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. Edgar - Orlando, Florida

    All of Obama supporters & Cnn will regret for rejecting Clinton's, if she is not put in the ticket you will lose with a Biden, Dodd, and especially Edwards.

    Face the fact that as Obama has half of the party loyalist so does Hillary! Clinton loyalists to the END!

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. rylee

    obama will caused many democrats to vote republican!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Dan F

    First of all, there have been many divisive campaigns over the course of time, harkening all the way back to Adams/Jefferson in the 1790s!

    In many respects, Obama/Hillary would be a marvelous team: two firsts, if they win in November. And that combo WILL win, as long as Hillary really campaigns to win.

    The real question is, "Can Obama be as functional in turning DC around with Hillary in the VP residence? And can Bill really keep out of mischief being so close to the seat of power, but not quite?

    Ideally, Hillary will do two things: she will remove herself from VP consideration, [and God knows she's earned some kind of reward for a strong showing in this primary], and she WILL campaign actively and effectively with Obama.

    I actually think Hillary can contribute more in the Senate [maybe even as majority leader] or in a senior cabinet position that she ever will as VP.

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Chut Pata

    Hillary does not deserve a graceful exit otherwise she will come back to haunt the dems in 2012.

    She should be made to contest till the end i.e. at a point where everyone is simply sick of her and until the time she goes totally broke.

    That only can guarantee that USA has got rid of all Clintons, previous (Bill) present (Hill) and future (Chel).

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. Marc

    Please Obama - leave Hillary off the ticket! There are many, many more qualified/dignified candidates for the VP-ship! The US does not need any more Clintons in the White House

    May 23, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  6. Jeanne, San Diego

    I don't see why the two teams should merge. Clinton and her team just need to ride off into the sunset & into history as the loser of the 2008 presidential campaign. Why would Obama want to merge a losing campaign team with a winner?

    May 23, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. Gadissa

    I'm tired off people saing Obama/Clintone tickets, what is she going to bring that Obama can't? Mrs. Clintone has a lot of problems as we seen so far. Please do not include her. We need ne faces.

    May 23, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  8. Dee, St.Louis

    Who cares what the Clinton's want.....NOT ME

    May 23, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  9. kingsley

    This woman is suppose to go in history for the best female that ever run for the nominee

    She also need to go in there for the worst campaign ever organized by a democrat

    make your deals and get out. stop the games. she has been saying all along how this campaign is personal and she want to make history.

    this is not about history, its about the government and the mess going on around the world. stop the selfishness

    May 23, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  10. James

    The VP is suppose to fill in weaknesses not add to them. HRC is a poor choice because of the baggage. You need labor and women comfortable with Obama, while not alienating independents and Republicans.

    Some great choices:

    Kathleen Sebelius
    Claire McCaskill
    Bill Richardson
    John Edwards (he'll take the job if asked nice)

    HRC would be a great choice if you wanted to get the Conservative "fear-machine" raising money and fighting for McCain.

    May 23, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  11. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Obama had this locked up long ago.

    He will still loose in November

    May 23, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Maggie VT

    Hillary Clinton should not be the VP. She has fired up the women in this country and Obama will have a hard time getting them back. How could anyone trust the Clinton's in the White House anyway???? They would be taking over the White House!!!!! And I can't believe she THINKS she has control over this election. She is only hurting herself to the point she will be never be president. One of her superdelegates changed to Obama today. Should tell her something!!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Extinct

    This is pathetic. Hillary is like a spoiled child. If she can't win by bending or breaking all the rules, then she'll make sure she gets her way by stomping all over everything.

    If Hillary were one of the two mothers in the story involving King Solomon, she would choose to have the living baby divided in two rather than saving the baby by giving it up. And the media is like Pontius Pilot in this whole scenario.

    May 23, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. Susan

    I don't know what they are aiming for. Clinton lost pure and simple. Would they Want Obama as VP if the roles were reversed? I think not. This was a fair and square race, and Clinton failed to take advantage of the HUGE lead she had before the primaries. Coming in 3rd in Iowa does not make her more electabile than the man who came in first. NO CLINTON FOR VP!!

    May 23, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. Be Honest

    The Real news of the Day

    Obama Picks Up 4 Superdelegates

    Barack Obama has picked up a series of superdelegates this morning, one of which at the expense of Sen. Clinton.

