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. fred

    More media spin by CNN, Hillary is going all the way to the Convention. Those Super Delegates aren't even counted until the convention...Are you getting dizzy from spinning CNN????

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

    For all that HRC has done (not just campaign surrogates), I can't see how she would be interested at this point. I really think that if she was the nominee that she would need him more than he would need her. The other part to this is, Bill could "smell" being back in the Whitehouse. He would be making all kinds of decisions behind Barack's back!

    May 23, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  3. Moses

    Obama hand his speeches are old news. They remind me of Fidel Castro's speeches, with all his gesturing.

    The guy is made for Hollywood and not for the WH. He has done nothing in his life except give speeches. He speeches do not send any chill in anyone's spines except the weak minded.

    May 23, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. srichey

    I hate to say it but when the real election starts, McCain is going to eat Obama alive. By the time the McCain machine gets done, Obama's message of "change" is going to sound very naive, elitist and arrogant. Clinton may have stood a chance, she's been in the game for a while and some red states would have actually responded to her.

    May 23, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. 2bdebbie

    Forget it Susan, it ain't gonna happen. I take it you are one of those millions that want her to be nominee. Its beyond me how that anyone would want an out-and-out liar to be the president, I just cannot fathom it.

    May 23, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Exit, graceful or otherwise.

    Either way Obama's statement has come true: "I look forward to you advising me (Hillary)". The fact is – Obama will be the democratic nominee and it's his decision to make. Not HIllary's. Not her supporters.

    Sense of entitlement? Check!

    May 23, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. jenkins

    Obama will lose without Hillary's help. He's a very inexperienced politician.

    May 23, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  8. bill wright

    I am a canadian interested in U.S. election.
    I noticed that on the submission of the candidates on contributions that Hilary has collected roughly 230 million and Obama has collected 270 million. Hilary is 20 million in debt so that would mean that she has spent 250 million. Obama has a balance of 35 million which indicates he has spent 235 million. Hilary has spent 15 million more than Obama
    How then can Hilary claim that Obama outspends her
    two to three times as much on campaigning.
    I'm interested in understanding this. bill wright

    May 23, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Trish

    News flash... since March HIllary has won more states than Obama. What does that say about the will of the people NOW> How do you explain why the superdelegates won't just end this now and flood to Obama? Here's a few reasons:

    1. Only 3 primaries remaining. Let these people have their say.
    2. Obama has been on a downward spiral in the later primaries and may not be the most electable Democratic candidate.
    3. Once Puerto Rico votes which should heavily favor Clinton she would be ahead of Obama in the popular vote column with Florida included not Michigan (This is fair because Obama and Clinton were both on the ballot in Florida and only Clinton was on ballot in Michigan). including the Florida and Puerto Rico votes should put Clinton over the top in the popular vote total. Now do the superdelegates overturn the will of the people?? Hmmmmm.....Political suicide for the DNC I say.

    May 23, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. Mikey

    enomisa wrote:

    "This has NO appeal to most voters."

    I guess that is why he is leading Clinton by more than 10 and McCain by 5. I don't know if you are for Clinton or McCain, but he beat her and WILL beat him by even more.

    Who are you for? We get a lot of people out there who just seem to be against everything and for nothing. It's easy to criticize and tear down.

    If you want to know Obama's positions you will need to do a little research. The political conversation is not very enlightening. You have to go to platforms and policy papers to get details.

    If you do the work, you will find that Obama has both vision and detailed positions, Hillary details but no real vision, and McCain neither. Almost every position McCain has stated recently is different than the position he had on the very same issue last year, two years ago, or five years ago.

    May 23, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. Dr. Truth, Boston

    Obama/Albright '08!!!!

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

    Bill Clinton is the greatest thing to happen to the Democratic Party since FDR, and Obama should be kissing his boots and asking him for advice.

    Obama conducted a despicable campaign, based on race-baiting and vapid, empty rhetoric. The man has no understanding of foreign policy or economics.

    It's a sad day when our Presidential election has come to resemble American Idol. Barack Obma = Clay Aiken!

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

    NO NO NO NO pre conditions, the white lady lost get out of the race you will just drag hijm down in the november election... Just bow out gracefully....

    May 23, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  14. Logan Karsten

    You know, I love reading all of these comments on here. People think they know exactly what's going to happen with Obama's campaign as if they are his advisor. You people need to realize that Hillary is a very very very viable candidate for VP. She has everything that Obama needs in a VP. Yeah she is stubborn and negative sometimes, but she will get stuff accomplished. I don't understand why people hate the Clintons so much. Do you people realize that we exited the 1990's with a very healthy economy, a budget surplus, and great national security? The people on here that are bashing the Clintons are the same democrats that voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 because he was the "new" candidate that the democratic party needed at that time. So why don't you people stop trying to shove someone who can help get your precious Obama into the ground and let Hillary and Obama unite the democratic party full steam ahead. Do you guys really want another republican in the white house for the next 4 or 8 years?

