May 23rd, 2008
04:10 PM ET
6 years ago

Sources: Clinton, Obama supporters discussing exit strategies

(CNN) - Several close friends and supporters of Hillary Clinton tell CNN they are pushing for a "graceful exit strategy" that would allow the Clinton and Obama camps to come together, and for the New York senator to save face should she fail to become the Democratic nominee for president.

The discussions are not taking place between the campaigns, but rather among informal campaign advisers on both sides who are trying to actively influence and shape the debate as the competition nears a close June 3.

Bill Burton, national spokesman for front-runner Barack Obama's campaign, said "there are no talks underway between the campaigns," and that any suggestion from Clinton insiders is "unequivocally untrue."

"We are two campaigns, in real competition, not having any such talks about exit strategies," Burton said.

Obama campaign chief strategist David Axelrod said "there have been zero discussions, back channel or otherwise between the campaigns."

Clinton campaign aides also deny that any talks are taking place between the campaigns, emphasizing that the contest is not yet over. Clinton herself said the report was "flatly untrue" during a meeting with the editorial board of a South Dakota paper Friday.

But some Clinton camp insiders and close friends are actively floating three scenarios which they believe will influence whether or how the two teams merge.

Full story

soundoff (1,165 Responses)
  1. CO for Obama

    I think the lovely Hilary is beyond the point where her exit can be graceful. She has tried every dirty trick in the book, tried to change the rules of the game and who kinows what else behind closed doors – all to no avail. I see now what was meant when the polls showed she had an image of being calculating. Sen. Obama: PLEASE DO NOT RUN YOUR GENERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN WITH THIS WOMAN AS YOUR VEEP! You have put up with entirely too much from her – much more than you'd have to in dealing with the rest of the ruthless dictators of the world!

    Barack Obama for President 08/12

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. teesha

    No way she should be VP... she is the graetest divider of her own party.. Please don't take her with you..

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. Political Junkie

    I do not hink that Obama should pull out until all the primaries are finished. :) By the way, I have no problem with both the candidates going to the convention as did Humphrey and McGovern, Kennedy and Carter, Ford and Reagan...The fact that they went to the convention had nothing to do with Ford ,Kennedy, McGovern losing...there was much more going on in the country then and the convention was a footnote...or is there some double standard at work here. Both should be nominated and go through the roll call of states. This will not hurt the party in the fall.

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Mb

    I fully understand that her supporters would like to have her on the ticket but I don't think that's a viable option simply because the nominee, whoever that may be, has the right to choose who they would want and because it would be to complicated, if she even wanted the vp slot, because no one knows what to do with Bill.

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Terrence (Winston Salem, NC)

    No Nightmare ticket, please....

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. Anna, SW Missouri

    Gees, CNN, I could be a source for this kind of information! Both camps say these talks are not happening. End of story!

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. Manuel

    It doesn't seem that Hillary is going to get the nod for Prez, and I wouldn't want her to apply for VP....
    In my opinion Obama is not Presidential material just yet, and certainly not cognizant of real foreign policy, nor protocol.
    He may have sold himself on domestic issues, but Hillary and he are about the same in that respect. He hasn't convinced me he is prudent nor capable of foreign policy debate. And that concerns me quite a lot because let's face it, we are headed for terrible stormy waters in international matters of policy.
    In view of this, I would ask Hillary to support John McCain for the security of our country.
    That isn't all together a bad idea, because if you have a majority in the House and Senate, and a Republican president, you have check and balance government...A presidents veto can always be overturned if not agreed on by the government (people).
    I as a Democrat who is not afraid to vote for security reasons regarding our Country, would welcome Hillary's support of John McCain.......And for the safety and well being of our nation I hope she does......

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Ding, Washington, DC

    So, what's the point of this being under the ticker? just curious!.

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. DannyCali

    It not going to work they already divided so just divided forever do not come together, even those Obama wife didn't like Hillary at all so why they have to talk? Hillary just run for other party is better for her to win in general election I think 100% she going to win.

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  10. Obama Supporter

    I hope and pray Hillary doesn't join the ticket. Obama called for a new form of politics, a process that involves a decoupling from both Clintons and their legacy. A political marriage of convenience would be a huge disappointment to many of us who no longer want the Clintons doing anything more than visiting the White House. The Clintons cannot be trusted to let Obama be leader and Barack Obama would have to be constantly alert about whom he could trust. It wouldn't be Bill Clinton for one. Ditto Madelyn Albright , Pat Schroeder and Howard Wolfson, among numerous other Clinton insiders. A much more palatable choice for V.P. would be Sen. Jim Webb or Gov. Bill Richardson, two men without baggage and hostile histories with Obama.

