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. Mary

    I absolutely agree with President Carter.

    I think it would be great to find a suitable role for Clinton in Obama's administration - VP just isn't it.

    What is really needed is for Clinton to unreservedly support Obama and give her supporters time to get to know Obama without her stimulating them to view Obama negatively. Anybody given half a chance to listen to Obama has a high likelihood of finding him an acceptable candidate.

    June 4, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. JB Cali

    Richardson or Biden or Webb would be much better choices. Obama doesn't need Billary stealing headlines.

    June 4, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  3. derrick

    I'm sick of this, even when she loses, she will not admit that she has lost. I guess she wants recognition for being second. But putting them together on a ticket is not the way to go. get over it hillary

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

    Joe Biden for VP! We need CHANGE, not another clinton. Period.

    June 4, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Tom G.

    If Obama picks Clinton, I vote McCain!!! and, so will millions of other democrats.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. Lisa

    Carter. Keep out of it. You've never been right on anything! Hillary supporters are far more likely to vote for Obama if their candidate is on the ticket. Otherwise, they are going to vote for McCain or not vote at all. As a woman, I can't think of anything more inspiring than making history not only by electing our first black President but a woman Vice President. They should run together!!!!

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. katiec

    Hillary being VP would be a diaster. For one thing, after what she
    has said and done, how could he trust her? He could not as she
    is all out for Hillary, not our country or party. She has proven her
    level of integrity and it certainly does not coincide with Baracks.
    No more politics as usual.
    Have faith Barack will make a fine choice for the future VP of our
    United States of America.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. Marie

    oh please DO NOT ASK Hillary Clinton to be Obama's running mate. at this point she is going to rain on his parade. i am sure she would do anything to try to ruin his political career and try to further her own.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  9. Ron L

    President Carter is too kind. The REAL reasons Hillary should not be on the ticket is as follows:
    1) She has attacked Barack over and over as NOT prepared for the Presidency. The Republicans are already using Hillary's statements against Barack!! How could you select the very person who gave the other side verbal ammunition to be used against you???
    2) She is a LYING politician, willing to say just about anything to win an election.
    3) She HAS NO respect for the process, look at how many times and different ways she attacked the rules that she agreed to 12 months ago.
    3) She could not BE TRUSTED!!! Hillary is all about HILLARY!!! And she would be VERY capable and comfortable doing things behind the scenes that would cause problems for an Obama presidency.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  10. Patty in Austin, TX

    Please post the petition to reject Hillary as VP.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. oneway

    A-man to that, we need to go in new direction and if Obama chooses her we'll be chasing our tails.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. J

    I have a feeling the Clintons will have one of their surrogates state that Obama has offered her the VP slot – in the very near future. It will be a lie, but that won't matter to the Clintons. They are going to do as much as possible to derail his campaign for the presidency. Of course, they will fail.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. John in NY

    I thought Carter was the worst mistake???

    LOL, sorry couldn't resist.

    Honestly, it would be nice if she would play nice and be his VP, but I don't see it working out well for anyone. She is not a team player and Bill is out of control. With Obamma/Clinton your would have 3 presidents fighting for power and stabbing each other in the back.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. Tom

    yes Jimmy Carter, because you were so popular in America? I'm all for Obama, but how it's a terrible idea is beyond me...it's at least considerable.

    the language "worst mistake" is pretty funny....some would use it to characterize his presidency.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. joab

    Who trusts Clintons. Obama will be distracted every way possible.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Jon

    President Carter is right on the money here.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. concerned



    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  18. Michael

    I agree with President Carter. I am a Republican who intends to vote for Obama, unless he invites Clinton to be his VP. If that happens, all bets are off and I'll be backing McCain.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. Larry

    Carter is right on this. If they join, you just gave the election to McCain.
    I just think that Obama has too many negative things around him. The church matters, too young, never overseas in a combat zone, excessively liberal on spending money
    Clinton has a way too liberal ideas to do with my money the same as Obama
    Now if Clinton could go Independent that would be another story. She could drop some of the Democrats liberal idea and go with conservative some. With a good mixture, she should win the election.
    On the other hand, she could become the Senate Majority leader, which would give her some kick.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Bill PA

    Jimmy Carter you did a poor job as President. So please stop
    talking bad about Hillary. You guys are all the same, it doesn't
    manner what age you guys are. I suggest you go back to the peanut farm with your brother Billy and drink your noonshine.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Peggy - Tx

    Well Said !!!! Senator Obama needs a VP that will bolster him not drag him down. Senator Clinton has significant negitives that people have forgotten b/c Obama did not exploit them, but the Republican machine would.

    June 4, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Honest Abe


    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Mario

    I fully agree with you Mr. President!

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. Chelsea Clinton

    Yes, I definetly concur!!

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. Uncle Sam

    Methinks that Pres. Carter secretly wants John McCain to win.

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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