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. jake

    Clinton is the strongest candidate, despite the horrific negative press that never let up and the opponent's cash advantage.

    Her dedication, loyalty and perseverance is an inspiration for all of us, and we WILL need it, post Bush.

    I am behind her TO THE END, or as her supporters put it, to the TOP.

    She is a LEADER.

    ... and, she believes (firmly) that everyone's opinion counts.
    That speaks volumes to me.

    May 11, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. Papa,RSA

    Howard..tsk tsk . Delusional
    Thats all i can say and its so sad

    May 11, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. where the beef?

    Obama campaign of "change" is a campaign of false hope and fairytales!!!

    May 11, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. 3 Different

    What is Clinton thinking is still unknown to me. I mean that Clinton needs around 320 more votes to clench the nomination while Obama needs only 161 more votes to clench the democratic nomination. Obama can get that 161 in the upcoming primaries and superdelegates votes. While Clinton. She is dragging the whole democratic party down with her by making her election them instead of her plans she has made it like some democratic guy said "101 things wrong with Obama" Come on JUST DROP OUT ALREADY! You are dragging the party down with you!!

    Obama '08

    May 11, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. FT for Obama

    Only Clinton and her supporters know how she will win the nomination! The rest of this nation is delusional and retardered! I can't wait to see that happened! This will be the miracle of the 21st century

    May 11, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Charles

    The Clintons never stops dreaming.
    Its simple, It's Over.

    May 11, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. Jessica

    This woman can't even keep her campaign out of debt, what do you think she is going to do with the U.S economy?

    Perhaps the reason why she is not meeting fundraising expectations is because voters (even her voters) don't really believe in her abilities?

    May 11, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. Thomas

    May be Clinton should run as an independent if democrats don't choose her as the nominee. She has a HUGE base of supporters who would ensure that if she's not elected the president, neither does Mr. Hope with his superficial agenda makes it to the white house.

    Clinton or McCain – both are fine. But a big NO NO for Obama.

    May 11, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. where the beef?

    Obama has bad judgement, is out of touch, and has no experience. Why would anyone vote for another George W Bush!!!

    P.S. And I am a lifelong Democratic!!!

    May 11, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. Rob

    This is all about 2012. She wants to see Obama go down in flames so that she'll be a shoo-in. Every day she persists in this ego-drama she is helping McCain. Does she think the Democrats will forgive her?

    May 11, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. ann, st. louis

    Thank-you America, we don not have to deal with the Clintons and their scandals anymore, we thank them for their years of service, but it is time for a change. The Clinton's are wondering what happen ,well let's count S.C. , Bosina – Gate, Mark Penn and trade deals, Indianna Gas Tax relief lie, they just simply under estimated the American people disire for integrity and change in Washington and the White House. Thers are old sayings: you cann't teach a dog new tricks, a leopard never changes his spot and that's the Clintons they do and say whatever to win, reguardless of the cost.
    Let's all Americans pray for your new government and all our leaders that they maintain their integrity in the face of diffucult times.

    May 11, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. stdirty

    This is first time i will be voting, and i love this process, but i never was a big Clinton fan until now. I REALLY respect her a lot now. She has shown great resilience in this race in the past and even at this time she has still show that she beleaves not only in herself, but in America. Yet she did lose some of my respect when she made the "hard working americans, white americans" quote. I always favored Obama, but that set it in stone for me. He needs not to bring race involved negativly, and as a black man in this country, he gets the ultimate respect for that.

    May 11, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  13. John, Belgium

    I think All three Edwards, Gore and Clinton would make excellent choices. We all now that his style is more like Gore, Less like Edwards and perhaps would be difficult with Clinton but In the end I think it's up to Obama now to make a clear choice, and I thrust his choice as he has become a clear leader whatever might happen next. The only thing that could stop him in my personal view is perhaps a John Mc Cain who can consolidate rightwing theories again and make firm ground while convincing people should vote on a person from the party who crashed the economy and got us in quote: "perhaps a centennial war" costing roughly billions of taxpayers money invested in almost in hand stock of the same people not ready to pull out. Also John Mc Cain would need to have a clear stand on Medicare reforms, and he will probably have to go in against his own party to make reforms democrats anounced years ago although it will probably also cost him some credentials for being though. If Mc Cain wants to succede he'll have to have a very big campaign and a clear stance on many subjects, and perhaps try thinking about other things than putting on a big show. He'll have to find real talk subjects and come up with them fast to erase the probable lead Obama is going to take the coming months.
    Personally I hope Obama wins it and restores our nation. A third Bush term is exactly like having a third tooth extraction while it's your ear causing all the pain.

