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. mother too

    if I do not like a candidate, I have full right to not like that candidate. I do not want to be called names, uneducated and so on because I do not share views of the opposites. My view has to be respected as I respect yours.

    This country is supposed to be about freedom, democracy .... where the freedom is now?

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. EL Kafidi

    I am not an American. I have just been following with keen interest to see what I can learn from your electoral process. Let democracy prevail in everything you do. You cannot go wrong with that. I wish you all the best.

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Elizabeth

    Hillary please dont run on the V.P. ticket with Obama. I would hate to see you mixed up with him. I would haft to vote for McCAin.

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. Paul

    Superdelegates who supported Hillary earlier and now supporting Obama are real sissies. They should be thrown out of the political process of not judging the right candidate and only for political gains are supporting another candidate.

    These people should not blame Hillary of being divisive.

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. happy2bnappy

    Obama should pick Rice as his VP

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. ted

    Wait isnt the point of the Convention to PICK a nominee. If there is such a tight race as there is shouldnt the delegation at the convention actually do something other than have a dog-and-pony show.

    Lets Actually let democracy work rather than be partisan about it. the two campaigns are within single digit numbers of each other and depending on how you slice it they both can be seen as frontrunners. The primary seaon is not over and while Obama's the flavor of the week his lack of known history makes him nimble. We should wait unti August. it makes sense per the process and per the state of Affairs.

    As a side note – you people that have undying faith in obama and nothing but hate for clinton need to reset your opinions – the hate is ugly and it makes the democratic party look ugly. The fact is the two candidates are excellent choices or terrible choices depending on how you view it: in short they are both viable nominees for the Dem ticket.

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. CA, T

    I do see Hillary could win the general, but Obama could lose, bigger chance to lose though.

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. Joe

    I say no to making her V.P. However, I think she'd be a good Secretary of State, since she's got National Security/foreign policy experience.

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. Ron Larson

    I cannot wait for the chaos that will be demonstrated in Denver at the DNC about Must See TV! Watching the Kool-Aid Club for Clinton's bemoaning how she has been marginalized becasue of her gender, the Al Gore speech listening to him mumble his way through the idiocy of global warming, the the Obama camp and there liberal pontifications, no substance just pomp and platitiudes, all the while John McCain is going to sit quietly and absolutley dismantle Obama and whoever his Veep may be. And the of course, CNN onthe day of McCain's inaguration will be "crrowned" the presumptive winner in 2012. Wait and see.

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. Heidi in Houston

    – The first scenario is if Obama ignores Clinton and her supporters and makes the vice presidential offer to someone else.

    - One insider said "This would be a total dismissal of her and totally unacceptable."
    ---(And Hillary's behavior and dismissal of Barack Obama's lead in the nomination contest is sooooooo very acceptable)

    - "This could mean open civil war within the party," another said. "A rupture in the party. If he doesn't offer at all, you've got a breakdown. A real resentment there."
    ---(I believe Clinton is completely trying to divide the party as leverage for some sort of special favor : she's riled up the FL and MI voters with false claims of her support for those voters, for whom she had no concern for this contest began; she's stated multiple times that McCain was more qualified to be President than Obama; on this latest trip to FL, she validated democrats voting for McCain by stating, "If your votes don't count, you just might think, 'Well, if the democratic party doesn't want my vote, I'll vote for McCain'". Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!)

    - Another source said it would not mean Clinton would not campaign for Obama, she would. But she would do so like Bill Clinton campaigned for Al Gore, "aloof."
    --–(If I remember correctly, it was Gore that told Clinton he didn't want his help, as he wanted to distance himself from all the Clinton White House scandals. Give me a break, Bill loves the sound of his own voice so much, he'd campaign of Stalin if he were the nominee!)

    This woman and her people are completely insane. I'm now convinced!

