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. Nas from PA

    Clinton has no grace. She's said things that may hurt Obama in the general. A joint ticket would be crazy. Obama with the Clinton(s) would marginalize him as the president and go hard against his message of change. Clinton should just go into her respective corner, lick her wounds and support Obama. Realizing that she was NOT entitled to be president. She was supposed to EARN it as he did. She had a head start, money, delegates and her name and he simply beat her in every way.

    Lets just move on, unify the party and get to the business of winning in November.

    May 23, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  2. Obama lost my vote when

    Obama lost my vote when he pretended to be a uniter, but then proceeded to exploit the differences of race, age, income, and gender just to further himself.

    He was even so arrogant, cocky and boastful to claim that he could bring back Clinton's supporters, but that she could not bring back his supporters.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Clinton is more moderate and has more universal appeal. Also, the older demographic that supports her will more easily go over to McCain, than Obama's more radical leftist youth demographic.

    Still all the wrong myths were being blogged and posted by a biased media. Now the reality sets in.

    WE will never vote for Obama.

    He won't regain my vote ever.

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

    "Susan May 23rd, 2008 12:55 pm ET

    Millions would rather Clinton be the nominee."

    true. but millions more have come out for obama.

    May 23, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. aaron from minneapolis

    He's respected her the whole way. She's shown no respect.

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



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

    Clinton save face you say. Why would she need to do that? She is allowing people to have their say. For the first time that I can remember, my homes state was actually important. She is seeing this thing through and has not claimed anything else. You people at CNN make things up to fill in your 24 hours of news. All I can draw from your statements is that you are either quitters or liars.

    May 23, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. David O

    GOOD BYE....


    May 23, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. Zach

    If the Democrats want to get back in the White House, then both sides are probably going to have to find a way to come together and figure something out, and Democrats as a party must organize and make sure the nominee is making a real run for office. Obama is likely the nominee, but we cannot ignore Hillary Clinton's experience. The two could compliment each other nicely. I don't want to see another republican in the White House, even if it is John McCain (much better than our current president)

    May 23, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. Phyllis

    Hillary is a disgrace to this woman....How can she exit gracefully when she knows nothing about grace...She needs to go in hiding.

    May 23, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. Bert

    BARACK OBAMA & COLLIN POWELL (Super Ticket) 08'

    May 23, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. Major Michael in Lorton, Virginia

    Hillary's campaign exit will be precieve as "graceful", but in reality it will also be viewed as a woman who could not accept defeat. I want to say that is going to be graceful and dignified, but there is little dignity in the manner by which she conducted her campaign....and even more her behavior. The best outcome is that some agreement would be reached in paying off her campaign debts by consolidation of campaign funding, however, there are restrictions on how much of the olive branch Obama's campaign is willing to or can offer. In the end, Hillary's support for Obama will be generic and distant.......not that he needs her support......since he will have the full support of the DNC and Democratic party.

    May 23, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. Dennis

    A Clinton loss could actually help gender equality. We already know a woman can win like a man but can this woman lose as gracefully? Hillary is rapidly moving past the point of being able to do so. It's character not chromosomes that matter.

    May 23, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. Katherine from Oregon

    Sounds like they're blackmailing Obama into offering the VP position. "Take me, or you won't get my support or suppporters." I hope he walks away from her. He doesn't need her!

    May 23, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. Cammi317

    OMG – I love how you take partial "excerpts" to make them appear to mean something else. Anyone who has actually read the book will know better. I guess you're just counting on the ones that have not to be outraged.

    May 23, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. Alex M

    No one is more "Elitist" than the Clintons, its time to stop the Bush-Clinton Era. Lets give the white house back to the people of America.
    Obama 08.

    May 23, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. Crush Rush

    She can always get a job with Faux News or a become the new rush limbaugh of radio.

    May 23, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  17. steven

    Susan May 23rd, 2008 12:55 pm ET

    Millions would rather Clinton be the nominee.


    More millions would rather Obama be the nominee...

    May 23, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  18. Eugene

    The joint ticket could have been very viable if Clinton had chosen the high road in her campaign: no "white voters are mine" talk, no hinting he might be Muslim, no constant bending the truth till it shattered, etc. She didn't. She played the game even when it involved making herself clearly hypocritical as with Michigan and Florida, and appears to still be doing so all or nothing. Offering her the majority post in Congress sounds viable, maybe a seat on the Court, in exchange for her vocal support could be a deal. But Obama did not come this far only to sell out. With an honest, strong VP maybe Gov. Sebelius, he should do very well come November.

    May 23, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  19. She Not My Role Model

    The only woman Hillary represents is Annie Oakley. She's a gun totin', shot drinkin' saloon girl. Enough said.

    May 23, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  20. cheryl

    To Melissa,
    you sound like a smart woman, Obamas supporters are getting frustrated that Hillary continue to attempt to change the rules in the middle of the game, we democrats must rally together to take our country back, Hillary should stop the madness, we have work to do in order to beat McCain, she is not helping the cause. Democrats must unite!

    May 23, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. Ray

    GO ALL THE WAY HILLARY!!...We can't win in Nov without Hillary...if we get Barack we will end up with Mc"Lame"

    May 23, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Michelle

    Michelle Obama's thesis

    Racist comment :
    "There was no doubt in my mind that as a member of the black community, I am obligated to this community
    and will utilize all of my present and future resources to benefit the black community first and foremost."

    May 23, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. Proud1of 26% in WV

    Why don't the other superdelegates that know they are going to support him just go ahead and end this before another mess presents it's self of May 31?

    May 23, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. Go away Obama

    The only acceptable exits strategy for most democrats and many crossover voters is for Obama to exit.

    He is a phony liar without a platform.

    He won by cheating – with the help of the corrupt DNC, and a pro-Obama worshipful media.

    May 23, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  25. Texas Vet

    This Democratic Party has really been about two ways to wage a campaign. One Candidate has been campaigning based on Hope Change and Inclusiveness, the other Candidate based on Experience, Toughness and the Leverage of her voter base.

    It is apparent that after all the Primaries are finished, Obama will win the majority of Pledged Delegates and currently leads in Unpledged Delegates. It is also apparent that the Clintons are sending the message that Hillary should be offered the VP slot. Many of the Unpledged delegates, being Politicians, feel winning is more important than the way you win. I hope they remember that many voters don’t feel that way.

    Hillary has broken too many rules, promises, told too many lies and has too much baggage including Bill the “Lobbyist”. Perhaps Hillary just wants to be able to say she was offered it. She would not be able to run in 2012, so politically she should try to leverage the Senate Majority Leader spot.

    I do believe Obama doesn’t need Clinton to win and there are better Vice Presidential candidates available to help him win the General Election and change the direction of this Country. I know he will surround himself with the best of both parties. I think Senator Hagle from Nebraska would be a great choice for the VP slot. I doubt if the DNC insiders are smart enough to realize what that would do to the General Election Polls.

    What would I do if Hillary gets the VP slot. My first reaction is to not vote in the General Election. I would never vote for McCain like many of Hillary’s supporters threaten to do. There are many Obama supporters that would feel betrayed by Hillary being on the Ticket. It would alienate a lot of Independent and swing Republican voters.

    Then I remembered the old adage, “Keep your Friends close and your Enemies closer.” Having Hillary on the Ticket may be the only way to get the Clintons and their supporters to campaign hard enough to win in November. I think Obama is smart enough to realize Hillary’s loyalties are at best for the Clintons. But, if it happens, I will vote for the Ticket.

    May 23, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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