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. Jerry Brown

    Hillary on the ticket or I do not vote demorcratic after 40 years of doing so.

    May 23, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. Peter Damoah-Afari

    Bill Clinton did not tell people that he likes to have many women. I want to ask Hillary supporters that did they ever thought that Bill Clinton was also not 100% known to people?

    May 23, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. for the good of the democratic party

    this election is about change and If Obama puts Clinton on the ticket, everything he stands for becomes empty rhetoric. I will not accept that. I am 24 years old and just now have gotten involved in politics. Obama has inspired me and the biggest reason I support him is because he wants to change washington. We all know this will be an empty promise if the ultimate washington insiders (billary) are an armlength away from the presidency. NO WAY.

    -obama supporter who will go back into the shadows if Billary is VP

    May 23, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. Deborah

    I am a republican who is voting for Obama .... If Hillary is anywhere near the ticket in spite of how bad McCain is I would have to vote for him. Also I have contributed $$'s and energy to the Obama campaign ... If he is going to pay off her debt he will not see another dime from me. the Clinton's represent not only what's wrong with politicians but what's wrong with the human race. Take your lies , dirty deals, and infidelities back to Arkansas !

    May 23, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. rabblerouser

    Obama and Clinton can come together all they want, but this primary has turned me off completely to the democratic party. And by the way, it wasn't Clinton I found to be offensive. It was Obama and his condescending attitude and his ability to talk out of two sides of his mouth. It was his obnoxious supporters who cried racism at every little slight, and the blatant hatred of Clinton by the powers that be in the Democratic Party who have been trying to get rid of her at the least provocation.

    I'm educated, have a good job, great medical insurance – I can afford it if McCain gets in, so my vote is going to be for McCain. The Dems are too stupid to deserve power.

    May 23, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. Mel

    Clinton is too polarizing to be a VP. She would be a bad choice for the sole reason she'd try to take charge. She is also untrustworthy–I mean, really, how can one "mistakenly remember" whether or not they were walking through a hail of gunfire when offboarding a plane? If I was walking thru gunfire, I think I'd remember quite clearly.

    She owes too many favours to too many politicians/interest groups to be any sort of "change" in the White House. America needs a fresh face, a fresh outlook...

    May 23, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Pete, Waynesboro, VA

    Senate majority leader and the paying off of her debt sounds good. Let's MOVE ON now....

    May 23, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. jack

    Susan, you say millions want Clinton to be the nominee, problem is many more dont want her to be the nominee. That is what a majority is called. And all through this race Hillary has come up short, hasnt won the most delegates, has NOT WON the most POPULAR votes, has not won the most states and even now is loosing more super delegates to Obama than she is convincing them to vote for her.

    So just like in Vegas, you placed a bet on the wrong horse and guess what? YOU LOOSE, you dont get do overs or second tries.

    Practice this phrase now. The 44th President is Barrack Obama.

    May 23, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Nancy L

    Help her pay off her debt – AFTER she has campaigned actively and effectively so that Obama does win. I would be happy to contribute to her then but ONLY then, as would many other Obama supporters, I'm certain. Back her efforts to do something else, whatever, but she does NOT belong on the ticket – Bill crowds things, and Barack could never turn his back on either of them because she has EARNED her high ratings for being neither honest nor trustworthy. There is a new day coming, and Hillary just doesn't mesh with Obama's message of hope and optimism.

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

    Hillary had a chance in weeks gone by to exit gracefully – I believe the grace part is impossible now. She was (is) behaving like a spoiled child looking for someone to blame for the egg on her pantsuit(s). It would be something if she could show some dignity and admit she is an also-ran. Let the REAL campaigning begin. Oh yes – I don't think it would be a smart move for Obama to even consider HRC for VP. BIG mistake. HUGE!

    May 23, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. Eric

    The Clinton's have an agenda. And that is The Clinton's. The fact that THEY Played the race card more than once says it all. Goodbye Hillary & Bill.

    May 23, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  12. Exit This Hillary

    Obama should have to worry about helping Hillary save face. Hillary damaged her own political career with Bill's help of course.

    She wants the VP slot so badly she will openly bribe the DNC with threats of a civil war. Hate to tell her this, but since mid February we have been in a civil war with all her antics. She still wasn't able to change the outcome.

    Bill and Hillary have proven time and time again they will SAY ANYTHING, DO ANYTHING to win. They dug this hole themselves. Now it's time for the American voter to push the dirt in over both of them.

    All those pleas for her to drop out went ignored. They were thrown back in our faces with her delusional thoughts of victory. Everyone knew she couldn't win but she kept on digging. We wanted her to drop out for her own good; no one likes to see some demoralized.

