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. rylee

    Hillary and her 17 millions supporters need to continue on until august!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. Cooper

    Before you can even talk about offering the vp slot, this woman must stop trying to incite her followers. This is complete nonsense what I saw in Florida or her argument about popular votes. When did Florida and Michigan matter? When did popular votes matter? These are all rules that were agreed upon before the start of the contest. Why didn't she complain about these rules then? No wonder she has a high negatives. How can we trust you with the presidency if you can not follow simple rules that you agreed to in the beginning of the game. The Clintons are being hypocritical and they should be called to it. I have no problem offering her the slot but she must stop all this fuss about popular votes and seating Michigan and Florida. She lost and must accept it wth a straight face. Everybody gave her the benefit of the doubt to be the nominee but she ran a LOUSY campaign from the start. You can not be fighting Obama and be expecting the VP slot at the same time. She must make up her mind or else it will be late.

    May 23, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. Jeff

    The only way Clinton can win is to steal the nomination like Bush stole the election in 2004. She should get out in order to save what little dignity and respect she has left.

    May 23, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Kiran

    NO VP for Hill. She doesn't deserve it. SHE LOST.

    She ran an ineffective campaign, and LOST.

    Obama has every right, as the WINNER, to choose whomever he wants on the ticket.

    May 23, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Thomas

    Ugghh...with Howard Dean in charge of the party things are going to be in chaos for the foreseeable future. Fla. & Mich are crucial states that you can not leave out of the process. Can Obama supporters wake up from there sugar coma for a second and realize that it was the Republican leadership in Mich. & Fla. that allowed for the primaries to be changed & in turn nullified. Come the Fall if those two crucial states were left out of the nomination process at the convention then the Republicans will win those two states, guaranteed. The key for Obama today is that if he wants to say things are going to change with him running then he has to stop his campaign staff from shaping his vision. He has to stand on his own thoughts, platforms, & policies going forward. If anyone is naive to think he has not been a puppet his of his campaign strategists to this point will be sorely dissapointed with his eventual presidency.

    May 23, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. LTW

    This is clearly an unsubstantiated story designed get feelers out on how both the public and superdelegates will respond. If the camps cannot confirm this story, why is it being pushed, if not for political posturing? This story started with CNN, thus you are the tool / mouthpiece for this misinformation. Shameful. You are starting to show Fox-like tendancies.


    May 23, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. M Brown

    I think Sen Obama should be the one who decides whom he want for a running mate. I don't think Sen Clinton would have the best interest for Sen Oama presidency. Why should he help Sen Clinton pay her debit when she is the one who decided to continue to run when she did not have funds available she has money to pay her own debit. Good judgement is knowing when to hold and when to fold them Sen Clnton doesn't seem to know when

    May 23, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. Tom,West Michigan

    Expect grace from the Clinton camp?...I don't think so. Hillary has
    caused her party a lot of trouble and the real damage is still to be felt.
    If she truly cares about Democratic values, she'll go about being
    a good senator and ,for once, try to be sincere and real and campaign enthusiastically for Democratic causes, including Obama.

    May 23, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Enlightened Voter

    I am an avid supporter of Obama, donate to his campaign all the time but if she is on his ticket as VP I won't vote repub but I won't vote period. Having her on ticket would bring him down to a low level. She is disgusting. Besides she will be busy in november with the Peter Paul case in court.

    May 23, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Melissa

    Don't discount the people who support her. We are not stupid, racist or sexist but I can see the writing on the wall. If she is on the ticket-everyone who voted for her will vote for him in November but if not-I don't know that I will. His supporters who leave comments on here are rude and are making her supporters hate him.

    If you are smart-reach out to us-don't shove us away
    Be smart

    May 23, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. the one

    I understand what the SD's are doing they are letting her play this thing out so she cannot come back on them I understand that. However, her understanding of winning Michigan and Florida is out there. When you compete in any contest, you are competing against some one or something. In Michigan who did she compete against who did she beat. That is like me saying I won the Olympic Gold medal in the 100-yard dash calming I am the fastest in the world. One problem I was the only one in the race! Come on American wake up!

    May 23, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  12. Doom.

    The democrats are doomed! You cannot stop us Republicans from destroying America now!


    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Down but not out

    From Dreams Of My Father;
    “There were enough of us on campus to constitute a tribe, and when it
    came to hanging out many of us chose to function like a tribe, staying
    close together, traveling in packs,” he wrote. “It remained necessary to
    prove which side you were on, TO SHOW YOUR LOYALTY TO THE BLACK MAS_ES,TO STRIKE OUT, and name names”

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. MyBADD


    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  15. Henry Haider

    Obama Democrats should not forget that many Registered Republicans, like myself and my family, are strong supporter of Obama. Many have voted for him while many will vote for him in November. Our numbers may not be great but for sure we will outnumber the dumb women voters who will vote for Mccain because of their anger of Hillary losing. Should Hillary be selected as VP and Mccain selects a desirable VP we all shall return back to our fold.

