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. steveda - poconos

    Craig, you seem to be espousing the same non-working policy that Bush, Clinton, Bush and Reagan all followed. If we ignore them (Hamas) they will go away. It hasn't worked has it? In fact, under Bush II the mideast is even more of a hotbed of political unrest and the Islamic Extremists are even stronger. Seems we can try to talk to them (and maybe they try to hand us our head anyway) – what have we got to lose? Do you think we are winning in the current paradigm?

    In the last eight years, America has become even more hated by the rest of the world, especially in the middle east.. In fact, even our good friends the Saudis (I hope you can see the sarcasm in that remark) rejected Bush when he begged for more oil production. (Essentially saying we shouldn't talk to our enemies, but begging from our friends is honorable.)

    It truly bothers me when McCain and Bush and yes, even Clinton, say we should not talk to Cuba, Iran and Hamas (among many others). Our embargo of Cuban goods is what? 45 years old? Hasn't worked yet has it?? By ignoring Hamas have they gotten less powerful? Nope. They were voted into the majority position in the government in Palestine. How about Iran? The get more wealthy and stronger and continue to develop a nuclear weapon. So please, take your foreign policy expertise (there goes that sarcasm again) and pretend that by ignoring our threats they will just go away. personally, I agree with Obama, better to face your enemies and talk cause it sure beats getting shot in the back.

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

    she's been anything but graceful

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

    It would be better that Senator Clinton not be on the ticket with Obama. With his lack of experience, arrogance, and "all sizzle, no steak" approach to meaningful issues, Senator Clinton would merely be aligning herself with a novice.

    McCain in 2008

    May 23, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Nia

    As long as nothing in her "graceful" exit includes being VP or anywhere remotly close to Obama. they may be on the same page as far as the Democratic issues but they go about them differently. Hillary is your typcial politics as usual strategy. I could care less if she has experience...look where her and other with experience has gotten us. Time for s freash slate. Obama is about change. Hillary's political baggage will drag him down. And since she has her own agenda as we can all see. She and her Husband will undermind Obama's efforts a President. We all know what she likes to do when she can't get her way. I think a woman VP would be fantastic, just not Hill-Billy. The Obama's will have to sleep with one eye open

    May 23, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. Eileen from Portland, Maine

    If Hillary wants to be Vice President, she should be talking to John McCain. Obama should have somebody on his ticket that shares his values, of common decency, honesty and integrity.

    May 23, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. Marian Johnson

    Like women of all ages, I was offended to hear 46-year old Obama say that Hillary Clinton has paved the way for his daughter. How condescending! And he wants my vote?

    May 23, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Mikey, Scottsdale AZ

    Hillary Dear,
    Please explain one thing to me...


    May 23, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Alex O.

    HRC is right, the contest is not over, but her position in this contest is equivalent to being down 2 touchdowns ,with 45 seconds left in the 4th quarter. Be real! Her winning the nominee is not going to happen.

    May 23, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. Obama lost my vote twice

    Obama lost my vote when he lied about Wright's importance in his life- but still defended him.

    He should have been truthful and just admitted that he agreed with Rev. Wright. Heck I'm 53 and I agree with 90% of what Wright said. The other 10% is blatant propaganda lies.

    Then Obama lost my vote again whe he DENOUNCED Rev. Wright. That proved that Obama does not stand by his convictions. It showed Obama for the sell-out that he is. And it proved Rev. Wright correct in saying Obama is just a politician who will do or say anything just to win.

    I will never vote for a sellout liar who refused to take an honorable stand on ANY issue.

    May 23, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Andrew V

    This is one 'Obamican' who would not vote for Obama if Hillary winds up on the ticket. I am not alone.

