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. Pittsburgh Kid

    Who CARES Hillary Supporter, cry me a river!!! Hillary supporters are some of the sadest Losers I have seen..poor and undereducated voters that think by NOT voting at all, or NOT voting in their best interest in wise...

    L IS FOR LOSERS!!!!!

    Go Barry!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. It's McCain bashing time!!!

    Now that we finally figured out our nominee, it's now time to talk about what a vote for McCain will bring to our country.

    McCain will bring four more years of the exact same mess we're in now.

    Don't send our country back a hundred years.

    Vote Democrat!

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Deb

    As a Hillary supporter I say we now MUST rally around Obama. Even if he decides to pick someone other than Hillar as VP, we must do everything we can to keep McCain from entering the White House. Let's not forget that the next President will be picking Supreme Court Judges, and we must make sure it is not McCain's decision. Please, please, we must now unite behind Obama. Afterall, his policies and Hillary's are not that much different.

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Lora B.

    That's right, Carter, and you should know as one of the worst presidents ever..........I guess you want Obama to carry on your legacy!

    If Hillary is not on the ticket, I wil vote for McCain!

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. Pistoff

    I agree. Clinton does not equal change.

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. basanti

    based on carter's recent- long recent comments and perceptions- i can only say, carter who??? he's important because...?

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Deb J in Iowa

    The Obama supporters should review their own negative attitude towards Clinton and the Clinton supporters should review their own negative attitude towards Obama. (Or was this all spin by the media!) These two candidates have shown respect for each other throughout the campaign. They both deserve respect from all of our country's citizens. Look at the issues. They both have accomplished great things for our country and it is only the beginning! I will support the Democratic ticket!

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. mtc

    It appears that former President Carter has more common sense than former President Clinton and his wife, Senator Clinton.

    The Clinton's have said they will work to see a democrat in the White House, but have tried just about every way possible to make that more difficult. The divisiveness they intentionally brought into the campaign was all for their own benefit, and not about the party.

    If they could have been more honest in their dealings with the American public over the years, HRC just might have been a serious presidential candidate. But they aren't honest people, and their lack of ethics and morals has been exposed for what it is.

    If Obama fails to win this fall, the Clinton's (both of them) will be the major reason why.

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. jennym

    Hillary is ruining her OWN future , every second she refuses to concede and support Obama. Bill's legacy is total dirt now and soon hers will be also. She needs to start acting like a grown up. They knew this was coming for a long long time . So I don't buy they she needs time . She needs time to try to get super delegates to change their mind .

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Derek from Louisiana

    Don't make the mistake of selecting Hillary Rodham Clinton your VP. I am a fan of Bill Clinton, not Hillary. Their time was their time. However, in the wake of the unfolding events during the primary, I am hard-pressed to believe that she will act in good faith. Not just the primary campaign tactics she exhibited, but the defiance in her speech on 06/03/08 did I fully understand that she would be a Democratic Dick Cheney. As much as it used to be considered a "dream ticket," it would be a nightmare ticket. She has exposed so much that I feel there are irrepairable differences. She, to me, is like trying to let your wounds heal while still wearing the same old dirty band aid that could cause an infection.

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Randy M

    One of the few times in history that Jimmy is right. There are too many good people to choose from to SETTLE for Hillary.

    Now I see all the threats are "we won't vote for him unless Hillary is on the ticket". He does not need THESE Hillary supporters. Go vote for McCain. I hope you'll be able to sleep at night after you do. There are MANY MORE of us who'll do the right thing and get Obama in the White House than there are of you UnAmerican hypocrites.

    Just remember, IF, God forbid, McCain wins, you must apologize to all our service men and women and their families for what you've done. I hope the faces of the dead haunt you for the rest of your lives.

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. MK


    All you embittered Clintonites are pathetic! Enough with your day late dollar short threats already! Go on and vote for McCain I dare you! All this "he needs her more than she needs him" is such a joke. Is that so? Then why did your horse lose? Oh right that vast conspiracy? Only left wing this time?? Give me a break, Obama does not need her, please have fun throwing your vote away on McCain, and PRESIDENT OBAMA will see you in 2009 🙂


    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  13. Polkovnik

    I agree entirely with President Carter. With all due respect, Sen. Clinton brings nothing to the party except some portion of her personal support base. (She won't be able to bring along the racist and yahoo elements, who wouldn't vote for Obama if Jesus Christ were his running mate. Most of the rest will clench their teeth and vote Democratic, with or without Hillary.)

    What Sen, Obama needs is a running mate who will fill his experience gaps and attract the great moderate center who will actually determine the outcome. Sen, Sam Nunn would be a brilliant choice, but, as Carter says, there are others.

    Does anyone actually think that the über-polarizing Clinton could attract independents and disaffected Republicans? Dream on.


