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. Ben Pires

    When Obama wins, he should offer the VP slot to a woman who is not a politician (not a governor, not a senator, not a congress woman, not a mayor), in keeping with his theme of CHANGE from the usual political practices in Washington. It will indicate he is sincere in his desire for CHANGE. A woman CEO of an international firm would be an ideal VP.

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

    I have stopped donating to Obama until he shows me he can resist political pressure to accept clinton for any position. If he can't fight them off then how is he going to go up against the superpowerful lobbyists he says he is going to go after; this will make him just another politician.Hillary will not embezzel one dime of my money while she stiffs 21mil worth of vendors. She chose to recklessless continue on fumes after her chances were over 2 months ago.

    May 23, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Rick D in Chicago

    What I don't understand is why residents of Michigan and Florida should be disgruntled with either Obama or Clinton or Edwards or Richardson for that matter. Do residents of those states really wake up in the morning and go about their day thinking "I'm so disgruntled with Barack Obama over this that there is no way he gets my vote!"?

    As I understand it the Democratic parties from each state went against the wishes of the DNC after multiple warnings. Each state's Governor (a Dem and a Rep) approved the moves fully aware of the consequences. They did it anyway and if you need someone to blame, right there are your goats.

    I'm not a supporter of either candidate, I'm a supporter of the Democratic Party and it's core principles. If you are tired of the current Administration's reckless policies I invite you to support the Democratic Party on election day regardless of who is on the ticket.

    Another four years of McBush's current policies will leave our country in a deeper hole. I hope you have a shovel and a deep pocketbook.

    May 23, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  4. mercy of los angekes

    It's better that Hillary runs as an INDEPENDENT. For sure, she will win. She does not need the Vice Presidency. She was born to be President of the USA.
    Go Hillary "08

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  5. arc

    I have read “Living History”. I’ve researched the best I could Senator Clinton’s career before she became First Lady and a Senator, and her policies for this current race. She is someone who has devoted her life to public service – fighting on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged, the health of children and for equality of women abroad among other noble causes. I may support Obama, but I respect and admire Hillary Clinton.

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  6. Oracle99

    Dear OMG Please don't start with snippets taken out of context from Obama's book. Hate mongers go awy please.

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  7. Joseph Adewole

    Someone may be working against somebody from the back in future.......................................its however a good news.

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  8. Jeff

    The only way Clinton can win is steal the election like Bush dind in 2004. If that happens "welcome to the race riot of the century"!

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. alan

    Make H VP and relegate her to attending funerals. Exclude from policy and executive matters.

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  10. Sammy

    Sure are a lot of commentators here that are pretty mean to the supporters of one candidate or the other. Together with your respective candidates you have spent months railing against Bush and how McCain would only continue his disastrous presidency. This is a president you think stole the 2000 election by the way.

    Only this time if McCain wins it wont be because of stealing. It will be because you handed the keys to the White House to him on a silver platter with a note saying "Thank you for saving us from ourselves". I only hope by November all of you get over yourselves and remember that you are Democrats first. Do yourselves a favor and vote for one.

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. kim nyc

    Graceful exit? that's an oxymoron

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. steven

    Don't let Hillary make the rules for you she has tried to destroy you as a democrat her supporters said they will vote for McCain in November what does that say about Hillary and her so call democrats supporters she is dividing the party just for this purpose and if the phone do ring three o'clock in the morning and she answer it first she will tell you it's no one they had the wrong number. You can win Obama real Democrats will suppoert you in November and real Republicans will vote for you and McCain.

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. Trekkie

    I will not vote for Obama if Hillary is on the ticket with him. Enough said.

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. jake

    i am an avid hillary supporter but I have come to acknowledge and respect Obama. That being said, the bitterness that is still being shown to Hillary in the face of her loosing the nomination makes me feel alienated and estranged from my own party. Obama supporters need to be careful of their language especially in this fragile period. The truth is that Hillary almost won the nomination and Barack will clinch the prize with just an estimated 100 delegate lead. That is not a resounding victory. If Obama democrats expect us to win in the fall they need to silence their vitriol especially when it comes to her being VP.

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. Republican

    No matter which Democrat gets nominated, McCain will win the General Election.. Period.

