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. Greg, NY

    Personally I think she shouldn't be VP. She would make a great Senate majority leader or even Supreme Justice.

    When a Senator runs for President, they are best off taking a Governor as VP to balance the ticket. At least one of them should have executive experience right off the bat.

    May 23, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. Too little too late

    Too little, too late.

    The attacks on Hillary and her supporters by the Obamabots have already damaged the party beyond repair.

    McCain isn't so bad – I have a lot more respect for him since he appeared on Ellen. It took a great deal of courage for him to stand up for what he believes in (even though I disagree with him on gay marriage) where Obama will throw you under the bus for his political gain.

    Why is it that Hillary is damaging the party? She was a shoo-in for the Presidency and this guy comes along and woo's half of the party on his message of hope without actually addressing any issues. To me, it seems he is the one that has irreversibly damaged the party.

    May 23, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. Dealt

    Hillary has placed herself in a very tight situation. She has been so aggresive that I can't see a way that she can manoeuver to at least seem (let alone be) supportive of Obama if he becomes the nominee.

    I don't doubt she can put on a sensible, reasonable, façade. The question is it'd be stretching credulity beyond all limits to believe it. I hope Obama doesn't offer her the vice-presidency. It'd be like asking a robber to guard the gold. And a bitter robber at that, since she clearly feels she's been robbed of the nomination.

    Some other, lesser, post, where she can fight for all americans, women's rights, civil rights, whatever, there's an abundance of worthy causes, if it's absolutely necessary to offer her a consolation prize. If she really cares about the american people she'll accept it.

    May 23, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. Chris from San Antonio

    If Obama was smart, Clinton will come nowhere near the VP spot.

    May 23, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  5. Randy - Denver

    Well let me see the Obama supporters will say see she knows she will lose and the clinton supporters will scream that they are trying to buy her out or force her out.. same old same old. folks any intelligent person would know that at this point in the selection process both sides are beginning to think about two things what to do if they win and what to do if they lose anyone who reads anymore into this than that is a fool so let hear from the fools!!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  6. Benjamin (a Republican), San Diego

    My dear Democrats, THIS Republican woke up and got a whiff of the coffee that’s been served to me for the past 8 years…

    Please QUIT your bickering and immaturity just because your candidate of choice will not be nominated. Would you sacrifice your well being for another 4 years to Bush Jr just? Would you really?? WHERE is your reasoning and validity???

    If you ill-willed Democrats won’t carry the Democratic nominee for 2008, don’t worry about it, because us REPUBLICANS will! Our law firm of RIGHT WING Republican attorneys will ALL be voting for a Democrat in 2008. Get the picture? Please get your act together.

    Republicans for Obama!

    May 23, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  7. CWatson

    Sounds like some Clinton supporters are trying to get a sense of what options there are for winding her campaign down. I wonder if they're getting a little panicked because Obama is starting to examine his VP options for the fall.

    The thing is: Clinton's campiagn is going to wind down. The only question is how and when. As long as she's pressing Florida/Michigan, there's no chance of her being brought in as a VP.

    May 23, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  8. LuLu

    Here's a great idea for who Obama should pick as his running mate! He needs to pick someone who will help him with Hillary's supporters, but not get the baggage of having to deal with Hillary herself. He needs someone who is Hillary-like enough to satisfy her folower but keeps his distance from Hillary. So here's who I suggest – Geraldine Ferraro. Think about it – all of the women who support Hillary would get the satisfaction of finally helping her get a VP spot, get a woman in the Oval Office, and keep Ferraro and Hillary's supporters aligned with his campaign. It's perfect!
    Obama/Ferraro '08

    May 23, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. Mike

    why, why, why ... would Barack lower his standards to even consider putting a lying, cheating, disgraceful running mate as his VP
    JOHN EDWARDS should be his 1st choice ... OBAMA/EDWARDS!

    May 23, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. AJ, IL

    Hillary is confused and dazed that Obama is 61...oops...I mean 59(Obama nets two California delegates one of who switched from Hillary)...No, No I mean 57 (Obama nets two of Edwards NH delegates) delegates away from clinching the nomination while she is 248 delegates away.

    By the time Memorial Weekend is over Obama will be over 200 delegates ahead of Hillary and under 50 delegates away from clinching the nomination!

    Obama in 08!

    May 23, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  11. working girl

    As much as I hate to say this, I think he has to offer her the VP spot... Think Kennedy-Johnson. They hated each other!! the ONLY objective here is to win back the white house!

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  12. Mark

    I think they should surprise us all, by simply showing up on the same stage somewhere....

    IE Barack giving a speech and midway thru he should annouce a surprise...

    Welcome all Mrs Hillary Rodham Clinton....and she appears to cheers...

    I am a Barack Obama Supporter, but I feel Mrs Clinton Proved a formidable opponent, and she ran a great campaign...

