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. mitchell from arkansaw

    what makes wolfson and clinton supporters think that obama can't win the big states,against mccain?obama and clinton both,won more popular votes,than any republican candidate, in every state.i'm certain the states won by clinton,can still be won in the fall ,by obama.if clinton and her supporters,would just unite with obama and the party,i'm sure we could win this ,in the fall.people should not blame obama, for hillary's loss ,of the nomination.her campaign did not do her any favors,and her strategy and tactics are outdated.this is not obama's's hillary's.and now, the entire party and the nation must suffer ,just because hillary and her hard-core supporters,think there's some miracle chance in hell,for her to be president.she lost because of her high negative ratings,not because of obama's low-negative ratings.if hillary feels she should be president,she should have run a cleaner campaign.

    May 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |






    May 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Jane FL

    Howard are you just playing or are you fooling yourself. Do yourself and favour and tell Haillry to drop out of the race because you may not be paid by end of this month.She may not even pay her bills. Did Bill and Hillary Clinton hear what John Edwards said. If they do then Haillary should drop out now!!
    Shame on you Bill and Hillary.

    May 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |



    GO HILLARY!!!!!!

    May 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. Action Focus

    Barbara Reynolds, a Clinton supporter, invited Rev. Wright to speak at the press club because she thought it would help Clinton!!!

    Now Clinton's at it again with "race baiting," Please work to get her divisive rhetoric off the front page – thank you

    Concerned Citizens of the Democratic Party

    May 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. Tim, AL

    There are millions of people who still believe Hillary Clinton will be the nominee.

    I am among them.

    If the democrats want to win in November, they will choose her. If they want to lose and make us suffer under 4 more years of repubican tyranny, then they will run Obama.

    May 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  7. Mike in Minneapolis

    The VP position would not work for either. Both are working for the top spot, and that is ingrained in the desire to run the country. Either one would not be a beneficial position for the other. There would be a power struggle.

    May 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  8. Virgie from NY

    I hope and pray that Sen. Clinton runs her campaign in a more positive way. We are democrat and we should be united. I am her supporter but I am willing to vote for Obama in the fall because we have to make sure that we'll win the White House.

    May 11, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Ophy

    this is can Howard even imagine Clinton being the democratic nominee.
    Hey, wake up from this dream!!!

    May 11, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  10. Indra in FL

    This 'dream ticket' nonsense would make Obama a hypocrite because he is running a different kind of politics – HRC is the very embodiment of the politics Obama wants to change.

    So HRC as veep? No way Obama would even consider it. When he responds with comments like "it's too presumptious to answer that right now", it is a only a politically correct and polite way of saying NO WAY!!! When will the media and some people get that?

    – disenfranchised bitter FL "voter"

    May 11, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  11. Rose

    Clinton is only trying to get out of debt...she knows that she's lost the respect she had amongst the people. Now, she's just trying to pocket some $$. There's no sincerity in her part with respect to the nation or the party. She clearly accepted the DNC's decision to not count FL and MI delegates before the primary season begun. Then, when she found herself in the hole, she insisted that the votes be counted.
    Then, in the other ad, she featured people who opposed the war, but Clinton voted for the war, regardless.
    Now, someone please tell me what people think when they watch this ad. It shows that her "experience" led her to vote for the war. Now, she's running against the war and claiming to attack Iran.
    Conspiracy after conspiracy, just for the sake of some votes.
    With all respect to her, I think the lack of integrity and conscious thinking is what Clinton is facing. And she's dug so deep in the hole that is humiliating for in both ways...whether to quit or be forced out because of the lack of delegates.

    May 11, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Mai

    Obama should wait until all primaries are held before declaring himself a winner. Superdelegates' support may change again and again and again before the convention. Senator Clinton is certainly more qualified than Senator Obama and will be the candidate rational Americans will choose.

    May 11, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  13. ELM

    As Hillary said on FOX: ‘God bless us rich people’. But $20 mil is big money even for someone who is worth $100 mil. Perhaps, she will raise some money after WV.

    I just keep wondering what this ‘October surprise’ she is talking about may be? Any hints?

    May 11, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. Hip-oh-krit!!

