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. SeaRay Texas

    I have been a Democat every since old enough to vote. I do think Mr. Carter is right, it would be a mistake for this so called unity ticket....Senator Clinton does not and will not play her role, she has to be number one.............................If Sen Obama selects Sen Clinton as his running mate, she will and I said again WILL attempt to act more like the President than the VP.......too many accusations, snipes at Sen Obama during the Democratic Campaign......you just can mix oil and water......they will separate every time.......Sen Obama needs to chose a compatible running mate................

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

    With all due respect to President Carter, his comments are not well thought out. The party needs unity more than the ability to pick a few votes from McCain. If all Dems don't vote for Obama, he has no shot.
    Many Dems believe that the media hyjacked the primary. Hillary supporters are so angry that they might sit out or vote for McCain. If Hillary is on the ticket, all Dems will be united and ready to work on McCain together. If 18 million Dems voted for Hillary for President, why would he pick someone like Richardson, who couldn't get any votes. The way this played out, the only way to win is with Hillary and Obama on the same ticket. Sorry, Mr. President, you are way off.

    June 4, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Richard - San Diego

    Carter is right. Obama advisors-if you are reading this, PLEASE PLEASE don't let it happen! I don't think Mr. Obama is inclined to put Hillary on the ticket, but there is some pressure there. It would not "unite" the ticket, it would create chaos and harm your ability to call the shots as president once in office. Remember, although the Clinton people like to use fuzzy math to claim a "majority" of the popular vote, more people did not vote for her than did. And many of us in the Democratic Party were voting specifically against her, and no–gender had nothing to do with it! We don't need no corporate politician dynasties!!!

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


    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. Erika

    How far from reality are the democrats?

    What Carter doesn't understand is that there are a lot of angry white women out there who feel the DNC turned their backs on Hillary.

    White women are the swing vote. They will not vote for Obama because they want to teach the DNC a lesson: reject the female vote and you lose the general election. I hear it over and over again. Without Hillary, Obama will not stand a chance. McCain will take a female running mate; no doubt, and if he does... women will flock to him in droves.

    Kiss your first African American candidate good bye, without Hillary.

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Emily

    Sen. Hillary Clinton was right last night when she asked that the nation and the Democratic Party respect the 18 million voters who supported her. The nasty, hateful comments about Sen. Clinton have got to stop. We have a nominee-Sen. Obama–so there is no reason to continue this petty angry feud about someone who has contributed so much to this party. Not only are these remarks incredibly disrespectful to Sen. Clinton and her supporters, but it is entirely counter productive. We need to defeat McCain in November, and we'll never do that if rank and file Democrats can't let their personal animosity go. It's not just about the party leaders–we need to be part of the solution to "unify our party" by refusing to tear one another down.

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. NV

    B – NYC: To correct you... Clinton needed a lot more money... she just didn't have it.

    Gary- FOREVER HILLARY: You didn't have the popular vote, the delegates new it... so give it up. She lost.

    susan sosh: You are absolutely correct... Obama does need Clinton supporters help, but he has already gained a large portion of it believe it or not. There are many Clinton supporters that believed she was the best candidate and who can argue with that... this is politics... we all have our opinions, but the truth is Obama's stance on issues is very close to Clinton's so if you wish to vote for Clinton, Obama is the closest thing you will get because McCain is no where near what Clinton wants.

    Finally, for all those who say she should run as an independent... That's crazy. She wouldn't win because she wouldn't get enough of the vote to offset what she would lose to Obama... and McCain would easily walk away with the win. She knows that... Obama knows that... McCain knows that... pretty much all of American knows that... so it won't happen.

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. James

    The biggest problem with adding Hillary onto the Obama ticket is his campign of change. Isn't change the point? With Hillary on the ticket Obama bid for the presidency just looks like a fraud.

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Donny,CantonOH

    As a Clinton supporter, who intends on voting for McCain in an Obama-McCain matchup, I can only say I hope he doesn't select her because I want to excuse to vote for a racist, sexist, anti-semite! McCain '08!!! Hillary 2012!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. Steve

    For the HIllary supporters who are saying Obama's supporters have been rude, please remember that these blogs are a very tiny percentage of the voter population. Please do not judge Obama's supporters based upon the few dozen people that contribute here. The vast majority are good, polite, decent people.

    That being said, please do not judge the candidate's qualifications based upon his (or her) supporters. Both candidates would make excellent presidents. Judge these two outstanding individuals based upon their own ideas, and what THEY say (not what their supporters spew).

    The people and the delegates have spoken. Obama is the candidate who will take us forward. Don't waste adrenaline on the people in these blogs. The true adversaries are waiting, with bags full of dirty tricks (like pretending they are for Hillary or Obama, and filling the blogs full of nastiness to split the Democratic Party up). Hillary will undoubtedly have a very strong role in Obama's administration, whether it's VP or something else. It's time to get behind Obama, and be sure he makes it to the presidency, so we can start to fix the last 8 years of disaster.

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. Jack Walden

    Women on this forum and elsewhere are within their rights not to vote for Obama. But before they elect to vote for McCain, they need to think what MacCain means for their reproductive rights. Maybe many who are past their reproductive stage dont care anymore but they need to think about the future generation and what McCain in white house means.

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  12. Interesting

    And we should listen to a former President who speaks to Hamas w/o preconditions, a terrorist organization and got nothing for it.