    Please consider seriously that Democrats cannot win the White House without support of the Republican voters, therefore Obama should be careful what he does now as November is not far away.

    God bless America

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |

    CNN aka Clinton News Network, stop pushing this VP bs!!!! Obama doesn't owe her anything, he has the right to chose his own VP like everyone else has done.

    He doesn't have to pay her debt either, is it his fault she cant raise or spend money wisely? I for one could care less about her debt , remember they have $109 million dollars.

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  17. Rus in St. Paul, MN


    There's a difference between those examples going to the convention and this one.

    First off, this is a historic campaign due to the fact it's the first time an African American and a woman are going to be the nominee, that makes constant headlines alone. Not to mention the fact the woman is the spouse of a former president (who is/was extremely popular within the part). The coverage of this campaign has been insane by comparison.

    Secondly, none of those campaigns were around in the age of the internet and the amount of communication we have now. Serious backers in the 60's for Kennedy's convention maybe got a newsletter once a week. Now every meeting is aired on some cable channel, every speeches transcripts is available online before the final word is spoken. The amount of information, and likely, misinformation, that comes out of all this has more sway than any of those comparisons. Had the McGovern convention, and lead up to it, had this type of constant battle aired non-stop nightly on news channels and the web. I gurantee you it would have had a much larger effect than you're giving it credit for.

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. James, SC

    If socialism is soooo bad, why is it that over 99% of all the newly formed governments in the world follow socialism? Stop the fear mongering. If you look at Forb's list of the mega rich, you will find that the folks who are not Americans are mostly socialists. I have lived in socialist countries before and never felt threatened by anyone.

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. sue

    He dosn't need her. She needs him more. DON'T DO IT OBAMA! i WILL VOTE FOR MCCAIN IF SHE IS YOUR VP

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  20. Rodriguez

    Democrats, we screwed this one up big time! We needed Hillary's foreign policy experience, her ability to win the swing states and her ability to beat McCain!

    We're are sending our country down the wrong path with another Republican Presidential Term. If its Obama getting the Democratic Nomination without the support of Hillary...this country is DOOMED!

    We screwed up by not putting the stronger candidate in the running for the President. I'm so very, very worried about our nation's future.

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Craig

    Its funny how nasty, mean and spiteful many of you Obama supporters are -positively hateful comments, while at the same time you are trumpeting the "new era of kum-bye-ya" bliss that Obama purports to bring to the world.

    Aren't you supposed to follow in the footsteps and manner of your guru and stop with all the nastiness and embrace and love everyone? Doesn't your own vile rhetoric belie the "yes we can" spirit you speak so mesmerizingly of?

    Isn't it time for you to embrace and love everyone – isn't that what the great Obama preaches?

    (so reach right on out to Hamas – you are gonna get your head handed back to you....but at least you will all still have the same intoxicated look of infatuous adoration in your eyes.....)


    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. enomisa

    Once a demagogue, always a demagogue- Obama will never fool most of the people. Most of us never bought into his hype.

    His prepared speeches inspired the young and carried him this far. He rode that popularity wave to a small lead. But eventually Obama HAD to speak without benefit of a prepared inspirational speech. Eventually Obama would have to think on the spur of the moment and answer questions without a memorized catch phrase. That time has come and it has revealed how totally unprepared to lead Obama is.

    In that capacity he is a total failure. He makes no sense and changes his meaning constantly. He is incoherent and stutters and misspeaks. Now that he needs to state actual opinions, ideas, plans and positions his lack of qualifications are showing up.

    This man has never done anything for his country.

    This has NO appeal to most voters.

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. Ms. B

    After all the mud the Clinton campaign "tried" to sling at Obama, they can't be serious about her as the VP!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. JustADude

    Senator Clinton is a fighter we should applaud her as praise her as a very good runner up. It time to move on and prepare Obama to run against McCain. As for VP, I thing that should be left to Obama and Obama only after all as nominee he is the one that should feel comfortable with his running mate.

    DEMS 08

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. James, SC

    If socialism is soooo bad, why is it that over 99% of all the newly formed governments in the world follows socialism? Stop the fear mongering. If you look at Forb's list of the mega rich, you will find that the folks who are not Americans are mostly socialists. I have lived in socialist countries before and never felt threatened by anyone.

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
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