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. Natalie

    As a staunch Obama supporter (who started out as a Hillary supporter), I can truly say that Clinton has run a very hard fought campaign, and won a great deal of votes. I was unsure before, but I think the best way to unify the party and win in Nov. is with the two of them on the ticket together. All personal differences and pettiness aside, this is the best possible ticket. People came out in droves for both candidates, and with them running together we can't lose. And what's most important is that we have a well-run government (definitely not Republican) for at least the next 8 years!

    Obama-Clinton '08

    May 23, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. Brian McBoston

    Any of these mathematician pundits want to talk about the Electoral College and how exactly Obama wins in Nov? We're about to nominate a guy very likely to lose the states Dems MUST win. This is a business decision – do we want to win or lose? Do we want McCain or a Dem in the White House? Let's not get too wrapped up in purism to be pragmaticThey party should get control of this and put up a winner, Hillary. The race is a tie to be decided by superdels. I now regret voting for Obama. He can't win Ohio, PA, FL!!!!!! Red alert!!!!! That's 70 electorals, folks. Add in MI and NJ and that's 30+ more. Obama's made his case to these voters repeatedly and with 3, 4 and even 8 times the media Hillary had. They know what he's selling and they didn't buy it. And, his "swing states of IA, WI and CO total about 27 electorals!!!! Not enough!!!!! And VA?? No, sorry not counting on that one. That's one of the most reliably Republican States. The only reason Webb won is because Allen shot himself in the foot every time he opened his mouth!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Political Junkie

    Don't guess about the runnning mates folks. The RIchardson deal has been made long ago and to Roofin Realty....I agree...each has a right to pick their own running mate but trust me, every conservative in the country will mobilize to vote against Obama watch and see so he must mobilize HIS base of support and not worry about those who will vote against him.

    May 23, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. HSNP

    I've backed so many Democratic losers (Dukakis, Mondale, Kerry) maybe I should back Obama too, so that will increase his chances of losing.

    May 23, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. Kathy

    My opinion...if the VP spot were offered Hillary, she should refuse it

    Why?... she is the stronger candidate to win in Nov–not Obama, she need not take second place to an inexperienced, ill-informed far left liberal that has no chance of winning in Nov. The DNC continues its demonstrate ill – conceived judgement when it comes to nominating a candidate for the White House-what a shame!!!. The party has become a haven for candidates who talk a good talk, but are completely out of touch with middle Americans and just common logic. A few years back, I changed my affiliation to independent for this very reason, this party no longer represents my values and those of millions–what a disgrace
    So once again with Obama as the nominee the White House will be lost again, and in my opinion-the DNC will have deserved the loss
    Get real DNC...better start your search today for someone to run against the republicans in 2012-where as usual, based on continued habit, you will most likely lose that one too.

    May 23, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. Lucky

    GO MCCAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Dana Bonenfant

    I don't think Hilary should bow out. She should remain fighting until the end. If she fails to win the nomination, I am pretty sure I will Not vote for Obama.

    May 23, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. DinaLee

    Re: Tired of W, OH saying they kand find news. Yet, they read the story and then took the time to comment. Unbelievable.

    May 23, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. abubakar mankota

    IF SHE REGECTS VP SPOT ,IT SIMPLY MEANS SHE DOES NOT HAVE AMERICA AT HEART

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

    United we stand Devided we.........we are after DP IN WHITE HOUSE

    May 23, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Chanakya

    It would be good for Clinton not to accept VP. She could be comfortable with either Chief Justice or Secretary of State or some other position in Obama's team. There are more eligible candidates like Jim Webb or Bill Richardson who will best suit for VP job. Clinton supporters should come out of delusion and support the party no matter what will be the outcome.

    May 23, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. Bri in VA

    Obama's campaign is denying talks because his campaign is not in talks with the Clinton campaign, not about exit strategies nor the offer of the VP slot.

    Clinton's campaign is denying talks because she is such a "fighter" that she will do and say whatever she can to hide behind the charade that there's still a chance for her to win this.

