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. california voter

    senator clinton does not need to save face; and she is grace, herself. obama could learn a lot from her and perhaps will during her presidency.

    May 23, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. Claire

    Um, Hillary, it is over. You just can't admit it to yourself. But that's OK. The superdelegates will tell you when to sit down.

    May 23, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. ed

    You must be kidding me!

    We know the kind of deals Barack has made with people like Bill Richardson and John Eduards: support in exchange for future jobs, and now wants Hillary to take something similar.

    But Hillary is different because she knows that she is far more qualified to be president... It is likely that this nomination process will go on for a while, I don't see the issue of Florida and Michigan resolved because we have to demand that all the votes count!

    In the end she will have the popular vote, so why not also ask will he want to be her VP? Although all these questions are pointless until we resolve the issue of the delegates. She will win the popular vote, he will win the pledged delegates. So it is in the hands of the superdelegates. My opinion is that given the fact that so many delegates has been won by a caucus process that is blatantly anti-democratic, the validity of the popular vote is stronger and the superdelegates must ensure that the popular vote is respected. If Barcak was white this is the likely outcome. But as Geraldine said if Barack was white he would not be where he is, so the superdelagates are likely to vote for him. This argument is not racist, but it is a complain against favoring race over gender, that is so blatantly used in favor of a black person and against a woman person. I hope that the leaders of the democratic party show that they are better than that and support Hillary!!

    May 23, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Shawn, Takoma Park, MD

    "...should she fail to become the nominee?"

    Um, that ship has sailed. She is not the nominee and her outrageous and hypocritical arguments on FL and MI should not be indulged. for one moment longer.

    You can't agree to the rules then change them because you lost...and of course paint the person who ISN'T cheating as the villain. Even Hillary's most "low information" voters can buy that nonsense.

    May 23, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Tony

    Well I agree at the end of the day, Hilary deserves to save face. The Clintons have done America good. Brokering a deal is in her best interests . Just make sure we win the general election in the fall. That's the only thing that really matters. If it's Obama or Clinton it will be 10x better than MCanotherBush!

    May 23, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Chi4Obama

    ...And Clinton backers STILL believe that this lady has a chance to become our nominee??? This race has been over for weeks. So I'm not surprised that they are working out several scenarios for exit strategies. I have all of the respect for HRC. But the reality is that she lost FAIR and SQUARE, by the rules that everyone agreed to play by.

    May 23, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. silence do good

    The DNC has failed many of the people it represents. To put up an empty preppy suit is going to come back to haunt them. This is just like 1968 Chicago DNC convention. One candidate was way ahead, but because of the people (remember the people?) there were riots in the street. Read history then read the news. The DNC lost it that year too, to Nixon.

    The trouble with cults is you forget history.
    I hope Obama is smarter than some of his supporters.

    May 23, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Gloria

    Just more proof that they would put their own ambitions ahead of the party!! Truly not surprising.

    May 23, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. Kay-Arizona

    Slow news day? Now CNN is turning over rocks to see what then can hear? Leave it alone and stop trying to make news or shove Senator Clinton out the door.

    May 23, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. DemsUnite

    I hope they figure it out quickly, we need to rally around one candidate now; this is the Dems election to lose and our party has a habit of doing just that when the primaries get ugly. Please Dems, unite to avoid a third Bush term!

    May 23, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Diane

    I think Hillary and her group are black mailing Barack into a choice he should not make. Hillary is out of her mind thinking a combination ticket would be a dream ticket after all of her rantings that Barack is not "presidential" material. Barack will lose many votes if he chooses her over someone else. Do you ever wonder why both Hillary and Bill want into the White House so bad??????? This is scary and should be closely examined by all. They have had their turn, now they can both sit back and write books.

    May 23, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Travis (in the real world)

    Time for Hillary to SUCK UP.....don't buy it Obama, you don't need Hill or Bill anywhere near the Whitehouse. (And look who's negotiating for Hillary at the Obama camp.)..BILL....hmmm...real big suckup job.

    May 23, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Independent for Obama

    My goodness. You would think they were brokering peace in the Middle East!!

    Please just let it end soon . . .

    May 23, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. KMAN

    Sounds like those firends need to talk DIRECTLY to their losing candidate ... she doesn't have a prayer ... nor does she have a place on the winning ticket. Back to NY with her ... they wanted her ... they are stuck with her!

    May 23, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. Boye

    OMG, this is total B.S. Why does Obama have to offer Hillary the v.p. spot. WHY? Why are Clinton supporters trying to hustle Obama? Right from the start, all we have gotten from the Clinton camp is shady politics full of blackmail. Doesn't he have the right to make a decision based on what he thinks is best for his campaign?

    May 23, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. thuff7

    "she has not thought about whether she wants the VP slot, because she's still campaigning for the top job."

    This sounds like another echo of her senatorial campaign promise that she wasn't even thinking about running for president "because she's still campaigning for senator."

    May 23, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. ang

    HOG WASH....
    you can not blackmail any one or make them add you to their winning team. The Clintons are behind – how in the H.... are you going to give any threats. Hillary is NOT the only person to give us a winning team – in fact she is the one loosing,,,,DUH!!!!!!!!!!!

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

    let me get this straight...Hillary Clinton loses the nomination because she squandered her huge advantage going into the primary and ran a negative, flawed campaign and now her supporters are blackmailing Obama by demanding Hillary be the VP? What is going on? This is ridiculous and I don't care what party you are a part of...part of playing the game is learning how to lose gracious!! The best thing Hillary Clinton could do at this point, is to grow up and get with the program by throwing her energy and support behind Obama.

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

    Still don't understand the haste to push Sen. Clinton out of the presidential race. The media has courted Obama from the start. My question is, "why?"

    Obviously, Sen. Clinton has what it takes to pull this country together - she's intelligent, strong, persistent, diplomatic, charming, and a true fighter. Did I forget experience? Wake up and listen. Words are good; actions are better. In this or any other arena, experience and intelligence are the keys to success. And with enough experience, comes wisdom.

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

    Maybe I'm missing something here, but how is it Obama's responsibility to pay off Clinton's campaign debt? Not only did she choose to run, she chose to borrow money from herself, and now she lost. Obama raised that money for his own campaign and people gave it to HIM not to her.

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

    Obama Should NOT offer Hillary the Vice Presidency. NO WAY!

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

    So, in essence this is a NON story.

    May 23, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. Diane

    "The problem is the two sides do not trust each other" – looks like Obama cannot trust Clinton since he is the one who would have to make the offer publicly. I whole-heartedly agree she can't be trusted. Look at all the lies she has already spewed. As a women, I would love to see a women in the White House – however, it has to be the right women. The fact that we have a women running shows how far we've come. We can't let our sexism decide who goes into the WH, it has to be given a lot of thought. We need to feel we can trust our leader (as much as any politician can be trusted). Let's not have Hillary on the ticket at all, nor pay her bills. She's been running bills up without thought except that the WH is owed to her.

    May 23, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. Phil From VA

    Billary and gracefull? Is that possible?

    May 23, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. Peter in NY

    Either scenario with both on the ticket could work really well, contingent upon the level of input into decision-making they will have respectively.

    Otherwise, I really do not see Hillary taking a backseat to Barack, and in all fairness, she shouldn't have to. He would not want to be in that position either.

    Although I was a strong proponent of the "dream ticket" all along, I currently do not see it as a possibility, as both of these superb candidates carry way too much clout to be overshadowed by one another. Frankly, either one deserves to be president and I can't blame either one for not accepting the no. 2 seat to the other.

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