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. Jon a TRUE democrat

    I hope all of you women supporters of Hilary that say that they will never vote for obama, and instead will vote for mccain or not vote causing mccain to win, get what you want and Mccain wins. That way ALL OF YOU WILL LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE. apparently that means nothing to you. Im glad you are all so willing to help the womens movement by setting them back and ruining years of progress.

    I hope all of you men supporters of clinton that say the same thing get what you want. And i hope that your sons and daughters are then sent to iraq since we'll be there 100 years with mccain, and that they get to experience what all those soldiers experience on a day to day basis...horrors. And i also hope that one day you have a horrible car accident and you go bankrupt cause your insurance won't cover the costs... cause thats what will happen with mccain as president.

    And i also hope all of you enjoy paying $5 a gallon for gasoline because thats what it will be if you elect mccain as president.

    Are you people that nieve that you will cut off you nose to spite your face? Be a true democrat. Don't succumb to republican idiocy.

    Vote DEMOCRAT in '08

    May 23, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Obama Supporter, but anybody but McCain 08!


    You are definitely not a Democrat.

    May 23, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. Jeanne, San Diego

    Maybe Obama could offer Clinton Secretary of Health. Then she can pursue getting her socialist health care plan through congress and will be enough out of the way that it won't affect Obama's presidency too much.

    May 23, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Dept. of Irony

    The time to save face has past. It is now time for the supper delegates to do their job and give the Clintons the boot before they further divide the party!

    May 23, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Festus, Montana

    Betty Davis also had an exit strategy for Joan Crawford in "WHATEVER

    May 23, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. Lissa in Montreal

    Why on earth would offering the VP'ship to someone other than Hillary be deemed "totally unacceptable"? She has this unrealistic sense of entitlement that doesn't seem to quit. She went the distance? Good for her. But that doesn't give her rights to being VP. If it did, Mike Huckabee would have been the only person invited to McCain's grill-a-thon this weekend.

    Had this been earlier in the campaign, I'd have believed it. But 2 weeks until Hillary has no choice BUT to exit, this is a silly argument and as true as the Bosnia story.

    No – Hillary doesn't deserve, nor would she be fitting for, the office of VP. Barack Obama is new and fresh and by definition, so should his VP running mate.

    May 23, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. Rev. Wrong

    How many Obama’s does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    None………they can’t do it………they just stand around in the dark saying YES WE CAN,

    Then……………Wright storms through the door, and blames the burned out bulb on the white man.

    May 23, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. Liza

    I really hope Obama will not let his back get pushed against the wall and take Hillary as his VP. I'm tired of seeing the Clintons act out in ways in which they think are entitled to anything they want. Obama has the choice to choose his own VP. Obama taking on Clinton would totally clash with his movement for change and new politics. We need a new bloodline pumping through the Whitehouse. No Clinton on the ticket. It's time for the Clintons to swallow their pride and congratulate Obama for being the nominee. It's Obama's presidency–not the Clintons to take or manage.

    May 23, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. Lou - NH

    While I also believe it is far past the time for a graceful exit by HRC, I believe that Barrack can show the party and both of their supporters a great deal about his ability to unite by reaching out to HRC and exploring how she sees her future playing out. They are incompatible as far as the main theme of his candidacy which makes it a poor choice for both to be on the same ticket, however, I do believe that HRC can be the first women Senate Majority Leader. As Senate Majority Leader she could help drive health care reform and many of the issues that they both agree upon. I also believe that she would make a good Secretary of State. Her hawkish posturing would match well with Obama's open more dovish approach. There is an abundance of peace to make in this world and it would come with a great deal of limelight (enough for both). The simple reality is that it is well past the time that they should have discussed the exit issue. They should both be able to leave this primary proud of their historic efforts.

    May 23, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  10. lorenzo

    The democratic party has lost my support with Obama.

    Neglecting Florida and Michigan is a big mistake. By examing the states that are needed for the Nov election, it is clear that Obama will fail in the important one's.

    Anyways, it is time for me to switch over and vote Republican this time around. Good Job Democrats in silencing 2 plus million voters..

    I would rather vote for McCain then give my vote to Obama. If my vote did not count in the democratic party primary, then I will make sure it counts in the real election and since my vote for Clinton was not counted, I will simply vote for McCain..pure and simple...

    May 23, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  11. Robert in Toronto,ON

    If it's not posted yet – Obama picked up 5 delegates (including 1 LOSS for Clinton) so he's roughly 57 away from the magic number of 2026.

    In other news: a definate NO to any combination of Obama/Clinton on the ticket. If Hillary manages to steal this election (yes, it would be STOLEN Clinton fans) then Obama should not bother attempting to be in her VP slot. I don't want him to take any of the blame if the country go spiraling into oblivion.

    On the other hand, Obama should NOT publically or otherwise hand Clinton the VP slot. I'm sorry, but the winner should be allowed to choose whomever they want.

    Why is it that Clinton feels like she's OBLIGATED the Presidency? And if not, the she's OBLIGATED to be the VP?

    YOU ARE OWED NOTHING! And that's not sexist – that's real. And quickly on the sexism thing, some of the offensive comments she gets is not because she's a's because she's HILLARY CLINTON – FRIEND TO FEW, ENEMY TO MOST. When people rail on Pelosi why wasn't anyone complaining of sexism there? Huh? EXACTLY.

