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. Obama Girl

    I think it is very sad that all of you bloggers are still being so negative, racist and sexist no matter who you supported it is time to unite and give America back to the people. I find that those of you who are saying I won't vote for Obama because his supporters were not nice to Hillary well that goes both ways. Grow up all of you, our country is in trouble and all you care about is who said what and who did what. It is time to move on and if you can't do that then God help us all, but I am not going to let you decide my fate. I will support Obama and move on to making America the strong and vibrant country that it has always been. OBAMA 08

    June 4, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Graham from California

    So, you Hillary supporters are going to abandon your party when we most need you, just because you think Obama's supporters are rude? Newsflash: Obama's supporters are not on the ballot, Barack Obama is. Please, wake up and look at the big picture here! This is not about Obama vs. Hillary. Indeed, they're nearly identical when it comes to policies. Only minor differences separate them.
    What really needs to happen is for McCain to lose in November so we can get this country on the right path again. If Hillary supporters either boycott the election, or even worse, vote for McCain, it'll be on their conscience if Obama loses. Please, for the love of the USA, put your sour grapes aside and vote for Obama. If he doesn't offer her the VP slot, he's sure to tap her for a leading position in his Cabinet. Hillary will be part of the next administration in a leadership position. Democrats MUST unite! I've always said that if my choice of candidate – Obama – lost, then I'd vote for Hillary without thinking twice. Hillary supporters, please vote for Obama in the same manner.

    June 4, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Ivee

    These Hillary people are getting mighty tiresome....just like their losing candidate.

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. paws

    I agree with Jimmy Carter. Barack needs someone he can trust and unfortunately, Hillary has shown she is NOT that person. So disappointing.

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Edwards said he is not intertested in being the VP. Shows how much some of you Obama fanatics pay attention...heck, maybe you didn't even pay attention to who you were voting for any now look at what you've done. This country is headed for more of the same spiral it's been on.

    Since it can't be Hillary '08, go McCain!

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Jack Varner

    I think an Obama/Clinton ticket would be historical... and I think it would win. If Obama is truly concerned with making a change in the politics of this country, he should offer the VP position to Clinton. Most political experts agree that it would be a mistake, but I wouldn't be surprised if he actually did it. It would show the American public that he's serious about a shift from the politics of old, and I think he's gutsy enough to do it.

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. AJ

    why are my comments never posted .

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. MLH

    Those are the wisest sentences Jimmy Carter has ever said. A unity ticket would be very bad for America ! ! !

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. Changed in Chino Hills

    At the beginning of this election campaign I was overjoyed with the very real prospect of Hillary having a genuine shot at becoming the next president of the USA. As a life-long democrat, she had my vote. But shortly before Super Tuesday I was intrigued by Barack's message and I began to believe that he had a vision that if given the opportunity, could change the world, as we know it; so I made the switch. Not because I am African American, a woman, an MIT and UCLA graduate, 51 years old nor naive, but because I believed in him and his message of change. I still respected Hillary and would have voted for her or Edwards or whoever earned our party's nomination because it is what good democrats do and I am nothing if not a good democrat. At that point the thought of the two of them united on the same ticket literally took my breath away and I felt that there was no way we could lose in November. But the Senator Clinton that began this race underwent a metamorphosis into something that I can neither recognize nor support. I, and many others, truly feel that she is selfish, unscrupulous, and dishonest; in short she unfortunately reaffirms our lack of respect and trust of many of our elected officials. She is counterproductive to Senator Obama's message of change which is the very thing that won this nomination for him and to add her as his running mate would paint him as a hypocrite at a time when people are desperately seeking a leader who embodies integrity, honesty, sincerity and above all, change. Please, I implore all of us to be still, forget self, listen to the cries of not only our country but the world, and elect President Obama.

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    Like Carter has any room to talk? he allowed Kennedy to crawl all the way up to the convention.... please... as for everyone else... do not disrespect Sen. Clinton, she has done great jobs for this country and we should be thankful she is a democrat. Obama will decide what he thinks is right... it is not up to us to decide for him. Respect people, respect that is the name of the game...

