May 11th, 2008
02:05 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama camp: Clinton not looking for a deal

Barack Obama’s campaign denied the suggestion that Hillary Clinton is looking for a deal.

Barack Obama’s campaign denied the suggestion that Hillary Clinton is looking for a deal.

(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign rejected suggestions Sunday that Sen. Hillary Clinton is staying in the race in hopes of brokering some kind of agreement with the likely nominee.

"I don't believe that Senator Clinton is looking for a deal," Obama's chief campaign strategist David Axelrod told "Fox News Sunday," when asked about suggestions she may want the Obama campaign's help retiring her campaign debt.

"I don't think that's what this is about," he said.

Axelrod said he believes Clinton "will have the capacity to retire her debt."

He also denied rumors that the Clinton camp may be in some kind of discussions with the Obama camp to make her his running mate. "There's been no discussion about vice presidential nominees and this whole scenario," said Axelrod.

Clinton's top strategist Howard Wolfson told the same program, "We think Senator Clinton is going to be the nominee," and that he has "seen no evidence of her interest" in the number two slot.

"This isn't about debt retirement or about the veep," he said.

"This is about winning campaigns in key upcoming states, making the case to superdelegates that based on Senator Clinton's track record, winning the big states - Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Florida - running ahead of John McCain now nationally in polls and in those key states, that we would be the best nominee."

Both Democratic campaigns cite different polls to show the candidates' potential nationwide standing against Sen. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.

Wolfson added that if voters in West Virginia "want to end this on Tuesday, they're perfectly capable of it." Both campaigns expect Clinton to win in the state, and polls show her ahead by a wide margin.

But mathematically, Clinton's chances of collecting enough delegates to clinch the nomination have shrunk to the point that many consider her presidential aspirations for 2008 virtually over.

Wolfson said the Clinton camp has a total of about $20 million in debt.

Both campaigns have broken fundraising records. But Obama has outpaced Clinton since January, outspending her in advertising by a wide margin in many states. The Clinton camp has large sums of money in donations usable only for a general election, if she were to make it that far.

Axelrod said Clinton has "competed hard" and is "playing it out as she sees fit. I don't think she's waiting for a cue or a signal from us or an offer of financial assistance. And I think that would demean her to suggest otherwise."

He added, "I don't think even under any scenario... that we were going to transfer money from the Obama campaign to the Clinton campaign. We obviously need the resources we have. We have a great task ahead of us." He said he believes "there was a misunderstanding out there about that."

Axelrod also denied reports that Obama's wife Michelle wants nothing to do with the Clintons, presenting a potential obstacle to what some have called a "dream ticket."

"That's false," he said, emphasizing that there have not been "any overtures" about a possible Clinton-Obama ticket.

Wolfson and Axelrod appeared separately on "Fox News Sunday," avoiding the head-to-head matchups they have often engaged in previously. They also limited attacks on each other to a minimum, in a noticeable change from the back-and-forth throughout much of the campaign season.

soundoff (460 Responses)
  1. Roll Bama Roll!!!

    That comment is the epitome of delusional.

    May 11, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. Liz from Omerhaw

    Hillary Clinton is no longer the Hillary Clinton I thought I new. I am saddened by her being in denial that people just plain don't like her, because she is too hawkish, a phony populist and an person who's voice, eyes and body language says "I AM LYING" every time she speaks. If the Clinton's really cared about their legacy, rather than grabbing and maintaining power for themselves, they would gracefully exit the race and let a new generation of Democrats who are less into pork and PACs lead the party. It makes me cringe to see Hillary's spin crew continuing to try to spin her "inevitability." Sadly, megalomania is not just limited to the Republicans–I think all politicians and preachers suffer from it. The Clintons showed contempt for voters in the way in which they behaved on the campaign trail and are deserving only of our contempt in return.

    May 11, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. Mike

    Actually, "Tony," if the super delegates have any sense, Senator Clinton *will* be the nominee. I understand the excitement, and I understand that Obama has more delegates right now, and I understand that you're an Obama supporter... Trust me, I understand all of it. But Hillary is still more electable vs. John McCain than Obama. You can argue that all you want, but you'll the one kidding yourself.

    May 11, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. Karen

    i am not sure if superdelegates are listening to Hillary's "winning campaign" as Obama is getting more superdelegates than Hillary

    May 11, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Barry

    "We think Senator Clinton is going to be the nominee." This is downright delusional. How exactly does the Clinton camp think this is going to happen? What seriously is their plan? So they're going to get 80% of the next several states then swing superdelegates at the convention, thereby disenfranchising every Obama Democrat from hear till eternity? If that happens, look for McCain to win the general election and a strong independent candidate in the next election. I'm voting for Obama. This country needs radical change, and of the current candidates, he's best positioned right now to deliver that.

    May 11, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Andre

    I think Sen. Clinton will stay in the race until November. She will run as third party candidate with her coalition and give John McCain the presidency. All of her supporters will blame Obama for running, and stealing the Democratic nomination from her. Instead, they should be blaming Wolfson, Penn, and the rest of her strategists for ignoring the little states and focusing on the larger primaries, and loosing the nomination to a virtual unknown. The only people who will benefit for her tenacity will be the Republican Party.

