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. Jeanne

    Well this is Obama's game is it not? He has been selling himself as being able to unite the dems & reps. How does he expect to do this if he cant even have Hillary run as his VP. Nows the time for Obama to walk the talk.

    June 4, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  2. K in CT

    Who is CARTER anyway to say? He should go back to helping build houses. Keep out of the press and write books.

    June 4, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  3. mike

    i agree with jimmy. hillary as vp would constantly overshadow anything barack tried to accomplish.

    June 4, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Ross in MD

    Carter is absolutely right.

    There are a number of great choices in the Democratic Party. I'd hope Obama picks one of those.

    June 4, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  5. Jonathan

    No, this is totally illogical. No one will vote for Obama because of his running mate. Obama will be President. The running mate is the equivalent to the dress so and so wears to the oscars, where the Presidential candidate is equivelant to the actress! Carter simply despises Clinton and that's been obvious for ages.

    June 4, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  6. Jerry

    EVERYONE.... Sit down and breath and count to ten....It sounds like yelling on here ! THE worst thing would be a McCain Presidency. I voted for Hillary, but like many voters who I have talked to, I also like Obama. I will vote for him with or without her (yes i would like her on the ticket.... but will not "penalize" him if he does not pick her). CONSIDER four more years of a Republican whitehouse !!!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. Bill in Rochester

    B-NYC, if you won't support Barack then you are only a pseudo supporter of Hillary.

    June 4, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. St. Paul

    Read my lips, "No more CLINTONS!"-pick another woman like Arizonas' gov., but please tell Bill and Hill to just go away. Tired of the lies and cheating. They are like cancer and we need a cure. If he picks Hillary, I will vote for MCain!

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. Sandra

    It would keep Hillary from having to defend herself in that Ron Paul lawsuit though. C'mon Barack, spare her from jail!!!

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. Michael

    So let's get this logic straight... both Hillary and Obama have almost identical political platforms and would very much like the same things in general but since Hillary didn't win it is much better to stay out of the process, or better yet, vote for a party that has ravaged this country.

    Hello people – We are talking about the future of our country. This isn't a game where you take all your marbles and go home. I am deeply sorry you feel so bad about the loss. I really do. But certain Hillary supporters need to get a grip on the big picture and look at the greater good.

    By the way, no one has yet to illustrate and explain to me what Mr. Obama did to Hillary that was so egregious other than beating her in a competition. (There are no "take backs or mulligans" so don't complain about Michigan and Florida because ALL candidates agreed that those contests wouldn't count. ) I'm still willing to listen to you and hopefully your criticism will make him a better candidate.

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. Venette - Boston, MA

    Jimmy Carter is right on the money...

    Hillary needs to go away, he must choose someonelse. She is too bossy – why should he accommodate her? She is a negative woman... Obama, please pick someone new not Hillary. Don't trust her!

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. Chuck

    Are we voting for Prom king and queen?

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. KpKafle

    To all you Hillary Supporters that claim that we are rude and derogatory about your candidate. We will give Hillary her due respect once she gives it our candidate. Hillary still keeps building herself up at the expense of Mr. Obama. Hillary has not tried to mend fences. So we will respect her when she has shown true respect to Mr. Obama. To all the women who have supported Hillary. Would you rather vote for McCain who will take away Roe vs. Wade with just one supreme court appointment ? Will your bitterness really makes such a lifechanging decision ? Whether you believe in abortion or not, you still have the right to choose for now.

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. Sue

    Carter needs to get back to the 'home' and take his meds. I find it amusing that the oh so loyal Obama fanatics would turn their backs on him for choosing someone who could unite the party 100% and actually win in November. Yawn, same old, same old...crap.

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. copeland

    At this point in time the atmosphere is too volitale. Both Senators ran effective campaigns; however. the most effective was the Senator from Illinois. Throughout the last 16 or 17 months there have been countless attacks on his character, his family, and his former pastor. Sen Obama is still standing – Tall and Proud. RIght now I can't see an Obama/Clinton ticket. If this had played out weeks ago when it was projected he would win the nomination, then maybe. Now I would say the chances of it happening is far fetched. There are Pros and Cons either way. He should savor this win briefly and move to line himself up with someone willing to committ to his vision, work with him to fulfill his vision and have his back when opposition arises. Good luck Sir on your march to HISTORY!!

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. linda

    congratulations to Mr. Obama, As a republican who is more
    than disenchanted with the war and economy and many other
    things, i feel Obama brings hope of change to our country. I
    cannot vote for Mccane and more of the same. God bless
    Obama and please don't be pressured into choosing mrs.
    clinton. there is no name that unifies the republicans more
    than hillary clinton.

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. WDC

    Excellent President Carter – adding hillarry to this ticket is about the worst that can be done. It would be like putting the rotten apple into the barrell. It will drive away alot of Barrack supporters like myself. i have been a steady republicann voter for years. More "clinton is not what we need!

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. Serge the DEM in Miami

    I agree with Carter.
    An Obama/Clark ticket seems the likely choice.
    Clark was a Hillary Clinton supporter (which would help HRC supporters come over to Obama's side) and a four-star general (with great foreign policy experience). That is exactly the void that must be filled in Obama's campaign... any thoughts on that?

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. corey


    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Marianne Brown

    No he should not offer or be forced into taking Hillary Clinton as
    a VP. He won and should be allowed to pick his own VP.
    Not forced by the Clinton's to offer it to her. She lost, grow up

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. LastDems

    Obama has no foreign policy experience and has used his Preacher Style of speaking to captivate the nation without any substance. That said, I would vote for him if he had Hillary on the ticket with him. There are few others that can match her experience. And don't think that being married to Bill Clinton is a bad thing. Even more experience to fall back on. If he picks someone like Edwards, Richardson, Nunn or Blumberg, I can't vote for him. I, like millions of other concerned Dems will sit it out.

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Barack the Vote in RI

    Here, here!

    TO "B NYC" , "susan sosh" and "gary – forever hillary" –

    You guys act like you are part of a mindless cult. Have you been paying attention to anything that is going on?

    He won and she didn't.....PERIOD.....she needs him not the other way around. he won the nomination without her help and he can win the GE without it as well. He has outspent her effortlessly breaking every record for every nomination in history – she's 20M in debt.....Get a clue.



    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. Mark Anthony - Lake Elsinore, CA

    HIllary doesn't deserve anything nobody deserves anything we get things by earning it and she didn't earn VP. She can even acknowledge that he has the nomination and by forcing him to take her will surely make us lose in Nov.

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. MamawJ

    Dave, now that WOULD be the Dream Ticket!

    June 4, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. Danielle in VA

    After Hillary's speech last night Obama should definitely NOT invite her to be VP. Her speech had a negative tone, she only applauded the states she won, she continued to divide with the “my supporters” vs. “his supporters” type of statements, and she fails to realize this is a delegate race in which Obama "whipped" her 2158 to 1926. Furthermore, I agree with Carter, Obama would contradict his campaign of “Change” and of a new Washington by having Hillary; someone from the 90’s who is well accustomed to the old politics on his ticket. Obama needs to look elsewhere.

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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