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. FactCheck

    > This has NO appeal to most voters.

    What does that say about Clinton in that he was able to soundly beat her in every meaningful metric during the primaries? Thought so.

    May 23, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. After further review,Texas

    Well if she hasnt proven shes "man enough" to those that care about such things,no more needs to be said.She has lied as well as any male politcian if not more.Shes really in the wrong party at the wrong time.

    May 23, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Barb Herenbruck

    No Hillary for VP ~ she's a shot away from President (as dirty as this has been....I see her pulling the trigger)

    May 23, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. sharon

    I cznnot imagine a united Democratic party, because of all the negative input by Obama supporters, they have created a divide that I do not believe will be overcome, Hillary Clinton deserved due respect for her contributions in the past. I sincerely hope she does not exit but fights to the end, and if by some miracle finishes first, the other side will look rather foolish.

    May 23, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. A joke, right?

    graceful exit strategy...we are beyond that.

    uh, anyone ever wonder why she filed to run in 2000 (but then didnt) and then didnt run in 2004 (which she should have, she would have made a better candidate than Kerry)...and then runs now?

    I really think 2004 should have been her year...but just like this campaign – she totally blew it.

    Remember Clinton fans – if you tank 2008 for her 2012 bid, i gladly look forward to SWEET REVENGE!

    May 23, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. BBB

    These Supers are taking too long in ending this thing. The SDs will take some of the blame from the outcome of this prolonged Dems race. Had they come in and done what is right here, those buses going to DC on the 31st would be empty going- if they even go. It's over and we know whom the Dems have chosen to be the next President of the United States of America. His name is Obama. This is not a latin. It is rather English!

    May 23, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. Shannon, SC

    Hillary doesn't give a darn about other woman, she ran her campaign like a backstreet brothel. So now she wants to "save face" to represent other woman? Don't make me laugh, she doesn't represent me.

    May 23, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. Greg

    No backdoor discussions? Right... and we are supposed to believe everything else these two campaigns tell us up to November too. The only reason Billary won't come out as actively seeking the VP spot is because she genuinely has no desire to be No. 2... her campaign is all or nothing, in it to win it, etc... while her lackeys may push for some sort of concession, the only graceful exit for Clinton is for Obama to pay off her debt and finance/support her run for Majority Leader, anything short of that, and the only support he'll receive from her is lip service or as the article mentions, the same support Bill gave Gore. Obama gives up a lot not adding her to the ticket, but she also carries a lot of baggage as well. Obama doesn't have the political prowess to control her as VP, Billary, Hill and Bill, will undermine his every move... only his handlers have made it possible for him to get this far, the same as Bush. Obama has the same halo so many other influential speakers have had throughout history, but leave it to the Clintons to try and take the tarnish off what could be a very historic presidency.

    May 23, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. Louis

    It's unfortunate for the Hill-Billery camp to have used so many adverse tactics that she leaves no room for herself on the ticket. Now she is in the midst of launching a sexist smear. That cannot be a good look for a Pres or VP when things get tough. One day your a strong, never give up, shot drinking, duck killing machine, can't no man stop me screamer then in the desparate hours your a frail, home-body, poor defenseless woman. I have no doubt the woman can lead but lets keep it real, which is so unlike Hillary.

    What is that they (Hill-Bill) when they thought Barrack was going to break after the last debate...oh yeah...If you can't stand the heat, turn the fan on and bake cookies...or something like that, she has had so many. I do wish you the best of luck Hillary....happy trails.


    May 23, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Liz S. in California

    Please, Senator Obama, NO HILLARY as your running mate! You stand and have won the hearts and support of the majority by your own merit and most certainly DO NOT NEED THE CLINTONS to go all the way to the White House! Once Hillary no longer poses a distraction and Appalachia becomes more familiar with WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU REPRESENT, I have faith that they will become "educated" and support you vs. McCain!

    OBAMA 08!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. mt

    talks and theories. All the time.

    toJames SC: I lived in communistic country – and it was bad, bad.Terrible. I ran away.

    and I do not think that Obama has it all. No matter how his followers think, and how hard they push. I have my own mind, and can see things, I do not follow blindly anyone.

    May 23, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. Steve, New York, New York

    Wow – has Hillary finally decided to put her LARGER-THAN-LIFE ego aside, to stop tearing apart the democratic party?

    I'll believe it when I see it.

    What's next from her? Maybe she'll pull some shameless "Joe Lieberman" stunt, and switch parties, so she can keep running.

    May 23, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. Jeff

    I've got a genius idea:

    So fine, they wait until the convention, even if it is well known that Obama has the nomination locked up. Then Obama gets the nomination, then Hillary works hard to get her supporters behind Obama. Obama can then go ahead and back Hillary for Senate Majority leader. End of story.

    No need to pay down her campaign debts. No need to offer, real or fake, the VP slot. If Hillary is a Democrat, she will do all she can to ensure Barack Obama wins the General Election. If she hates her party and her country, she will remain aloof, or throw her weight behind McCain. I don't think Hillary hates her country, and I don't think she is a Neocon Republican, so I truly hope she does the right thing when the time comes.

    She needs to help dispel the lies many people are believing out there as well. She has spent a good portion of the campaign deceiving her supporters, and many of them have bought fully into the lies. It is up to Hillary to dispel these falsehoods.

    May 23, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. RejectandDenounceTheClitors

    The Clintons cans spead as much rumors as they want she is not going to get any offer from Obama or his supporters all we need to do now is clinch this nomination and move on. We do not need clintons to win the general election we are capable of doing it ourselves.

