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. Arthur

    This talk is the Clinton team employing the fear factor again, only instead of employing it to frighten voters, they are using it to frighten the Obama campaign into offering the VP position to her with the underlying implication – "If you don't offer it to me, you'd better watch out." There is no winning hand here; Team Clinton has given us no reason whatsoever to think that they will vigorously campaign for Obama in the fall; she probably wants to be offere dthe VP spot and then to turn it down and seek attention some other way.

    May 23, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. ks

    re Helping to pay off the Clinton campaign debt.
    This might be a consideration if Hillary suspends her campaign immediately after June 3 and includes the following codicils:
    1. No payments towards reducing the debt owed to Mark Penn
    2. No payments towards reducing the debt of any expenses incurred past May 20th.

    May 23, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. AB

    Obama needs her to hold his hand. Good for the country but bad for her as we would never see the screw up he would be otherwise.

    May 23, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Gary Lardizabal

    Hillary Rodham Clinton

    I know a Patriot- I disagree with the war am in real estate–my brother served 4 tours of duty- one of which our father died and he came back to the funeral-he fought for the US in the Phillipines and came to make a great life with his wife and had seven kids.

    My emotions run strong for both you and Barack–and I think you know in your heart of hearts, both of your stories are great. You as a strong woman, and Barack as a new black leader. And both of you are heartfelt with the population that each and everyone has it's own story.

    The Country is greater in it's needs now, and you can let go or let Rome fall by not being graceful in your exit. I think you know that the country's needs are greater and too much is at stake – Barack is going to win the delegates – Popular vote means nothing and you WILL see that Michigan and Florida WILL NOT hand you the vote. You CAN NOT change the rules in the fourth quarter–to quote a super who did support you and now supports Obama–because it is time to leave Hillary bye-let the country heal from Iraq and the Economy

    May 23, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. TONY



    May 23, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. kaz

    If Clintons are smart, they should exit now and support Obama to help the future of their daughter. If Clintons go to convention and fight than people will remember the name Clinton for next 25 years.

    May 23, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Jeff

    Clinton has been most ungracious all along. she has been really thick skin and rude. Apparently she did not care about her face-saving. She has damaged the party already. Just get out!

    May 23, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Nando, Florida

    Nope after this I say send her Back to her beloved NEW YORK and get ready to make good on all the wonderful promises she maid when running for SENATE!!!!!

    She has alot of catching up to do .

    May 23, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. Vic, Toledo, Ohio

    If the people wanted her on the ticket they would have voted for her, the numbers show more people want Obama. Time for her to go back to the Senate or go home.

    May 23, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Against Obama!

    We all must remember this is a political race and neither candidate has one the magic number. Why keep kicking her down? Talk about a devided Democratic party. You people are pithetic! Who is behind the racist?

    May 23, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. karen

    if Sen. Obama is the nominee I will not vote in November; if Florida's primary vote doesn't count...I will not vote in November

    Sen. Obama lacks experience

    didn't we just do the Republicans in 2000...put in the sophomore quarter back and tell us that the team backing him up was great i.e. Dick Cheney

    so here we are again...building the bon fire and saying rah rah we'll have a wining season...only this time it's Democrats...we will put in a winning team...rah rah

    for the last 7 years we have endured and spiraled downward

    military families holding us up with their blood

    and we want to do this again why?...who believes this fairy tale

    the Presidency of America is the most powerful job on the is not the best job on the globe..just ask Al Gore

    Hillary will be fine...but our country will not

    May 23, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. Gerald London, UK

    It is so shocking how the Clinton family is holding the entire US democratic party hostage.

    We just can't figure it out here. The party is so scared of them, not wanting to let them feel bad. Shameful !!!

    May 23, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. John from LA

    Last time I checked this is a Democracy-Why the rush to have HRC leave this exciting process??? I hope she goes to Denver-All people should be heard!!!

    Remember-We Dems want 1600 Penn. Ave-not for both Senators to return to their posts-Let it paly out! She is one tough bird-Seat FLA and MI and then onto Denver-She'll take it and that's what OB is afraid of-

    Why hasn't anyone said-He should exist???

    May 23, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. Rafael

    Obama is definitely the best candidate and will be a great president; if he has Hillary as a VP, it sounds like a "Dream Team", but I think there is a lot of resentment amongst both candidates and it seems that he will always have to be looking behind his back as Hilaary and her group will always have their own agenda!!

    May 23, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Jon

    Why would Obama want Clinton as a VP? She'd just keep on trying to gain the presidency. Wow... talk about potential sniper fire. She should go the way of the dodo and become a martyr to whingers that don't get their own way worldwide. St. Hillary – patron saint of those that 'mispeak, spin, and create obviously flawed math equations'.

    May 23, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. bob, chicago

    The only way to get Hillary out of the race is to drop a house on her. The Third party campaign will probably start by Labor Day

    May 23, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. Drew

    Good, Obama does not need to talk to Hillary about saving "face" because she is two-faced. She got herself into this mess by running a dirty campaign, let her get herself out of it.

    I will be so angry if the Obama camp tries to help Hillary save "face". Tell her to take her lying face off the national scene and go buy some integrity.

    For Obama, not Hillary, never Hillary.

    May 23, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Mike Johnson

    Millions would rather see Obama the President!!

    Stand Strong
    for Change!!


    Fall Hard
    for the Same!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. machin

    This woman wants nothing to do with an exit strategy. Her only strategy is to continue dividing the party and diverting Obama's funds. He is forced to continue wasting money campaigning against her when it is clear that he will be the nominee. By doing this hillary can ensure an obama loss in november and then declare that she was the only one who was qualified to beat the republicans, setting herself up for 2012. This is clearly obvious.

    May 23, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. Ann Tennis

    The very first question that is always asked of a possible VP
    running mate is: "Is there anything, anything at all in your
    background, public or private, that will hurt or damage this
    ticket if it comes out in public?"

    Hillary cannot even get past the very first vetting question!

    May 23, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. s.b.

    Why merge? obama has no hope ofwinning in Nov. Polls are consistentlyand increasingly showing this.

    Clinton supporters are ticked off because the candidate that has won by every relevent measure has been pushed aside by a candidate unacceptable to the majority of Americans.

    The Democrats never learn. Clinton should approach Joh McCain to be his VP and tell the DNC to go sc**w itself. That's what most women are going to do in Nov.

    May 23, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. james in CA

    How about Hillary running on an Independent Ticket. That will be history in the making, she will easily beat Obama and Mccain in a National Election. Go for it Girl, you got my vote.

    May 23, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  23. Less, Austin Tx

    Why do Hillary supporters think she's the only one that is capable of benefiting this election?

    Hillary is not the ticket to solve any solution that this country needs. It only takes one person to cause problems, and she has already proven that she is very capable of doing so within her own party.

    She's also has proven that she's only in it for herself. I can't believe or understand how Hillary supporters don't see this. I think it they were to set aside their "pride" and put their families first, they would.

    May 23, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  24. Lee W

    Susan, millions would rather have Clinton be the nominee, but millions plus some are absolutely delighted that Obama will be. That's the way the cookie crumbles.

    May 23, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  25. RufusVonDufus

    Exit strategies aside, saving face is not at all important to anyone except a lousy Clinton. If Obama has her as his VP, I will not vote for him. I probably will just not vote period. The Clintons–all three of them–make me sick to my stomach. I will never again vote for any of them. They are the biggest bunch of trash in our country. NY deserves her.

    May 23, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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