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. Go home Hillary!!

    I don't think many past presidents either democrat or republican would agree Obama should nominate Clinton for veep. She's evil and doesn't have a clue on how to play by the book. She & Billy make up their laws/rules as needed & I might add, break them as well! They're a sad duo. Thank God, that a majority of the American voting citizens finally recogonized that fact! We're sick & tired of their illegal antics. Just back out gracefully like any lady would do and go back to NY or whatever state might want you!

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. DemocracyNow2008

    I read how a few Hillary supporters feel that Obama supporters were not nice to them nor Clinton.

    That may be true in the heat of the moment .

    Its also true if your not blind that Hillary supporters and Hillary herself said some nasty things during the campaign about Obama.

    So now lets get over it .

    Its time to be Democrats and vote the Republicans out of the Whitehouse now.

    Its a time to Unite ,this is our time to win and we shall win back the Whitehouse for the American People.

    Vote Obama not Mccain

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. Thelma Webster

    I was all for Ms. Clinton to be on the ticket up until last night when she did not congratulate him on his WIN. She congratulated on running a good campaign but she didn't on his win. I thought that this was very selfish of her. I was totally disappointed in her and most of the Obama supporters were also disappointed. I had much more respect in her than that.

    I hope now that he (Obama) will not ask her to be his VP.


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

    Whether Clinton is on or off the ticket, I will never vote for Mr. Obama after the way his campaign and the press have, and are still, treating her. If people would quit screaming for her to say the word "concede" it might make it a little easier for her supporters, but why should we support him after the way his campaign and supporters have talked about anyone who supported her!

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. David

    Hillary for VP is a bad idea. Most of her supporters are loyal Democrats who will vote for Obama regardless. Many others who voted for her are anti-Obama and will vote for McCain whether or not she is on the ticket (like all the Rush Limbaugh voters in Texas and Indiana and those who indicated race was a factor). The few Hillary voters that would vote for Obama only if Clinton is on the ticket, even if they add up to say a few hundred thousand people (which I suspect is an overestimate), are spread out across the country and many if not most are probably located in states such as California, New Jersey and New York that he is going to win with or without their vote anyway. The number of voters he could gain where needed by naming her VP will be more than offset by the number of voters, mostly independents and Republicans, he will lose if he chooses her. The small number he might gain by selecting her is also offset by the number of votes McCain will pick up when his base is mobilized to defeat a Clinton, or when the opposition starts researching into Bill's behavior, business deals, etc. The Clintons are popular with Democrats, but most everybody else either hates them or could be easily swayed to vote against them. Choosing Hillary will cost Obama a lot of votes and give him a lot of headaches. It is just a bad idea.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. Obamacan from Texas

    Wise man and definitely a different look at how any negatives could be amplified.

    I'm a proud Obamacan and a life long Republican. I am confident that Obama will do just fine against McCain on any issue and will win the presidency. I don't think it would be so clear cut with Hillary on his ticket. She instills absolute rage in Republicans and they will come out in droves. They actually may not be so inspired to vote FOR McCain as they would be to vote AGAINST a Clinton. We had the Clintons shoved down our throats way too long. The scandals and lies were too prevelant to ignore and left a very bitter taste in our mouths. Hillayr's own campaign tactics and Bill's intervention reminded us of just how bad they were.

    I think most Republicans are informed, intelligent voters and when they really start to get interested in the GE and understand what their choice is...there will be many many more Obamacans coming out. Lots of Independents like my husband too.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  7. kmiller

    please never ever put a Clinton on the ballot again........ !

    she had her try.... it wasnt pretty.. it was a jr high mess !
    it was a stage act.......

    She needs to go away.. get involved with Gore or something.
    find a new crusade we dont ALL have to listen to.

    Im afraid if she gets into any major office she will make our Nation weaker. her disrespect has shown in the past... so had her husbands.. we dont need another treason ... or any more of
    that type of drama within our borders.

    After her last comments I dont feel safe with her in office. ! period.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  8. Joseph, Los Angeles

    Agreed and well put President Carter. Senator Clinton does not want to be Vice-President, she wants to be Co-President.

    And for those who calls Mr. Carter the worst President should try being President one day. He is still a Statesman and a very bright man.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. Tim

    I agree with President Carter!!! No joint ticket.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. Jesse

    I'm getting pretty tired of Carter injecting himself into the race with such negativity. Bush could walk out of the White house naked and drag his butt around the lawn during primetime news and he'll still only be the 2nd worse living President.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. Leah

    Thank you Jimmy Carter for keeping it real!

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  12. Becky

    Why should Hillary be VP if she couldn't even congratulate Obama last night during her speech for him winning the Democratic nomination? Obama needs a VP that truly respects him and will only uplift him. Hillary hasn't shown that thus far.

