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. Elizabeth

    I hope Senator Obama does not have to appease Hillary this time. This sounds like a cross between a threat and bullying. Those of us who have selected Obama for president are tired of Clinton's bullying. Please, Hillary, just go peacefully.

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. Charlene

    We are all simply TIRED of this campaign. Go home to NY Hillary; we don't want you.

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  3. DJ, LA, CA

    How much you want to bet at least one of the scenarios is:

    1) Promise to offer Clinton the V.P. slot

    2) Offer to pay-off the $20 mil. Clinton campaign debt

    3) If Obama doesn't such and such...Clinton will run as an independent

    4) That "threatening" letter the elite 20 Clinton supporters sent to Nancy Pelosi will be updated with a new set of demands

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. GM Maryland

    No Clinton VP, please, that will completely undermine the whole point of this campaign! Don't do it Obama! Pick someone else!

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. FactCheck

    Please, Hillary supporter go ahead and vote for McCain. For us Obama supporters, high gas prices, outsourcing of jobs, continued war, cuts in healthcare, Medicair/Medicade and social security are no big deal. Most of us are financially secure and can wait another 4 years for "natural selection" to wade you out.

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. ap

    Graceful exit?!? Are you kidding me? She burned that bridge a long time ago.

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. mild

    this is silly clinton does whatever she3 wants -dont we all know this by and could care less about the party.

    My gripe is that CNN is using this nonsense to forget about mccain

    despite the fact ther e is a VIDEO that shows a different light on mccain /hagee than mccain wants to admit
    same video also shows mccain calling wash dc "city of satan"
    here is the link

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. myname1

    PLEASE DO NOT OFFER CLINTON THE VP SLOT. Her philosophy, values, campaign tactics are TOTALLY OPPOSITE to who you are and what you stand for.



    She is a dangerous foe.

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Rodney -LA

    Time after time – what is right or what is in MS. Clinton's best interest. Send money to so she can pay off or debt and continue to devide a party that is clearly behind Obama. What is her end game, after all she is a Clinto, who I voted for twice. Hillary look past your reflection to the Nation you say you love. Help us heal and not be a heel sore loser.

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. Realist in Maryland

    This would defeat the Obama political stance of needing CHANGE in the Whitehouse. The Clintons are not CHANGE. They are the definition of old school politics.

    And lastly, Clinton is too polarizing. I think her being on the ticket would lose the "Reagan Democrats" and many Independent voters that are leaning towards Obama over McCain.

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. MFObama

    She wants to obliterate Iran and he wants to take a civilized road and talk to Iran. They are completely different people and I don't care if someone argues she will bring white voters to his side because she can also harm him by taking away the votes of the people who don't like to see her anywhere near the white house. This lady should process the fact that she has lost and she is not the strongest or better candidate, she just has a huge ego that has to be crushed as soon as possible.

    May 23, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. YES WE CAN

    Hillary can run for the VP on McCains ticket. They are so much alike. She just needs to leave. We need to unite and go forward. She changes every situation to fit her. She can take Campbell Brown with her on the CNN – Clinton News Network. Campbell is so bias. I get so tired of her negative comments. YES WE CAN WHEN WE UNITE.

    May 23, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. dre-gal

    wouldn't hillary as VP go against "change" – it won't work she doesn't want #2. He doesn't want Bill telling him what to do. It will not happen. It's just a bad idea. It's a fluff position – Do youthink she would take orders from Obama. Lets be real.

    May 23, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  14. Venus

    CNN – Obama now has 5-superdelegates this morning! Can you update your ticker...

    The last SD is from Oregon! Thank you and welcome to the "O" Team!

    Go Bam! Hillary doesn't know any thing about grace – she's Rocky!

    It would be nice to see a woman president with a dress on some times!

    May 23, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  15. Female Independent

    If Hillary were a man, you would not be considering giving a graceful exit.
    She is running like a man so take it like a man.
    It's time to move on and support the party.

    May 23, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  16. Fleura

    We Democrats don't need Republicans on our side...enough is enough. Join your party and leave the DNC and its loyals intact.

    Only one debate this season: DEMOCRATS vs. REPUBLICANS!


    May 23, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. Edwin, Fayetteville, NC

    Sen. Clinton would not be good for the Obama ticket as VP however, giving her a graceful exit would be a means for her to keep her dignaty and unify the party. Clinton could be of immense support for the Obama ticket whom ever he picks as VP.

    May 23, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  18. Jay PA

    She is a Clinton! No such thing as a graceful exit. She is going to try her best to drain Obama and the DNC as much as possible so she can get some $ to pay her debt and maybe land a spot somewhere in the cabinet. Her supporters call her a fighter and people like me call her a sore loser.

    May 23, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |

    GO BACK TO THE SEWER WHERE YOU BELONG, Hillary. And take that freak husband of yours with you.

    May 23, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. jack

    LOL, A gracefull way out? Who is Hillary kidding? She has run a republican campaign against a democrat, she has used racesim,lies and deciet to try and get what she believes should have been given to her without a campaign.

    She needs (along with Bill) to be drummed out of the party.

    The Bush and Clinton families are part of our past, its time to move on. Just like at a funeral, your sad, you cry, you throw some dirt on the casket and go home and with time things get better.

    May 23, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  21. cheryl

    To Craig,
    do you have blinders on? Have you not heard and seen how mean Hillary Clinton has been to Obama, each time he took the high road when made nasty comments about him. and how about the Republicans are thanking her for giving them amunition to use against Obama in the fall, thanks alot Hillary.

    May 23, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. lost my vote also

    Obama lost my vote when he played the race card in SC. he knew it would harm the party and create racial tensions and divide. He knew that the Clinton's were NOT racists. But he was egotistical and ruthless and he did it anyway. He did not care for the damage caused.

    He won't regain my vote ever.

    May 23, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  23. Charnel in NC

    Obama owes the Clinton nothing. This was a race each understood when they got in. Just let the clock run out and let her pack her bag. Obama won the race and it's only his decision who to pick for his v.p. slot. If he were to force to accpet less than that, what's the point.

    Also, the Clinton will not decline publically or privately if the slot is offered to her. Americans are fed up with the Clinton fatigue and don't trust any of the Clintons.
    She played the game and lost fair and square.
    Again, Obama owes the Clinton nothing.

    May 23, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  24. R Garcia, Northern Cali

    Bill Richardson should be his VP. He has negotiated with Saddam Hussein, he has a huge record regarding foreign policy. He is also latino, which would bring our numbers in the dem party up with no way in sight a Repub could win. Even all those ignorant Cubans in Fl with their strong support for Mccain. What they don't realize is that the younger generation of Cuban-Americans, favor Obama over Mccain and Clinton, and many are now democrats. Bill Richardson has served his country extroadinarily, and should be Obama's pick for VP. He's strong on foreign policy, and has a loooooooooooong resume, even working under the "over-hyped' Clinton campagin.

    May 23, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. Patty

    Thank you Craig – my sentiments also. I cannot for the life of me understand why these Obama supporters just do not want to let the process run. Hillary is not the first candidate to take it to the convention. They must be afraid of something!!!! AND they do show their ignorance by being so hateful and nasty!! Talk about intelligence.

    May 23, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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