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. Gina girl

    Thanks to Obama and his fanatical followers we will have another republican in office come November. At least Clinton had a shot. No one wants to offend the golden child or his minions so they're willing to throw the November win away. But then they can convince themselves of how progressive they are for nominating an African-American, even though they actually helped McCain. This probably makes sense to insane people.

    May 11, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. I used to be a Democrat

    Of course she's not looking for a deal. Obama is going to lose this November. Hillary will be the nominee in 2012.

    May 11, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Iyasu

    I think this is the right time for Sen. Hillary to make a reasonable decision. Seeing things ahead is not failure but it is a sign of wisdom and respect for the party, for friends, and the will of the nation. There are enough evidences out there of what the outcome might be. It is really good thing to work out for the common good. We need this party to lead the nation and the world for the next 16 years. This is a must.

    May 11, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. Pay the Little People First

    I read that Hillary was full well expecting that her loans (with interest) be paid first out of any contributions she receives or money Obama may throw her way. Now that is like the Hillary I know...forget all about the small businesses you owe money to and pay yourself first (did I mention WITH INTEREST). Those small businesses won't get interest on the money owed them if they get paid at all.

    May 11, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. It is over...lets move on!!!

    I am so glad that she is not looking for a deal. That is great. I am also wondering what kind of drugs they are taking over on the Clinton side!!! Wow, at first I thought they were delusional, then I thought they were psychotic because of her "Hard Working White Voter" comments, but now Howard's comments have convinced me that there is something really strange going on over there.

    There is no way, no matter how big the tantrum, that the DNC is going to deny the winner based on the rules of the party, the nomination. There is no way the Superdelegates are going to give the nomination to someone other than the person who wins by the rules. They may have to wait till June 3rd to come out, but their constituents who support the winner (whom ever that is) would defect in droves. This is not a contest about who would be best able to beat the Republicans, it is a contest based upon who wins by the numbers. That is what 2000 was all about. GW Bush won by electoral votes, not the popular vote. The DNC has set 2025 as the number of delegates. What is so hard to understand about that????

    May 11, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. stacy

    Run Independent Hillary, half of the American voters who have already voted for you in primary plus those who havent as of yet can put you
    in office.

    May 11, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. jeremy

    she won't be VP under obama. after the mudslinging she did during the campaign, there is no way that obama would ask her to fill the spot. if she ran a civil, non-divisive campaign there would have been a chance. i hope that she sticks with her seat in the senate and does good things for our country there.

    May 11, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. Ed

    cate- you are in denial...she is a liar and a common criminal. She and Bill have lied to the American people, they both lied under oath and
    her dirty laundry list stretches from Arkansas to California and back to New York. If you want the truth about these monsters just ask Vince Foster.

    May 11, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. Gringo

    I would certainly hope Hillary has no aspirations of hooking up with the Empty Suit candidate. She's a lot better off as a Senator. She's got more pride than to ask Obama for a handout. If I were her, I wouldn't even talk to the sucker, much less endorse him.

    GO HILLARY GO !!!!

    May 11, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. An Agnostic Democrat


    If Hillary is "known" so well and "loved" so dearly, then why is her negative rating and dishonesty/distrust rating >50% nationally and EVEN IN HER OWN PARTY???!

    May 11, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  11. jim

    clinton is in serious debt and the more she campaigns, the more in debt she's goin to be. she aint goin to be the nominee, she's only thinking of herself, the clinton legacy(my cheating husband was the president, why cant i be?)

    May 11, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. Lee

    Obama's campaign is about the future. Hillary represents the past just like John McCain does. She brings nothing to compliment his resume or future plans.

    May 11, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. Powered by the People


    Empty fear made you vote for Bush Twice. LOL
    Keep it up!

    Obama may not have you vote

    But one vote or opinion has not been a Game changer this time.

    People from walks of life want real change.

    We are not all like you, big money.


    Change to bless all

    Obama 08

    May 11, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. obama supporter

    last i heard
    there was not a deal offered

    did i miss something

    May 11, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  15. catherine newman

    Hillary will prevail, It would be nice if she and obama could run on the same ticket. A good democrate gesture! How awsome would that be for the first woman and first black man for the top two seats in the country. We need to take a look at this, both could combine there ideas and make this a better country.

    May 11, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. Jack


    May 11, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  17. rey

    This both should team-up, that's the only way we can beat the Repulicans

    May 11, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  18. kantor

    t's just been reported that Hillary Clinton has been having an affair for the last 8 years..The clinton campaign is just now starting to put the spin on this story, but it just won't die. expect to hear about this on every news cycle by the end of the week…

    mccain 08

    May 11, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  19. Jeanne

    Obama should not use the money of contributors that are contributing to HIS campaign to pay off Clinton's debt. I'd be ticked if money I gave him for his campaign was used that way. Besides, he needs the money for the general election. Let Clinton dig herself out of her on mess.

    May 11, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  20. Kelvin

    Hillary campaign was so mismanaged, one of many mistakes. Question to Hillary regarding her large base over Obama. If that was factual, wouldn't she be in the lead? Hillary has been playing catch up since Super Tuesday and has yet to catch up and can't. Nevertheless, she will return to being a Senator, retain the majority of her wealth (which is better than 99% of us). So that leaves us to vote for our best interest not out of spite. If you agree with Senator McSame that the economy did well under Bush then vote from McSame. If you need this war to end, universal healthcare, are concerned with food costs, fuel costs, college tuition, the old GI Bill. Then please don't cast a vote against yourself. Hillary will be fine she is a big girl (rich) and if you are in the military McSame is basically telling you to find your own heiress, he got his...

    Obama 08'

    May 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  21. dgordon

    The campaign to elect Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States is, and has always been, a movement by like minded individuals to move toward a better future for all of us. We've done what we could to not make this a negative campaign against other competitors in the contest. We have had to fight constantly against the lies and spin put forward by the main stream media. Thanks to the internet we have been able to get the truth out. So for those of you who are still relying on TV for your political education, please consider other sources. "Yes We Can" is not just a catch phrase. We are saying that it can be better. We, the people, can build a more perfect union and a more perfect world.

    May 11, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  22. dwayne

    Oh come on now! She wants that power so bad she can taste it. She will at least go after VP. She's not going to put her tail between her legs and go back to the Senate. Are you kidding. Dude her attitude speaks for itself. She is not going out like hang on people, it's going to be a rough landing.

    May 11, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  23. An Independent Voter

    Her campaign is a joke. How many contest has she won? If you say that she has won all the big states, who has the most votes? The delegate lead? Who is the most electable, I think tha goes to the person in the lead, how else can you measure it?

    The remaining contest are scheduled and will be held. That does not mean that she has to actively campaign in those states and keep spreading her vile (remember Fl and MI). She could sit at home and save some money or maybe go back to work as a Senator where she is still collecting a paycheck.

    The reace is over more people wanted the other guy. It happens in every election... get over it and Move On.

    May 11, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  24. Park More, New Orleans

    If she is not the nominee, I am sure she will win November election as independent

    May 11, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  25. Canada for Hillary

    Hillary may not be able to catch up to Obama with the state delegate's left, but I hope the superdelegates start seeing the truth: Obama cannot beat McCain.

    I think if it was a Obama-Hillary ticket it may work, and they maybe able to beat McCain.

    With the upcoming WV primary, she should win by a landslide. And I hate how Obama supporters keep saying it is because of racism and because whites wont vote for African Americans. Has any one thought that 80-90% of African Americans vote for Obama, isn't that racist too?

    May 11, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
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