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. Mark in Austin, TX

    Obama needs to convince Clinton supporters that not having her on the ticket doesn't mean he's snubbing her. There are a ton of positions that Hillary could fill that have far more influence than V.P. How about Attorney General for starters? Start undoing the mess that John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzalez and the rest of the Bush cronies have made of the Justice Department. How about Health and Human Services, where she could be in charge of implementing health care reform?

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Raul

    Please note that if Carter were so smart as to know what would be good for anyone running for the White House, his Presidency would not have been an unmitigated disaster.

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. Obamaonceinalifetimeleader

    Carter is a wise man I think Obama should listen to his concernes, I do not think obama is going to ask clinton to be his V.P, but in case he gets pressured and considers the idea it would be the worst mistake he will ever make. There many talented Sentors and Governers to chose why pick hillary ?????

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. Michelle, Baltimore

    I agree with President Carter it would not be a good idea for him to pick her as her VP. I have been one of his supporters that has asked for unity among the camps from the beginning but after last night I am done. She is hateful. She didn't have to concede last night but the least she could have done is congratulated him on reaching the magic number.

    Her arrogance deprived him of his historical moment. If the tables were turned and she were the presumptive nominee her supporters would be livid if he didn't acknowledge her historical moment. It is not about you or your supporters Senator Clinton it is about Senator Obama and this country. Stop trying to dominate the media and let him have his five minutes. You had yours for 8 years.....Give it up

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. Concerned American

    I agree. They should not be on the same ticket. The Clintons caused premature damage against Obama during thr primaries instead of explemifying that negativity and energy towards John McCain.

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Tom

    The media should stop focusing on Hillary. They should allow her to realize she didn't honor Obama or show respect yesterday by not congratulating him or for that matter conceding the race.

    I would like to see a better tommorrow when when we have President Obama and Clintons as private citizens!

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  7. Ricky White

    I agree with Former President Carter, President Obama would have to keep a eye her her at all times. but put in his cabinet, just not V.P position.

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  8. Bill PA

    Carter you are so old that you have no idea what you speak.

    Carter is readfy for the funny farm.

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Steve

    So if I recall history Carter won a bruising primary against Ted Kennedy - and once beaten the Kennedy people never had their feelings mended and Carter lost the general. So now 20+ years one Carter is advocating the same thing? He was a poor president and a worst politician and anything he says I would probably discount completely.

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Carter you are right on this one my man!

    She needs to apologize for Iraq vote and apologize to Obama and the Democratic Party; for all of her attacks. If she does that and shows she has some humility then Obama should give her a chance to make her case!

    She has no HUMILITY she can't even admit she lost and shake hands after the game.

    Obama 08/12

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. William

    Jimmy Carter has just turned into a liar and Clinton basher. Hillary would would make a great VP. I have lost all respect for Jimmy Carter. He is a hater. A Clinton Hater. I expected more from him.

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. wordslinger, chicago

    Who wants to take political advice from this guy?

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. lw

    I think Hillary would tarnish the ticket – she's old politics. "Michigan and Florida won't count... now they do since I need them" "I have the popular vote... if you don't count caucuses and include states where Sen. Obama wasn't even on the ticket!" Please. There's something very wrong with her math. I want real change.

    I've never seen a whitehouse that didn't have a Bush or a Clinton as president or vp... lets move on from the monarchy already.

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. John Z.

    A unity ticket is the only hope that Obama has of getting the votes of Clinton supporters. Otherwise, he will lose many of them, and the election, to John McCain. You see, the Democrats may be in love with Barack Obama but the overall population isn't necessarily so, and Obama will need all the help he can get.

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Tommy

    Maybe Obama could get Wright or Pfleger to be his running mate. That is about what this country will be reduced to. I sure am glad Hillary is taking this all the way to the convention or he may get away with doing like he did 12 years ago when he first ran for public office. That is just what we need in the White House...so much for "CHANGE" Nobama. H I L L A R Y 0 8/ 12

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  16. Naomi

    Yes we can!
    Thank you!

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. mallesh

    Well Said Carter. That ticket would be a nightmare for various reasons.

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. Joshua College Station Texas

    NO to the so-called "dream ticket"! It would be a nightmare. Hillary would hog the spotlight, compete with Obama on every policy issue she disagreed with until she got her way, and essentially act like she was boss, not the other way around. She is not humble, she is not gracious. And she can't be trusted. NO NO NO!!

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. Anne


    Hillary won the popular vote!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Nia

    PS. Obama has his own issues and things he needs to deal with to gain the confidence of the American people. Not add on the BS that is Hill-Billy. If he thinks he needs Hillary in order to win this election then he shouldn't be president. He needs to be able to win this on his own merit. Because trust me she will throw that in his face everday for four years. There are better more qualified candidates who don't come with negative baggage. The best way he can prove his string diplomacy, is to pratice it on Hillary and kindly ask her to exit stage right and take all her supporters who wouldn't fall inline any way with her.

    June 4, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Democrat for McCain

    does Carter have any senses working ??

    He had also said Obama is un-electable, what a flip-flop.

    June 4, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. shirley.roybal,surprise,az.

    Carter didnt know much as a president why would he know today?obama will never get the over 60 vote,without hillary they will become McCAIN SUPPORTERS!!!!

    June 4, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. bjorkianrice

    I'm most confused. Why does Billary want to be VP? In her opinion he is not experienced enough to be POTUS. Her desperation is wearing thin and only begs one to wonder, just what promises she has made to lobbyists in DC? The only reason I can gather that she is pushing this non issue is that the only truth that she does know is that if she is on the ticket, he will not win in November. I'm not scared and neither is Barack. We can do it with out her, it fact it is the only way and she knows this.

    June 4, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Madison

    Obama can't win without Hillary on the ticket. The majority of her 18 million voters will abstain from voting, write-in Hillary, or vote McCain. I personally do not want Hillary on his ticket. She's way too talented, bright, experienced, and accomplished, to waste her talents in the backseat making him look good. Stay in the Senate, Hillary, where you can continue your good works for the people and the nation.

    June 4, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. Citizen

    Jimmy Carter is right on target as usual. Barack, please take advice from THIS former Democratic President. Just say no to Hillary.

    June 4, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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