    **Obama 08**

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

    i was so angry hearing susan malveaux reporting on the clinton camp's exit strategy choices. so manipulative. i dont like Hill. You lost. No one is paying your debt, we don't want you for VP. now go away

    May 23, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. Ruthie

    What would happen if Obama proposed BILL Clinton for his VP slot – what Hillary do then? Divorce Bill?

    May 23, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. 58 old white ladies for OBAMA

    WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT GRACEFUL BUT HER EXIT FROM THE

    CAMPAIGN & OUR SIGHT WILL BE HER FIRST MOVE WE

    APPLAUD SINCE HER DISGUSTING CAMPAIGN. BOTH HAVE

    MORE THAN EARNED THE CONTEMPT OF ANY DECENT

    PERSON.

    May 23, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. Rich

    God Bless America If Hillary is the democratic candidate! They are going to need it!

    May 23, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. neverobama

    IT IS FUNNY NOW THE OBAMA PEOPLE WANT US TO UNITE BEHIND THEIR CANDIDATE WHEN THEY MADE IT CLEAR IF HILLARY WON THIS NOMINATION THEY WOULD NOT HAVE GIVEN HER ANY SUPPORT!

    EAT YOUR WORDS WE WILL NOT UNITE TO PUT YOUR PHONEY CANDIDATE INTO THE WHITE HOUSE.

    YOU WILL NEED MORE THAN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN VOTE TO WIN THE OVAL OFFICE.

    WE WILL JUST SIT ANT WATCH THAT OBAMA LOST OUR CHANCES TO RETAKE THE WHITE HOUSE.

    May 23, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  18. Bob, Lyons Oregon,

    Obama picked up 2 SD's today from CA, and 2 Edward deligates from NH, thats 4 today so far, 57 to go. Democrats Unite, Obama 08

    May 23, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. Hal

    I think the DNC has destroyed the chances of the Democrats to win the election of Obama or Clinton. There are way too many Moderate Democrats that are going to vote for McCain. The DNC will be responsible for the lose if it happens. I have never in my lifetime seen such a mess and I am 76 years old.

    May 23, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. Crush Rush

    Hillary should just switch parties.She has never really been a Democrat and Rush is really in love with her even though he claims he isnt.She loves outsourcing jobs,china,india and making sure walmart pays low,low wages and will never have to pay for empoyee health insurance.Shes thinks you and I should pay for walmarts health insurance.

    May 23, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. The Don

    Since when did the loser deserve the right to call the shots? Obama will win and he desrves to make his own choice on what will help him govern in the best possible way. I will not say he should not consider Hillary, but it is his choice on whether or not he thinks he can work well with her or not. I personally would rather it be Sibelius or Al Gore.

    I am tired of all the Clinton supporters thinking they are owed anything. Obama came into this and followed the rules they all agreed upon.

    May 23, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. SC Observer

    If Hillary doesn't make the top spot, Obama has to offer the VP to
    Hillary. The ball has to be in her court to accept or reject.

    If she accepts – they have my vote.
    If not - hello McCain.

    May 23, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  23. Michigan for Clinton

    If obama fails to offer Clinton VP, I will without a doubt be voting for MCCAIN.

    The Media, including CNN have done everything in there power to push Hillary Clinton out of the race.
    But I suppose it makes sense, African American Men were granted the right to vote in the late 1870s.
    Women on the other hand, had to wait until 1920.
    Sexism in this 'man's world' is still very alive.

    Hillary is without a doubt a stronger nomination than John Mccain, but will be denied the rightful position because she is a woman.

    John Mccain will receive my vote because, 1) the DNC has FAILED to recognize mine, and millions of other votes from MI and FL.
    2) Obama has failed to offer VP to Hillary.

    Yes, I am bitter, because I took time out of my day to vote on January 15th, and my vote was not counted!

    And yes, for the record>I do cling to my GUN & Religion.....

    May 23, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  24. Mike in Columbus

    If she does not get the VP spot (and I don't really want her to), she will continue to work against him throughout the GE too.

    I'm not a big fan of her, but I do think she would make an execellent Senate Majority leader. Lord knows Pelosi hasn't!

    May 23, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  25. Greg

    Webb as VP & Bill Clinton as Sec of State. Then let Hillary run for Majority.

    May 23, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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