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. LB

    Thank you President Carter. I agree. Hillary is not the best person for VP.

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

    Why exactly do people care about Carter again?

    Furthermore, Clinton on the ticket would help get Obama states like Ohio and Florida. Those are two key states that can very easily go to McCain.

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  3. mary, Dallas, Tx

    Hilliary did not win the popular vote, stop the lying and admit the truth. You can't say you want Florida and Michigan counted and now say, don't count the caccus states. You people are such hypocrites.

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  4. Vicki Webster

    I hope that Hillary does not except the VP she is too good for that! She has so much to offer. What does Obama has to offer? He does not have any experience. Those Republican they are going to eat him alife ...WATCH!

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. Elaine

    Is Carter forgeting that more people actually voted for Clinton than Obama? Of course, Carter couldn't manage to get himself reelected, so maybe Obama should think twice before taking his advice. I think that when it all settles down, an Obama/Clinton ticket would be about the most well-rounded ticked any party has ever had. I just hope that Obama has the wisdom to get over any hard feelings and extend the offer. She could very well end up being his political best friend and a major reason he becomes the next president.

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. Obama 4 President

    Dennis has good point about Obama supporters I WILL NOT SUPPORT CLINTON IN 2012 or 2016 if she screws Obama out of a win

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. Larry, Apex, North Carolina

    Excellent!! Let Hillary be a supporting Senator-but NOT vice president!! There are many ,many people that just CAN NOT vote for Hillary under any circumstances. She is a phony and vindictive and would be nothing but trouble...

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. Chad

    Actually, Carter was the "worst mistake" the Democrats have ever made. Why would anybody listen to this man who personifies a failed presidency?

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. umm think again

    i agree...

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. Dick in Sioux Falls

    Hillary continues to undercut Obama even after he has become the Party's designated nominee. She has sufficiently inflamed her supporters to the point that I'm not sure he will not have to win the Presidency in spite of Hillary, not because of her support, even if she were to be the VP.
    I wonder if Hillary supporters may not at last understand that she is not fighting for the little people. She is fighting for Hillary. Obama is more honsestly committed to those of modest income than Hillary, no matter how many thousands of words she has used to claim, "I'm fighting for you. Please fight folr me."
    As soon as Obama gained a majority of pledged delegates, he stopped running against Hillary, and began to run against McCain. As a result, I am amazed that he won such a plurality in Montana. SD was not an upset win for Clinton – polls in the week leading up to the election had given her a 20 point lead.
    By the way, did anyone notice that Obama's lead in the popular vote in Montana completely erased the 3,000 lead she had enjoyed heading into those last 2 primaries?
    Plus, the primaries in Florida and Michigan were so early in the process, thery were nothing more than name recognition contests, a contest that obviously Clinton would win.
    I fear for the future of the Democratic Party, so long as Clinton continues to dig in her heels, and appeal to her most rabid supporters.

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. Rebecca, Oregon

    Wise man, that Jimmy Carter! I agree wholeheartedly...putting her on the ticket would nullify Barack's message of change, and bring negativity & unwanted baggage.

    Folks need to pipe down & allow Barack to make his OWN DECISION on this. Enough with the bullying and pressure!!!! I have complete faith that he will make the right choice in another candidate.

    June 4, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Vicki Webster

    II AGREE WITH NYC she is a great woman!

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Renee

    Boy, I simply don't understand the comments by Hillary supporters that Barak Obama has been rude and disrespectful to her and her supporters. That is just not true. He has always come across exactly the opposite of that to me. Rude and disrespectful are words that apply to how she has treated him.