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

    "Millions would rather Clinton would be the nominee"

    Millions more would not. That's how elections work. Clinton hasn't shown any interest in party unity to date, so why would she show unity after getting the VP post? It's a bad idea, just like giving a spoiled little child a cookie so they'll stop crying.

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

    I have heard that Billy suggested that his daughter may run for the office in the future. Now they are working hard to cling to the office. Is the democratic party a family franchise? Thanks Billy for your service to our country and all the good things that happened then, but this is now and we have 300 million people out of which we will choose the one with the best judgment and with the least family links to the throne. We already made our biggest mistake when we chose the son of a previous president to the position. No more playing on the lives of millions for the sake of personal glory! The VP strategy is a way to cling to the office and I don't believe things will change as Hillary said she will "fight with the only way I know". And the only way she knows is divisiveness, links, lack of judgment .....That definitely has to change!

    May 23, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Obama Supporter, but anybody but McCain 08!


    There are mean, nasty and spiteful comments coming from both sides. I do not agree with them at all. It is all so childish.

    May 23, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. dennis from texas

    if o bama wins the ticket he will lose the general election simply because he has no experience.... plain and simple 2 years in the senate voting present more than any other senator is not leadership

    May 23, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Carlos From NJ

    For the last month and a half, I’ve asked myself, where is the leadership of this party? Why don’t they come out and just ask her to stop? I love the Clintons but enough is enough. What they’re doing to the democratic party is simply WRONG. I’ve given her and her supporters every benefit of the doubt but come on now. Just try to reconcile these statements from her…yes, from Hillary Clinton.

    Last year when asked about the Michigan primary: “They’re voting but it’s clear to everybody that this primary WON’T count”. Now, not only they have to count it, but if they don’t, it’s undemocratic.

    Hillary Clinton in February: “I don’t understand why people are putting so much emphasis on number of states won or the popular vote. In this election the only thing that matters is the number of delegates” now not only the popular vote counts but she’s also wining it if you count the votes she said shouldn’t counts to begin with.

    Hillary Clinton in February: “Well, none of us will have the 2025 delegates needed to win this election, so it’ll come down to the super delegates” Now that she sees Obama, closing in 2025, the new number of delegates needed is 2210.

    Hillary is simply dividing the party and making it as difficult as she possibly can for Obama to win so that she can run in 2012. How the leadership of the Democratic party don’t see that and intervene is beyond my comprehension. Just like I can’t understand how some Democrats would rather have another 4 years of George W. Bush by voting for McCain or not voting at all simply because they can’t accept that Clinton managed to lose an election that was her to lose.
    Hillary, enough is enough…you LOST, it’s time to unite OUR PARTY.

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

    hillery cant save face. She should havew quit when monica got her punk husband that didnt swallow!

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

    What is wrong with the Obama supporters? They are completely mesmerized and blinded by him. Do some research! The Republicans are not soon to forget Wright, Ayers and Rezko. Do you even know who these last two men are? Obama is a politician just like every other politician, ego driven and flawed. The trick is to find out who is the least flawed. Who out there lives in a home worth over $1,000,000 and purchsed $300,000 below market value because a ploitical operative's wife stepped in and sweetened the deal?. Read the Chicago Tribune. The man does not walk on water. He cannot beat McCain. How often do I have to tell you children, the emporer has no clothes?

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

    Obama offering Clinton the VP spot would be an exponentially large mistake. Not only is she spiteful and self-serving, not only would it go against his entire message of a new way of politics and change, but she would be the star of Republican attack ads. Lord knows she said enough on the campaign trail to give the Repubs fuel for their fear and attack machine. It wouldn't bode too well for him. Moreover, Bill Clinton didn't do Hillary any favors while on the stump for her. I don't think Obama wants his kind of help.

    The smart money is on Bill Richardson or John Edwards. Them or Sen. Jim Webb. He could swing a lot of moderate Republican votes.

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

    It's too bad the Democrats will once again nominate an unelectable candidate, and will once again lose the White House. This will probably be the end of the Democratic party. I know I will no longer be a part of it!

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

    Both candidates would have a tough road fighting McCain on National Security issues. Obama should find a VP with military or national security background... Like Wes Clark or even Bill Richardson. Hillary has the same shortcomings in that arena as Obama. I don't believe her pride would even allow her to accept such an offer. I also doubt highly Barack would need her as VP... just a strong ally and campaigner/fundraiser.

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

    Look at the way both candidates have run their campaigns. Which candidate managed their finances, their staff and the used diplomacy and tact during this campaign? Hillary is right, higher the candidate best equipped to do the job – OBAMA!!!

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