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)

    It is regrettable that Fl and Mi decided to break the DP's rules by holding their primaries early. But there's nothing unfair about the current situation and no one has "cheated". The DNC decided to exclude delegates from those states, in accordance with the DP's own rules. Neither candidate was advantaged by that decision at that time. It only became an issue later, after a certain candidate started to fall behind in the primaries. Changing the rules back again now to suit that candidate, now that really would be unfair.

    May 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. Honest man for Obama

    What do you think? Clintons are determine to destroy the party if they did not get the nomination, so to say Hillary is willing to exit peacefully think again.

    Please Hillary wants the Republicans to win this fall so that she will run again 2012. Obviously she knew she can't get the nomination now, but she wants to cause some sort of argument to seat fl and mich which she agreed to their purnishment.

    If she doesn't agreed to the purnishment handled out to both Florida and Michigan why didn't she campaign in those states?

    She could have challenged the purnishment handed out against the rule nreakers way before the election and she should have go ahead to campaign in violation of DNC.

    She is nothing but a so loser.

    May 23, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. John Smith

    Realistic Preferences:

    1. Let Hillary run as an Independent candidate. This way, we can see how the Republicans "fight" with Hillary and her supporters.

    2. Hillary should not be considered for the VP post; she has excess baggage (with Bill) and is hated by over 50% of Republican voters in this nation.

    3. Hillary is rich– worth over $109 million. She should NOT be rewarded for (a) lying to learned folks, (b) being divisive, and (c) failing to run an effective election.

    May 23, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Joe AZ

    I do beleive that the nominee has the right to select their own running mate. The one name that I beleive would cause the Republican to give up before the general election even begins is COLIN POWELL.

    May 23, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. FEDUP

    HIllary is way too valuable to accept a VP spot. Obama will lose in November so she best talk to McCain about his support for Senate Majority. I still intend to write her on my ballot in November.

    May 23, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. gp

    It is amazing how that women is managing still to be relevant -what she does, wonts,asks for.....she just has to be let alone . Who cares what she wont and anyway when ever she speaks how is presenting voices of others is not true.Democrats need leeast to be seen as flip-floping on MI and Fl even she agread with the decision back than. We any way come acros as we dont know what we wont .Hilary is demaging for party there is no question we all know .Are people afraid that she can make mor demage than she did.If so rather than let her poison more and more SUPERDELEGATS do your task !!!!!!!!!!!!We can't wait for her to get it -she is sick , her mind is compromised........she doesn't care!!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Tim from New York

    again why are we seeing hillary's supporters being called racist, but not obama's?!? again, when you vote for a candidate because he is that not racist?

    hillary..stay clear of this mess of an election and let him go down all on his own..o wait..if he loses there will be blame put on everyone but obama

    my money's betting that when obama loses in the will be her fault, obama supporter's, hopefully most of the country isn't as naive and gullible as you all are

    May 23, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. FreedomFromFear-Florida

    Are you dreaming? What foreign policy are you talking about? Do you mean whe Hillary had to dodge those bullets?

    May 23, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. SGS


    May 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Randy M

    In the end, IF THERE EVER IS ONE, it's up to Senator Obama to make his choice for a running mate. I say again, HIS CHOICE. The DNC, super D's, or Clinton faithful should not have a say. If Obama chooses to go back to the past and old school dirty politics, then by all means pick Clinton. If he really wants to change Washington and do some good for our country then pick anyone but her.

    There is no way these two could ever gel and work together. She would constantly be trying to stretch the VP's power, making Cheney look like a choir boy. I hope Barack shows the good sense he's been displaying and doesn't pick her.

    May 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. Elizabeth

    Get those Clintons far, far away from the White House. Those racist hillbillies are pure venom.

    May 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Patrick

    Hillary will definitely be "aloof" support for the Obama campaign no matter what, just like Bill was for Gore. Bill really didn't support Gore simply because he was a distraction and in the way of the overall Clinton political plan and strategy, that being the "coronation" of Hillary as a future president. Hillary will be aloof in hopes of a MCCain victory with her 2012 campaign slogan being "I told you so." Do I think the Clinton's are putting their ambitions in front of the Democratic party? Yes I do, I think the proof is what she has said along with her actions. The Clinton's are ambitious and cunning.

    May 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Clinton needs an exit strategy, not Obama, because she is the one who may soon be making the exit. It is unfortunate that she has painted herself into a corner like this.

