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. Anonymous Super Delegate

    Has anyone considered the fact that for the last 2 DECADES, this country has been run by 2 families?

    May 11, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. JAZZ

    She's still in it because we the people who support her want her to be in it. Women have the right to vote and the right to be in the presidential race. It was dumb of the DNC to schedule races in May and June if they wanted it to end in April. First they exclude FL and MI, now they want to exclude more states. Talk about "stealing" the election.
    As the sayings go: winners never quit, politics change overnight, it ain't
    over till it's over etc.etc,etc.... Hillary is TOO LEGIT to QUIT! Cross the finish line Hill!
    Real Journalist report on the Actual DNC Rules and let the people decide. Think about it.

    May 11, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  3. Waiting in Texas

    I hope he doesn't pay off her debt. I want to donate more to his campaign but I really am afraid to do so if even a penny went to her. She could not manage her campaign going in with a huge lead in money and name recognition. She is still spending at blinding speed and running up more debt. Thank God it looks like she will not be the one in charge of this nation's economy.

    Obama has run a campaign of 2 or 3 (if you count Chelsea) against one. Michele has campaigned for Barack but her time was split with caring for their two daughters. Need I say her time on the trail against an Ex-President who was THE democrat of this past decade...well there is no comparison. It was good to see Obama with his family in NC. It energized him. You can tell when he is missing them.

    May 11, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. Pat in NC

    Hillary does not seem to be able to do math. Even if she wins all (100%) of the remaining pledged delegates she can not over take Obama. When the "popular vote" is tabulated she needs to include the caucus states. Counting Florida, only her votes in Michigan and leaving out the all the caucus states and she is still not ahead. She is starting to look silly.

    May 11, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  5. god bless america

    Watching the race of the '08 Democratic presidential nomination is like watching the "American Idol". Most qualified does not necessary win the title. The problem is the age of the voters.

    May 11, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. Norman

    That's too bad. I would've loved to see the Clintons grovel at the feet of the politician whom they tried fervently to destroy. It would've been as funny as her trying, (and in certain scenarios, suceeding,) in convincing her blindest followers that she still has a shot at the nomination. Perhaps even as funny when Hillary returns to the Senate only to find her credibility, as well as her family's legacy, in tatters. The harder they come, the harder they fall.

    May 11, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. too much hate

    The Obama supporters have disgusted many voters with their hate, vulgarity, nastiness, insults, false accusations of racism, dergatory comments about low imcome voters...etc...etc...

    We could NEVER vote for the candidate that can inspire such negativity and can stir up such a frenzy of hate.

    Clinton it is.

    May 11, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  8. NEVER obama

    Obama is the most dangerous person that has ever run for President in this country. It's so sad the American people are so gullible. Young people vote for him because "he's cool." But they give no thought to the fact that their parents will have to pay for their mistakes through higher (much higher) taxes. This man is not cool. This man steals words and phrases from other people AND movies......this is your time.Negros would vote for a walnut if it was black enough, so you really can't blame them. Rich people don't need a president so they don't care who is elected. It's the rest of you I don't understand. This man is an actor and a liar. His agenda is already in place. Why are you so gullible?

    May 11, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. Nelson Masha

    OK. But lets face it, why insisting to be compaining if she know already that the chance to win are [none]0. What does she wants, if right now by doing what she is doing diminishes her respect, chances for the party to win in November against McCain?. Why still destroying the party if she knows she can win by any Maths formula?

    Hillary needs to face reality, and wave good bye now?

    May 11, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Clinton's campaign is $20 million in debt is no miscalculation. Hillary's campaign manager, Wolfson, said her Indiana "win" would bring the money she needed to run her campaign, didn't happen. They aren't saying the same thing about W. Virginia and Kentucky. If one doesn't understand the "math" then certainly you must ask yourself why Hillary isn't getting funded. Hillary is a great First Lady and I respect her for that but some things strangely appear "out of character" for Hillary.

    May 11, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. Paul

    Your people can't be serious. Hillary does still believe that she is going to be the nominee no matter what it takes, including destroying the party. Obama would be a fool to select her as his running mate or to retire her debt. She is doing everything she can to undermine him. If he picks Hillary over the many other qualified VP candidates McCain will surely win in November

    May 11, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. John Madon

    Hillary needs to run as an Independent. She's being pushed around by Obama and the super delegates and this is the way to put an end to their bullying. It will put panic in their hearts.

