March 11th, 2008
09:50 AM ET
15 years ago

Does Clinton benefit from so-called 'dream ticket' talk?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Could Clinton and Obama appear on the same ticket? Clinton appears to be fueling the speculation."](CNN) - It's an idea that's increasingly getting kicked around, especially by one campaign in particular.

The prospect of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama running on the same ticket has long been the subject of speculation, even before voters started weighing in at the polls earlier this year.

But following Clinton's wins in Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island last week - a trifecta of victories that essentially salvaged her presidential hopes - the New York senator and her surrogates have repeatedly raised the issue themselves; raised it so often, in fact, that Obama made sure to shoot down the idea at a campaign event in Mississippi Monday.

"I want everybody to be absolutely clear," he said. "I'm not running for vice president. I'm running for president of the United States of America."

"This kind of gamesmanship, talking about me as VP but not ready for commander-in-chief, that's exactly the kind of doublespeak, double-talk that Washington is very good at," Obama added.

Obama isn't the only one who thinks Clinton has something up her sleeve when she raises the issue. CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley says the Illinois senator's campaign clearly recognizes its rival benefits from the increased speculation of a joint ticket.

"They understand that this is a way for the Clinton campaign to play some politics here," Crowley said. "If you suggest to voters, who might have some question about Barack Obama's experience, but they like his message of hope and change, that they could have both, and that maybe he could get eight years of seasoning, that's the suggestion here."(Watch Candy Crowley's analysis of Dem dream ticket talk)

Obama's comments Monday followed a week in which the prospect of a joint ticket was pushed by Clinton or a member of her campaign on at least four different occasions. Clinton herself raised the issue twice - once with a CBS interviewer on the morning after her March 4 primary wins, and on Friday during a campaign stop in Mississippi.

"I've had people say, 'Well I wish I could vote for both of you,'" she said. "Well, that might be possible some day. But first I need your vote on Tuesday."

Former President Bill Clinton also weighed in on the possibility over the weekend, calling the possible ticket 'unstoppable.'

"I know that she has always been open to it, because she believes that if you can unite the energy and the new people that he's brought in and the people in these vast swaths of small town and rural America that she's carried overwhelmingly, if you had those two things together she thinks it'd be hard to beat," he said in Mississippi Saturday.

And Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a fervent supporter of Clinton's, said on two different occasions he thinks whoever wins the Democratic race should offer the vice presidency to the other.

Gloria Borger, a senior political analyst for CNN, called the comments a Clinton "talking point."

"They're trying to say to people, you know 'wink, wink, if you make Hillary Clinton the nominee, she'll bring Barack Obama along.' It's a talking point, which is that with Hillary you get two for the price of one—if she is at the top of the ticket."

But there's no denying the Clintons recognize the strength Obama would bring to a presidential ticket. Each has attracted a distinct segment of the Democratic electorate: He consistently does well with upscale voters, independents, and African-Americans while she has performed well among women, older voters, and members of the working class.

"Thee Clintons clearly believe that Obama on the ticket would both unify the party and be a draw, particularly to those African-American voters who have been flocking to him. There is clearly some sense it would cement a Democratic victory."

So would Clinton herself accept the No. 2 slot should Obama finish the race on top?

"I don't make any predictions," Borger said.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

UPDATE: Clinton said Monday all the V.P. speculation has taken on a life of its own:

"This thing has really been given a life of its own. A lot of Democrats like us both and have been very hopeful that they wouldn't have to make a choice, but obviously democrats have to make a choice, and I'm looking for to getting the nomination and it's preliminary to talk about whoever might be on whose ticket," she said while campaigning in Pennsylvania. "But I believe I am ready to serve on day one."

soundoff (1,377 Responses)
  1. Rick

    To everyone who says Obama is going to win because he is ahead is wrong. Neither can win at this point because there are simply not enough delegates left without Florida and Michigan. It therefore doesn't matter who is ahead, it's going to be up to the DMC and Superdelegates.