    May 23, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. Dandelion.

    I'm so worried about our party right now. This was our year and I'm terrified it has been ruined.

    Please, please come together Dems. We can't afford four more years of this.

    May 23, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. faye, NV

    Clinton should pull out and wait until her time come again. I don't think she should attempt to power herself into becoming the nominee. For the most part it would help her mend fences.

    May 23, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. NoCountryForOldMen

    why the hell does she "deserve" he veep spot? he beat her fair and square by the rules they ALL agreed to play by! and why should anyone care whether she "saves face?" she's lost, and if it were obama doing what she's doing, the party would have asked him to quit a long time ago, which is precisely what she should do.

    May 23, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. lorenzo

    Hillary's scorched earth policy has done nothing but divide the party. H illary would rather everybody lose than obama win. hillary knows the democratic party is divided along racial lines and she exploited those divisions by making racially charged statements as such. The party will never recover regardeless of who wins. Based upon some of the comments she has made about Sen Obama who could trust her as a running mate. This is the problem, McCain will win this election based upon the divisions in this country and this party.

    May 23, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Rena

    Heavenly Father,

    I pray now in the name of Jesus that you would convict all individuals who have hate or unrighteous judgments due to a person’s skin color or gender. Father, I pray for salvation for those who are lost. I pray that you would forgive those who act and say things out of ignorance. Father, I now pray for all candidates that you would protect them from the wicked devices while on this campaign trail. Father, may you put words in their mouth that with edify You and the American people. I pray that You will bring forth your perfect will for us a President that will be lead by Your Spirit, that will guide us on a righteous path as a country, that will seek You for wisdom and insight concerning us as nation, that will think of this country as a whole and not a selfish ambition for themselves, and above all will love You and seek you for counseling concerning all things. Lastly, I pray your word that says that we should love one another as Christ loved us, for He loved us until the point of death. Father, help us to remember that you sent your Son here to teach us to love and to forgive one another of each short comings. Also, help us to know that when you see us You don't see color but you see spirit which is our heart. Help us to remember that no man can enter into Your kingdom that break your law of grace. Father, I thank you for forgiving us even when we can't forgive others, I thank you for loving us when we can't seem to love each other, I thank you for being merciful to us even when we can't show mercy towards others, I thank you for patience even when we can't be patient with each other, I thank you for not judging us as we judge each other, and above all I thank you Jesus for dying for our sins because without your death and blood shed we would TRULY die in our sin.



    May 23, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. Rus in St. Paul, MN

    The best thing Hillary can do for the party. She should be the one that gives Obama the endorsement that puts him at the mark for the nomination.

    It would be symbolic, and would be a huge step towards bringing the party together.

    Since it would be such a powerful, and unifying move, it won't happen and Hillary will be fighting him on the floor at the convention.

    In other news, Obama picked up another superdelegate from Oregon. +5 on the day for Obama, -1 on the day for Clinton.

    May 23, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. raf


    "Its funny how nasty, mean and spiteful many of you Obama supporters are -positively hateful comments"
    "(so reach right on out to Hamas – you are gonna get your head handed back to you….but at least you will all still have the same intoxicated look of infatuous adoration in your eyes…..)"

    I mean, if you're going to make a point, don't contradict it three paragraphs later. How could you possibly not catch that hypocrisy?

    May 23, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. Ted in Chicago

    Re Michigan – CNN and MSNBC have short memories

    HRC and DODD got burned by insiders in IOWA for deciding to keep their names on the MI ballott – while Edwards and Obama pandered to the Iowa Caucus goers - but now its all HRC is a witch – why?

    Here from CNN itself
    Biden's campaign called the Michigan primary a "beauty contest."

    "Today's decision reaffirms our pledge to respect the primary calendar as established by the DNC and makes it clear that we will not play into the politics of money and Republican machinations that only serve to interfere with the primary calendar," said Biden campaign manager Luis Navarro.

    "We're very disappointed and this is another example of why the monopoly that Iowa and New Hampshire have, needs to end," Michigan Democratic Party spokesman Jason Moon said.

    Moon declined to speculate about whether the party will move the date of its primary or hold a caucus.

    Don't Miss
    Florida, Michigan play chicken over primaries
    Election Center 2008
    While Dodd's campaign is "committed to the importance of Iowa and New Hampshire going first," Dodd will not withdraw from the ballot, said Dodd's communications director Hari Sevugan.

    "It does not benefit any of us, if we are the nominee, to pull our name off the ballot and slight Michigan voters," Sevugan said.

    The Clinton campaign said she will not withdraw from the Michigan ballot because it is unnecessary to do so.

    The Biden campaign criticized Clinton and Dodd for not taking their names off the ballot.

    "The Dodd and Clinton campaigns have chosen to hedge their bets, thereby throwing this process into further disarray," Biden campaign manager Navarro said. "In doing so, they have abandoned Democrats in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina."

    CNN's Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider suggested the Democrats who withdrew may have calculated that it was simply in their best political interest to do so.

    May 23, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Becky

    Why haven't they started the discussion for Exit? this is un-acceptable,
    this should have started right after IOWA

    Obama 08

    May 23, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. Millions more

    Susan says: "Millions would rather Clinton be the nominee."

    And millions more would rather she wouldn't. The times they are a-changin'!

    May 23, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. MD

    Amazing that Hillary fell fictim to Obama's race-baiting. What a joke!

    May 23, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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