    May 11, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. Closely Watching

    Sorry Hillkubee and Howard the Wolf, but methinks ye both need a good long drink sip of the so-called Obama Kool-Aid...perhaps then the reality of the writing on the wall will finally sink in.

    Obama '08~REAL change we can believe in.

    May 11, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. Nelson Masha

    OK. But lets face it, why insisting to be compaining if she know already that the chance to win are [none]0. What does she wants, if right now by doing what she is doing diminishes her respect, chances for the party to win in November against McCain?. Why still destroying the party if she knows she cannot win by any Maths formula?

    Hillary needs to face reality, and wave good bye now!.

    May 11, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. another insult

    Stop trying to buy Clinton's voters by offering to pay off her debt.

    Clinton is in debt because, unlike popular mythology, she does NOT represent big business and big doners.

    All the gansta criminal elements and big business lobbyists – and their spouses, friends and employers, are in the OBAMA camp- I mean pocket.

    May 11, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. Tom

    Nor should she have any interest and in fact I would hope that she would give the very minimum of support she needs to so that she can stay as far away as possible from the self absorbed trainwreck that is the Obama campaign and by their support, the democrats that support it. He will not be president and only she and her 15 million supporters know it. Ok, and a couple dozen million republicans and more independents and........

    May 11, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Susan Missouri

    Hillary Clinton will end up winning the nomination.

    May 11, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. Yes We Can!

    OBAMA '08, '12!

    May 11, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. Viva Obama 08

    You dot not sound very knowledgeable and you weren't a true Democrat. You were just a candidate follower that was using the Democratic party. You must vote for the party nominee to get the house back. Bush is not deserve a third term to destroy this economy far more than he already did. Bush and McCain have enough money to live the rest of their lives and if they want they can retire now for live. You are the one that need a better economy. You are the one that live pay check to pay and it would be big shame all over your face to give McCain a third Change to spend a few more trillion on a war that at first was unnecessary.
    Florida and Michigan must not be seated in the convention in Denver, they disqualify themself. Rules are rule and the democratic party must keep it decision or they will have no control over any primary states in the future.
    America gives me a very good reason why you will not vote for Barack? You probably do not have one other than racial. America it is the 21st century and it is time to give a man respect they deserve by the contain of their characters not the color of their skin. Barack is very capable to make us American a very good president. Please stop all the division a let us unify as one nation not as clans of race.
    Obama 08!

    May 11, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Rick Terven

    Senator Obama who I feel as do many others will be our Democratic nominee and has the right to choose whom he wants as a running mate.

    I also feel the two will work together to defeat the republican niminee.

    May 11, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. Obama lies

    Obama Lies... we have all seen it first hand.

    PAC money, lobbyists, Big oil- THOSE were his doners.

    Do you think that the black equivilent of blue- collar workers- low income, uneducated, rural African Americans funded his campaign?


    May 11, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Beckie Sue in West Virginia

    You know, it's like the saying goes…

    OBAMA '08 & '12

    May 11, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. R

    Clinton is fighting for the president slot.

    Go Clinton!

    May 11, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. Iamwomanhearmeroar

    I accept that Obama is the presumptive Democratic candidate. However, I believe Hillary should continue campaigning until every person has had an opportunity to vote. I think the super-delegates need to keep their mouths shut until after EVERY primary has taken place. I think the media needs to go back and take Journalism 101 at the nearest junior college. I think the DNC needs to throw away the rule book and start over. I don’t expect Obama to offer the VP position to Hillary, but if he does, I hope she declines. I don’t want to give ANY Obama supporter the opportunity to say Obama lost because of something Clinton did or did not do. I want him to lose outright—fair and square—by the votes of ordinary Americans. Only then, will the media and Obama’s supporters have to acknowledge that Obama didn’t lose because of race or gender, but because ordinary Americans recognized that pretty speeches and polls can’t hide distrust and inexperience. This campaign was all about timing and stupidity, and those who voted for Obama will find out the significance of both in November. The general election will be about the popular vote of ordinary Americans. I, like many Clinton supporters, plan to write in Clinton’s name on the ballot, or vote for McCain.

    May 11, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. Mary

    Her campain is $20 million in debt. How would I trust her with the economy?
    How would I trust her with Iraq war? She is losing her campain and she is still full speed lying to voters. There is no difference btw her campain and Bush's mission accomplished.

    May 11, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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