    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. PDM


    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. Change NOW

    To bitter person who would rather vote for a third term than endorse democratic principles to create a better future, I hope you don't have kids or else you should be too ashamed to confront them in the future when mcbush ruins our country, our future, our health care, our environment.....etc..etc...

    If being right is more important than principles and our country, vote for mcbush.....don't stoop to blackmail.....

    Obama elevates discussion in this country....beyond mccain's angry rhetoric...get on board or go home...bye now....

    Obama makes his own inteliigent independent decisions...whoever he picks, I will support, as if hillary (my senator from NY State) had won, I would have supported her.....be an adult.....

    I personally think HRC ruined her own chances with mudslining, pandering...now if Obama picks her, it will look as though it was all due to blackmailing, I also heard mcauliffe on NPR yesterday hinting she won't concede because she is angling for VP spot...I really detest clinton strategies....their karl rove tactics have no place in a party of "change".....unless we are going backwards....my own opinion, which I believe I am entitled to...w/out namecalling, baiting, or personal attacks which I have seen too frequently lately...leave that to mcbush.......

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. Truth Be Told

    to B-NYC – you so funee! it was not obama's supporters who started the vitriol in the campaign just concluded, it was hillary, her husband and their minions. let us not forget chelsea none-of-your-business clinton as well.

    it's like her supporters (perhaps including you?) who did the pinching and they say ouch?

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. Liz in SD

    Do these HRC supporters get it yet? Going to Denver isn't going to get her the nomination. It'll only insure that she has NO political future. As for VP–NEVER!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. A. Harrison in Georgia

    I agree with "Hillary Supporter". It's continuing to be ugly even when Obama has already "Clinched" the number of delegates needed.

    Continued Disrespect to Hillary makes me look at the Independant and Libertarian choices. Keep it up.............

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. Michelle from Colorado

    No, not a good idea, for her.
    I agree that without unity, the Democrats will lose in November. But Obama and his supporters have rudely, unadvisedly, thoughtlessly backed him as the candidate for change. Let's see what happens. This is a democratic process and the results between now and November should be whatever they are.
    Turn about is fair play, though. I must admit, Obama has not been rude, but let his beloved cheering squad play out their fantasy. We racist, ignorant, losers can pick up our crayons and draw whatever pictures we want to. Regardless of who has won the nomination, a bunch of Obama supporters begging us to get on board when his message we disagreed with all along has not substantially changed is not going to sway most. Obama must do this. Please, Hillary, let Obama prove himself one way or the other. Please Hillary supporters, go with your original beliefs (which may include being die hard Dems, realistic citizens who still see the empty suit or all out spoilers who believed Obama could never beat McCain, hence switching parties at their pleasure). And, Omamabots, don't you dare blame anything else that happens with this race on Hillary for better or for worse. This is a battle. The war has yet to begin. May the strongest, ablest candidate win for all of our sakes. At least, if this is the worst, it will be over with in another 4 years and we can start again.

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  20. Mickie in PA

    I agree wholeheartedly with former President Carter. I love these people who say Obama has been devisive and negative to Hillary. Hillary is the one who played the race card and the sexist card and refuses to face the facts – THE PEOPLE DON'T WANT HER! Not now, not ever!

    June 4, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. Darius from Memphis, TN

    If Obama had locked up the nomination as early as super Tuesday and Obama – Clinton ticket would have been incredibly strong. However, the campaign ads, comments in the news and negative politics that ensued were all too visible to the public. I do not see anything that can be gained from a joint ticket. Furthermore because Hillary has been a Washington insider, her selection would be against his theme of "Change".

    Many Americans vote according to their political party in the November elections. Those voters will support Obama. Also remember that Obama's campaign has generated a lot of excitement about the political process. It has drawn in new voters. These voters will support Obama. Those two factors alone could win the election for him. However, you must also consider the swing voters. They vote according to the issues. Obama clearly has done a better job of addressing the issues. Because of these things I can actually picture Obama winning the election by anywhere from 5 to 12 percentage points this November without Clinton as his running mate.

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  22. JenNYC

    Carter's right. I think we need all new blood: New Prez, new VP, new cabinet & an entirely new direction for this country.

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. goodcitizen

    Hillary is the REAL DEAL for America!
    Obama will be Carter 2, and will be worse than Bush.
    America is going to be what the terroists expected-BANKRUPTED!

    Hillary must stand for America, the country needs her! God is watching, SAVE AMERICA!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. Mc Cain Dem

    I don't like Carter and I dont like Obama.

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Edwin Portland

    It is unfortunate that Hillary supporters would rather be spiteful and hateful than thoughtful. Whether or not she is on the ticket doesn't change the problems that you should have with a McCain presidency. Be more thoughtful. Be a little different than your candidate and put America and the party first, not your own blind obedience.

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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