    There will be another Republican in November

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Leo - Arizona

    Have you not been following the Obama campaign? This campaign is about the politics of change. It has been that way all along and has not been altered. If you've been following it, you would know that. You would also know that Obama CANNOT POSSIBLY ask Hillary to be VP. It does not fit the campaign promise. Does the Democratic Party want Obama to demoralize the very message he has been preaching just to please the loser in this race?

    Hillary of all people should know that. All of her strategists and managers should know that as well, because THEY HAVE BEEN STRATEGIZING AGAINST IT ALL THIS TIME! How could they not know? Do they think the Obama campaign has been some kind of joke? Anyone thinking that has another thing coming. THE NEW POLITICS BEGINS WHEN OBAMA GETS INTO THE WHITE HOUSE! If you don't understand that yet ... YOU WILL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. richard

    someone who says shame on you on a potential us president and uses race baiting should not be veep and should not exit gracefully. if not we as americans will be encouraging bigotry.

    May 23, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. WH

    As someone else mentioned, there is no "saving face" at this point, at least in the sense that Clinton means. "Saving face" to Hillary Clinton means making it appear as if she in fact did not squander her name recognition, Bill's popularity, or the vast network of the Democratic establishment that she had going for her.

    "Saving face" to the Democratic voters at this point means throwing her full support behind Obama once the June 3rd contests are over, delivering speeches on his behalf and keeping her loyalists from delivering threats to the Obama campaign (such as "we won't vote for you if Hillary isn't on the ticket").

    May 23, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. Sean

    The only reason people are trying to figure out a "graceful" exit is because they are worried about all the Clinton supporters who have said that if she doesn't win, they are voting for McCain over Obama.

    Looking past the fact that the people who say that are basically saying they are voting on personality, and not issues, that threat is something that cannot be ignored by Obama and the DNC. They have to treat it as a real threat, and so they have to give Hillary special treatment, whether she deserves it or not.

    To put it simply, the only reason the Clinton's hold any power in this situation is because they feel they can pull the party apart enough to put McCain in office, and like a petulant child, they are holding that over everyone's head until they get what they want.

    And make no mistake, what they want is not what is best for the party, or the country. What they want is only what is best for themselves personally and politically.

    May 23, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. Mary WA

    The VP spot for Clinton would make her 2nd and Bill would not be able to ethically continue some of his work overseas. She would be better off in a position in the cabinate or supreme court that was hers independently. I think she would be great on the supreme court. She would be able to help women for years longer than a VP. Dems need to come together no matter what. This is bigger than either of the canidates it's about the country and the world. I will support either even though I have lost most of the respect I had for Hillary and voted for Obama. NO McCAIN.

    May 23, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. goodcitizen

    Listen, CNN, our Hillary supporters ARE NOT be fooled by your Obama media's Propaganda!!!!

    Hillary is going to win. Millions and millions of smart americans are staying behind her. Your media Propaganda only can fool Obama's supporters, and that is truly thier self comfort!

    Hillary is best for our nation, we need a real deal, we don't need a puppet-Obama!!!!

    May 23, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. Amy

    I wouldn't trust Obama on any of these scenarios. And I don't think its a good idea for Hillary to accept a VP position. Why should she help someone who made a mockery of her campaign and entertained all those racial comments? He hates her so deeply that he doesn't deserve any support.

    Of course he needs her supporters but this is his problem, and the Dem party leadership had to think of this earlier. Hillary supporters will decide alone how to vote in November. Some may switch to Obama if they want a Dem president regardless his ability to run the country. But many will either vote McCain or stay home in November. Not everybody is interested in speeches and nonsense promises.

    May 23, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. Ousmane Sokona

    I just wish Obama does not make the same mistake Gore did in the choice of VP. The best and only choice is John Edward. Killer ticket.

    May 23, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. Kathy, from NJ

    Obama should not even consider Hill-Bill as VP, it should be a white, female better, it could als be a Republican or Independent, perhaps Kansas Governor or NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

    May 23, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. DOK

    Please more Clinton's...we don't need an egomaniac like Bill undermining a new President,......Hillary lost ALL credibility with the "I appeal to white voters campaign".....

    Obama should role the dice and let the Clinton's solve their own problems....I bet the party would get behind him in a hurry

    May 23, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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