    May 11, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. kaz

    Obama needs a real person for VP not a sen. Clinton.

    May 11, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Marc

    How many times are you folks going to recycle images to add that little extra "oooooh she looks menacing" touch?

    May 11, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Von Bismark


    May 11, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Charlie

    Howard, what has Hillary been putting in the koolaid. I suggest you stop drinking it. There is no way she is the nominee.

    May 11, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. citical view

    Run! Hillary Run!
    This year’s the Democrat nomination is the most skewed process in terms of races, genders, and ages. The most severe skewer is the race. Take the NC primary as an example. 93% African Americans (AFA) voted for Obama, while only 39% of the rest voted for him. Yet, he had a big win (14%) over Hillary Clinton. Do you know that Hillary would need 30% AFA votes or 73% of non-black votes just to tie Obama? This over 90% AFA support of Obama has been the prevailing key for Obama’s lead in the primary contest. What is wrong in this process? It has given Obama a free ride, and has skewed Hillary’s broader supports. The caucus procedure and the DNC mishandling of the FL and MI primaries have helped Obama further. So I have an advice for Hillary: continue fighting for the nomination until the last votes is cast. If you are not nominated, then run as an independent in November. You have the broadest supports, and you can beat both McCain and Obama in the general election.

    May 11, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. love2008

    Game over boys! Advantage Obama. Now let the real tournament begin.

    May 11, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Coleman R. Brice, Asbury Park, NJ

    Richardson should be VP!

    May 11, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Obama 08

    Obama will win. I don't know why she is wasting her time and money. I believe that She should try to get a joint ticket with Obama. This will make democrats unstoppable in November. McCain is already stepping up the relentless attacks against Obama. I believe that Clinton and Obama can work well together to fight off these attacks.

    Obama 08'

    Obama/Clinton 09

    May 11, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Debra

    I don't think Hillary will raise that much at this stage in the game. Pennsylvania didn't do much for her, perhaps West Virgina will help some in raising money. Being stubborn, destructive, deceptive and self centered has it's price!!

    May 11, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. Larry from LA

    No Senator Clinton as the VP choice. That is old Washington that Obama has said he is against from day 1. I for one would lose all respect for him if he did this anf went against his concept for CHANGE.

    May 11, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Michael in MO

    This is foolish. Obama cannot win the general in Nov. Do your research – not sound bite surfing. Every legitimate statistic regarding this race shows Senator Clinton the only one to beat McCain and secure the majority of States. If you do not want 4 more yrs. of a Republican presidency, than use your head and vote for Senator Clinton. She is clearly the most qualified individual – black/white/purple – that our party has seen in generations. Senator Obama is not ready – putting him up as the nominee now is throwing away our opportunity in Nov.

    I, like millions of democrats, will be forced to vote for McCain as independents in the Fall if he goes forward. We will without question make sure that he does not make it to the presidency. These are not bitter comments of the moment that will wash away over time. These are very real facts folks.

    May 11, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. RB

    She's $20 million in debt just for her campaign? Can't wait to see what she'd do with the economy!!

    May 11, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Elroy

    I would not be surprised if the Clinton camp is working day and night searching for some downfall for the Obama camp, they just cannot be so positive on Hillary Clinton still being the nominee, something is up there sleves, I smell a rat guys.

    May 11, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. MiloB,St Kitts

    How can the choice of the second most important job in the US be determined by Michelle Obama, someone who just recently "found" a reason to love her country.

    May 11, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. RR

    Anybody 'thinking' does -not- think Clinton will be the nominee. That's more for 'wishing', 'hoping', and 'dreaming'.

    And it's time to stop denoting a combo ticket as Clinton-Obama.
    The correct name/order for the fantasy is Obama-Clinton.

    As was noted on one of the press shows this morning... including Clinton baggage on the Obama ticket is against his core platform of change... which renders the entire idea a fantasy.

    Obama may be gracious enough to say HRC would be on anybody's 'short list'... but the reality is that she would devalue his and the Democrat's bid, to anyone besides Democrats... HRC isn't needed for party unity, even if some are lunatic enough to declare they'll go against their own beliefs and vote for the other side. Obama will pick a VP that will support his 'change' from the Bush/Clinton era.

    May 11, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  22. Chad

    Wow, this whole commenting section/blog spot hasn't exactly caught on yet. If Clinton had the reasonability of Obama, she would have stepped down a little over a month ago.

    May 11, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. Peter

    Hillary, you lost....GET OVER IT! Just cause you arent going to be the nominee doesn't mean you need to continue to torture us by saying "I'm going to win" or this "Ready to lead on day one" stuff....yo9u can't even run a successful, truthful, non-nasty campaign

    May 11, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  24. Andre, Alabama

    Since the Clintons are so confident, I am suspicious. Howard needs to take a chill pill.

    May 11, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  25. Marc in DeKalb, IL

    ... er, are you serious? You think Clinton is going to be the nominee?

    No wonder she has done so poorly, if you are her "top strategist" ...

    In... SANE.

    May 11, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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