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. cmb

    You know, some people are just in denial, give it up Hillary and reunite the party please.

    May 11, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. The O

    Hillary said she was no shrinking violet, so why don't she make like a leaf and leave already??????

    BARACK THE VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 11, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. Marc

    Hillary will be asking Obama for help.

    May 11, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. Shin

    She couldn't care about her supports in the least bit... People know she's struggling and are still trying to help send her money for a lost cause.

    May 11, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. TheTraveler, Chicago

    P...leeese Wolfson! By what you're saying it's evident that you're living in another planet, but on second thought, you don't even believe what you're saying, and you started not believing it since way back in January when you started to negotiate a book-deal on the failures of the campaign. How's that deal going? You'll probably be able to recoup all the wages you didn't collect. Good luck.

    May 11, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  6. Marilyn Menta

    I hope Hillary does become the nominee. Miracles can happen.

    May 11, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. sandalfoot

    if senator Obama wins the nominee for the presidential candidate, I think it would be a disaster for hIm to chose Hill-Bill for his running mate. That would be two against one and they would try to make Sen,Obama into mash potatoes. Beside, Hill-Bill would also do everything to spoil his chances of running or serving a second term
    or even fihish out his first term. Sen. Hill desperately wants to become Pres. and would do anything to destroy Sen. Obama should he become pres. so that she could step right in as pres.
    I have seen the same senario in corporate America and it worked.
    This would be the same situation. . Sen. Hill-Bill would not be a low-keyed vice-pres. this is only Human nature.

    May 11, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. Eddie G

    I hope Michelle Obama does say hell no to a Clinton VP....that would show excellent judgement.

    May 11, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. Judy

    Stand strong against Obama – we must show the DNC that their superdelegate bull is not acceptable.

    The Democratic Party is against democracy. DNC says WE will decide – NOT YOU THE VOTERS.

    I am done with the Democratic Party. some say how can you abandon the party – because they have abandoned a large segment of America. Their entire focus is Blacks, College kids, goofy university intellectuals. They keep saying people with no education are the only ones voting for Hillary. PROPAGANDA!! So, that proves Obama is an elitest and so is the DNC.


    Independent or it is time for a 3rd party.

    DOWN WITH THE DEMOCRATIC (far left crazies)

    They know they will lose our vote and they don't care, Obama has promised this stupid 50 state voter registration – he will be registering street people – wait and see. He has promised he will replace us to the DNC.


    CLINTON/MCCAIN 08 (STAND FIRM AMERICA – if we don't this is the end of democracy)

    May 11, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. AJ - North Carolina

    PLEASE GAWD PLEASE, let Clinton be the nominee! We are really screwed if Obama is the nominee.

    May 11, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. Tammy

    I have never seen someone in such denial. Clinton is not good for the Democratic party. She is not in this to get the best candidate. She is in this for herself.
    Obama has much better people to choose from as his running mate and choosing Clinton would be a big mistake. She and Bill would be a package deal of problems.
    At the end of the primaries she needs to face reality and put her support behind Obama and whomever he chooses as his running mate for the good of the party.

    May 11, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. tete


    May 11, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. independant chris

    Would be pretty sad if Obama has to actually buy Clinton's support.

    May 11, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. chukwunonso

    i just think that senator clinton is too proud to take the fate that has befallen her. having started as the clear front runner and then finishing like this is too hard to swallow knowing that the eventual nominee is a guy she has run down in the past.
    She should take life the way it comes, maybe the american people actually want change instead of experience.

    May 11, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  15. Tammy

    I also think most people would agree that Obama should not repay her debts. She's continued to put herself in this position. If she chooses to continue the race, and that is well within her right, she should – BUT AT HER OWN EXPENSE!
    If she wants someone to bail her out, let it be all these online supporters that say they won't vote for Obama if he gets the nomination.

    May 11, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. Jim

    I am a Hillary Clinton supporter to the end, although it looks like Obama will get the Democratic nomination. If Obama does not offer the vice presidency to Hillary, I will vote for John McCain just to sabotage him. By the way, almost everyone I know will do the same. Obama had better not diss Hillary. Her followers are too loyal to ever allow her to be disrespected.

    May 11, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. A Canadian

    The rest of the world is watching this contest with great interest. Why? Because as much as some American's sometime believe they are the be all and end of of democratic society, the rest of the world sees things differently. They see America is the spoiled brat, the teenager holding the rest of the world hostage and demanding preferential treatment and the seat at the head of proverbial table.

    I might add that in years past, the United States has indeed earned bragging rights to some extent. But in recent times (last 30 years or so), their position of respect in the world has eroded to the point they are now considered just bullies. Bullies who are intent on pushing their beliefs, their economy and yes, even their democracy on everyone else in the world due to a perceived much higher opinion of themselves than others in the world.

