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. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    TheRealTruth – please don't pretend you ever had respect for Senator Clinton. By reading your post, I'd be surprised that you respect anyone.

    May 23, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. victor all the way for Obama

    For the ones who are jealous about Obama, Please know the truth hurts But this is the man for america. We like him even if you don't. He tells you the truth that you are afraid to hear but we know very well you are thinking about it.
    So please transition and vote change for america!!!!!
    For Christ Sake , she needs to get out now and get out fast to help unite the party to tremedous victory. But let her know that with obama being the lead she is not supposed to be the VP because she has some dirty tricks she need to clean up first.
    This is a time for change Clintons and please accept this because it is a part of our everyday lives, onetime you rule the next you bow.

    May 23, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. Jay in VA

    NoBama, No Hillary, No McCain. I vote for whoever cuts goverment in half. Yes, atleast 50% cut in all programs. Just build the roads and bombs. Nothing is FREE. If you want it or need it, pay for it like you should.

    – George Washington, 1772

    May 23, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  4. Dee

    When Clinton was in office the country was economically sound. So those of you who say NO more Clintons-have you forgotten the 8 good years Bill was in office?
    Hillary would be a good president. I'm not saying the Obama wouldn't be-but Hillary is my choice. Obama supporters–quit whining–if he's going to be nominee what is the big deal if she continues to compaign? Or are there some of you worried for some reason? Hillary in 08.

    May 23, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. Jeff

    I love how the HRC people are saying what is "completely unacceptable." They are in no position to dictate anything! Obama is too intelligent to pick HRC as the VP. She should go back and be a strong leader in the Senate and try again in 2012 if she'd like. The fight is now between Obama and McCain.

    May 23, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. Fleura

    BARACK OBAMA has been our candidate for months and months now, unlike the republican party we let the system work and take its natural course.

    To all Obama "non-supporters" out there thinking that their tickets counts in the DNC book, think again and join with the rest of the republicans!!!

    We've had enough divisions this season to all all you Republicans to further damage this election process. Some states even allow you republicans to switch sides to vote democrats when truly your only interest is republican.

    May 23, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Ron M.

    When you have a real story then report it. This is like reading a story in a supermarket tabloid!

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

    For a quiet life please give the nomination to BILLARY so she could choose old prune face Geraldine Ferraro as her V.P
    There you would have your dream ticket


    May 23, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Miss Mary Mack

    Obama please don’t offer Hillary the VP seat. It would go against everything you’ve been striving for…CHANGE. She is of the OLD politics. We need a breath of fresh air. Obviously this OLD stuff hasn’t been working!

    May 23, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  10. Phil

    Let's see exit strategies for rats...ummmm, don't they just duck out the back door?

    May 23, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Austing

    Obama/Clinton is the only way I vote democrat this fall...otherwise I stay home and watch CNN.

    May 23, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Honest man for Obama

    Tell me what Hillary has accomplished in her life directly other than talks?
    She failed to take actions when Florida and Michigan broke the rule then.
    If she doesn't agreed to the purnishment handled out to both Florida and Michigan why didn't she campaign in those states?

    Hillary has never done anything possitive on her own to help people, but she has helped Wal-mart for money and people think she has done a lot. What has she done other than take credit for her husband accomplishment.

    Stop the bull guys if you can't tell me the things Hillary herself have done to help poor people then you are a fool.

    May 23, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. Robert

    It's a contest, and the winner takes all. If Obama wins the nomination, he gets to choose whoever he wants as his running mate. He will not owe Hillary anything. If he wants to take the high road and pay Mrs. Clinton's debts for her (since she has failed to manage her campaign finances properly) that's up to him. But he doesn't OWE her.

    Putting her on the ticket would be a huge mistake = 8 more years of the Clintons playing out their marital psychodrama on the national stage, distracting from the Obama agenda and the CHANGE we need.

    May 23, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. Video Guy

    Offer her the job of head dog catcher in NYC and be done with it.

    May 23, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Take it to the Convention in AUG

    If only I was not so sure that Hillary is the better candidate. If only Obama would just be as clear as Hillary has been in expressing his plans and policies. If only I could pretend that Hillary and her supporters are simply racists. If only all of us Hillary supporters, literally half of the democratic party, could just get over the idea that we have opinions that matter. If only we wouldn't feel offended when others belittle our concerns, call us names, reduce our position to being against Obama instead of for Hillary, and try to demonize us for not having given up long ago. If only we didn't have opinions and didn't have votes, then the democratic party would not be divided, but it would only be half as big and half as powerful

    May 23, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  16. Joseph

    If I were Obama, I would let Hillary Clinton and her campaign know that under the following preconditions he would be able to negotiate with her, after she has done the following:

    1) Hillary Clinton must hold a news conference and announce the immediate end of her presidential campaign for becoming the Democratic nominee.

    2) Hillary must pledge to support Obama for President with no reservations, a 110 percent effort on her part..

