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. Sly, Virginia

    Now that I is the nominee. I think the competative ticket will be either Obama/Pelosi or Obama/Edwards. Both has its own advantage. Obama/Pelosi ticket will definitely win back all the elderly women votes. Also that will secure catholic and hispanic votes. That will also blunt any move by Mc Cain to win the independents and Hispanics of CA with help from the Gov. there. Obama Edwards will also be an excellent one.

    Obama/Pelosi or Obama/Edwards 08.

    May 11, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  2. Aaron

    I just don't understand this, How do they expect her to be the nominee? I always here this talk about how she is going to bring the economy because her husband did a superb job at it. Heres the thing, President Clinton did a really great job with this country when he was in office no doubt about it, but I don't think she would take much advice from him because she seems like the "its my way or the highway" type. Also, this talk about the economy, she can't even run a campaign without going into debt. So GOD HELP US if she becomes the nominee.

    May 11, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. carolyn

    Well I for one really hopes she will be. If not the only option left is to write her in or vote Ron paul

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

    Howard Wolfson is lying when he says HRC could be the nominee. They are likely running to raise enough money to pay HRC back the 11 M she put into her poorly run race. Enough race baiting Hillary, time to go home in shame. For well over a quarter century you and your husband have made of living off of dividing people and playing the popular end to your advantage. Its time to turn over a new leaf, Americans are tired of politicians who lie, race bait and perjure themselves and thinks it's OK. It's not OK. Your style of politics will go down in history as being vulgar, disgusting and beyond reproach. Those that lie for you, Wolfson, Terry McCaulaf, Begala, Carville, Penn and Ichies will forever be known as the douchbags of the democratic party.

    May 11, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. jd

    Sorry Clinton will not be the Nominee, Obama is. All are in Denial. OBAMA/08

    May 11, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. David, Santa Rosa, CA

    What the deal with Michelle andHillary? Are there any real sources of info. regarding this? Frankly, that only increases my opinion of Michelle.

    Sen. Clintons withdrawl from the race is going to be a non-event by the time she gets her head around the reality. It seems that she has more to lose by remaining than be exiting now (or yesterday).

    Supers with nothing to lose should step up and put this contest to bed. It's just painful at this point.

    May 11, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. mary

    Clinton supporters are going about this election as if they are fighting a war,this is politics,politics is a game of number,majority carries the vote,The earlier we stop politics of war ,bitterness and hatred the better,Clinton might be the best to you but if the majority of Americans says it is Obama,lets respect the wish of majority.Why are we too bitter?,Everybody has their own fault,Obama is playing a clean politics,if he has opened up on Clinton,so many of you would have ran away.Lets be wise!!!!!!

    May 11, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Johnny Depp

    Why do democrats keep working against each other?

    Clinton and Obama have practically the same proposals (only difference: Clinton is trying to buy the nomination by offering popular but stupid regulations... but she'll stop that as soon as she's got into office anyway).

    Therefore: Get together! Start fighting the republicans!

    May 11, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Tom

    McCain 2008

    Clinton 2012

    Thats just how it might be...

    May 11, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. Chris

    Who better to manage the country's checkbook than a person who can't manage her own campaign's.

    Not to mention someone who clearly has some problems with basic arithmetic.

    Hillary should get out of the race now so she can save at least some of her respect, if she has any left after all of this. Not to mention not doing any more harm to the Democratic party.

    May 11, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Mike, California

    I have no idea what Senator Clinton is doing. I'm sorry but Oboma has won this contest and it's time to move on. Why do I get the feeling Oboma is going to be sworn in as President in January and Senator Clinton is going to still be Campaigning. Seriously folks.

    May 11, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Mike in PA

    3 weeks and we can end this and come together.

    Obama '08!

    May 11, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. Curtis, Maryland

    I think it's amazing to hear the Clinton camp make these statements about her winning the nomination, but what's more impressive is that they do it with a straight face. LOL

    May 11, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Clinton´s Man

    Dear Senator Clinton,

    It´s time for us to move on and forget about the presidency post, you are a fighter , a great fighter but you have to let it go, cos there is no way you are going to win. I love you senator and i wish you the best in your career,please let it go.

    May 11, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. Benmyoho

    YES! I also believe that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee. Taking the Obama horse is just a leap of faith: too many ifs, lots of question marks. In his pronouncements, Obama has been saying that he is not the COO guy, that's he's more of a CEO guy, just like Bush. And look what that leadership-style has led us: TO THE DITCH. So Obama will essentially further entrench us in the DITCH.

    Ergo, Hillary will be IT.

    May 11, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. temmydizzle

    I think it is now time for senator clinton to endorse Obama, it's time for the party to unite. Obviously she is trying to be selfish and fighting a battle she cannot win. She should know better that. She does not care about the party, neither does she care about the american people as she claim. Getting back to the white house is all she cares....Too bad

    May 11, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. Joe, Northern Virginia

    I think that Sen Clinton should gracefully bow out and save the party from any further damage and division. I think that the only reason why all the super-delegates have not rushed into Obama's camp is because they want her to exit gracefully... knowing that forcefully pushing her out may anger her supporters from voting for Obama.
    I hope someone in her camp can tell her that.. I think she is being ill- advised by her campaign operatives. I think Sen Clinton is a shrewd politician and I dont think she will win the general elections even if she becomes the Dem. nominee... with all the divisions she has created among the voting blocks within the party.
    It is about time she saves the Democratic party from all these...!!!

    May 11, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. Reggie , Anaheim, Ca.

    Tony, if you are correct then we all would need to move
    to OZ / Wonderland!

    Party before Country is what has caused this Country to fall
    for the past 28 years! Please tell me there are other folks than
    the bush's & clinton's to run our Government. Frankly, ran the
    Country into the ground from both the bush's & clinton!

    Hill-Bill have made over a 100 Million dollars from "the people"
    since 2001 to the present. Well, having to spend their money
    to run for the "office" doesn't bid well for her / them!

    Hill has ran a terrible campaign & would do the same as President!
    How I know she has proved it right before "our" eyes!

    Obama / The American People in 08

    May 11, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Roland

    Hillary has run a fine race, but it is not possible for her to win the nomination and remain viable in November. Obama will be the Democratic nominee. All Dems should focus on defeating McCain and giving the Democratic President and big gains in the House and Senate!

    May 11, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. Rick OH

    Political campaigns do not 'end' ... they just go broke!

    May 11, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Asif

    Both Senator Clinton and Senator Obama are great warriors, so to speak. However, Senator Obama has proven to be more agile and very organized and has shown superb distance vision... that is what is needed as a prerequisite qualification for the position of the president of the world's greatest nation. But, Senator Clinton has all the right to play it out to the end. She has earned it. I believe that Senator Obama will be a very energetic and successful president. He will be the president.

    May 11, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. Montana is Obama Country

    In the immortal words of Howie Mandel...

    ...........Deal OR No Deal...........

    May 11, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. temmydizzle

    I am not an american, neither do i live in america but i like america and i can see Obama as the only candidiate that can unite not only the Democratic party, not only america but the whole world. i live in the UK and i am willing to donate to Obama's campaign if he becomes the nominee.

    May 11, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Speaking of number 2 – everytime Clinton or her people speak – its #2

    May 11, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. Motov8n

    ""Good"" The bank is for loans. We are in that business!!!

    May 11, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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