    The newly crowned queen of the "white, uneducated, hard-working" voters is doing what she knows best...trying to keep her name in the news, because it is all that her fragile ego can do. She is a sad, sad example of womanhood in America.

    May 11, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. jp/michigan

    Never say never. After hearing Obama had to let go of Malley, because of Hamas sympathizing, there just maybe more ghost hiding in Obamas closets. He doesn't let them out until he is caught with them.

    May 11, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. meilssa

    howard wolfson,
    you apparently have a problem working threw the steps of loss and are stuck in the state of denial . clintons campaign is dead , gone , rip....regardless if the funeral is later or now its still over!
    if she is going to stay in she should do the noble thing and focus on mccain... .. not this whole look at me im talking ,look at me , look at me. stunt!
    what is she tryng to prove with this? she can harldy say anything bush and the war she was for it and with him on it..
    she can hardly say she has made smart choices when it comes to wars and our enemy's she has just recently claimed no hypotheticals should be talked about then said she would kill every man women and child in Iran in a hypothetical question this in my thoughts would hurt the chance to talk peace with iran if she got the nod, wouldnt it?
    then her comment on not talking to enemy leaders with in the first year saying it was naive then claiming she would and it was a strength. that must be a strength she doesnt have then!!!

    May 11, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. sgriffin

    Young men and women are risking their lives to help provide democracy and free elections in other counties. Yet in the United States of America, the will of the people can be overturned by a bunch of backroom cronies who will decide this nomination while the voters of FL and MI have been disenfranchised by an illogical rule set up by the Democrats. Is this fair? To declare that Obama is the front runner when the superdelegates are casting their votes to impede any further progess by Hillary is just wrong at this stage of the game. Americans should be outraged by the way the backroom Democrats are trying so hard to get Obama elected. And Obama, I hope you are proud of yourself.

    May 11, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Richenel ( The Netherlands, EU)

    20 million in debt? That reflects the financial stadium the US is in right now. Not a very healty campaign I believe !

    May 11, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. Sue P / Emporium, PA

    The problem with the Clinton camp is they are having delusions of for retiring her one in the Obama camp asked her to stay in and spend more money, plus she can afford to retire her own debt. VP spot??..not a snow balls chance in hell.........a VP MUST compliment the president... we have seen enough of her to believe the contrary is true.
    Clinton needs to help bring this party together...but alls we have seen since NC and IN is her still dividing. This has to end soon. Most of us are really tired of her retoric and are ready to begin the "push" against McCain and the republican party.

    May 11, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. Bill

    Howard's comment reminds me of Karl Rove after the Bush-Kerry debate where Rove was the only person on Earth to claim that Bush won. Well, I guess it's your job to speak like a robot for your candidate even when it makes no sense.

    On another note, I really hope Obama doesn't take Clinton on as a VP running mate. This is not a dream ticket. She'd bring him down hard. People hate Hillary. He needs to find a strong war-vet dem who looks a little like McCain. Maybe Wes Clark?

    May 11, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. Michael Turner

    are these people for real...they are in denial big time.

    May 11, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. Barry, Maryland

    any suggestion that West Virginia is going to change what is now a foregone conclusion, is just further evidence of Clinton's wishfull thinking.

    The state she really needs to deal with is her state of denial!

    May 11, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. Jimmy

    The Americans rewarded the Clinton`s family by giving Bill Clinton 2 terms after he had spoiled Monica`s blue dress. Now it is time for Clintons to thank the Americans by start supporting the Candidate with more total delegates. We do not need 3 political parties in America-The Clinton Party-The Democrats and the Republicans. A good candidate should also learn to accept defeat.

    May 11, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. Cathy

    I am Hillary supporter and I am also a realist.

    Please tell me how Hillary can be a nominee. If you are just saying for the sake of saying and giving us false Hopes to raise money- then it is not helping people like me.

    If you have a solid strategy about it- please do let us know. I'd like to know and prepare for General Election.

    Do not mislead your supporters, Hillary.

    May 11, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. charlie gaeta

    this scares me, please don't make a deal with her that would let her in the white house.

    May 11, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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