    May 23, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. Tamara

    Barack Obama was not the person who decided on the Florida and Michigan issue it was a Party decision and Clinton was ok with it when she was winning, jus as she was ok with her vote on the war until it became unpopular. Barack's premise of "we need new blodd in DC is correct. ..I'm originally from NY and Hillary doesn't have a good track record there. Besides what does Hillary know about the average everyday working person, the last I heard the didn't live in upscale exclusive neighborhoods nor did they have 11 million to put in to a campaign, they are barely paying for heat. If Hillary was so dedicated to the average Joe why didn't she follow her "religious convictions" and put that money into an energy fund for the elderly and poor . Give me a break, Hillary is a self-serving as hell. She never acknowledges that Bill sent the job's overseas, she covers her vote on the war by saying she didn't read the bill before voting, " Ignorance is bliss"

    May 23, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |


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


    May 23, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. Rob R

    There is precedent for competing candidates to come together on the same ticket – Kerry/Edwards 2004, Reagan/Bush 80.

    However, the bitterness and mudsligning that has occurred during this campaign was just too severe for a reconciliation to appear genuine and authentic in my view.

    Obama needs to be his own man and his own President. He doesn't need to have CNN and MSNBC going to Bill and Hillary for a reaction to every decision he makes.

    I think Kathleen Sebelius would be a great VP choice – she is a popular Democrat from a highly Republican rural state (Kansas). She would ensure the female vote and still allow a female to make history. Plus, she is a very good Obama supporter and is better suited to work with him. However, if people think choosing her would be "sticking it" to Hillary, then I suggest he pick somoeone like Bill Richardson or Sam Nunn. I've heard Jim Webb mentioned or Evan Bayh, but I don't think it would be good for 2 senators to run at the risk of those spots being replaced by Republicans.

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


    --> "A rupture in the party. If he doesn't offer at all, you've got a breakdown. A real resentment there."

    After all the underhanded tricks clinton have tried and all the backstabbing I thought there was already a rupture in the party.

    -–> Another source said it would affect the willingness of some womens’ groups to raise money for Obama.

    Is this the same financial experts that raised money for clinton? Thanks, but no thanks.

    -–> Some Clinton insiders say some points to consider would be how to help pay off the Clinton campaign debt, or whether he would offer support for a possible Clinton Senate majority run.

    She threw away her money trying to destroy him and now she has the nerve to show up for a hand-out... how does that help the femenine cause?

    Why don't we just pretend that he asked her but don't and she pretend that she was asked but refused? Isn't that what ex-girlfriends are supposed to do when they get dumped anyway?

    May 23, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. Sherri

    What a mess this is. I would be very saddened if Clinton is on the ticket. Saddened because Obama has promised us change from "politics as usual." She will bring back the same old politics and pull him down. I will vote Democrat no matter what, but it would be a terrible moment for me.

    Had this race been more civilized, without the lies about Bosnia, NAFTA, and her plan to garnish wages to fund her health care plan, her efforts to re-write or ignore the rules of the DNC approved in 2006, down playing her role as a six year board member of Walmart, and horrible email attacks on Senator Obama released by Clinton campaign staff, it would be great to have her as VP. I started off with much respect for her, and excitement about a woman running for POTUS. I'm old enough to have voted for her husband twice. I voted for Ferraro when she was on the VP ticket (she should hang her head in shame for her ridiculous comments).

    As a woman I can see right through Clinton's antics. She has lost my respect on all levels. I do not want to see her on the ticket with Senator Obama. However, I do not want McCain in the White House more. I will hold my nose and vote Dem no matter what...but I will never, ever trust HRC.

    May 23, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. Golden

    If the Democratic party doesn't start to come together soon, there will be little or no chance to take back the white house. I am an Obama supporter, but I must say that I am very disappointed in some of the supporters from both sides. I can not believe some of the juvenile comments left on this site. It is appaling to think that any of you so called "Democrats" would vote for the other party simply because your candidate was not nominated. It is 2008 and we can't seem to get past a person's skin color or gender. As far as FL and MI goes, the rules were pretty clear before this whole thing started. All parties involved agreed to the rules. Whomever this party eventually nominates is going to have to surround themself with the best advisors. The President can not run this country by themself. I caution many of you who threaten to take your vote elsewhere, to simply look at the state of this country and ask yourself if you can really endure much more of this. It is obvious that this country needs to head in a new direction. I wish both Senators Clinton and Obama the best of luck in their future endeavors. This has been a very hard fought primary, but it is time to move on. Remember one thing Democrats, "United we stand and divided we fall". It is time to stop the infighting and start to behave like mature adults.