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

    Hillary's inclusion is not a zero sum game. The difference that Hillary represented over Obama to her voters pales in comparison to the same kind of difference that Obama represents over McCain. Anybody who picked Hillary over Obama should have no trouble, in principle, in picking Obama over McCain. And I am a McCain supporter.

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

    B-NYC and any Clinton supporter:

    You are dead wrong. If you think Hillary can win w/o blacks and liberal whites, you are wrong. If Hillary were the nominee, she'd need Barack's supporters too. People, let's not forget that no Democrat has won the majority of the white vote in many, many years. That includes Bill Clinton too. An Arkansas guy through and through.

    Clinton supporters, if you want to vote for McCain, go ahead. If you think that will help Clinton get elected in 2012, you're in for a rude awakening. Try and win some of those key swing states in 2012 w/o blacks. Republicans will relish in this division b/c Democrats won't win the W.H. for another 8-12 years if Hillary supporters try to screw over Barack. Black folks have lived through a lot worse so don't think we can't survive through 8-12 more years of a Republican presidency. It's best we unite now or no Democrat will win for decades and that includes Hillary.

    June 4, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Michael in Seattle

    With all due respect to the Clinton supporters, You have been just as rude as some of the Obama supporters have. Lets put aside the pettiness and UNITE to put a dem in the White House.

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

    While I can see President Carter's argument. I think Hillary Clinton has a lot of supporters that would be drawn to an Obama – Clinton Ticket.

    While I don't think he technically needs her to win the election, I think it would be a good benefit to have her supporters. The question is whether he can get those supporters without her on the ticket. Cause I think he will need them to make the election a sure thing.

    While I don't think McCain is as strong a candidate as he would of been before, he's still strong enough to take this for the republicans if the democratic party doesn't get unified.

    June 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Ted from Florida

    Jimmy Carter who ? All I know the worthless 1 term President that went and met with Hamas and their terrorist friends .If I was Obama and already being on shakey ground with the jewish community I would not take no advise from this LOOSER !!!

    June 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Vicki Webster

    TRUE TRUE WORDS, this should be read again go B_NYC great sentence.

    His supporters need to realize a few things… They have been rude and disrespectful to Senator Clinton therefore, rude to her supporters… What they are failing to realize is that HE NEEDS HER, SHE DOES NOT NEED HIM and we will NOT support him, which means, he will in fact not have enough votes to win in November…

    I would start being a bit respectful if I were you…

    June 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. GaryW

    Don't let us down now! DO NOT choose Hillary. She represents everything we want to change.

    June 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. Farm Girl From Upstate NY

    Mr, Carter is right. An Obama/Clinton ticket is just too divisive. She will not help him, merely drag him down.

    Any voters who say they will not vote for Obama if Clinton is not on the ticket are spiteful and a disgrace to the party.

    June 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. James Chamberlain

    I disagree. We need a united party not a divided one. And perhaps Jimmy Carter isn't the one to offer advice on uniting a divided party. He didn't have much success in the past.

    June 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. Ray

    B – NYC – it's just not true, and you know it. Hillary supporters will vote for Obama, or they stand against everything Hillary stands for. To put it in your own terms, Obama doesn't need you, but you need Obama – that is, if you want the policies and values of your preferred candidate to be represented in the White House come January.

    By the way, a look through the history of various Internet forums during the course of the race will show you how disrespectful Hillary supporters have been to Obama also. I'm past any hurt feelings. Are you? It's time to unite and win.

    June 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Brnmar, Melbourne Fl

    Former President Carter is right.

    Sen Obama would lose the support of many Independents and dissatisfied Republicans (me included) if he chose her to be his VP.

    The majority of Americans are good-hearted people.

    They will not allow their souls to harbour bitter and hateful feelings towards Sen Obama.

    They will follow the good dictate of their hearts and support Sen Obama for president of the United States of America.

    June 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. sam

    Folks....my candidate may not be as suave or a charmer like obama is but she is not dumb and has got more than 17.5 million votes. Not all of them r dumb or racists or blue collar voters! To all the hillary naysayers.... u do a great disservice to a woman who is not as bad as u make it out to be.

    and she may be ambitious but so is he. He is not seeking the position of Potus without finishing his term in the senate....for the love of it. He may be end up being a good president but so will she.

    why is everyone willing to repeatedly crucify her? it is not evn 15 hrs since he got the 2118 number!! and he got there only because a number of her super delegates stabbed her in the back!

    she has earned the right to be the VP. Be realistic...dont expect Hillary supporters to vote for him if he chooses another woman over her!! She lost out by about 200 odd delegate number..that is all

    June 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. Amazed

    To those of you who say you will not vote for Obama if Hillary is not on the ticket, please tell me what you will do if SHE doesn't want to be on the ticket? What if after the discussions she decides she really doesn't want to be VP, what are you going to do then?

    June 4, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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