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. Joseph IRAQ WAR VET

    OBAMA OBAMA OBAMA YES WE CAN
    FIRED UP AND READY TO GO!

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. Mauri

    It is my opinion that Senator Hillary Clinton has no need to find a way to "gracefully exit" her campaign should it come to that. She has absolutely NOTHING to be apologetic about, nor should she look to her opponent to "help her save face." What both campaigns and the Democratic Party should look to is a way to get rid of the grossly unfair and out of date caucus system of primary voting. Also, get rid of those superdelegates. The super delegate system was begun for the sole purpose of either breaking a tie or to lean toward voting for the candidate who is more electable. If the party would cancel these two methods of electing a candidate, it makes more sense to adopt the Republican Party methodology of winner take all delegates. I hope all those concerned will consider the above changes. Also, endorsements by superdelegates during the ongoing primary process is politics at its worst, giving the media a chance to bash or praise their candidate of choice. If the word "democratic" means anything, then it should be applied to the rules of electing primary candidates for a representative to compete for the presidency.

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. Debby

    Honestly she doesn't need to save face. Its that slimy Dean, Pelosi, Reid that needs to because of their pushing of the stupids to make up their minds. They are willing not to let over 2 million votes count because of some stupid rule that was broken by other states at the time. Dems. like the ones mentioned above is what makes us the laughing stock of not only the US but around the world. The so called party of civil rights, uniting the country etc. etc. are the ones that are so divided its pathetic. Hillary Clinton ran an extrodinary race and I respect her for that.

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. Margaret

    Sen. Obama has always been respectful of Sen. Clinton, but that respect has not always been returned, in my opinion. I fear these "insiders" are trying to stack the deck so that Obama feels compelled to offer her the VP slot. My recommendation would be to offer her the position of "health care czar" in his administration.

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  15. W in DC

    Like rats fleeing the sinking ship but don't worry Billary, I'm sure there is some way that you'll walk away from this millions of dollars richer. Maybe another book "deal" let's see........."While campaigning in NY I came under heavy sniper fire and had to You Know..............." or maybe the tax payers will bail out your campaign debt while you "pocket" a few million in interest on the loan to yourself. Too bad Bill's not in office, he could sell a few more presidential pardons for a few votes here and there.

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  16. vincent contorno

    this is all starting to feel very sleazy and manipulative. mrs. clinton is reinforcing all of the reasons she is losing support. it is time for a change.

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. Joe Regis

    Unless somebody is soundly asleep
    this is now the proper discussion to move forward

    Obama/Bloomberg

    Obama/Jim Webb

    Obama/Hagel 08&12

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. D.

    Please explain to me why Obama, if he is the nominee, would be required to follow anyone's scenario but his own?

    Why do the Clintons believe they are entitled to this special treatment? They are mere humans like the rest of us . . . not God!

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  19. Patrick, Lake Stevens, WA

    I recommend they arm wrestle – winner take all. Please, this is ridiculous. Howard Dean is the Chairman of the Democratic Party and he needs to establish control by meeting with the superdelegates prior to June 3rd and allow no one to leave until they appoint a nominee!

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. Tom in California

    Great to hear about discussions about exit strategies.

    Let her for Senator Majority Leader.

    May 23, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  21. paula

    Obama and Clinton should sit down and he should offer her the first Supreme Court opening in exchange for her support.

    May 23, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    "Whomever the nominee is has the right to pick their own running mate." That's a Bill Clinton quote.

    So, I'll go with that and say Obama has the right to pick whomever he wants. He does have to be careful though in terms of how he goes about the process. But, if Clinton being on the ticket ensures those women voters, he probably does well. The flip side is all those conservatives who aren't planning to vote for McCain may now show up to defeat her.

    For the record, if he take Strickland out of Ohio or Webb out of Virginia, (presuming he's gracefully handled the women's issue with Clinton) he's pretty much a cinch to be elected in November.

    May 23, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. james

    If they can put the party first and unite on the Demo ticket, they would be hard to beat, however, it seems to have become "personal" over what`s good for the party.

    May 23, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. Tired of W, OH

    Wow. I can't find one bit of actual news in this "story."

    May 23, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  25. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    THE GRACEFUL EXIT MIGHT BE HARDER THAN THE CLINTONS

    IMAGINE. THEY CONDUCTED A DISGUSTING, DISGRACEFUL

    VILE & REVOLTING CAMPAIGN. THEY ARE UNDER THE ILLUSION

    THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR

    BEHAVIOR. A SIGNIFICANT PORTION OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

    WILL NOT WANT TO HEAR FROM THEM AGAIN. BLIND, IGNORANT

    LOYALTY IS A THING OF THE PAST FOR US.

    May 23, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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