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. john

    get out of the race hillary and hillary supporter.

    May 23, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  2. Peter

    HILLARY will win the next three remain States.
    We will see what the super delegates will do.
    HILLARY 08

    May 23, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  3. CW4Barack

    I don't think Hillary is qualified to be VP....she is a lying, deceitful, divisive, pander-bear! All she would bring to the table is the Clinton name, which is the only reason she has gotten so far in this race, and a name which has lost alot of all of its clout within the party and the country anyways.

    May 23, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. carrie

    hillary you are behind in the popular vote
    behind in pledged delegates
    beind in super delegates
    behind in states won
    $20million dollares in debt
    you are behind in all polls
    the american people have said it all
    what can we do to make you go away?
    please tell us,we really want to know

    May 23, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. tj

    Superdelegates need to end this turmoil NOW. Obama needs more time to focus on the fight with McCain and not debate and keep tolerating Hillary's childish "wanna be" first lady President. Beside, Bill would be back in the White House a 3rd time.

    ITS TIME FOR CHANGE. I'M FOR OBAMA. Wake of America. Change is Coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. FreedomFromFear-Florida

    First, the people who support Obama are not the monolithic, brainwashed bunch. Many, if not most, of us were once Edwards, Kucinich, Dodd, Biden and/or Clinton supporters first.

    The Republicans in the Florida government moved the Florida primary to the earlier date knowing what it would cost the Democrats. On the day to vote, a Republican turned Democrat who knew how sad I was that our vote came by on a hunch and encouraged me to go vote anyway. By then I was flabbergasted by My Hillary’s caustic and “Divide and Conquer” strategies (I fought for and supported Hillary and Geraldine Ferraro when I lived in New York). I was also impressed by OBAMA’s work, history and vision for America.

    WITH A HEAVY HEART, I VOTED FOR OBAMA EVEN THOUGH I KNEW THAT MY VOTE WOULD NOT COUNT. Many disenchanted DID NOT VOTE. Many people thought that Floridians were done in again and that the Republicans were successful in dampening the Democratic vote in Florida AGAIN. I could not believe that we allowed them to do that again.

    HILLARY should fight on… That way, when OBAMA wins, she can not honestly cry FOUL We need Obama desperately and we need to work with him after he wins. I DO fear that JEB BUSH will be McCain's running mate. Very popular in Florida.

    May 23, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Khaled Soliman

    A graceful exit would be offering her the Secretary of State job and announce it before selecting the Vice President.

    May 23, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  8. Daniel

    The article is purposely vague as there are supporters pushing for the graceful exit of Obama due to inexperience and/or Clinton due to her current inability to have all delegates counted thereby resulting in a lagging delegate count. Interesting. Unfortunately the media is clearly covering the push for Obama to also drop out.

    Washington, DC

    May 23, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. George James

    A VP status will be best for Clinton and the democratic party.How good it is for Obama is to be seen.

    May 23, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Sara

    Think what you want but .... FACT: if Obama is to be the next President he needs Hillary and her millions of supporters. Period.

    I will glady support and Obama Clinton ticket in '08.

    John who?

    May 23, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. SANDY

    Exit strategy. Sure! Here it is-

    I (BO) STAY, YOU (HRC) GO!


    May 23, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  12. Ed

    If Hillary has the nomination stolen from her and she is forced to stump for Obama, I hope she returns the courtesy that he has shown her during the nominee campaign:

    "He's likeable enough, I guess."

    May 23, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. Ben

    Clintons insiders and advisors are nothing more than a let down to HRC!!..They know that they have failed her through misleading tactics..Let Obama move forward!

    May 23, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. Gadissa

    This a test for Obama If he can not say no to Clintonon's there is no way he can win. A lot of people are watching wha he is going to say. If he says no to clinton's he is strong enough to lead this Contry.

    May 23, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. Sam Rose

    I have respect for Hillary's courage–on behalf of most if not all women-

    Obama and the reason I am supporting him, is his stand for
    a new kind of politics-not the old Washington--

    To pick Hillary as VP would be out of integrity for who he says he is and what he 'says' he is about- while I understand the need for the party to come together–many of us Obama supporters would be disappointed if he gives in to the Clintons demands-

    Respect for Hillary-

    But Obama '08

    May 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. Love

    Hillary will be an excellent secretary for health where she can fight effectively for universal health care not only for Americans, but also for the entire world. This is the the divinely mystical mission of Hillary on this miserable planet which she has not yet realized.

    May 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. george bush

    There will be no "coming together" of conservative Democrats opposed to Obama. I for one have been even punished financially for utilizing my right to free speech and opposing this ridiculous Republican backed candidate. I will never stop. Bring it on!

    May 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. janet in georgia

    I've been an Obama supporter all along but I think Hillary would definitely help us in November – hopefully Obama will sit down with her and find out what she wants.

    May 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. Gringo

    Don't even consider talking to those far left radicals. You are the best candidate, and even though they'll probably continue to screw you out of it, keep campaigning. Don't give them anything. Make them earn it.

    And tell Bill to shut the hell up. Let HIM suck up for VP. You don't need that crap !!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. mike

    Ms. B the mud sling went both ways and stop being so negative or we will never unite. I applaude Hillary Clinton, she is a fighter and I am very proud of her!

    May 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  21. Please no

    Obama camp: Please do not select Hillary for VP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. It's not news

    Hillary's campaign is fighting on, in spite of the fact that there is virtually no chance of her winning the nomination. To state that there would be "civil war" in the party if the VP slot isn't offered to Hillary is just more Clinton bullying. I would submit that if the Clintons go home, everyone will breath a sigh of relief. Everyone is tired of their maneuvering, back-stabbing, lying, and complete disregard for their peers and their constituency. They don't care about you and me. They care about the Clintons.

    Get over it. You've lost. Go home.

    May 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. Allen Franklin

    If Billary is on the ticket as #1 or #2 – John McCain can count on my vote.

    May 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. B. Churchill

    I really don't want to say this, but I feel I must; the way that so many women "of a certain age" (which happens to be my age) carry on about the all-but-failed nomination effort of HRC – spewing vitriol, impervious to math or logic – give credence to arguments of long ago that women are too emotional to be trusted with the vote. Their railing that the failures and shortcomings of their flag-bearer are the result of some media conspiracy, the DNC, or sexism – anything other than her own responsibility, is unworthy of adults. The idea, stated over and over again – by them, not me – that unless their gal gets the prom crown, regardless of how poorly she has run her campaign, regardless of what rules she previously agreed to, regardless of the obvious unfairness of counting the votes in a state where their nemesis didn't even appear on the ballot, they will sit out the election, or worse, take their hissy fit over to the camp which consistently strategizes against their interests on all fronts (health, education, environment, economy, foreign policy, etc.) is staggering in its implications. Thank heaven their daughters can grow up, even if they can't.

    May 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. Fleura

    Democrats have had enough divisions during this campaign and at this point to have Hillary Clinton, simply not an option. She has dug a whole too big for herself to crowl out of. Obama has been such a gentleman and carried a very clean run for his nomination. He has been our candidate for months.

    May 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
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