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. John, NC

    I am so sick of you Hillary supporters blaming everyone but their candidate for losing. If all of you so called "hard-core" Hillary supporters were out there knocking on doors, traveling state-to-state, donating money and helping fundraise, maybe she wouldn't be this far behind and broke. All of you, especially people like Sharon from Minnesota, get on here and probably a bunch of other blogs and bash and complain about Hillary's situation everyday. If you all spent as much time helping her cause that you do blogging and spewing your hate and complaints perhaps those "hard-working white Americans" that her campaign owes money to would be paid by now. Most of you probably have done nothing to help her cause and so you, like her, have no one to blame but yourselves. This is not a conspiracy, Hillary lost fair and square.........It appears that her supporters are winning in the state of denial as well.

    Democrats 08'

    May 11, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. AF

    Obama should not pay off her debt or ask her to be his running mate. She will be a drag on the ticket. We need to turn the page. He should be looking at Senator Webb of VA.

    May 11, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. not any more

    I once dreamed of the dream ticket...

    But I am now so disgusted and turned off by Obama and his filthy, lowdown, arrogant, demeaning and hateful campaign that I could not vote the party ticket even with Hill on it.

    I will take my chances on writing Hillary Clinton in.

    She is so obviously the best choice.

    May 11, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Matt

    Her $20 million in debt poses a real problem for her when it comes to the issue of financial judgment. We've seen over the last seven years a president take a budget surplus and the potential to pay off debt into record budget deficits and the most debt this country has ever had. I want a candidate that understands the virtue of NOT SPENDING MORE THAN YOU'VE GOT (something everybody in the housing market could benefit from as well). What's she going to do if a tax bill doesn't go through? Spend the money anyways? We've got that already, I don't want it again.

    May 11, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. Lee

    Obama doesn't have the track record to win in November!

    Hillary is the candidate with the winning track record and enough supporters across all demographics to win back the White House.

    Obama is NOT QUALIFIED and can NEVER beat McCain, especially with over 25% of the Registered Democrats ready to become McCain Democrats!

    McCain will enjoy a 60 to 75% national landslide against Obama!

    May 11, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. She's the news

    Hillary is the news.

    Without her in the race, the democrats lose steam.

    The Obama bandwagon gained all the support its ever going to have.

    Clinton was the reason we were paying attention at all.

    Obama will tank now.

    May 11, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. debbie farmer

    I think that clinton is being very selfish I believe the only reason why she won in such large margin in ohio and Penn is because in ohio that was the first of the airing of rev wright the week before the primary there and in penn the same thing I believe that once she leave people will get a clearer view of who Obama is and I do do believe the party will come together but she refused to believe that she lose and she taking the hold party with her

    May 11, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  8. Central Oregon Mike

    I don't think Senator Clinton would not gain anything in having Senator Obama as her VP. She will select a running mate who will help to unite the party for the GE. against Senator McCain.

    May 11, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. Badger

    Don't make any offers either.

    May 11, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Mark, New York, NY

    Obama will need a VP with extensive foreign policy credentials, executive experience, a counter to McCain on immigration & Latino support – in other words, Bill Richardson. The white, blue-collar vote will either go with Barack or McCain, depending on their core values.

    May 11, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Peter

    Once I read that some (circa 3000 people run the world) some of these belong to DNC and his establishment.
    They decided long time ago that although HILLARY is the most qualified candidate this never will happening.
    Obama and his supporters want to run the time and get the nomination with 48 States or even less and they are the fist to know who the Best is.
    HILLARY 08

    May 11, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. bp

    Please end the madness! Sit down in a room together and put all the cards on the table! How do we move forward in the best possible way?

    What is the benefit for the Democratic Party to have Clinton beat Obama handily in West Virginia other than to further polarize the current electorate? If she loves the party as much as everyone says she does, why aren't we coming together to try to win in the fall?

    It doesn't make sense and although I support Obama, I think that Clinton has a long future in helping move the party forward. If only she would re-focus her energy on what is best for the party.

    May 11, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Cathy

    Again, Obama shows his true integrity. Obama could have taken advantage of the suggestion from the press that Clinton wants him to cut down her debt but he didn't. Obama is the type of person we need to lead our country.

    Supporting The Democrats All The Way To The Oval Office.

    May 11, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. Linda

    Hillary doesn't need the "leftovers" She'll do more good in the Senate.
    That is, IF she loses, it ain't over till its over..June 3.
    Hillary is the BEST! Linda KY

    May 11, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. lia, co

    She'd better take the offer to pay her bills right now. It is amazing how she says she can manage a country, yet she cannot manage her spending...

    May 11, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. Her Half

    Hillary's half- well more if you get to count the disenfranchised voters and those who were not able to vote at caucus- will now lose interest in this race.

    We already know what we will do in Nov- we will write Hillary Clinton in.

    Obama isn't inspiring anyone with an objective and discerning half a brain. McCain will not inspire most of the Hillary supporters either.

    We need to unite behind Hillary Clinton.

    May 11, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. victor

    of course she's not. she's looking to destroy the party.

    May 11, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. Tejano

    Not ready yet to cut a deal with the devil. However it will be done in Denver behind closed doors. So much for a Democratic election within the Democratic party. The politicos will cut a deal to soothe
    the Hillary supporters and bring the sheep into the fold.

    Same old poltics with a different name. Agenda remains the same.
    Turn a Christian Nation into a Secular one.

    Happy Mothers Day. God Bless you Hillary for trying to save our country from destroying itself from within.

    May 11, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Mary

    we think sen. clinton needs to just go away.

    May 11, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Mike

    The Clinton camp appears to be delusional or in denial with respect to her becoming the nominee. Such a sad spectacle to watch, the clinging desperation for something that is now out of reach.

    May 11, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. steve

    I wouldn't want her as his VP; she'll have him killed – like she had Vince Foster and Mike Brown... then again, that may be why she would WANT the Vice Presidency.

    May 11, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. state_of_denial

    and the moon is purple...

    May 11, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Charlotte

    I will write in Hillary Clinton in November. I urge all her supporters to do the same. We are capable of winning the presidency in November. We can do it, yes we can. FDR won as a write in and he did not have the internet to help out. Blog it big time... we can do it. The Obama-bots want to call us names, lets show them how much they managed to lose for their guy. They are vile and disgusting and think they are better then all us who support Hillary. They call us low lifes, stupid, hillbillies and everything else they can think of. I say, lets show them a thing or two. Hillary all the way...

    May 11, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. T. Barrett

    If Michelle Obama has made those comments it will definetly come back to haunt them if he is the nominee. As a supporter of Clinton without her on the ticket we will either not vote in November or vote for McCain. Michelle Obama has made many gaffes in this race and is not "First Lady" material unless she corrects her statements. As a white male I have taken offense to remarks that Mrs. Clinton has been "racist" in her citing the AP poll regarding white voters when Obamas camp and CNN commentators speak of the "black vote" at each and every turn. Having worked on Tom Bradleys campaign in the late 80's and a Californian I have first hand recollection of the Bradley effect and without Mrs. Clinton on the ticket the Bradley effect will come into play in November.

    May 11, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. William Bouzeneris

    This is really Like Kennedy and how he made Johnson his running mate. Kennedy was a much more liberal person than Johnson was, and he would have never gotten the US into Vietnam. If Johnson was president during the bay of pig's then there would have been a cuban war and the cold war wouldnt be cold anymore. Obama is much more likely to get another liberal democrat like Edwards or Dodd.

    May 11, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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