    I am one of Hillary's 18 Million voters, she not on the ticket, no President Obama, Period!

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. Azar

    He is right. Their negatives will be the main focus of the campaign.

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. Mary-PA

    Tell me, what is it with all of these people who say that he can't win without Hillary? The poor black man needs the good, strong Clinton white woman to save the presidency for him? He won the primaries IN SPITE OF all of her tactics and games! The only reason her strongest supporters are having trouble supporting him are because she herelf is fanning the flames! Just look at her speach last night! Instead of taking the high road and encouraging her supporters to do the same she asks them to go to her website and tell her how much they love her so she can feel justified continueing this splitting of the party!

    The only reason she won't conceed is she is holding the Obama campaign and the democratic party hostage until she gets what she wants. I think the very least Obama has earned in this is to have the ability to pick whomever he wants for vice president without pressure from ANYONE! The VP slot is no more earned by Sen. Clinton then being the nominee was. Sen. Clinton needs to get over herself and start working to unite the party. A true leader works to unite, not divide. Look at the actions of Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton and listen to their speeches last night and tell me who the better leader is!

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. Drama

    PLEASE Senator Obama!!!

    DO NOT CHOOSE CLINTON AS VP!!! She'll DESTROY your campaign and shake up Republicans!!!


    All the Clintons are good for is DRAMA!!! We WANT CHANGE!!!

    No more Clintons!!!

    No more Bushes!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  16. Chris

    If you are a Hillary supporter who says you will vote for McCain over Obama in the general election you are either racist or ignorant, guaranteed! Obama and Clinton agree on 95% of policy issues and share almost all of the same political differences from McCain. Please don't make us suffer through four more years of Bush politics, just because you're bitter your candidate didn't win the primary. Educate yourself and see who Obama really is. He is not a muslim, he is not his pastor, he is an extremely intelligent, driven man who wants to make this country better and has inspired hope in so many of us that he can.

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. Amber

    Give ma a break B – NYC, you are acting like Clinton supporters have not been rude to us. You are the stupid ones that refuse to unite the party by voting McCain because your old girl didn't win. Get a life. Obama does not need Hillary. Vote for him or not, he will still win because he can.

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. John Smith

    By the way, Obama leads in the Delegate Count. Clinton leads in the Popular Vote. Hum, that's interesting, are there more Delegates or People in this country ? I believe it is the later. So when you say WHO won the primary election, I believe the PEOPLE in our country have spoken.

    So don't be stupid people. The only way for the dem's to win back the white house if to put forth the 2 strongest candidates the party has to offer. THE DELEGATE LEADER AND THE POPULAR VOTE LEADER !!!

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  19. Rolled eyes

    Hell hath no fury – Clinton and her coven are proving they are every bit the worst stereotypical overbearing, never-lose-an-argument, vindictive harridans. Go ahead, girlies – pitch a hissy-fit and show us why women should be put in positions of diplomacy and tact...

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Jayson

    Obama doesn't need Hillary and it's very simple to see why:

    John McCain promised to appoint conservative judges to the supreme court and will try to overturn Roe vs. Wade. ANY woman who gives her vote to McCain will be helping to set back women's reproductive rights 30 years. That's cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    John McCain's agenda will be to stay in Iraq. So all the mothers that Hillary said were pleading to her to bring their sons home will be McScrewed.

    If women really are that dumb to spitefully vote for McCain, then they'll deserve everything they get!

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Necie

    HRC should NOT be on the ticket. We are pushing for Change and she does not represent that. I USED to support her, but her negativity, playing the innocent victim and willingness to break the rules to have her way has turned me off. She is divisive. Clinton supporters got it wrong....Obama does NOT need her to Win in Nov. She needs him to help her salvage whatever dignity she has left.

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. CLEAN

    susan sosh June 4th, 2008 1:58 pm ET

    "Obama will not win unless he has Hillary on his ticket. Hillary's people will not vote for Obama. I will not"



    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. Pam

    He's absolutely right.

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. NoozeJunkie

    I don't think there's been a more gracious speech than what we saw last night...from Terry McAulife introducing the "next President of the United States" to her underlying threat of demanding respect for all 18 million people who voted for her. Not to mention the fact that she continues to say she's the better candidate, and has stated that McSame is a better candidate than Obama. Obama will have enough problems to worry about without Hillary and Billy trying to submarine all his efforts.

    June 4, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. Doug

    Do you remember, a few months ago, the horrible specter that one candidate might win the popular vote but that the super delegates would go into a "smoke-filled room" and give it to the other one?
    Do you remember, last week, that the rules committee would not make a decision about Florida and Michigan which would alter the outcome of the election?
    Well, it looks like both things happened. Obama has 1,762 pledged delegates and could not have reached 2,118 without more than half of the super delegates, and Hillary would also have reached that threshold if she had received delegates according to votes in Florida and Michigan.
    This situation has been unavoidable due to the closeness of the race, so I am not faulting Obama for it. I have no problem with congratulating Obama for his success in mustering the delegates to become the presumptive nominee, but I don't think that people should criticize Hillary for not accepting defeat more immediately and more explicitly. It’s not like his victory was won in the voting booth, after all.
    The primary was a tie, at best, with the final decision determined only by 27 committee members and 680 super delegates. Why don't we just do the whole thing over again? If that's not really possible, perhaps we should all just respect each other a little bit and recognize that both of them could be on the ticket.`

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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