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. Betty

    Take a minute to reflect about Hillary being the VP.
    How long do you think Obama would be around?
    She really does want to be president!

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

    I think it's hilarious that the supporters of Hillary, and by extension Bill Clinton ... "America's 1st Black President", are showing themselves to be every bit as racist as the Republicans that they hate and loathe.

    They would really vote for McCain and keep the Republicans in the White House for another 4 years? As a supporter of neither Obama or Clinton, I don't believe that for a second.

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. mike olden

    Obama. is a smart man
    He will not make a mistake, by picking Clinton. for second fiddle
    If he does he will not make it to president

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. Sharon MA

    Hey Carter, who asked for your opinion! Hillary won the popular vote, but since we the people do not count, Obama wins by delegates. If Obama does not pick Hillary, he can expect to lose a big chunk of her 18M votes.
    Obama belonged for 20yrs to a church that is racist. How does that seem now as he disowns them. 91% of blacks voted for Obama. I am not racist........but it goes BOTH ways.
    If Hillary came in "second," then she deserves the VP.
    Otherwise.........hello John McBush

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. Max

    "The Clintons" (Problem right there.... what "role" will Bill have????) have shown for months through their uncompromising win at all costs attitude, that they should not have a role in the next presidency.
    In the best Bush fashion, they do not accept dissent and surround themselves with yes people. We have seen the results, in Bush's presidency and in the way her campaign was run, and lost.
    Let her “uncompromising” and divisive supporters vote for McCain. The right wing fanatics will vote for Obama in protest that McCain is not conservative enough. Those votes will cancel out and the reasonable, constructive center majority will prevail over these left and right wing extremes. It’s a beautiful day.

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. BruceTX

    I believe the best position for Hillary would be Secretary of State. She's boasted how she has visited 85 countries and know multiple foreign leaders. She can put that experience to work, which is a job that requires a tremendous amount of foreign travel. That way she could stay out of Obama's hair in the US. That would be a good position to award her if she works diligently to help him get elected.

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Conway

    Cindy ..................you can start measuring the Drapes anytime now.........you will be a very elegant First Lady !

    this BUDS for you !

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. I am pretty sure

    That Jimmy Carter had to be in coharts with the communists. He was without an absolute doubt the WORST American President ever. William Harrison did more good in office than this guy.

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. Kenny

    Obama made us caribbean people proud,i believe he will and can inprove U.S relationship with countries that was strained by the Bush Government,I think he should stay clear of Clinton,she is all about herself.As we say here Go Obama,Go!

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. Steve - Minneapolis

    Correct Mr. Carter. One other thing, HRC is still running for the nomination so she isn't available. Must be some sort of dual universe or something.

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. Debbie

    Mr. Carter, in the first place, Hillary supporters aren't buying Obama's "Change" crap... okay? Hillary not only had to deal with Obama's during her campaigning but that of the bias media too, and all said and done, she did an remarkeable job done. Obama is to the majority of the democratics way to far to the left, what McCain is to the majority of Republican whom too say's he too liberal. Many superdelegates came out saying their Obama votes came from their own children whom supports Obama. It's just like Hannah Montana fans telling their parents what to do.

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. Brenda

    I totally agree that Obama should not choose Clinton as vice president. She has been a very divisive person and only made it more so during the campaign.
    Very wise and good advice, Mr. Carter

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. e.j. mohammed

    All due respect B-NYC I believe it has been the Hillary who has been nasty and rude to Obama not the other way around she now will try to say the most the most electable V.P. T
    E.J. Tacoma

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. Peter E

    Exactly how does Carter plan to unite his party by encouraging this type of division? And I'm surpirsed by all the Obama supporters here who agree with him. This is the worst kind of old politics!

    June 4, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. jerry

    B – NYC I disagree with Part of your statement and that is that we need Hillary as in on the ticket. I do agree that some Obama supporters have been rude. however even more important is how rude is Hillary Clinton. Come on, changing the "metrics" at every turn of the road and this Terry Mc auliff her man as her pit bull.

    This very Idea that she wants to get feed back from her "people" what the... can't she take her lumps like every other politician.

    Oh wait I just heard from an insider she thinks she is the Tiger Woods of politics and expects to win every race. interesting!

    June 4, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. Geez

    If Obama does not pick her, John McCain will choose her to be his Vice President ! McCain and Clinton like each other, and have a mutual respect for each other (unlike for Obama), so the McCain\Clinton ticket would be a tough for Obama to beat !

    June 4, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. Scott McGuire

    jimmy Carter Who? isn't he dead yet Obama will not get the votes with out hillary. he has no experiance with foreign policy.

    June 4, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. johnathon-Hillary Supporter

    A Question to all you Obama Fans – If Obama is supposed to be the champion of "change", and wants to bring about a "New Washington" how can he achieve that WITH THE SAME OLD WASHINGTON POLITICANS?? I mean come on, what are they gonna do? Give up their seats to allow "fresh" faces come in with so-called "new ideals"? Lets get real, thats change aint it? Also, how can you begin to utter "party unity", but yet not be willing to entertain the thought of adding HILLARY to the ticket to bring both sides together?? Where is your logic in this Obama Fans?

    June 4, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. Leticia

    I think she can be considered for the 2nd slot but she needs to put things into perspective. If anybody ran negative campaign against opponents, the finger should point to Hillary. But as Obama said, unity of the party and the entire America are what matter now. Hillary needs to accept the defeat and support Obama before the proposal for the VP can be discussed.

    This is doesn't mean that Obama needs her to win. Obama can win without her but she will also help in the "healing" process.

    OBAMA For Prez

    June 4, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. Thomas


    you are senile. Go and rest.

    June 4, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. Allan

    At this point, unless many of the super delegates change their minds at the convention, or by an act of god, Obama wil be the democratic nominee.

    However, like many others, this is not the democratic party that I know. If things remain the same, I will be writing in Hillary Clinton for President.

    As it stands, Obama will not win in Nov. with or without Hillary's help and/or her supporters.

    I don't which will be worse for the country – Obama or McCain.

    June 4, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    Senator Obama needs to pick a running mate that will help win at least some of the so-called "Red states". I agree with him that we need to dismiss this "Red" state "Blue" state nonsense, and concentrate on insuring that we reverse the failed policies of the last eight years. It's time to take back our country and re-instate the Constitution.

    June 4, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. Slick Rick

    I'm sure Obama will make the best decision. Leave it to him.

    June 4, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. stephy

    To all of Hillary's followers, you have it all confused. Obama doesn't need Hillary to win. Some how she has convinced you all that she is the only person who can lead the Dem. Party to victory. Most americans are looking for change and they found it in Obama. So Please accept what has happened and move on. If you cant accept it. Please stop whinning about it and leave alone to fight the real opposition.

    June 4, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. D Murray

    For those of you who say that Senator Obama supporters need to show some respect to Senator Clinton and her supporters, what about showing Senator Obama and his supporters that same respect you speak of. Why do you believe you and Senator Clinton deserve so much, and we deserve so little, another point, some people will always make excuses for their actions, if you don't want to support this party that's your right but please be honest with yourselves, you weren't going to vote for him in the first place.

    June 4, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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