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. MD

    Finally, I agree with Carter on an issue.

    His analysis is unemotional, and politically accurate.

    After all the chicken sinks that Hillary threw at Obama, how can she now expect to be on the same ticket with him?

    Her NEED to be on that ticket is PERSONAL. It is NOT for anyone's benefit, but her ego's.

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Canadian observer

    Obama has the right, and deserves to choose his own running mate. She represents the polar opposite of his CHANGE message. If he succumbs to this attempted blackmail, he will lose more voters than he will gain as the polls show the majority of Americans don't like her, don't trust her, they didn't want her for President, nor do they want her as Vice-President, just one heartbeat away from Obama.

    CNN, please post this !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Jim from Seattle

    anybody but her........what's wrong with a Supreme Court position?

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. D.J.

    If Hillary Clinton is not willing to support the candidate designated of her party without laying down conditions, she then proves to be an ambitious narcissist interested only in herself and not in having a Democrat president as she so often states. She must first endorse Obama and place herself at his and the party's service. If not, then she can reflect on what it was about her that turned off so many Democrats who would have otherwise supported her.

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. Matt

    You people have to go to the hillary website and take alook at the blogs. It is really funny! They actually think that they have 18 million supporters behind them. It's like two of them writing back and forth to one another.

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. faye, NV

    I strongly agree with Mr. Carter that would be the worst thing to happen. First, Clinton will not suject herself to Obama and she very head strong.

    She could possibly do some other job, but not VP. Obama would have to watch his back with the three of them, parents and child.

    Hillary does not in anyway compliment Obama, her style to aggressive and she is self rightious.

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. old white woman for barack

    Do you really think that Hillary would do as Barack says for her to do??? He has campaigned on a change for DC, and Hillary and Slick Willie is not a change! She is such a good candidate, she would not even congratulate Barack, even that piece of crap in the White House congratulated Barack, but Hillary didn't. This media has been pushing her for VP, and we all know who owns the media. It sures isn't "we the people" NO HILLARY!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. No Hillary VEEP

    Obama, don't allow the untrustworthy and slimy Hillary near your ticket, PLEASE!

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. jdude

    too bad jimmy carter has little credibility, and only appeals to a small amount of people... The Democratic party has already hurt itself by allowing Hillary to carry on, don't think it'll happen

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Unempressed voter

    In an ideal world it would be a good idea, but in reality... I don't see 4 yrs of power struggle/division within the party as healthy.

    She needs a strong position, just not VP

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. HavingFun

    Agree with you 110%, President Carter...it just not gonna happen

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. Nelle

    Please do not pick Hillary. What an ungracious spoilsport!
    From a 74 yr old white woman.

    Go Obama!

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. charlene


    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. sarah

    Kathleen Sebelius for running mate!

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. Tom, Iowa

    That would be a horrible ticket.

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. NG in DC

    Jimmy Carter's political instincts are about the worst around - that should be a good indication that Obama Clinton ticket is the speeding ticket to victory in November!

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Timmy Coffee, Memphis Tennessee

    The Clinton’s see the reformation of their political legacy through either Senator Obama’s defeat or his demise. Senator Obama should identify his vice-presidential running mate with the next week. The choice of Hillary Clinton will guarantee Senator Obama’s defeat in November. A selection of Clinton would be such a monumental lapse in judgment that his ability to actually be president would be called into question by his avid supporters. The so-called Clinton supporters who will not support Obama are few in number and in actuality are not individuals who would support a Democrat in a general election, including Clinton. All Clinton’s candidacy has demonstrated is that Obama can’t win the support of individuals who will never vote for a Democrat in a general election.

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. KIOS

    Former President Carter hit the right cord. Obama should not have Hillary on the ticket. Hillary is for herself. She will burn down the village to get what she wants. Hillary is for Hillary and not for the party.
    There is nothing genuine with that woman. The Clinton's era is over and done. Let her go her way. There are other very good and strong candidates to be on the ticket. Please Obama, don't make that mistake. You might be sorry. Now we see who the Clintons are. They had us fooled for years. The damage cannot be repaired again, too late.

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  19. mjc

    Carter may have been a terrible president, but he has been a tremendous former president, full of insight and wisdom. Here he is showing it again.

    June 4, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. Liz S. in California

    President Carter, I agree with you 10000%!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Obama Supporter

    Thank You! At least someone else thinks the idea of Hillary as VP is a bad idea.

    Just think about it for one minute. Hillary as VP brings Bill with her no matter how you slice it. The two will tag team and think in their minds that they can treat Obama as a puppet. Clearly, her behavior suggests this as a real possibility.

    So if I was Obama knowing full well what the Clintons are like...I would not want her. Having people think that I was a puppet to the Clintons is not how I would want my presidency to be remembered.

    June 4, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. Cyndi

    Hillary does not need to win it for Obama! I will not vote for him I do not believe in him trust him , nor in any way want him to run my country! I will not vote for him. Hillary should not be cleaning up his messes. I didn't think our country could be in any bigger of a mess than bush got it in the last 8 years but Obama can do that and McCain is not far behind....so I will probally not vote unless something changes or I can write Hillary's name in! Go Independant Hillary!

    June 4, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  23. Rob

    How can Hillary be the VP? It was obvious after last night she cannot make decisions. Obama has the delegates to be the Dems nominee, and she's still deciding what to do with her campaign? Is this the person we really want second in line?

    June 4, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  24. Bryan

    If there is a God she will not be his VP.

    June 4, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  25. Austine I

    Carter is right. How can they work together after all the negative ads during the primary. McCain will use it against them in November.

    June 4, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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