    May 23, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. paul oregon

    obama doesnt owe the clintons anything billary and there supporters need to clean up there own mess. just think what the u s would have been like if she had been at the wheel. talk abount stupidty to tell the winner of the game he has 3 options. stupid stupid. obama has a winning ticket honesty, change if its not broken dont try to fix it.
    speaking for myself i could not in good faith contune to finance a
    ticket hillary was on

    May 23, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  14. Billary Supporters don't care about Issues

    Billary supporters are ignorant. In a recent poll released by CNN, they stated 70% of Obama supporters WOULD vote for Billary if she turned out to be the nominee. Why? Because we actually know what the issues are and care about them, our country and our future. We We care about the war, economy, environment, health care, gun control… even if somebody other than Obama has to do it for our country – even Billary. When they said most Billary supporters were uneducated, they sure were right. 77% of Billary supporters said they would vote for McCain or NOT VOTE if Billary was defeated. WTH? Just goes to show these people don’t know or care about the issues that affect them, the country and our future. Who cares about the war, taxes, economy, health care, trade agreements, or immigration – they hate Obama and nothing else matters. Those idiots shouldn’t even be allowed to vote. Too stupid

    May 23, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  15. Ian

    Can anyone give an example of a change Obama is going to make? Deficit spending, increased government regulation, higher taxes, this doesn't amount to change for me but maybe I'm missing something.

    Ron Paul '08

    May 23, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. Gary B

    I'm sick of these articles saying we should be worried about making Hillary feel good about losing and paying off her debt.

    or that we need to offer her the VP to appease her supporters.

    you lost, get over it and help the country by supporting Obama so we can get these bums out of the white house.

    May 23, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Rozz

    But millions more would rather Obama be the nominee. And we showed up to vote and be heard.

    May 23, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. Stacyart01

    I am so glad I am not going to have to hear that nasty, rasping, irritating voice making self-aggrandizing speeches on the news every night.

    I bet she only wanted another carpet to match the ones they took from the White House last time around...

    May 23, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  19. Mary, San Diego

    Please!! Don't ask her to be VP! If she doesn't get the Prez job, she'd go for VP, just to get a foot in the door. That would be devastating! I'd vote for McCain. Obama is for 'changae'; Hillary is more about the same old thing: lies and spins! Also, Obama should never help pay down her campaign debt. She got herself in and used the money to slam Obama. It's not up to him to get her out. He owes her nothing! She lost; it's over; period. She can do what she wants; it will reflect on her and her political future. Obama doesn't need to "buy her out". She needs to have the grace to just walk away. So far, it looks like she'll fight to the end: demanding FL & MI be counted even though she agreed to the rules before the vote. She now expects an offer for the VP slot and to pay her campaign debt (or maybe it's Bill that expects it!) Hello, Lady in the Pantsuit: It's Over! Time to go home and bake cookies!

    May 23, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. lin8

    No matter what you guys say, Hillary is the better candidate!!!
    Don't deny it.

    May 23, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. Dan Keranen

    I had respect for the Clintons until the past few months of this race.. Now i realize all they are is dirty mud slinging politicians with very little respect for anyone other then themselves. No nominee cared about Florida or Michigan when they lost their delegates in the beginning; you didn't see Hillary caring much then and now shes desperate. There in no possible way for her to leave gracefully now after showing her true colors.

    May 23, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. Sylvia Schildt

    Re: The End Game – Here's a lesson from history.

    It took 5 (count 'em) 5 ballots to produce Roosevelt as the Democratic party nominee – 5 separate roll calls of the states,

    And the party came together in the midst of a Depression and produced a landslide victory. Where is it written that the Convention has to be a Coronation?

    Meantime the floundering McCain campaign won't quite know who to attack and when they do know (after Denver) they'll have less time for specific swiftboating.

    And remember folks, the true end game isn't a popularity contest - it's about electoral college votes in November.

    And I think in a race this tight, this fierce, the right place to resolve the nomination issue is on the Convention floor.

    Sylvia from Baltimore

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

    I trust Obama to do the right thing for the party and the country. I am at peace.

    May 23, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. A. Harrison in Georgia

    Any disrespect to Hillary and you face turn-off from her supporters. Take for example what the SuperDelegates are currently saying and how they say it, they are not dismissing her and realize she has as large a following as Obama.

    Don't disrespect Hillary, Obama's votes counts on it, not to mention the groups he still has trouble with due to his issues i.e. Rev Wright and NO Experience.

    Chalk that up.......

    May 23, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  25. deetee

    Again, more entitlement! She is NOT entitled to be VP, people! And who are these all-powerful women's groups that are going to blackmail Obama into choosing her? As with all nominees, Obama has the right to choose who HE wants. He doesn't need his hands held or his back pushed up against the wall. This is some more Clinton entitlement tactics that didn't work for her during the campaign and I hope won't work now.

    Her chance at that slot came and went before the PA primaries.

    May 23, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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