    May 23, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. sjm

    To all the Obama supporters who are taking the attitude that Obama doesn't need Hillary or her supporters, I urge you to remember one timeless proverb - pride goes before a fall.

    If you think Obama stands a chance of winning the November election without bringing in a significant majority of Hillary's supporters - something unlikely to happen based on results of polls - you are a naive dreamer, and we all will wake up to the nightmare of 4 more years of failed Bush policies embodied in John McCain.

    May 23, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. Former Hillary supporter

    Hillary, you need to show some good faith on your part, you need to quit first, campaign for Obama, and then he can deiced whether to to choose you as his V.P. If you do that, I have no doubt that he would. Do not be selfish!

    May 23, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. brushed my vote off

    Obama brushed my vote off his shoulder when he dismissed Hillary Clinton by brushing her off his shoulder.

    The cocky, boastful, swaggering, arrogant Obama- who has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for his country- had the gall to ridicule Clinton.

    Clinton who is superior to him in every possible way.

    The woman who continues to outshines Obama- on her own merits. Even with all the help Obama has gotten from Oprah, the Kennedys, the Kerrys, the Shrivers, the DNC, rock stars, the caucus format, the disenfranchised voters, the Superdelegates, the adoring media Obama can not beat the woman they all piled up against and trashed.

    What a loser Obama is.

    May 23, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. goodcitizen

    Listen, CNN, our Hillary supporters ARE NOT 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 THE best for our nation, we need a real deal, we don't need a puppet-Obama!!!!

    May 23, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. Rational Lethargy

    Bring back John Edwards. He's the kind of President we see on TV and in the movies (forgetting 24 and Deep Impact) – a white dude from the South with perfect hair!

    May 23, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. Chapel Hill NC

    Hillary is exhibiting signs of mental illness. At the very least, she's in a horrifying state of denial. Her so-called "supporters" continue to enable the destruction of any dignity and credibility she had left. Bill is the biggest duck in the destroy-Hillary-pond.

    She represents everything Obama opposes about the current state of our politics. NO WAY is he going to offer her the VP slot.

    May 23, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. Moses

    The best solution is for Obama to recognize that he is no match for Hillary. He should bow out immediately for the sake of party.

    May 23, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    "If" she doesn't get the nomination, a great mistake of hy/iste/orical proportion, would be for Clintonites to not vote or , worse, vote for McCain.
    I can't see her as VP.
    She should pursue other great deeds. I would love to see her as secretary of state or defense, or attorney general.

    May 23, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  20. Zach

    And two more observations:

    1. I am amazed at the terrible grammar in some of these postings. For those of you who can't take the time to form a complete sentence, I seriously hope you are not planning to vote in the general election. It's no wonder we wound up with "W" in the White House for eight long and disastrous years. Please, do yourselves a favor. If you can't write, don't. If you can write, but you are just a bad speller, just use the little tool called a "spell checker."

    2. The one liner below that states "no more Clintons" is narrow-minded and further illustrates why my fellow Americans allowed "W" to destroy this country in every way possible. We are the laughing stock of most of the world, and if you do not believe me, travel abroad and watch foreign newscasts (or if you can spell "DirecTV" you might catch some interesting newscasts) and listen to what people are saying about us. We are quickly turning into an uneducated, isolationist nation and if we allow it to continue, it's only going to get worse.

    Take a hint. Before you run your mouth, first learn how to communicate, and then make sure that your statements are based on fact and not someone else's opinion or other BS. Get real.

    May 23, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. NavyDem

    As a life long Democrat and former CDR in the USN (Vietnam and Desert Storm) I'm appalled that we are on the verge of putting forward a candidate who has two years experience as a Senator. I didn't think it was possible to find someone less qualified than Dubya (who has made Millard Fillmore look good). And we're offering a Gen-X Reagan feel-good. For my money Clinton is the brightest of the candidates; but we Americans like our presidents to be "not-too-smart" and we DO like them to make us feel good. Dealing with issues takes thought, and we don't like to think too much. Manuel has it right. For me, I'm going to vote for the second best brain on the ticket–McCain. This will be the first time in 35 years of voting that I've voted Republican, but I cannot vote for the least qualified person on the ticket. I would be extremely dissappointed in Clinton if she would even consider running as VP with Obama; I'd rather have her in the Senate with McCain in the White House.

    May 23, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  22. Pamela, Sacramento




    May 23, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. TL

    I have to she is behaving like a Republican, she lost her right to be in any Democratic ticket. Do we want another Joe Lieberman?

    May 23, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. Pol

    Barack doesn't need Clinton and the worst part of her funs for general election. In general election everything will be OK. Keep this woman away. Her exit is her business. We need PURE and great next 4-8 years.

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  25. Kevin, Indiana

    I would have liked the two to team up a few months ago, although this extended contest has shown me another side of Clinton that I wish I hadn't seen.

    She is a fighter, I've got to hand it to her. And she truly believes in her cause. But I'm not sure I want her in the VP slot .. now.

    She should have had the wisdom to quit after loosing 11 straight contests. If she runs a country like her campaign ... no thanks! It's been a negative, divisive, attacking, litigating, truth-stretching, money-loosing, incompetent crony-hiring nightmare.

    And I'm a former supporter.

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
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