. You vote for Obama at least we have a 50/50 chance of changing things. I am an Obama supporter however, if Hillary had won the nomination I would be voting for her. Their views on the issues are not that different. No president has ever entered the White House fully knowledgeable of his duties but at least they enter with a clear picture of what not to become (ie; current Bush administration). Vote with your head and not your heart if not YOU could be the next one to loose your job or home. Think about it while you are riding your bicycle around town because you can't afford the gas for your car!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. Chris

    I have never been rude or derogatory to any Hilary Clinton supporters.

    Hilary supporters – you have to move on.

    Barack Obama and Caroline Kennedy-Scholsberg 2008!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Shaunta

    President Carter was ahead of his time. If his energy ideas had been heeded, maybe we wouldn't be in the position we are now.

    And he is right about this. I am so completely turned off by Hillary and her behavior during this primary season, that I've gone from being a supporter to the point where I could not vote for a ticket with her on it. She is building up millions in debt fighting a losing battle. What does that say about how she would manage our country's economy?

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |

    B NYC.........His supporters need to realize a few thingsā€¦ They have been rude and disrespectful to Senator Clinton therefore, rude to her supporters.... RUDE is what HRC displayed last night and direspect ful from both sides

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. Believe Again

    Are we now saying that with the Millions of people in America, HRC is the only hardworking, hard fighting , most intelligent female in politics? Is she so popular because of HRC or because of Bill Clinton? What are people complaining about, she will not be a good VP to BO, I know because I have worked with women like her, they never accept when they are wrong, they will want to muscle in on every show and bully everyone, they never, ever say "I am sorry I was wrong" and worst of all it is always everybody's fault but their own. I have always believed that the mark of a good leader, is taking responsibility for actions, both the good and the bad and from my years of studying leaders, this trait has always boded well for the people they lead.

    Since she wears the pants in her family, I will say she will not know the difference when it comes to governing as a Vice President. I honestly do not believe she will be good for this ticket. This does not mean she will not make a good VP on its own but for this ticket I do not honestly think so.
    Like James Carville said she has too many cajones to just be a VP. She will constantly want to prove to everyone that they were wrong and she was right. Her behaviour has not done anything to dissuade me from this way of thinking.
    Oh and by the way I am a woman :-).

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. Clinton is the divider!

    what happened to "he doesnt have the delegates, as soon as he has the delegates i will endorse him and fully support him".

    remember that? she is a liar

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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