    Hillary would never flip-flop and run for 2nd place, now would she? HRC needs to figure out where her political future "lies". I would really be surprised if she gets re-elected in NY.

    She had promised NY during her 2nd senate run that she would serve out her term, and not run for the presidency. She promised to create jobs in upstate NY, which never happened.

    However this turns out, it will be a true reflection of her character. She is under pressure to move on or move out. As a former athlete I wish to let America in on a little secret about pressure. Pressure is self-inflicted pain, no more, no less.

    The pain is a result of creating a false image of yourself, and suddenly finding yourself in the position where you must now live up to your own hype. Have you ever noticed how the best athletes never brag about how good they are? Ever notice how the worst person at anything always brags about how good they are?

    May 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. AJ Edge


    "The first scenario is if Obama ignores Clinton and her supporters and makes the vice presidential offer to someone else."

    Maybe this should happen so Obama can lose in November and Hillary can run again in 2012.

    CLINTON 2008 OR 2012

    May 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. johnd

    I predict Hillary will negotiate that Obama pays off her debt and offers the VP slot in return for her campaigning for him. Once he does that, she'll throw him under the bus. No matter what Hillary agrees to do, she will not campaign for Obama in any meaningful way, nor will she accept the VP slot. She has proven that her only loyalty is to her own ambitions. She may provide an occasional sound bite saying that her supporters should vote for Obama rather than McCain, but that's it. She seems to want Obama to lose so she can run again in four years. And the storyline that neither side trusts the other is hogwash. Hillary knows Obama to be a man of his word, and Obama knows she is a pathological liar. This should have been over a long time ago, but Hillary's ambition, reverse sexism, racism and superdelegates who think it's ok to behave as Hillary has are giving the election to McCain.

    May 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. mike

    As I could see from all the Obama supporters we will never unite and we will loose in November. Obama can not win a national race without Hilary's supporters so stop the CRAP already!

    May 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. C. J.

    Its over for Clinton no exit planning needed. Only planning on her part would be to express her best thoughts towards Obama. John Edwards and Bill Richardson did it all very well. Im sure Clinton can find the proper wording and exit proudly with her accomplishments . And bring those who faithfully subported her these many months to a united Democratic party. With full support for Senator Obama the next president of the United States.

    May 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. Heidi in Houston

    "Several close friends and supporters of Hillary Clinton tell CNN they are pushing for a "graceful exit strategy" '

    Well those supporters missed that boat. Now they should just be pushing for an "exit strategy" because it's almost over.

    May 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. DBMilford

    It would be a big mistake making her a VP. She has too much political baggage to be a change agent (no disrespect to Clinton supporters). There is no way that she will not make a run for the same seat four years later. She's planned this since her husband was in office.

    May 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. Mike in Columbus

    To Manuel

    >> "if you have a majority in the House and Senate, and a Republican president, you have check and balance government…"

    No, what you have is a prefect recipe to get 0 accomplished, in case you haven't been paying attention for the past 4 years.

    Obama sits on the foriegn relations commitee, and the homeland security commitee. Part of the reason I love to hear people say he has no experience, is because it only shows they actually know NOTHING about him. His approach of engagement is exactly what this country needs. The Iraq war exposed to the entire world that our bark is far worse than our bite. And our bite is getting weaker everyday. Time to start playing on the same field, and stop thinking we are the umpire!

    May 23, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. OMG

    From Dreams Of My Father;
    “That hate hadn't gone away,” he wrote, blaming white people,- some
    cruel, some ignorant, sometimes a single face, sometimes just a faceless image of a system claiming power over our lives.”

    May 23, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Alex

    For the sake of other women who will consider running to be president in the future. Giving her a graceful exit is also important in fixing the relationship among democrats.

    May 23, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Humberto Marin

    Hilary Nader Clinton, that's it!

    May 23, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  24. Mike Smith, Port Washington, NY

    Doesn't a public offer to Clinton of the VEEP slot, which Clinton would turn down, make Obama look weak and the ultimate VEEP candidate chosen look like, well, not the first choice?

    The only solution which saves Hillary face is to concede, and publicly announce she is not interested in VEEP, even if it were offered. Then pay off her own campaign debt with Bill's $109 million in speeches, which debt she has been running up to no apparent purpose the past several weeks.

    May 23, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  25. Lisa M from Ohio

    Hillary Clinton should just fade away and let Barack Obama lead this country without having to stand in the shadows of the Clintons. I don't believe that Obama should trust the Clintons.

    I don't trust her.

    May 23, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
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