    Presidential qualifications does not = Vice-President qualifications. If you think Hillary is saying two opposing things by saying he would make a good VP but a bad President, you are wrong. VP would be great for him to gain the experience he needs to handle everything that he is currently extremely weak in (such as international relations).

    I don't think this is just about her wanting to win either. Yes of course she wants to win. After putting all the time and effort into it thus far, wouldn't you want to win too? Yes, she wants to win, but she is also trying to unite the Democratic Party. The Republicans already have a nominee, we need one asap. While I think a Clinton/Edwards ticket would be better than a Clinton/Obama ticket, I think either would be an incredible force against the republicans. They would be unstoppable. The people loves Obama because he speaks to people's hearts, but Clinton is great because she can actually get things done and knows how. There would be no learning curve like there would be if Obama went in with someone else. And this way, he would gain the experience he needs to be an amazing president later on.

    Don't get me wrong, Obama would be a great president. But I think he would be even better in another 8 years.

    March 11, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  2. anonymous

    I don't mean to be rude, but when Senator Obama starts reacting like this–first he says that he lost three states because of all of the attention that Hillary was getting since SNL, and now he screams that he will not be a VP candidate. These kinds of reactions are from a 5 year old kid. This week's SNL showed the 3:00a.m. phone call ad, and sort of replay of Senator Obama in the White House and Hillary helping him out because he doesn't have enough experience. It was funny, but like they say "every joke has an element of truth in it". When the Clinton campaign says that Senator Obama is not ready to be a President, but is ready to be a VP, you don't have to scream: "What do they want to say?" I think we all know that with these kinds of reactions Senator Obama will NOT beat McCain in the fall. "Commander-in-chief test" simply implies that Senator Obama doesn't know very well the ins and outs of how Washington works and how to work with other people there. You can't just go in and say "I am different, and I will make change"; in order to do that you have to learn to work with people from both parties, and not forget that these people are much more knowledgeable and will push on you to do what they think is right. You need to know how to work around it, and how to get what you think is right. President Bush doesn't really want to work with anybody and that's why we are in so much trouble right now as a country. Senator Obama, please take a VP position at least for the next 4 years, and then you'll be able to really talk to these people and really "MAKE CHANGE". A recent article pointed out that Senator Obama started asking other people to help him learn how to do things once he arrived into the Senate, well here as a President you won't have a whole lot of people to ask how to work with Congress. You need to be the leader and to know what to tell people. If you listen to your daughters and follow their advice on what to do, then you probably won't get very far. Obama people, please help make the change. Don't obandon Senator Obama, but help him learn from Hillary how to make real changes. Congratulations that you are in the lead, but when people tell you to do something do it instead of being stubborn. Stubborness doesn't help anybody and it doesn't get people very far. HILLARY '08, Obama-VP (no hurt feelings)

    March 11, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  3. Hillary For President!!!!!! Ohio

    >>> Hillary 08<<<

    March 11, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  4. Martin in PA

    I'm rather amused that certain Hillary Clinton supporters (NOBAMA and America the Beautiful) show up multiple times in this comment section, while some of us can never make it onto the comments.

    Are the positive comments about Hillary so sparse that CNN is trying to "pad" the section with several posts by the same people??

    "Get Real" CNN – OBAMA '08!

    March 11, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  5. Stan Clemons

    Not only should Barack Obama ridicule the notion, he should outright denounce and reject the idea and state that he will neither seek nor accept such an offer. The whole idea reeks of racism and is potentially destructive to the party. Also, what is her opinion of the readiness of New York's blind Lt. Governor to step into the job on day one when Spitzer Resigns.

    March 11, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  6. NinaPolen

    I am absolutely stunned by the depths of manipulation, underhandedness, and just plain filth which Hillary Clinton is bringing to her campaign. It is repulsive to me and I would rather vote for McCain that put someone of that moral fiber in office. Barrack Obama, by contrast, is brilliant and is basing his campaign on what he really believes in. The fact that he is crystal clear on his beliefs and ethics while keeping policy minutiae fluid enough to work with other good minds shows that he is a natural-born leader with the intelligence and respect to listen to others with respect to trivial details. His fundamental character outshines any degree of "experience" which, frankly, Hillary has much less of that she blabbers on about.

