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

Sources: Clinton, Obama supporters discussing exit strategies

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" "] (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. Celine

    When are we going to remember the era that ended because the president lied to American people under oath? And when are we going to start questioning this woman's motives and ambition? Until and unless we do, this woman is going to rip her party apart to my enjoyment actually because I am an Obamacan who would certainly vote for Obama if he is the nominee but would go other way if Senator Obama is forced by that woman to make her his VP. She reminds me of the "Tooth Fairy" in the movie Darkness Falls! GOD.

    May 23, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. phil

    I believe any talk of Hillary being on Obama' ticket is way way past. By her staying in – this is or was causing him to spend precious time and money competing with her... and not McCain. Then to come out and ask for the VP slot takes a lot of gall,

    It would always run counter to Obama; argument of a new approach to government. Hillary asVP would be the same old politics – with Bill right there as co-VP.

    and for Obama to help pay off her debt??? This debt is caused by her trying to run a hopeless campaign. she did not manage her money or strategy properly – so if she decides to continue – let her pay it off herself.

    May 23, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Why are there only negative comments for Hillary?

    May 23, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. matt


    on tuesday night she gained 150,000 votes on barack obama, which clearly pushes her to winning the popular vote after you count everyone.

    If you dont count michigan, shes losing.. Depending on which news agency depends on how much she is losing by (between 100,000 to 200,000 )

    After she wins peurto rico
    She will have the popular vote with out even counting michigan

    not saying that michigan doesnt count.

    But then i can say hillary clinton WON with out even having to count a state.

    May 23, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Susan4Change

    Why should Hillary join Obama?? She hasn't lost. Look at May 31st folks...she has the popular vote and the Rules Committee will have to decide with ALL the facts. The momentum is clearly with her. You can' deny HUGE landslide wins like WV, KY, etc. Despite the fact the pundits want to "hurry this up", the people are talking and voting. And they are NOT choosing Obama.

    If the media is successful in electing the Democrat nominee (Obama), then Hillary should decline any offer for the 2nd place spot. McCain will beat Obama and she will run in four years! Then, we will have a shot at a Prez who is actually qualified.

    May 23, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. Hell has no fury, like a woman scorned


    May 23, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Laditrai this a case of BLACKMAIL? So Obama doesn't have the right to choose HIS OWN VP? He HAS to choose her? That's not right...She should throw her support behind him for the good of the party, not because she's getting something outta it...This whole thing is getting out of hand...I can't wait until June 3..Jeez...

    May 23, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. KK

    How many times do we have to beat a dead horse?! Obama CANNOT offer the veep slot to HRC–that's a no-brainer and the reasons are res ipsa loquitor. And, even if he did, given what we now know, it's likely that Clinton would ACCEPT and that would be disastrous for the party. Even the notion that he would offer her same, after the arsenic barrages that HRC has bestowed upon Obama–would do violence to the respect and admiration that Obama has garnered during the entirety of his campaign. It would be oxymoronic. It would cause his following to jump ship–not even voting for McCain–just abandon ship. Furthermore, Obama cannot help her pay off her campaign debt. She decided to use her OWN money and that's the price you pay. We've given our HARD-EARNED monies to Obama–not for him to go behind closed doors and offer it to HRC as a settlment of sorts. That's simply outrageous!! And lastly, having ANY other 'peace talks" if you will, to support a save of face for HRC and develop an exit strategy is out of the question. She's bright and been a formidable campaigner up until this point–now she can go the distance utilizing the same aids and advisers to help her bow out gracefully. Obama know better...the HRC camp is just trash-talking to get the country hyped up!

    May 23, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. Matt Portland, OR

    The Clintons are over. It is well beyond the time to unify behind the winner of this contest, and our next president.

    May 23, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Sue

    Dems, wake up, Hilary's only exit strategy is to take this to the convention and ensure that OBAMA looses so she could run again in 2012. I've worked with the Clinton camp before and know what they are planning. They just won't openly say it, but watch it play out.

    May 23, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. Karen

    So, the story is that BOTH campaigns say there's no story! A little more Obama favoring going on here?

    May 23, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. NO-BAMA

    THIS IS JUST CODE FOR: "Hey Hillary, Sweetie, please drop out already because I know you are going to beat me in the popular vote"


    May 23, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Erin

    If he puts her on the ticket – me and my entire family will vote McCain. There is no way I would ever vote for that woman again. She is a joke. And I am from NY.

    May 23, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. Karrie, MD

    This isn't over June 3rd. She'll never quit. They'll be dragging her from the convention center when they're turning out the lights, and she'll still be hanging onto that microphone giving her campaign speech.

    This woman thinks it's her God given right to be President. It doesn't matter what anybody else wants or thinks. Nothing less will do. Just wait and see.