    May 11, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. anthony

    Hillary will be the nominee! Mr. Obama is a magnificent speaker, but he is not electable. This may go all the way to the convention but ultimately Hillary will be the nominee. Reagan Democrats will decide this race. Unfortunately for Senator Obama, Reagan democrats will choose Clinton over McCain but this same influential group will choose McCain over Obama. This will effect the swing states. Obama can win all the tradition democratic states such as California and New York but he can not win Florida and Ohio. Hillary can win all the traditional democratic states as well as the swing states. This is why the party will nominate Hillary despite Obama's lead in pledged delegates.

    May 11, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. Tab

    So how does she expect to win the general against McCain when she is barely competing in the primary against an unknown Washington outsider?

    May 11, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. Mike from Va

    If Clinton is not the nominee, Obama cant win, at least not my vote. I would vote for a republican first.

    May 11, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |

    believe Americans are wiser than Hillary's tactics of divide and rule. All problems facing this country affect all races. Does price of gas differentiate on race ???? She has changed her message continually and she is ready to say anything just to get nominated.
    Americans should read between the lines. She is just too desperate. and and ready to lie, shift goal post in the middle of the game,... do anything just to get nominated.,...that's not ethical. let's not forget how Bush and his cronies lied about Iraq, that is an indication of what Hilary has to offer.
    Madness is defined as doing the same thing, the same way and expecting any change.
    In the best interest of this great country, SUPPORT OBAMA now and in Nov. and the country moves forward.

    May 11, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Bridgette - PA

    I never knew, until now how politics worked. I've been able to get a good idea from closely following the Democratic campaigns. Is it me or could this stuff give you heart failure! Your blood pressure fluxuates and your so emotional sometimes, your spouse doesn't even want to talk to you some days (OK, yes, I am talking about myself!) I thought this race was over in March. All the news networks were reporting that she couldn't catch up back then even if she won 60/40. So what the hell is going on! I have learned one thing if nothing else regarding politics; It aint over until the actual losing opponent says it's over. Aughhhhhh!

    OBAMA -08!

    May 11, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. No Bill, Hillary or McCain Ever/CA

    As for Obama lending her campaign money, I say NO. As I should have a say about where my money goes. I also say she SHOULD stay in the race as long as she wants. Most of us on these blogs have already voted in our states and I think EVERYONE should have their say. We are all Americans. Addressing Wolfson's theory of her not wanting the #2 spot, I could not agree more. We don't want her in the #2 spot either. I want a woman of integrity who stands on her own name and abilities and knows which party she represents. The point she removed items out the WH which did NOT belong to her-tells me a lot about her integrity.

    I also say to ALL Obama supporters: PLEASE CALM DOWN! This is very exciting, I realize that but he has not officially won the nomination yet. We will have plenty of time to celebrate as we have all worked hard and contributed the necessary funds for our candidate to stay in this race.

    Thank you to ALL Obama supporters who made this point possible.

    May 11, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. HD

    I have been following this campaign for almost a year now and here is my feeling about the way the Clintons and their supporters have behaved.

    Obama and Edwards ticket in 2008!

    May 11, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. steve ga

    She's obviously hurting Obamas chances for November election. The problem is with her comments she's for the hard working white american causes division among the party Obama has benefited from high African American turnout an new young voters also college educated americans Clinton benefits from blue collar white americans an some republicans trying to help her out "operation chaos" but lets be real Clinton supporters want support Obama an Obama supporters African Americans in general will stay home this november. It's a no win scenario but if they unite an Clinton is the running mate I think Obama can win but Clintons chances of winning in November want happen with out African American votes [im one an will not vote at all if Obama doesnt make it] so Clinton play it smart if you care for the democratic party!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Obama 2008

    May 11, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. where the beef?

    Just remember when Obama said that we "Cling to our Religion, Guns, and don't like people that don't look like us because we are BITTER". That was the end of his campaign. Obama showed what 20 years at Rev Wright feet have done to him!!!

    May 11, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  23. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    Hillary's not stupid. She knows that she's not going to be the most powerful person in the world. So of course she's going to try for second. It's just a matter of time.

    Unfortunately, if anything should happen to Barack Obama (wink, wink), then Hillary Clinton will become president.

    Luckily we have Nancy Pelosi. She will take out Hillary before that happens, thereby making HER the most powerful person in the world.

    Either way, Bill Clinton doesn't even make the top three! 🙂

    May 11, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  24. ben

    Hey,let be sincere with this all issue.what was clinton thinking?...becos the husband does better 8 yrs ago,then he think he can do better now.Rubbish........this is a new era of generation,and u need a new era of ideas and vision to go with.And only one person have it,that is barrack obama.President bush does better until 9/11.

    May 11, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. Marilyn

    Why would he want to deal with a cheat and a liar?

    May 11, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
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