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. nick

    Hillary is the dems only chance against us republicans, but oh well, if ya'll pick Obama then all i can say is bring it on! We Are Ready, and We will Win!

    When you disenfranchise Florida and Michigan you might as well just prepare on not even trying to run in the general. The dems are really tied up now! COUNT THERE VOTES!

    May 23, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Double Edge

    Hillary and her supporters will work hard for the democrats, especially if the Clinton's see Chelsea having a future within the party!

    Obama has won the right to select whoever he believes envisions what he stands for, and he is a history buff, so another Kennedy Johnson resentment he will avoid.

    the political cartoon that represented the "dream ticket" put it best:
    Hillary sown in the middle of Barack & Bill... To much problems and distractions!

    Obama/ Sebelius '08

    May 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  3. To-Hillary-supporters

    If you want to go and vote for Mccain, go for it!!
    You will realize what you did is wrong when you lose an other thousands of young people in a sensless war! that will be to late!

    May 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Heidi

    GIVE ME A $%$%$% BREAK.

    Plant a seed (a rumor) and watch it grow.

    Sen. Clinton lost. Plan and simple. Sen. Obama won and has moved on...she and her $2.9 advisors over at Penn's firm need to discuss her exit plan since she paid them so much last month.

    The Obama campaign and his supporters are not concern about the party being destroyed if FL & MI delegates are not seated. They would have a bigger problem if they ignore the fact that these states broke the rule. Now they will be used as an example should future states want to go all "Willie Nillie" and do what they want.

    Go Bye Sen. Clinton. Hurry back to your day job b/c the unemployment rate is rising daily and someone make take your Senate seat.

    May 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. obamacrat

    The only problem is that she does not plan to "gracefully exit" anytime soon. She's taking this thing to the convention. Just watch.

    May 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Sandy

    Sounds like blackmail to me, no matter how you cut it. Why is everyone so worried about Hillary saving face. Had she bowed out gracefully as other democratic candidates have done, we would not have all this hand holding to consider. Yes, I know, the Clintons can be vicious when they don't get their way. I will be highly disappointed in Barack if he caves in. His entire presidency will be overshadowed by the Former President and Former 1st Lady. They would back stab and undermine him at every opportunity. Bill has already shown us his true color and believe me, he is not an " Honorary First Black President". He has acted like a true Arkansas REDNECK". I can't tell you how deeply he has hurt the many people of color who stood with him through thick and thin. The Clintons will do anything to win. I mean anything. Hillary may be a democrat, but she still has that republican mentality.

    May 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. NObama

    Does anyone remember the voters in Florida or Michigan?

    Obama will need these votes in the fall, and as far as I can tell, he does not want their primary votes to be counted.. so what makes anyone think they will support him in the General Election?

    If those votes benefited him, his camp would be all for reconciliation.

    Yet another example proving that if you pad the pockets of the right people, you can BUY THE PRESIDENCY!

    Obama has given more $ to SUPERDELEGATES than ANY OTHER CANDIDATE?

    Is anyone listening or reading anything besides CNN out there?

    HILLARY can STILL DO IT!

    May 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Obama all the way..

    Yes, eixt gracefully. I'll take door #1.

    May 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. jake

    I hope they are also looking at the popular vote. If you add them up, even including the TX Caucus which had only 41% totaled and MI with Obama taking all the other count & FL with what they won, they are ONLY 9 votes separating them. WHY WOULD YOU STEAL THE NOMINATION FROM EITHER ONE??????? OBAMA'S PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SAYING DON'T STEAL THE ELECTION, THE SUPERDELGATES SHOULD VOTE THE WAY OF THE PEOPLE. OK, VOTE THE WAY OF THE PEOPLE AND WHO WOULD BE BEST TO WIN IN NOVEMBER. By the way, it was Clinton who was ahead by 9 votes so far.

    May 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. Tx4HILLARY

    Does anyone remember the voters in Florida or Michigan?

    Obama will need these votes in the fall, and as far as I can tell, he does not want their primary votes to be counted.. so what makes anyone think they will support him in the General Election?

    If those votes benefited him, his camp would be all for reconciliation.

    Yet another example proving that if you pad the pockets of the right people, you can BUY THE PRESIDENCY!

    Obama has given more $ to SUPERDELEGATES than ANY OTHER CANDIDATE?

    Is anyone listening or reading anything besides CNN out there?

    HILLARY can STILL DO IT!

    May 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. MIKE

    Scenarios two and three are unacceptable to me personally and would cause me to think about voting for McCain – who I totally despise.
    1. Obama says he is all about change. If, under scenario #2 he offers her the VP spot – it shows he is not all about change. It shows either he is willing to make "side deals" ( business as usual) or that he is willing to take part in normal political rhetoric. His campaign and message has not been that.
    2.Billary has lost the race for the nomination. The only way she can win is if the Democratic Big Wigs are willing to go back on their own rules and regulations and bow to the rule breakers – not following the will of those millions of voters in states who followed the rules. If Obama is willing to pay her debts then he is not who he claims to be.
    3. He is the winner and he should choose as VP whomever he thinks will do the best job for the USA.