    Hillary supporter are just being so mean. It really takes the excitement and hope out of the democratic run for the presidency.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. PublicD

    Have to agree. The Clintons would be a cancerous cloud undermining, overshadowing and/or distracting from the hard work that needs to be done. Even if it weren't they're intent, the media would make it so.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Kathleen

    Jimmy Carter was one of the worst presidents in history. He did not accomplish any of his goals. He did not know how to get anything done in Washington. He does not have the best judgement when it comes to these issues. He should just keep building houses and keep his opinions to himself.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. Martha, Georgia

    For those HRC dreamers, Sen. Obama does not need a liability. HRC managed a poorly organized campaign, which is an enormous liability and a bad entry on one's resume. HRC has a bad financial history both personal and public figure, her husband is one of the worst liabilities ever and fodder for the GOP. Her healthcare plan failed back in the 90's; failed while senator of NY and will fail again because no Dem or Rep. will support her failed health care policy. Pharmeceuticals are paid pals of the Clintons.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. Lisa-Fl.

    Mr. Carter!! You were the worst president we ever had. Why would anybody take your advise? Shut Up!!

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. DE

    If Sen. Clinton is not on the ticket, the Dems will lose my vote. I am not saying I will vote for McCain, but I will not be voting for Obama. I am exercising my right to show my displeasure for what the DNC and the party has done.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Alonzo Shannon

    Obama would have to spend all his time looking over his shoulder – one thing for certain he would not dare go to Dallas. History has a habit of repeating itself and with a little help from the Clintons !!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Heather

    It makes me sick that some of you people say that you're an Obama supporter, but you'll vote for McCain if he puts Hillary on the ticket, or you Hillary supporters that say you'll vote for McCain over Obama. Do you realize that Hillary and Barack have almost identical political platforms? Are you really willing to accept a Republican platform? In order for the war to be over, healthcare to be accessible and the country to turn around, democrats need to stick together!! I agree that Barack should not choose Hillary as his running mate as she will only bring out the negatives in both of them, but if she is on the ticket, I will CERTAINLY vote for the democratic ticket because ANYTHING will be better than McCain!

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Mario

    Barack ABSOLUTELY does not need HRC. At best is a zero-sum game, she will bring as many ADDITIONAL votes as he will loose (as indipendents and disaffected democrats that can't stand HRC). In addition, she is a lightning rod for conservatives so she will make McCain's game.
    I think she will bring division and controversy to the ticket. Let her star-struck delusional voters witch party in they want: there is a universe of difference between the positions of either dem candidate and McCain. If you supported HRC for ending the war in Iraq, universal healthcare, helping struggling families, education and a slate of other issues you have to explain me how you can switch to diametrically opposed positions. Then to capture your vote she should just have said “I am a white woman” because it appears that that’s what you care about!
    Barack does not need her. I can’t see McCain taking away ANY of the states that Kerry won, can you? But Obama is running well on a number of former red states (OH, CO, NM, VA) and he needs only one. No need for the Clintons anymore!

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. basanti

    and tho im not bama supporter, its also wrong to say his nomination is a white man's apology for slavery. its rude to say that. but i feel bama suppporters on cnn board and in general are more obnoxious towards hillary and her supporters, and thats why its going to be no vote for me.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Debbie

    please .....do not select Hillary for VP...if she cannot let go of the presidential spot what makes anyone think she is going to be any less pig headed if she is vice president.......Obama will be shooting himself in the foot if he selects her...........please don't do it..........don't ruin this historical moment and have her overshadow this monumental event in world history which belongs to you and the american people.........

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. RG

    Why does Obama have to start showing Hillary respect when little to none has been shown to him by her and Bill? Those two have been on the attack towards him in any and every way they could just to get ahead in the race.
    And now, the second she loses, this pressure comes out to put her in as her number 2. I'm very weary of somebody who is so power hungry, because she's shown numerous times over her campaign how it's jaded her behavior.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  25. Figure it out

    For those who have not figured it out – politics is a nasty game of egos. The job of the VP is to do the dirty work and support the candidate. Neither can really do that for the other at this point in time.

    Sen Clinton still has a job (they both do) for a few more years. She can leave her mark in the Senate. As for those dems who can not vote for Sen Obama and plan to vote in spite – may the other side have pity on your soul cause the alternative is far worse.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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