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. Kathy Corey

    So both the Clinton and Obama camps deny that this is true...Senator Clinton is focused on running for President...yet CNN prints this garbage anyway. When is Suzanne going to join the Obama camp full-time.?

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

    I agree with Melissa and Craig that the Obama supporters are absolutely rude and nasty with their comments. They are doing nothing positive to try and bring the Clinton supporters into the fold and you cannot win with out us! Case is point is Henry Haider who calls women voters "dumb". Don't say the campaign for the Democratic nominee hasn't been sexist because it has!

    May 23, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. Rodney -LA

    May 23rd, 2008 1:54 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    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 dissrupt a party that is clearly behind Obama. What is her end game, after all she is a Clinton, 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 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. Paulinus

    Loosing the General elections without Hillary is better than winning with her. She carries enough baggage to sink Obama's presidency. In addition, for her supporters to back McCain is a testimony of the existence of Racism in America. Inequity is rampant in America and I am afraid that the Nation is far from being Blessed.

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

    BARACK OBAMA & COLLIN POWELL (Super Ticket) 08′

    May 23, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. Kiran

    Hillary Supporers who now say: Be nice to us or less....
    Let me share something with you: We won't stand for getting BLACKMAILED.


    May 23, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  7. Take it to the Convention in AUG

    one word

    " Portarico"

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

    Hillary put in a good fight and as earned the right to stay in it untill all the contest are over. Then obama needs to sit down with her and ask for her help and some of her key supporters so he can win in novemeber

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

    Hillary should stay in the race until the end. Someone please list all the things that he is going to "Change". I am not talking health care as we hear the samething every 4 years. Things in our country will get worse with him in office as He has yet to specify what CHANGE he is going to do.... There is alot going on in the world and Obama with his lack of experience is going to hurt us in the end especially with other countries. If Obama gets the nomination myself and many people are switching parties in November. I would rather have someone with knowledge in Office then someone who has no knowledge to handle the issues bigger then Obama.

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

    The best way to end the race is that for Hillary to exit without regards. She knows better and she would be fit to be a New York Senator and to unite the Party and to campaign for Senator Obama.

    May 23, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. No Obama

    Nasty, Nasty Obama supporters. You all seem to get your posts on here.

    May 23, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. A. Harrison in Georgia

    Let's just get Florida and Michigan counted.
    Then both camps agree to make Hillary VP.

    Call iti a day.

    Obama choosing any other person as VP is not helping him win in November, Hillary supporters are very upset about the campaign at this point and would take Obama offering someone else as a slap in the face.

    May 23, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. John

    The fact that Hillary and her campaign aides are discussing an exit strategy is a good thing. This democratic presidential race cannot continue much past June 3 or it will likely have negative impacts on the party and the general election. At this point it is very unlikely that Clinton will get the nomination.

    As far as Clinton being Vice-President, I don't think that is such a good idea based on what people and the media are saying. It would be better to have someone else such as a governor on the ticket with Barack Obama. It would also be better if Clinton stayed in the US Senate or served as a member of Obama's administration at a position below the Vice-President position.

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

    It's hard to design an exit that's graceful . . . for someone who's not graceful.

    May 23, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  15. Kathy, from NJ

    There is NO better person (man or woman) to lead this country than Barack Obama.

    May 23, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. Dean - Colton, CA

    For those who want the *factual* information on the FL and MI primaries – who decided it, who opposed it, who wants to change it and why – go to The links with supporting information are there. Don't let uninformed trolls take away *your* voice by swaying you with lies and misinformation.

    May 23, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. Faya

    Politic has never been about love or likeness. Therefore, Obama and Hillary don't need to love each other. They both have one to love. The question here is about how to win the general election. So far, Obama seems not to secure the victory. One would say it is too early to conclude. Still, lateness starts in the morning.

    Obama for president, Hillary for VP is the best chance fof the democrats to win the White House this year. If no, welcome John!


    May 23, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  18. Voting My Conscience not My Party

    Hillary holds a law degree from Yale and has been a First Lady and US Senator.

    She is more educated than most of you idiots calling her a hillbilly.

    May 23, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  19. Ted in Chicago

    If we DEMS want to win – and not just play favorites and point to rules in politics??

    WE need a dream ticket – with BO on top – and I am pro HRC making her case till the middle of June

    But we need women and older white men and neither GOV from PA or OH will bring in say the 5% BO will not have that HRC has that are the older women ........ and no young woman will bring in the older white male vote

    HRC uniquely brings in the women and older white male voters who she attracted in MANY MANY states and is the correct choice if BO wants to win

    A Gov from one state does no more than that state
    Edwards did nothing for BO in KY – nothing with white voters – zero
    A young woman does not get the blue collar in PA and OH
    BO is poison in MI and FL
    (Let be honest that BO pulled out of MI as did Edwards to please the insiders in an IOWA caucus (not primary) - and HRC and DODD stayed on the ballott and it cost them for doing so – cost them in IOWA so fair is fair)

    From CNN
    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 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. DMAC/Post Falls, ID

    I hope she goes right to the convention since nothing is being done about MICH. and FL. Especially since the is the one that turned down a revote. This would be all settled right now if it were not for that.
    It is hard to fathom that man is trying to raise money in FL. when they could have had a revote and he killed that.

    May 23, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. Eugene

    Obama is already leading McCain in the polls even before things settle down with his party. He just needs to keep doing as he has and live up to his principles.

    May 23, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. barbara goehring

    I think it is sad that she would care more about her own ambitions than about the country and the Dem. party. She is just showing the people one more reason to not trust her. How many speeches have we endured where she said this was all about us????!!!! She is proving to us that she does NOT speak the truth. This is all ABOUT her and BILL. Sad to see.

    May 23, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. SM

    I agree with Enomisa. Americans are taken in again by a "talker" like Reagan was. I dont think Obama is particularly inspirational, because he talks for hours...about nothing. I am dissappointed that he will be the nominee but more dissappointed that so many people have not been able to see through him. The Republicans are going to laugh their way back to the White House...

    May 23, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. Obama Supporter, but anybody but McCain 08!


    And millions would rather Obama be the nominee. What is your point exactly?

    May 23, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. lost my vote also

    Obama lost my vote when he mocked Hillary with his Annie Oakley comments.

    NOT very presidential.

    Add that to the cheating, the race-card playing, the phony hype, the Rev Wright support turned denouncement, the lack of any definitive political platform. The Flip flops. The Blocking the revote in Fl and Mi.

    He won't regain my vote ever.

    May 23, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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