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Hillary supporter

    Democrats support Hillary and Obama almost 50/50. They need to go to the convention and decide who can win the White House back, and carry state and local elections. Obama has done better than could have been anticipated because 1) the media escorted him to the nomination, while portraying Hillary as nag, shrew, emotional 2) Mo' money! Where has all Obama's money come from? Blacks? college students? right? 3) And black folks are voting for him even though he is ill-prepared for the position. Who benefits from Obama getting the Dem's nomination? The Republicans benefit. Hillary is an intelligent, talented, committed, experienced woman who has overcome the barriers all we women experience. She is better qualified, better connected and more electable than Obama. President Obama? Not this year. But he would be a wonderful VP and that would position him to be president in 8 years. That will give Hillary time to restore the tarnished world image, repair our looted economy and Obama will inherit a presidency in which he is more likely to enjoy success. Please focus! This is not a board game where we count up chips. The Presidency of the United States is at stake! The Courts are at stake! Forget these petty complaints about Hillary! She will be a president we can be proud of. She will continue her life-long work on behalf of women and children. She is a woman, so she will NOT be a destroyer. She will direct the most constructive, positive administration this crippled nation has ever seen!

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. alex r.

    Before everyone continues beating up either Clinton or Obama, please somberly consider this: If the Democrats can't win this year, it's hard to envision that they ever could get the White House back again- at least in our lifetime.

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  13. Bill

    Hillary should NEVER NEVER NEVER accept the VP spot; she is Presidential material.

    Hillary should stay in the race for as long as she wants and if she doesn't get the nomination she should leave the hypocrisy, inexperience, deceit, and racism of Obama to the Republicans. He will be defeated by McCain.

    That is now the big win for Hillary.

    May 23, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Nihar

    Clinton as VP..No way! She is sheer detractor of democratic party. She is kinda person who don't mind plunging her party if she is not a nominee. Clintons should accept the fact that they can loose also. After all, people rule in democracy and not washington insiders.

    Go Obama Go!!!

    May 23, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Joe Henderson

    I believe that Hillary should step back and support the Democratic Nominee (Obama). This does not take away from her career; in fact, it will demonstrate a real connection to the betterment of the Democratic Party’s overall success.

    Hillary has a chance to erase the perception of being a negative revengeful politician that is looking at her best interest before the parties. Her negative tasteless comments towards Obama during the campaign will go a long way in uniting the two campaigns.

    This is the most important election of our time, we must unite and not cease fire within our own camp. It is time to demonstrate team, unity, and purpose for the November election.

    May 23, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. Tony Ortiz

    The Clintons have done more harm to the Democratic Party and the country at large than good. They should just leave. The Dems don't want either of them. Their time has past. The country needs more than they can provide.

    Hillary please understand this.

    May 23, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. JDC // Ohio

    Both should exit!

    May 23, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Reggy Mack

    Obama does not need Hillary because it would be a very bad mistake to make her VP. This would go against his quest for change. Hillary is old school politics. We do not need this type of politics anymore. We want change.

    Change We Can Believe In

    Obama 08 and 12

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

    CLINTON '08!!!


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

    Clinton has no leverage here. Obama doesn't need her. She would only push independents like myself into McCain's camp.

    May 23, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. Bush= Obama

    Obama reminds me of Bush.

    He ran on popularity and not on issues.

    He appealed by being cocky, rash, boastful, arrogant and dismissive of others.

    He swaggers and struts- although he has never done anything at all for his country.

    he feels himself superior to others- although his only talent is delvering a prepared speech. Obama can not think on his feet.

    I did not vote for Bush- twice. I will not vote for Obama either.

    The Civil War is on. We will WRITE IN HILLaRY CLINTON for a NOV win.

    May 23, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. Heath, Bronx, NY

    I am now firmly convinced that if Hillary had made the decision to go to war in Iraq as President, she would have been worse than Bush. It appears that she is incapable of admitting a mistake.

    It has become clear, that her decision to continue this race is not about judgement, it is about her appearing tough enough to continue. Unfortunately for her, we need someone who has the judgement to make the right decisions. We need a leader, we don't need another politician.

    May 23, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  23. Oregon voter

    If Obama is the nominee, write in Hillary Clinton.

    May 23, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. Ron Larson

    If you think Obama is going ot choose someone as dysfunctional and corrupt as Nacy Pelosi as his Veep, my God as a Republican one can only wish for such a gift. Remember while Bush's approval rating is low, the Democratic Party leadership is the reason that Congress is far worse.

    May 23, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. giniajim

    There is a lot of appeal in an Obama-Clinton ticket. I'd be for it. I see no downside.

    May 23, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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