    May 23, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. Independent Now

    I am so sick of the Democratic Party establishment and the way it continually pushes left wing candidiates on us even though those candidiates cannot win over swing voters vital to a November victory. I mean John Kerry couldn't even beat Bush -the most unpopular president in history. Superdelegates could fix this error by endorsing and nominating Senator Clinton. She won the most votes this primary season and she has connected with the vital swing voters in states necessary for a Democratic victory in November. Superdelegates must use independent judgment and not merely follow what they perceive to be the band-wagon. Nothing is inevitable at this point if we actually stop and think about our choices. No one has won yet- so please superdelegates- make a smart CHOICE (don't just endorse someone because you think they'll be the "eventual nominee"- that is merely abdicating your responsibility as a superdelegate. Think please.).

    The party establishment has treated Senator Clinton so disrespectfully that I can no longer support this party. I am very saddened by this primary season. I have always donated and volunteered for the democratic party. Not this year. I'm done.

    I will change my party registration and will write-in Hillary Clinton in November if she is not the party's presidential nominee.

    May 23, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. from Belgium

    They would not be a good ticket. Just would not be credible, after all the bickering.

    A merge of the teams would be a better idea, with a consensus VP.

    May 23, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. Linned

    The Rules Committee will figure out MI & FL on May 31st. The last primaries will end on June 3rd. The supers will choose sides and after that we will have a nominee. The one who is not the nominee will bow out. Whoever the nominee is will choose their VP. Then the train keeps on moving hopefully with all Democrats on board.

    May 23, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Alice

    Nooooooo to Clinton as VP.

    That would be like making your angry ex-spouse the beneficiary of your life insurance policy.

    May 23, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. Mike

    Alright Hillary supporters, now is your chance to do the queen's bidding – FALL IN LINE!


    May 23, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Ironman

    HRC: don't let the door hit you on the way out.........

    May 23, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Brian Knoxville, TN

    Maybe Obama supporters should be thinking more about HIS graceful exit when she secures the nomination.

    Also this talk about her needing a strategy for a graceful exit is way too premature. According to the rules of the nomination process, the remaining delegates (most of whom are Party leaders) still have to decide which candidate they believe to be the better, stronger and more electable.

    That would be Hillary Clinton.

    Hillary's real supporters, the millions of people who have voted for her and have invested in her campaign, remain loyal and grow more committed to her every day.


    May 23, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. Ron

    If Hillary Clinton does not get the Democratic nomination, her best exit strategy will be to give serious consideration to running as an Independent. She will beat Obama by a wide margin and McCain by a narrower margin, but she will still win the general election.

    May 23, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  23. Zoe

    If Hiliary won, do you think she would give 2 hoots about Obama...
    Democrats have got to get some backbone....she lost....
    On to the Presidential election and defeating the REAL enemy of the people....the GOP. This isn't a school yard folks.

    May 23, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  24. sabrina01

    It is well noted by the reactions of the people of theis country the ones that proclaim that they are more Americans the he....the one that proclaim ....they are more Christian then it your Christianity that supports bad behaviors , maybe its the flag that fouhgt for that support your ambition to win at any it Jesus and the standards he died by that supports your actions......Great Debater ....Alsome and down right dirty Fighter is what she is Know by ......will do and say anything to win .....which one of these charateristics falls under lie for a vote ........the Healthcare plan she has will not cover all people......its sounds good and yes we wish it could but reality is it it better for Someone to tell yo want you want to hear and give you nothing at the end them for someone to tell you the truth and give somethign......Judgement for a vote or FOR the People......Obama stated we need to make the Healthcare afford everyone will get it.....if cars were affordable everyone will have one he states we do not need to mandate Adults Just kids by Adults any who buys Insurance knows that single parent with children Insurance cheaper then when you do a Family with your husband..........CNN did a special where in MA they have HIllary pLan one Guy stated the he had to drop daycare to pay then he just couldn't afford it he had to pay the mandate 300.00 the first time then the second time the fine was 1000.00 he stted he never thought that he would be in a country where you can be fined and sent to Jail for as you see again the only people who are and will be cover is the people that can afford don't get caught up ON EVERYONE COVER BECUASE JUST LIKE ANY PLAN IF YOU DON'T QUALIFY FOR THE GRANTS YOU DON'T HAVE IT..........WHY DO WE HAVE TO LOSE TO GET .....CAN SOMEONE COME UP WITH A REAL SOLUTION WITH OUT HURTING THE PEOPLE.....WORST.......THIS PLAN IS MORE FOR BUSINESS THEY WIN EITHER WAY IF YOU PAY OR NOT YOU'LL PAY WITH THE FINED MORE MONEY IN THERE POCKETS......BIG SOLUTIONS BAD IDEAS AGAIN ....

    May 23, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. p

    As an Obama Voter in a Republican State., hear me clearly. i will Never, ever, ever, ever vote for any ticket that has the Clinton disgrace on it, period. I would vote for Satan himself before her. I will guarantee that I will go to the poles to vote against any ticket that has her on it.

    Hear this clearly. Pick Hillary, you lose.

    May 23, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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