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. Taj

    President Carter you are so correct!!! He should by no means feel pressured or obligated to have Hillary Clinton as a running mate. If she does not even respect him, his wife and children to congratulate him on his winning the nomination, then why and the world would he want to have her on his ticket.

    I am a firm believer one should not "RESPECT" any other person more than they "RESPECT" themselves, and clearly Hillary Clinton does not "RESPECT" Senator Obama nor his family.

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  2. Andrew

    He doesn't want a unity ticket because he wants Obama to lose worse than he did to Reagan in 1980, when he lost 47 states because he was a far left radical.

    Carter also just got back from licking Arafats tombstone.

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. Olivia

    Worst than you talking to Hamas?
    We have great belief in Hillary. Leave her alone.

    June 4, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. Carl

    As controversial as you have been lately Carter, and maybe you didn't say it all that well, but I agree with you. I think Obama needs someone other than Clinton. She has shown that, to her, it is not about wining on issues but rather winning with anything she can including fear. I disagree with Obama when he says she ran a great campaign – I think she ran an awful and despicable champaign that has only brought out the worst in people. Only her campaign would have someone on the rules committee who vote to strip MI and FL delegates then turn around and say they should count in full – typical Clinton hypocrisy.

    It's time for Obama to distance himself from her as much as possible.

    June 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. Brian Seattle

    Carter you were one of the worst Presidents ever. You should just go away.

    June 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. Linda

    I agree with President Carter this ticket would be the biggest mistake Obama could make.

    June 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |

    Carter is absolutely right.......but the Clintons don't "know the meanig of NO " They would be so distracting that Obama's presidency would be marred.....but maybe that's the game plan. I just don't trust them !!!!

    June 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. John in NYC

    Jimmy Carter is right. Sam Nunn would be a perfect choice!

    June 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. FLORIDA Voter for Barack Obama

    I.t. i.s. n.o.t. g.o.i.n.g. t.o. h.a.p.p.e.n.


    That would be a WINNER!

    June 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  10. Robert from Washington

    There are other offices for Hillary besides VP. How about Secretary of State? Attorney general? She has the brains and the ability.

    June 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. Ron

    Thats why Carter was such a bad president and did not last long.

    June 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Jane

    I don't think Carter understands the situation.

    June 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Cliff

    President Carter is right. Hopefully Obama knows this too.

    June 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. graphictech

    Obama and Wes Clark! Yes...

    June 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. Christine

    Carter's absolutely right, but not for racist or mysogynistic reasons. Obama and Clinton may stand together on the issues, but are vastly different personalities. Obama needs the oppostite in a running mate: similar personalities, slightly different platforms and ideas to prove he is for unity and diversity.

    June 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. Dedrick from Atlanta (in Portland)

    I agree with Carter. She has baggage and there are those that already will never vote for Obama. Why add to the pot?

    June 4, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. Amy

    Agreed. She has said far too much about Obama and sided far too often with McCain against Obama in this campaign that it would all come back and hurt the Dems – and it would all be Hillary's fault. She should have thought about the possibility that they might have to join forces in the end before she hinted to her supporters and undecideds that McCain might be stronger than Obama as an option.

    She's a sore loser. We already have a bullheaded, sore loser as President, did we really want another one?

    June 4, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. Loyal Klansman

    What a sad day in America that a Black man defeated a good white Christian.

    I hope you all don't get too excited. He only won becuase of the large portion of the electorate Black voters make up in the democratic party.

    John McCain will put him in his place after November 5th. He needs to be taught a lesson.

    June 4, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. Ron

    Hillary should stand on an independant ticket. She will beat Obama hands on.

    June 4, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. Renee

    The harder she and her supporters push, the less likely it is Obama could pick Hillary as a running mate, even if he wanted to. It would look like he was caving to pressure and the last thing the Obama campaign can take right now is him looking weak.
    Hill should have made her deal quietly, in the back room, when she still had something he wanted. Now she just looks like a narcisist that is completely out of touch with the real world.
    Personally I don't think she is one bit interested in "uniting the party". She wants Obama to lose his presidential bid so that she can take a second shot at it in 4 years. Just as the Clintons provided lukewarm support for John Kerry in order to further Hillary's political dreams, so will they do to Obama. Which begs the question,"Do you really want someone for president who desires the position so badly she is willing to throw anyone under the bus to get it, even the American people?"

    June 4, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. Joseph Adewole

    Hillary has not even conceeded yet neither has she congratulated Barack....where will that dream ticket come from?
    She seems to be going out of her mind when today at pro-Isreal meeting she was talking of what she would do as President of United States.......Is she okay?

    June 4, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. Kevin

    What is it about these Dinosaur Democrats who have already stabbed Hillary in the back and now want to finish her off. What a nasty lot.

    June 4, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Beth form Jersey

    I happen to agree with President Carter on this one. To bend to the rising strong-arming to take Clinton as the VP, especially after her speech last night, would show people that Obama is as weak as his opponents claim.

    We're tired of Clinton and her politics. It's time for something different.

    June 4, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. TESAP


    June 4, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Barbara,

    Its about time someone put the foot down. Everyone is tippy toeing around as if she had some dark deep secret for everyone that they are afraid she will expose. Just leave her be, she is either in or she stay out, but enough with sucking up to her. When she realize that the train is leaving with out her she will jump on but as long as the train is still in the station she will keep sulking.

    June 4, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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