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. A vote for McCain, means the exact same thing!

    Stop fighting Dems! Time to unite behind the candidate, because he is a Democrat. Our party is for the people, of the people.

    This our chance to run Washington, like it was written in our Constitution. They are supposed to work for us.

    Dick Cheney's agenda will continue, if you vote for McCain!

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Cecelia booth

    Is Hillary 18 million people going to vote for McCain, I don't think so.
    They really don't want 4 more years of being in a relationship with
    President Bush!/McCain. By time the election comes, some of those 18 million people that belongs to Hillary will have a change of heart.
    She is not worthy to be on his ticket. She is hungry for power, not

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Voice of Reason

    Everybody needs to take a breath and get a grip. I really am astonished by the Hillary people saying they won't vote for Obama and the Obama people saying they won't vote for Hillary. Folks, we are at a turning point in history here. The simple fact is that our country as we know and love it may not survive another four, much less eight, years of Republican administration.

    The phrase "cutting of your nose to spite your face" comes to mind, but falls short. For Democrats to stay home in November or, God forbid, vote for McCain, amounts to cutting off our heads to spite our faces.

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. LC7196

    I finally agree with Jimmy Carter on something!!! I do hope that Senator Clinton is NOT selected as VP. There are many better choices.

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. lydia


    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Phil in KC

    I agree with Jimmy. While his presidency may have been plagued by economic issues and an international incident, he is and has been a true elder statesman. He also understands politics.

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Diana NJ

    Carter is right, this unity ticket would only be a dream to nightmare. Hillary has not conceded yet, she can still campaign and go to Denver. We respect whatever choice she has. We should not waste time guessing what she wants and try to accomodate. Enough is enough. Obama should just move on and recruit the best candidate available to govern our country for the good of our future. He has run a successful campaign that proves his courage, vision with great strategic skill, just do it all over again.

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  18. robinhood, california

    Carter you are an idiot. You lost to RR for a reason.

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. jorge lopez

    If he Don't pick Hillary I wont vote for this black man ... If she with him I will vote .... if not McCain then....

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. North Carolina

    i really wish people would look at the bigger picture. if everybody just closed their eyes and listened to what was being said during the primaries we would all be on the same page right now. people are so quick to say it has nothing to do with race or sex but that is a lie. for the last 8 years we have been suffering under a president who has no clue what is happening in the world around him. how can someone who has never been without tell some who has, how to feel? there is no way to fully understand a person until you have lived in their shoes. another thing who wants another lying leader, Hillary told us she came under sniper fire but we found out that was a lie. she is constantly misspeaking and yet everybody forgives her. she really needs to stop trying to live off of her husbands accomplishments and bulid her own and maybe next election she will do better. she wants to claim a win in a state where Obama's name wasnt on the ballot, how smart is that. she needs to go home and find a way to get out of debt.

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. Bruce from Palo Alto, CA

    Carter is senile and jealous that the Clintons were re-elected and are still around. Most of our Middle Eastern and energy problems are based on his failures.

    Finally, no one brings more voters to the election that Hillary Clinton, and if Barack Obama losses the election through reckless pride it will be very destructive to the Democratic party.

    I wish Carter would just go away.

    June 4, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. skylark

    What he really needs to do is get an order of protection against her and her rabid fans. ASAP.
    They are all crazies. You would have to be certifiable to vote for McCain under any circumstances. Swallow your pride and do what is right for you country.

    June 4, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Ed H

    I have to agree, given Hillary's polarity problems. Obama would be showing weakness to accept her after she failed to recognize his achievement last night. The woman sickens me with her negativity and loathsome self-interests.

    June 4, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. Heidi



    June 4, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. Susan

    Jimmy Carter, I voted for you, but I think it's time you stay out of the politics. You seem to cause problems.

    Stay out Jimmy Carter

    June 4, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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