    May 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  12. The Don

    I trully think that Bill and Hillary are so bitter that they will destroy Obama and the Democtratic Party so they can run on an independent ticket. If they loose, they will start their own party. I wonder what they will call it.

    The party will have only two rules –
    1) Whatever the Clintons decide is the rule
    2) The Cinton deserve the right to change the rules at any time to benefit themselves.

    May 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  13. clbrune

    It's a tough choice. I still think the best ticket would be Clinton/Obama. That would give him experience, and make him the logical successor.

    *THAT* would be great for the democratic party, and shut out the corrupt, incompetent Republican failure for a generation.

    Still, Clinton as Majority leader would also be good. Especially if Obama tuns out to be inept (he has a history of not taking real stands when it counts).

    May 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  14. Venus

    As Bill Clinton stated – Hillary has earned the #2 spot???

    Obama – don't give her NOTHING! Hillary destroyed her chances and now they want to try the thug-tatics –

    If some of her supporters won't back you – you will have millions of others that will!

    As your campaign has proven -----– you don't need any thing from the dirty Clintons – since they don't know how to act!

    Go Bam and don't back down!

    May 23, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. Sam

    It seems lately I've heard comments like this one from several people –
    "While I continue to greatly respect and admire Senator Clinton and feel she has made history with her campaign, I believe that Senator Obama will inevitably be our party's nominee for president," Cardoza said in a statement released by the Obama campaign. "

    What exactly does this mean? Do Cardoza and others who have made statements like this really want Hilary, but because it looks like Obama will win, they're switching their vote to him? IF they think Hilary is the best choice, why not endorse her? In the long run, isn't that what is good for the Democratic party?...to endorse the candidate you truly think will do the best job for our country?

    May 23, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  16. enomisa

    If Clinton exits, so do millions of her supporters.

    We know Obama cheated his way into this meager lead.

    We know he does not even know HIS OWN stance on the issues that matter.

    We know he is not qualified to lead.

    We know his liberal left wing appeal is limited to a very VOCAL but small devout following.

    May 23, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  17. 2020 windsor ontario

    obama should not have her as his vp, he should not be pressured, as we all know despite what her supporters say now they will vote for obama come general election time, the clintons are evil people
    obama 08

    May 23, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Ralph

    Just exit gracefully, support the legitimate nominee, and stop finding ways to blackmail your way to power you didn't earn.

    May 23, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. Chris from Michigan

    So basically both campaigns deny it yet its reported as happening. Seems like a bunch of BS if you ask me, especially if they think she can get on the ticket.

    May 23, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. vic nashville,Tn

    CNN don’t try to push her out from the race like MSNBC
    Shame on you CNN
    The race will over at the convention
    I am ready to bet money on that
    Please listen to her latest speech she is not quitting soon
    Hillary 08 or Mc Cain 08

    May 23, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. Terrence (Winston Salem, NC)

    1.Obama should NOT pay off her debts. These are the debts used to pay for silly attack ads that weren't productive. Her debts.

    2. No Offer for VP. Maybe a cabinet position... and that's a big maybe. (you gotta consider the Bill Clinton factor)

    3. No joint ticket. Oil. Water. Nuff said.

    4. Show her respect. She has earned it. Hopefully she can get back to being a Democrat. I miss the old Clintons. I'm gonna hold out hope that they are still in there somewhere.

    But the in the end, Obama should get to pick his own VP.
    OBAMA 08

    May 23, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  22. Too little too late

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Too little, too late.

    The attacks on Hillary and her supporters by the Obamabots have already damaged the party beyond repair.

    McCain isn't so bad – I have a lot more respect for him since he appeared on Ellen. It took a great deal of courage for him to stand up for what he believes in (even though I disagree with him on gay marriage) where Obama will throw you under the bus for his political gain.

    Why is it that Hillary is damaging the party? She was a shoo-in for the Presidency and this guy comes along and woo's half of the party on his message of hope without actually addressing any issues. To me, it seems he is the one that has irreversibly damaged the party.

    May 23, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. NJ Dem

    It is too late for a joint ticket. The Dems threatening to vote against Obama are NOT Repubs but long term Dems who REFUSE under any circumstances to buy Obamas lies.. noquarterusa.net and writehillaryin.com are examples of sites where this movement is growing. We do not like McCain but we are willing to put him in the White House to stop Obama. We are Dems that will NEVER support Obama and the we are making sure the DNC knows this………

    May 23, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  24. Richard Marks

    The VP is only a heartbeat away from being President, and given the track record (or lack thereof) of people in the Clintons' past (Vince Foster, and MANY others) who have died . . . Barack would have to be suicidal to offer Billary the VP job.

    May 23, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  25. Rick L

    Question one; why would Obama seriously consider Clinton as a VP with all of the negative things she said about him during the campaign thus far? Anyone with half a brain can see that her running as VP would be an early Christmas gift for McBush and the republicans. As far as I can tell right now anyway, she is dead set on wiggling her way through the process to the nomination anyway she can. It all reminds of her husband's old nickname beginning with the word "slick",

    May 23, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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