    You have a chance to change this trend with Senator Obama. You seem to have a clear choice. Continue the tried and failed policies of the past thirty years, or proceed with something new....something fresh. Obama seems to have the capacity to open doors, and the capacity to inspire others to see beyond the rhetoric. Hillary Clinton will continue the policies of the old democratic guard.

    The world outside the USA is hoping for an Obama the Rush Limbaugh's are perceived to be demonstrative of everything that is wrong with the USA, and Obama is perceived to be demonstrative of everything that is right with the USA.

    His message of hope not only extends to America itself, in that collectively it can right itself towards a more prosperous and unified future, rather than continue down the spiral of destruction that it's current path seems to define. The message of hope also extends to the rest of the world also, in that we hope to see the America we once respected, we once knew, and we once loved....again.

    May 11, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  18. Another Delusional Clinton Supporter

    Who was the top money draw for the Democratic Party for the past 6 years? That's right Hillary Clinton. She brought in millions and remember when the talk was that she could have the largest War Chest in the history for a Presidential Run. What happened to all that money? She did what a true believer would have done. The money was released to fund the campaigns of the Democratic candidates in 2004 and 2006. Her fund raising and hard earned money was responsible for the election of a majority of newly elected Democratic Senators and Representatives.
    The Democratic Party Chiefs have run over her just like they would anyone who held party loyalty above their own personal gains. SHE was just the Biggest Celebrity of the Party, the volunteer fund raiser , and became the gal you sent out for coffee when the new CEO came on board. The new guy is charismatic and full of idealist words and you are willing to hire him right out of his internship in CEO land.
    To hell with any sense of gratitude for the work Senator Clinton has done to increase the majority in Congress of Democrats and women. For the first time in more years than most Obama supporters can remember, we have a democratic majority in both Houses.
    For me, that tells me and my family that Party loyalty , adhering to the principles of fair play, and Party recognition of service is no where to be found on the NEW Democratic Party agenda.
    I find the Democratic Party's lack of principle and integrity so abominable that I will vote as Independent or vote for a Republican before I will vote for a Democratic Party shill like Obama.

    May 11, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. Connie

    I have voted democratic sent McGovern. I will vote for McCain in November if Obama manages to get the nomination. I am very polically active in the city of Huntsville Alabama and I can promise you that north Alabama democrats will vole for McCain if we have too.

    This message to for very Obama backer. The Republician Party will win in November if Obama wins this nomination.

    May 11, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. LifeLongDemocrat

    Hillary, don't be his running mate as he will most likely lose. Work on fundraising for 2012 instead. Insist that he take a Hillary surrogate as his running mate, however.

    May 11, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. Indy-pendent

    Hillary Clinton ran a solid, campaign and I would love to see her bow out with some ease, but I do not think that the dream ticket will be a good idea. Clinton should go around supporting obama after the convention to help unite the party again. If that happened, theres no way McSame could get anywhere near the whitehouse.

    May 11, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  22. Obama > Clinton

    "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."

    Got quite a chuckle from that one. Is this in the same alternate universe where Clinton dodged sniper fire? The same universe where its ok for Clinton to take her young daughter to a war zone?

    Obama has the popular vote, Obama has the delegate vote, and will very soon be winning the super delegate count. This is over and Clinton needs to stop whatever she is smoking.

    I can't wait to see Obama and McCain debate the real issues. It'll be nice to have coverage of what the candidates really stand for and not just the pandering of a certain democrat.

    Obama 08'

    May 11, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. KB, New Orleans

    She should have listen to Kenny Rodger's song instead of Elton John's. YOU GOT TO KNOW WHEN TO HOLD THEM, KNOW WHEN TO FOLD THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Pack up camp Baby.

    May 11, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. mary cleveland, ohio

    I saw Wolfson on Chris Matthews. He is soooo delusional.
    Chris Matthews called him "one of those Japanese warriors still fighting the war in 1951!"

    May 11, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  25. Dianne- Bourbonnais, IL

    It would be extremely upsetting if the Obama campaign bailed out the poorly managed campaign of Clinton. I hope David Axelrod is sincere in his answers. Wouldn't it be ludicrous if the average working person's donation to Obama went to help pay off the millionaire Clinton's debt?

    Secondly, I also hope it is very true that Clinton will not be the VP choice. At this point I believe that Barack Obama is a man of his word and not a phony. I would have serious doubts about this if they were on the same ticket. (I would also then probably vote for the other man that I thought was honorable.)

    May 11, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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