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.

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soundoff (1,165 Responses)
  1. David

    McCain's going to wipe the floor with Obama. It's going to be ugly.

    May 23, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  2. Bruce

    This vitriolic outpouring is exactly why Obama will be the next Geroge McGovern and will lose all but 5 states. Many year ago we felt the same about the application of practical politics and look what it got us – Richard Nixon.

    The belief of the Obama supporters that they can win the Presidency without a united party is naive and as self-righteous as their candidate. I don't want Hillary to run for VP because four years from now she will be the one to pick up the pieces of a shattered party and lead it to the White House, while Mr. Obama will be just as obscure a footnote to history as McGovern is.

    Want Obama to be President, start acting like a winner, stop putting it in the face of Hillary's supporters. You need them. Remember they represent 49% of the party.

    May 23, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. Jeremy

    In my opinion, the greatest divider of our party has been the media...including CNN. The media has at the very least fanned the flames of divisiveness. The more you hear about how wrong or terrible one candidate is compared to the other, the further you step away from reconciliation. Millions love Obama, millions love Clinton...and yet I bet there are millions more who love both.

    May 23, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  4. Jamie Chapman

    All I can say is let the Obama campaign treat Hillary the way most of his supporters on this blog say to and see what happens. I am nearly 40 years old and have NEVER in my life voted for a Republican, but I am about to start. The Clintons never used the race card. They have stated facts. Jesse Jackson won in the South Carolina Primary in 1988. Obama on the other hand went to a racist bigoted church for more than 20 years and never seemed to notice it was that way. He worked with a slum lord. He has no clear policies. He can't answer any question in detail. He only has 2 answers for every question asked : Yes we Can or Change. I have put my 2 cents worth in and all I have to add, is treat the Clintons badly and we will inaugurate President McCain in January 2009.

    May 23, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. Ron L

    Hillary is a fighter...Hillary is a fighter...Hillary is a fighter...Hillary is a fighter... SO WHAT!!!
    Couldn't you say the EXACT SAME thing for President Bush!!
    Being a fighter is not a good enough reason to elect her..

    HILLARY IS A POLITCIAN FIRST and FOREMOST which is a polite way of saying SHE CAN NOT BE TRUSTED!!!

    It would be a MAJOR MISTAKE to put her on the ticket. She represents ALOT of the qualites that most Americans don't like about politicians whether male or female!!





    AND IF WE ARE LUCKY, THE PEOPLE OF NEW YORK WILL NOT REELECT HER.. I use to like/respect her, not anymore, she is just an annoyance. Sort of like the itch you can't scratch.

    May 23, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. Barack the Vote in RI

    HRC and or her supporters have some nerve. Look – if you lose, you lose....period. Who says he has to offer her anything????? It's extremely forward and downright bold of the Clinton camp to even put those 3 so-called scenarios on the table in the first place!!! The unmitigated gall to even presume that Obama should offer her the VP spot either publicly or otherwise is preposterous....and to possibly sit down together to "discuss strategy" i.e. how to pay of HER debts is even worse!!!! He owes her absolutely nothing...especially after the ill-fated, attack-dog, divisive campaign she ran.....she lost fair and square. HRC/her supporters, their 'elitist' attitudes and self entitlement beliefs are sickening beyond comprehension.

    The fact is this – Obama was grossly underestimated and out of obvious desperation, she went into attack mode and every stunt failed – miserably. If the table were turned, with the venom the HRC supporters are STILL spewing in reference to this campaign, they could care less about the Democratic party as a whole and even less about Obama.....HRC/ off your own debts!!!!
    You with it and grow up.

    May 23, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Chuck

    Graceful exit by Hillary, my eye! As I've indicated previously, Hillary belives in a "scoched earth" policy regarding her campaign. She fully intends to continue this horror show to the point of ruin in November for the Democrats.

    May 23, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. Paul

    If Obama caves in to that psychopath.....I WILL VOTE REPUBLICAN.

    May 23, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. Lonnie

    It is time to go Hillary, You ran a good race but you will not be the Nominee. Obama is the one who will be the change we need in America.
    Super delegates need to end this now join the Obama for America.