    Democrat for President 08

    May 23, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. Sharon - NC

    The perfect exit strategy for Hillary Clinton would be to accept the DNC's position that Florida and Michigan delegates should remain unseated, a decision that Hillary Clinton supported until the numbers didn't work out to her benefit, instead of insisting that she had nothing to do with it and those voters are now disenfranchised. The citizens of Florida and Michigan should discuss the fact that they will not have seated delegates with those that made the decision, contrary to the instructions of the DNC, to hold early primaries. Although, I don't believe that the majority of Florida's and Michigan's voters believe they've been disenfranchised by anyone other than their own state party officials; they're smarter than Hillary Clinton gives them credit for. She should go out with some shred of dignity and grace and hope she can keep her U.S. Senate seat. Or she could move to West Virginia or Kentucky, convince herself she was born and raised there in her heart, and run for either Senate seat.

    May 23, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. Lana

    All of you Obama supporters are ignorant if you think He is ahead because of the will of the people. This was all orchestrated by the Crossover Republicans to get your guy nominated because they are so sneaky and smarter than you that they know.......they know that when Americans get in that booth to cast a vote for President they will NEVER vote for a racist, shady, no expirience having snake like BHO. DNC your party is crumbling from the inside out... can you feel it happening? I feel saddened. I really was looking forward to a DEM this year but I guess I will have to chang to independant and have some real hope....for change....that is real....otherwise I guess 4 more years of Rep is gonna happen. BHO= unelectable

    May 23, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. Tony, Memphis TN

    I'm a Republican supporting Obama; if she's on the ticket I'm voting McCain...

    May 23, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. ginny

    It's unfortunate that this has come to Hillary Clinton saving face, I thought that was only something the Chinese worried about.

    The world waits for real change in the good old USA.

    May 23, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Temple Houston

    When you can't trust her enough to follow through on an agreement to decline an offer of the vice presidency, why would you trust her to be Senate Majority Leader? If Obama paid off Clinton's personal loan to her campaign, many of his contributors would stop giving. Let her pay off her campaign with the money the women's groups are threatening to withhold from the Obama campaign. Obama needs someone with real experience on the ticket and there are several women who can fulfill that requirement who don't have the baggage that goes with the Clintons. Clinton needs to understand that she will lose a lot more face if she fails to drop her bid gracefully. The bottom line: this race is not about her.

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

    This seems like more media misinformation and/or Obama subversive tactics. Hillary Clinton has stated she has the fortitude and
    determination to fight to the finish win or otherwise, what a leader she is. Obama's squad is reported to be looking for a strategy to attract
    "white blue collar voters" how racist a statement can that be ? Just imagine how his people would react if a white candidate would state that they were looking for the "silver bullet" to get hip-hop,urban,African
    -American voters on their side. Obama has used the race card fully to
    his advantage, perhaps, Jeremiah Wright is still lurking about.

    May 23, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. S callahan New York

    I can't see her as VP ..but i can see her in a top level position that requires raw strength, like Attorney General.
    I think we have dismissed Clinton's ability to exit gracefully, I think she will and in additions she will show herself as humble through all this. She put up a good fight, for that she earned it's time to step aside and let things take their proper course with Obama as the people's choice.

    May 23, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. PhilT

    When Carville referred to Gov. Richardson as "Judas" I was appalled.

    When Senator Clinton boasted about Karl Christian Rove (the architect, what a joke) endorsing her as the better candidate I knew she had become completely desperate.

    The democratic party should run away from her as quickly as possible after that statement.

    May 23, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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