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. Terry H

    Why should Hillary be interested in the #2 slot? The people want HER leading the helm not Obama. I will not vote any ticket with Obama on top. Even as much as I love Hillary I simply WILL NOT allow the party to manipulate my vote by using our choice as a pawn. The superdelegates can throw this race away if they want. Because if not Hillary, then McCain for me..and many many others!

    May 11, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. No Deal For Hillary

    If I was Obama, the absolute last person I would want as VP would be Hillary Clinton. He would have to be constantly watching his back as she tried to steal the limelight, undermine his presidency, and set herself up for her own presidency. I know they say keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but to have Hillary in the White House would be a huge mistake.

    May 11, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Jane

    Howard Wolfson: "We think Senator Clinton is going to be the nominee."

    Wow, the Clinton camp is sure a bunch of sore losers.

    May 11, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  4. John, Belgium

    about screwing up: You probably did notice how Bush screwed up? That's a whole lot heavier than the cigar affair which by the way ended with Bill Clinton resigning after trying to persuade people he didn't have sex. Don't get me wrong. Bill Clinton has been a very good president. But Hillary? Just being a good freemason doesn't get You elected. It might help, but it doesn't get You elected.

    May 11, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  5. Belinda S

    Who wants another President that is delusional? First you have to win the big states (as if the other states don't count). Then you have to include Florida and Michigan (when the rules that everyone agreed to in advance were that these states would not count). Then it was whoever had the most superdelegates (you had all of them over for milk and cookies).Now it is who has the most popular votes. The popular vote does not even elect the president. AND you are pandering – trying to suggest that white people vote for you because you are white. I am a black person and I am not voting for Barack because he is black. I did not vote for Sharpton or Jackson and they are both black. The truth is this - if the American public is buying what you are saying – you would be ahead in popular vote with and without Florida and Michigan, you would be ahead in Superdelegates, you would be ahead with the black vote, the white vote, the catholic vote, the Latino vote, the blue collar vote, the white collar vote, the soccer moms, the stay-at-home dads, the astronauts, the NBA, or whatever sector of society you appeal to. It is OVER- we are tired of the Clinton machine. With so many mysterious accidents during Bill Clinton's term, it might not be safe to have Hillary as a vice president.

    May 11, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. Jane

    Ding dong, the witch is dead...

    May 11, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Ivan, Denmark Europe

    I think you are all wrong.
    Seen from here you will have a very good president in Obama, much better than the one you have had for the last 8 years, and even much better than the president you both think Clinton will be if elected!

    May 11, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. I believe in Hillary

    and if she somehow should fail to win, Barack Obama better hope she accepts being on his ticket. He'll loose without her.

    May 11, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. Susan MO

    Why are some of my fellow Obama's supporter so mean and angry Stop clinging to your computer with antipathy for Hillary.

    We have won be nice. Remember she is still pretending to be a democrat and her husband was a great President.

    Obama is not about hate. He is a uniter

    Obama/Webb 08

    May 11, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Nick - Arlington, VA

    gcbfred -> thats what they said about Kennedy, thats what they said about can have all the experience in the world but without the right judgment it doesn't matter.

    McCain does NOT have the right judgment on the key issues that an overwhelming majority of the American people want (economy, Iraq and Healthcare). It is Obama and the Democrats that have the right views and policies. If he wasn't capable of being President then prominent democrats who have been in politics for years and know what it takes would NOT be backing him (Kennedy, McCaskil, Kerry, Dodd, Richardson and if and when Hillary concedes the Clintons will also be backing him).

    So gcbfred and people like you, if you are a democrat then we must all stand united to defeat McCain who is no longer the Maverick he once was in 2000 but a carbon copy of GWB. We cannot afford 4 more years of that.

    Democrats '08 – Obama '08

    May 11, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. Countdown...

    When you really think about it, Hillary is the empty suit.

    Obama tells it like it is, whether it makes him lose vote or win votes. He is an honest and brilliant leader.

    Sen. Clinton tells voters what they want to hear, flip flopping of necessary. She is fine tune political machine, but doesn't really stand for anything... i.e. an empty suit.