    3) Hillary would ask for her supporters to vote for Obama, because it is really important to her and the nation that Obama becomes President.

    4) Hillary would not be become resentful if Obama did not offer her the Vice Presidential slot, but rather offered it to Bill Clinton, after all Bill is really the one with the executive experience (Governor and President).

    May 23, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. Michigan voter

    I'm a republican woman from Michigan that has NEVER voted anything but republican. But to my surprise I am actually considering voting for Obama in November. I'm not happy with McCain as our candidate and I like what Obama is saying about change. One thing is for sure, and that's if Hillary is the VP on Obama's ticket...NO WAY will I vote democrate. NO WAY NO WAY NO HOW!!!! Many republicans are looking at Obama and liking what they see, but we DO NOT like the Clintons. Bill was an embarrasment and Hillary is just plain evil. Please Obama, don't even think about Hillary as your VP because I just don't know what I will do come November....

    May 23, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. Shawn, Takoma Park, MD

    Craig cried: "Its funny how nasty, mean and spiteful many of you Obama supporters are -positively hateful comments, while at the same time you are trumpeting the "new era of kum-bye-ya" bliss that Obama purports to bring to the world.

    Aren't you supposed to follow in the footsteps and manner of your guru and stop with all the nastiness and embrace and love everyone? Doesn't your own vile rhetoric belie the "yes we can" spirit you speak so mesmerizingly of?"

    If only you could see how hypocritical you are. What a nasty and childish post. Why don't you join us in taking back the White House instead of demonizing us for winning and pretending to be a victim? It's really getting old, Craig, and perhaps you should take a few moments to read some of the insane and evil rants from many Hillary supporters before your lecture us. I am sorry if any nasty Obama supporters have insulted you. Are YOU sorry? You should be.

    May 23, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. TMD

    If H.R.C. had taken the high road earlier on in the campaign she would have been a good candidate as B.O.'s V.P. But she didn't and the idea of a dream ticket became a nightmare. Since, historically, V.P.'S fade off into the background never to be heard of again unless there is death or may not be such a big deal who is B.O.' V.P.
    But, if B.O. intends change, change, change as he has stated thru out the campaign, he will select a V.P. who is visible, effective, knowledgeable of military/security matters and work that person all he can to help make America the best and most respected country in the world again. I personally prefer a woman on the ticket because white men have been running this country toooo long and look where we are today. A strong woman as V.P. would be a welcomed and effective change. GO BARACK OBAMA 08!

    May 23, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. Helene

    Why is this woman so special that she needs to be cajoled, and treated differently from everyone else in politics ? What has she done besides being Bill Clinton's wife ? She has the nomination because she was not as good a candidate as Obama. That certainly does not give her (or her husband) the right to demand a place on the ticket.

    May 23, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. Linned

    The Rules Committee meets on May 31 and decides what to do with MI & FL. The other primaries are completed on June 3rd. The supers pick the candidate that they are supportinng. The Democratic party has a nominee and the one who did not win is out of the race. The nominee picks their VP. We move on.

    May 23, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. lost my vote

    Obama lost my vote when he created and depended on a celebrity bandwagon for advancement rather than accomplish it on his own merits.

    He won't regain my vote ever.

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. Michael Gubbons

    This is totally false, Hillary Clinton has denied this. Is this just the latest strategy move of the Obama campaign? CNN needs to verify their sources and stop soliciting false information regarding the election of caniddate Hillary Clinton. This kind of information will not make Hillary Clinton or her millions upon millions of voters go away,
    mainly because Hillary is our next President and it shows us more each and every day why we should vote for her! Hopefully, Hillary will have the good sense not to have Obama as Vice President and she will elect to have someone else that is more capable of being Vice President with more experience in the political arena. Could these sources that are suppose to be so close to Hillary really sources from the Obama team that is trying to sabatoge her campaign. Interesting thought. Very disappoined in CNN for not verifying information.

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Bill, Florida

    Why is there so much talk of her dropping out of the race? She's probably going to win the popular vote (not including Michigan or Florida), the Florida and Michigan delegates are likely going to be seated in some way that gives her more delegates than Obama, new polls are coming out that she is stronger in the swing states that any Democrat needs to win the election, and there are still more than enough pledged and super delegates to put her over the top. The media is extremely biased for saying that she doesn't have a chance. Not that my opinion matters. After all, I'm just a bitter Floridian, who's vote doesn't count.

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. Joseph IRAQ WAR VET

    Please stop defending Socialism or any simplistic ism. The best form of government is the U.S, we have a system that rewards innovation and hard work. Dont give us Democrats a bad name by embracing socialism. I think free market Capitalism is the other simplistic extreme that is out of balance. The U.S is great because we have this two party system that creates what we need when our situation dictates it, a free unregulated market when we need it, and a regulated market/ redistribution of wealth when the 1 percenters dont trickle the wealth down

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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