    May 23, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Mikey G

    If Hillary wants to be VP, she will. She simply goes to Obama and say either I am VP or I run as an Independant. As an Independant, she will split the vote, McCain will win, and Hillary will run against him in 2012. It's her best chance of becoming President. She will not want to wait another 8 years. If Obama gets elected, she can't run again until 2016.

    It's Bill who wants the Supreme Court spot, not Hillary.

    I'm surprised the news media is not covering the idea that she can run as an Independant. She likely would never do that, but the threat to Obama is enough if she wants to be VP.

    May 23, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. Pali Gupta

    Does a rule or an agreement mean anything? An agreement was agreed upon. By an account, 29 DNC members favored Florida and Michigan NOT be allowed if they advance. ONL:Y one person voted against that DNC rule. Hillary was a party. Why change rules in the middle of the game? To give give a winning advantage.

    Politics is a game of chance. Hillary and Obama – both took a gamble on Florida and Michigan. Hillary lost? Why this screaming? If any one she should scream at herself. Give this Country a peace. Hillary's actions may hurt and create problems for Chelsea's future in politics.

    LORD, pray for all of us and enlighten Hillary to STOP.

    May 23, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Independent


    If she can't win.....then she doesn't want Obama to win...plain and simple.

    May 23, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Belle

    I believe they are making some kind of deal. I received a letter (purporting to be a questionnaire) from the DNC with a note from Clinton included. This letter/questionnaire appeared to be Clinton asking her supporters (I have contributed to her campaign) to support Obama in the general election. If they were not talking, the DNC would not have sent that out.

    May 23, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. CMitch for Obama

    I will not vote for a Obama-Clinton ticket. In the history of this country everyone has chosen their own VP; Obama should choose his and not be force to put Hillary Clinton on his ticket. She should exit politic gracefully and for good. This woman is evil.

    May 23, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. Johnny

    As a Hillary supporter it is heartbreaking to see her lose this battle. However, in the interest of party it is time for her to exit this race gracefully. She does have a very bright future ahead of her.

    As dems we need to kick the republican out of congress as well the WH and while we are at it put some sensible judges on the Supreme Court.

    May 23, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. Female Independent

    If the remaing super delegats who are for Obama would go ahead and state their position, then he would likely have the 2026 to finally go forward. It seems to me that the ones waiting are showboating. Let's get on with it. The Dem's will win in November because McCains presidency would be "BUSH". The Clinton supporters that the media state will not vote for Obama is just that – media hype.

    Obama – please pick a VP that we can all be proud of>>

    May 23, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. supreme court ???

    Paula, that's the last thing anyone can think of for a post for Clinton. Supreme Court stands for truth and nothing but the truth.

    Whatever Clinton has been saying is everything BUT the truth!! She'll be much respected if she goes back to the senate and contests 2016

    Yes, Obama 2008 & 2012

    May 23, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. Bill


    May 23, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. Debbie

    Does Hillary know how to do anything gracefully. I use to admire her and Bill but for the past few months her true colors have shown. Her supporters are unreal. I read statements like "he hates" America and he is "racist". Where does this come from, he is a citizen of this country, has family here, has served this country, his grandfather was in WWII, if he hates this country why would he run for President??? The racist thing is the biggest joke of all. Do you not know he is half white!! His mother was a white woman from Kansas. I guess he hates half of himself and a part of children??? Such dumbness.

    May 23, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  20. chris

    If CNN and all the other news organiztions ceased coverage of the Clinton Camp it would end !!

    May 23, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. Less, Austin Tx

    I think that her desparation at this point, if she were to be selected as "VP"; which I doubt, she would do anything to push her way into the president's slot, as desparate as she is.

    It would definately be a bad move, and I think they know this.

    May 23, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. ne.

    if Obama were to pick Hillary for VP and they won the presidency. Hillary will be taking all the credit for the win, saying it was because of her they won..

    May 23, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. kumari

    clinons family were eight year, white house. we need change.
    now OBAMA.s turn, be united and work together that's what great
    leader,s doing.

    May 23, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Jason

    I pray for this country every day and if Obamalamadingdong gets in we will need the Almighty's like never before, because the Devil will be on his throne! Stop the Insanity people, BHO is a charade!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. Gman

    Obama will never get my vote after Hillary, She would never want to be his VP, thank you very much.You Obama people think he's all that,can't wait too see you eat your words someday!

    May 23, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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