    Today, two California superdelegates endorsed Obama, Reps. Jim Costa and Dennis Cardoza. Cadoza has previously endorsed Hillary Clinton.

    In addition, two of John Edwards' New Hampshire delegates, who have since been designated as superdelegates, endorsed Obama.

    May 23, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. woeybash

    Having Hillary as VP would be the first truly big mistake that Obama will ever make, should he give in to her supporters. She's out for herself, always has,always will! Not only that, Bill will be there to undermine every decision that Obama's makes, so that Hillary looks the better of the two. The Democratic party will go down – BIG TIME!

    Obama if you by chance read this, "Please be wise and pick someone whom won't, given the opportunity, stab you in the back". Think Al Gore and how the Clintons treated him. If you think for a moment that they wouldn't do the same thing to you – you are truly naive and maybe not fit to become President. They are power hungry mongrels of the worst sort. If you stand on your own and make your best and wisest decision on whom to be your VP, I'll vote for you, but if you allow the Clintonites to over-ride you, then my vote goes to McCain.

    May 23, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. KD

    It is time for Democrats to coalesce around one candidate and unify the Democratic Party.

    While I remain unaffiliated, I do believe that Obama has an opportunity to achieve something "historic" this summer (presidential candidate) and fall. (president)

    He is charismatic, demostrates great fortitude and judgement, eager for change, presents a very effective message and symbolizes unification.

    Obama 08

    May 23, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. j.

    "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."

    .....why in the hell was this stupid article even written? The only suggestion that the two sides are talking was obviously fabricated by Malveaux and her news outlet.

    May 23, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. Clara

    Absolutely, positively, no way, never will Obama supporters agree to Hillary as VP. She will say anythng and do anything to win the nomination which indicates to me a lack of character and integrity. It has been just awful watching her 'politic' her way through this primary, trying to figure out what to say so she can gain votes/delegates after she realized she was no longer the 'inevitable' candidate. What has been most appalling during her entire campaign has been this projection of entitlement. She's entitlted to be president because she's a woman? Is the ex-president wife? What??!!!! Obama has to give her something because she 'fought' hard? What??!!! How about raising his arm in victory and then going back to the Senate. Old school politics are out and so is she. PS. Bill Clinton, we don't want your wife as our candidate's VP, so stop spreading that noise.

    May 23, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  20. anarkissed

    In the "first scenario," how is it that Obama is suddenly responsible for "resentment" within the party? The Clinton camp ran a dirty campaign, exploiting and then benefiting from the racial tensions and fear of Midwesterners. She needs to make a formal apology to the party for her "anything to win" strategy.

    Her populist rhetoric is as absolutely fraudulent as her war position, but corporate media will not do any real investigation into the Clinton legacy because Hillary constantly (and fraudulently) complains of biased media coverage.

    I like the idea of keeping Clinton in the Senate, where her damage to the party can be contained.

    And in the words of Joe Strummer (or something to that effect), "I'm so borrrrrrrrreed with the HRC!"

    May 23, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  21. Xavier, St. Louis, MO

    I think Hillary needs some counseling on dealing with defeat. This race is over and it is time for both parties to work together. Hillary lost. Obama beat her fair and square and as soon as she let go of this imagination that she can still win, the better it will be for the Democratic Party.

    May 23, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. Shawn, Takoma Park, MD

    Susan wrote: "Millions would rather Clinton be the nominee."

    Though many more want Obama. Why is that so hard to understand? I really do feel bad for the Hillary supporters who are good democrats and rational beings. It sucks to lose when you really care about a candidate.

    But the lunatic Hillary fringe really needs to stop their bizarre and irrational threats to take REVENGE! on the Democratic party and Democracy itself because their candidate lost fair-and-square. I wish they knew how badly they were degrading themselves with such behavior.

    May 23, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. Brad, Denver CO

    Watch and wait by mid-June the Democratic party will be united and the broker to have healed all the wounds will be....Ted Kennedy. Really can think of a better book ending to the Kennedy legacy than uniting a deeply divided party in time to re-take the White House? And how many super delegates will tell Kennedy "no" at this point?

    May 23, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Heidi

    Whatever...the insider is probably Geraldine Ferraro or Jame Carville.

    The two boasted this season about the money they raised. Now they can get started on raising money to pay off her debt.


    May 23, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Graceful

    Gracefully?Thats like asking a Hun to leave quietly after burning down a village.

    May 23, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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