    May 11, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. bigg dog

    you know i sit here and some comments and i can,t beleive some of them the sen. has to become president to be able to do anything,further more four years to even begin to straiting up bushie boy,s mess. but he stil is the only one out there to do the job .. itdiot.. OBAMA 08--–>

    May 11, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. An old white Woman

    I know what you feel Guys..but remember that: Mr. Obama , President Of The USA 08
    take it to the bank

    Love USA/Love Obama
    heyyyyyyyyyyyy Psssssssssss every one is paying attention now mmmmmmmmmm "no stealing" this time
    Obama for peace & Jobs. (no WAR with war with Iran) PSSSSsssssssss
    Obama the one we love

    May 11, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Lovely in VA

    She would take VP in a sec and Obama would mysteriously disappear or worse a short time later. Hell NO, I want her NO WHERE near my president. Ever heard of the Vince Foster story??

    May 11, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. Marie in California

    I think Hillary would find it an insult to play VP second fiddle to Obama.....the guy who has absolutely no qualifications for the office of president to begin with. In fact, I find the thought of Obama in the presidency to be both pathetic and scary. I've supported Hillary but now I'm about ready to say.....Go McCain!

    May 11, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  16. Kevin

    Who cares if Michelle wants anything to do with Clinton or not?

    The most important thing is THE PEOPLE want nothing more to do with Clinton. Someone needs to help her pack her bags, because she probably hasn't packed her own in decades.

    May 11, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. California Voter

    Clinton should continue, it's not as if Obama has the required number of delegates to be declared the winner and there are still states that have not had their primaries. Give everyone a chance to be heard. In addition, there are two critical states that the democrats are not even counting at this point.

    If Obama gets the nomination he will not get our votes - we vote on experience, character, issues, and core values and we not uneducated and poor, just over 40!

    May 11, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. Ann Mckee

    After Bill Clinton served 8 years as President, I think it's time for the Clintons to move on. Bill Clinton did a great job while in Office. What they need to realize it's time for a change. And we thank you for the memories for all you have done. Hillary can always run again.
    Don't ruin your reputation by trying to force yourself back into the White House.
    We are in a new era now, and it might means greater strength. You needed to hold off on the race cards. White People are White People and Black People are what they are. In other words we are one of the same. So in a sense you hurt Blacks and Whites. You must remember there are a lot of mixed races that also fall iin the Black category. They are among us all the time and you wouldn’t be able to tell if they are Black or White. We don’t need to be put down, and have tried to ignore a lot of touching things you and your husband have said.
    Hillary it’s time to say goodbye and I wish you the best. I heard you say White People wouldn’t vote for Obama. Why not? That’s how Obama got as far as he has.

    May 11, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  19. Diego

    Let us be one and stop these rhetoric racist comment like- he'll never win anyway- it is a contest either one can win not by their color of skin nor their gender but by what's driving them inside, their determination and resillence.
    Obama change the world.

    May 11, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  20. Cleopatra

    Good one Cathy!!!!

    May 11, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Jerry

    Celeste May 11th, 2008 4:51 pm ET

    It is time for her to do what is right for the country

    America needs a person with education and intelligence to get begin to fix all the stuff the Republicans have ruined over the last 7 years.

    . Yes ,and that is Why Hillary should run as a Third party, obama thinks we have 59 states in america. What school did he go to?

    May 11, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. Jacob

    Hillary should end her campaign gracefully in order to keep the Clintons' dignity intact. We all know how badly the party and the country needs her skills and influence, but I'm afraid that she'll lose any ability she still has if this saga continues.

    May 11, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. Hhoney

    Wake up america obama cannot beat mccain. he has a lot of baggage. he has brain washed the american people.He is leading because in the beginning of the campaign the american people did'nt know him. If we had known about jeramiah Wright,Rizno,William Aires,and the involvement in a murder trial at his church he wouldn't be leading. Hillary Clinton is the best person to lead this country. This country is caught up into a black man becoming president. If he wins the primary I am changing over to a republican.

    May 11, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  24. Cyrus Mayo

    Obama should sit tight and let the clock run out on June 3rd, as it will, and by that time Obama will have 10 to 20 more super delegats in his basket and Clinton will have no choice but to bough out. As for Clinton becoming Obama's running mate, it is out of the question, the two just dont match, although their polocies are similar. This is the year of the Democrats and McCain has no chance against Obama's eloquece and God given wisdom. Just wait and see when they have their first debate.

    May 11, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. Lawrence

    Hillary a VP? She can't handle it.

    May 11, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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