    Showing both of these people on the same stage clapping and smiling and cheering, would be a feel good moment for the democrats....

    and move us onward to taking back the WH in 08'

    Democrats 08'!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Was Dem, Now Independent in Oregon

    I won't be "coming together" with Obama's camp–ever.

    I am disgusted in the way Hillary Clinton has been treated, even by Obama's own people (although he isn't being public himself), trying to get her to stop the voting in the remaining states, etc. etc.

    And his sexist response to the reporter he called "sweetie" is another reason. It wasn't just what he said, it is also his demeanor on the video. That was even worse.

    I am writing in Hillary Clinton in November. That won't change.

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    It's time to play "Let's Make A Deal!"

    Behind door number 1: Hillary Clinton as VP, sitting on a donkey.
    Behind door number 2: Bill Clinton as Secretary of State, pointing his finger at the leader of Hamas.
    Behind door number 3: Dick Cheny, holding a shotgun, shooting Bill and Hillary in the face.

    Pick door number 3! 🙂

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. l. tafirenyika

    Hillary you are finished- go back to the senate!!!! you ran a badly managed only have yourself to blame. And for all those sore losers- females who want to break-out and vote for mcCain- you were never about change and improvement- so please go stand with another loser- the warmonger- mr. McCain!!

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. David

    The Superdelegates are elected to make good decisions. It suprise me that they don't back Obama to stop the breakig down of DNC which Hillay Clinton is planning kwoningly or otherwise.
    How can someone who wants to be president keep on saying that she wants the delegates especially from Michigan to be seated? Is just like Fidel Castro running for president without opposition. We American people call it dictatorship, but what ia the difference in this case.

    Hillary wants to use every tools to get the nomination but she forgot that no one is burn with the mark. If the rules says who get the most delegate will be the nominie, than she should accept defeat. That what presidents do.
    It like Bush want total victory in Iraq. Total victory is very good, but you don't do it with 100000 American lifes.

    Hillary Clinton is going to destroy the party in this way and make it difficult for Obama to win Michigan and Florida.

    Superdelegates be aware.

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. Kelly in Tx for Obama

    There is no way HRC should be on a ticket with Barack Obama! How would me manage a Witehouse with three people that think they are the President? HRC and Bill Clinton would undermine at every opportunity.

    I say offer the VP to Sam Nunn.

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Joseph IRAQ WAR VET

    (singing) AND NOW THE END IS NEAR,,,,


    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Oracle99

    Why is this even being discussed. No on but the few Clinton supporters and the Republican Party want Hillary for Obama's VP. It's ludicrous to even suggest the possibility even exists. The way she has conducted her campaign against a fellow Democrat is disgraceful. She sets women back even further, because she illustrated what some people think...that women don't know what they are doing.

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. SLO Bear

    Superdelegates and voters, do not reward Clinton's selfish manipulation–her disregard to the potential cost of her ambitions is not admirable in the least.

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  21. independant

    Overall they would have a strong ticket for the " party" if at least outwardly, they would appear totally united in a Democratic effort to defeat the Republicans. --After all, they are very similar in their goals for the Democrats.

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. Maggie

    This is America. We have the Right to vote for the candidate we choose. Yes, the ONE we CHOOSE. Not the Candidate that the DNC rams down our throats. I believe Sen. Obama is just to immature to hold the position of President. Sen. clinton would be the best defense for the Democratic Nominee. It is the real deal. Sen. Obama has too big of a head, he reminds me more and more of President Bush. He is the New bully on the block and he will stop at nothing to get his own way.

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  23. Richard

    NNNOOOOOOO!!!! Clinton as VP is unnaceptable. She cant be trusted.

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  24. DoneWithDems


    Day in and day out I've watched the pathetic back and forth bickering from you liberals about your candidates. I even thought you might have the answer this year. Our country needs a leader now more than it ever has in the history of the world. I was willing to give you a chance but all you proved was you'd rather fight one another than reason for the good of our country. Now your going to come together in a rousing chorus of "All we are give peace a chance".

    Sorry don't trust. Try again next time. Maybe you will have matured by then.

    McCain 08

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. Altoid

    DON'T DO IT, OBAMA! Do NOT offer the VP slot to Clinton, under any circumstances!!! Your supposed "inability" to win the GE without her is an illusion; fallacy and distortion conjured up by her campaign and supporters, in the same vein as the rest of her poisonous delusions and lies!

    The onus is NOT on you to prevent a potential schism in the party!! It's on HER! She has the power to lose gracefully, to throw her full effort behind you as the nominee and speak as such to her constituency. Don't reward her petulant, repulive behavior by caving to her "demands," her "guilt trip" that the party will split. Any Democrat who truly has the good of the country at heart will vote for you, will find a way to defuse their anger and vote in November for the Democratic nominee over that ancient, Bush-pandering, warmongering, short-fused Republican McCain!!

    May 23, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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