    March 11, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  7. deroy

    this is as arrogant as the clintons can get.
    they are in second place and want to put obama in his place.

    this is directly from bill clinton. the nasty man.

    March 11, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  8. mary


    March 11, 2008 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  9. Thomas

    How about an Obama/Romney ticket? Perhaps we could actually get politicians in Washington to get something done if they weren't so caught up in partisanship. Obviously it will never happen but what a concept of having our politicians working together for the common good rather than to satisfy the political aspirations of their party.

    Well stated Earl. Hillary, thanks for playing and goodbye . . . hopefully forever.

    March 11, 2008 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  10. PJW

    Politics at their worst brought to you by those who do it best....

    March 11, 2008 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  11. fm

    lets say if obama was nominated would he be able to name bill clinton vice-president and if so lets say obama for whatever reason if elected president god forbid something happens to him would bill clinton become president.

    March 11, 2008 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  12. Dom Ferroni

    Who are we kidding? We all know Bill will be her VP! lol

    March 11, 2008 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  13. john

    Somebody ought to ask Al Gore if he benefited from seasoning under the Clintons. She's #1 in Gall though, you know the unmitigated kind.

    March 11, 2008 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  14. jean claude

    Clinton is trying to fool voters into believing that a vote for her is also a vote for Obama. I wonder how many people will believe that one......... Should be obvious it's a trick. That'll turn off people for sure. People don't like being tricked, makes them feel stupid. Way to go Hillary, make the voters feel that you think they are stupid. It just doesn't stop with these Clintons does it. I predict Miss. will go 70/30 for Obama. I wish the Clintons would just disappear-go back to Arkansa or Harlem or wherever.

    March 11, 2008 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  15. CAM

    I would like to know how you dems think that hillary has any
    experience to run the country???
    she is still a junior senator. and being an ex-presidents wife is not
    qulification for the job!
    independent in id.

    March 11, 2008 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  16. John Adkisson

    Her comments about Obama joining HER ticket prove two things: (1) she believes she is losing; and (2) she is correct!

    March 11, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  17. Pauli


    u may be gud @ grammer, but u cant count. 2008 and 2016? wut happind too 2012?

    I'm no Democrat, and from all the ranting I see here, I PRAY this kills the Democratic Party; Heaven help us if we ever elect another Democratic president....

    March 11, 2008 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  18. The_Commentator

    Any ticket with Hillary's name on it will simply mean another Republican in the White House. Hillary and Bill are completely delusional. This is just another strategy to play to the black vote in Mississippi...hoping that African Americans will embrace Hillary because she's offering (maybe) Obama a seat at the table. This strategy will backfire.

    March 11, 2008 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  19. fm

    and what experience did bush ii have

    March 11, 2008 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  20. Thomas

    Those of you democrats with constant evil personal attacks should be ashamed. You represent all that is wrong with this country.

    March 11, 2008 02:24 am at 2:24 am |

    OBAMA should reject and denounce BILLARY's offer.

    OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  22. The Voice of Reason

    Obama '08 President of the United States of America

    Clinton '10 Governor of New York

    Thats the only way she can run anything besides Bill.

    March 11, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  23. shannon

    to anybody who thinks that hillary is tying to unite the party is truly mistaken.. U cant see through this? If she wants a dream ticket so bad,she should a least accept the vice president position. but no it will only work if she is on top of the ticket.. ha ha ha that is funny. Notice how most of her voters aren't the most educated.. I said most not all.....

    March 11, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  24. Peter

    Buying donuts for Hillary's campaign staff: $125,000

    Hillary loaned her campaign: $5,000,000

    Hillary's fear mongering 3am ad: $2,000,000

    Splitting the FL and MI delegates evenly between the two candidates: Priceless

    March 11, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  25. john

    Also, I find it just a bit repulsive that all of these clinton supporters are in essence telling Obama to get to the back of the bus and wait his turn.

    March 11, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
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