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. Kris

    Obama is unelectable.

    May 23, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. Sharon Minnesota

    Looks like Hillary's finished, time to jump ship to Obama.

    May 23, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Wherever Hillary ends up is exactly what she will have earned. Obama is a revolutionary force for Real change and CHANGE requires that no compromises be made. Hillary, whatever-however she may be enabled to act in the future, will always represent compromise.

    May 23, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. Carl

    Jackie –

    Hillary can't win the blue collar workers, either. No Democrat can. Against McCain, BOTH Democrats lose the blue collar vote.

    By the way, did you know that JFK lost the Ohio, California and Florida primaries? That must mean he lost the general election, right?

    May 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. Chi-Town Cheryl

    Gimme a break. All three scenarios seem to indicate the Clintons holding Obama by the balls. Obama owes the Clintons nothing. If the DNC wants to pay off her debt, then sobeit. Obama should pick a VP of his choice and certainly not Hillary. There are other politicians out there who can bring in the poor white, high school diploma/GED crowd and old lady voters besides Hillary. Hello? Like, she's the great white hope. Heck, I would offer the VP to Bill before I'd offer it to Hillary. I think Obama has to be Machivalian about this. Do not offer or give them anything. They are in their 60's and in the twilight of their political life. They had their day in the sun, now it's Obama's turn. They are the past and Obama is the future. Bid the Clintons farewell and send them on their way. They'll land on their feet somewhere.

    May 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. Ed

    To think McCain will win this Nov election is to think the unthinkable. HOW CAN? That will mean we have not learned from the mistakes of this administration, who McBush is leaning towards.

    Obama, its time to get you in the drivers seat.

    May 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. David B.

    Look at the states Hillary won: CA, PA, OH, MA, NY, All with large number of electorals. Obama will loose in the general big time. The party better wake up and elect the most qualified person. What has obama ever done? Ms Ferraro is right if he were white or a woman he would never have gone that far. A smooth talker with a lot of crap. That is what this country buys. Thats how we got bush. My vote will be a write in for Hillary in case the democratic party shoves Obama down my throat. He is my last choice on this planet. I do not buy crap like most americans. That is what he stands for.

    May 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. supporter

    Why should these two teams merge? Obama is making head way without Clinton right now and we all know that the Obama supporters don't need anything from the Clinton's or their supporters, so let Obama do it all like he has been in FL, ( like he has already won) us Clinton supporters need to stick with Hillary until she says other wise and then it is to McCain for four years in which he should do pretty good in and we will have a mostly Democrat congress in which we all must unite in even after Obama loses in the fall, after that Hillary will finally be Our President.
    Hilary or McCain 08

    May 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. J.D.

    Hillary lost. The very notion that she "deserves" to be offered the VP spot is ridiculous. This isn't about her - its about the Democratic party and country.

    May 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. george bush far as I'm concerned Oprah would be a much better candidate than Obama bin laden. Hey, even my dog Angel would fare better. However, since neither are running, if Obama gets nominated my dog will get a write in vote. The truth will never be silenced, and it will set us free. Bring it on!

    May 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Wags

    IU may have to eat costs from Clinton campaign visit... I cannot imagine any person in their right mind wanting Hillary Clinton in the highest office of the land, when the very same people she claims to support "Custodians, Caterers, Computer Setup Personnel and Universities as above mentioned(IU) are not even getting paid for her campaign endeavors. If you look at everything through OBAMA's campaign has been paid in full. That my friends is LEADERSHIP!!!

    May 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Samuel

    I am patiently waiting until the end of the democratic convention in August where superdelegates will decide who gets the nominee. I hope it is not Mrs. Hilary R. Clinton. Why? Because I will take her to court, I mean I will sue her for wasting my time with issues that are not logical. She has downplayed my intelligence and I am not taking it light. I have spoken with my lawyers and they have given me the green light to do it because I will ome out victorious.

    By the way if you are wondering what I want to achieve, its simply money. I will sue doe $100,305 becuase this is what I will have gain for that three days that I lost thinking about her arguments on FL and MI. I lost precious time to my otherwise lucrative business trying to make sense from what she is saying about FL and MI. It took me three solid days to come to conclussion that she has no legal, moral and political right to make those suggestions. I am very mad about this and she will face me in court by the end of this year.

    Hilary Clinton see you in court soon. Oh yes I will chose a court in PA because the judges in that state understand my situation very well.

    May 23, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. Hill is BEST

    Does ANYone still support Obama?

    Why does the DNC insist on backing this loser?

    He can not formulate a coherent thought nor express any opinion unless someone has scripted his response in advance.

    Obama clearly can not think on his feet and can not respond to spontaneous unanticipated questions.

    Obama keeps reshaping his idiotic responses until he hits on a suitable and acceptable explanation.

    This is a war of substance versus rhetoric.

    Hillary Clinton is so much more superior. Only Clinton will get my vote.

    May 23, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. Dan (Kirkland, WA)

    Everything will be ok 🙂

    May 23, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. Richard McCallum

    Did you make up this story what are your sources this total bull. Thanks Rich

    May 23, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. Eli

    Why are you guys talking about Hillary as a 'goner' you will be surprised when she gets the nomination and not even offer Obama the VP position, we will see who is going to laugh last.

    May 23, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. 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 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Be Honest

    This makes 5 so far today
    UPDATE: Obama has picked up another superdelegate from Oregon.

    May 23, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  19. Godson

    Clinton have all along been telling us what she( Hercules) will do for Americans, while Obama have been emphasizing what WE can achieve. WE THE PEOPLE have spoken and "I" the Clintons are standing on the way.
    Clinton beware, a moving tide is in your path

    May 23, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. Jon

    They are willing not to let over 2 million votes count because of some stupid rule that was broken by other states at the time.

    Explain to me how it can be fair – if OBAMA'S name was not even on the ballot here in michigan

    May 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Nia

    This last week proves she isn't leaving gracfully, instead she wants the rules bent for her and if not she has been fuling a fire on issues she could have cared less about when she thought she had this Primary in the bag. Now that she neeeds the votes she's trying to get gender sympothy. And She could have cared less about Seating the delegates for FL and MI months ago. Now that it is neccesary she is likening herself to abolishionist who freed the slaves in her efforts to get FL and MI votes she serious?! I'll bet $5 Clinto will march n the street burning her bra if she doesn't get the nomination along with all her feminist friends claiming sexism

    May 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Frank smith

    obama can climb in his hole I will vote for McCain for sure

    May 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Josh, TX

    Clinton should go ahead and concede to Obama...She can run again against an incumbent McCain in 2012, after he beats Dukakis, I mean Obama, in a landslide...WAIT TO BLOW ANOTHER ONE LEFTIST IDIOTS.

    May 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |

    hey jackie go ahead and vote for mccain and spend another 4 years trying to pay you're bills
    anybody who votes for mccain because winey hillary did not get the nomanation deserves to pay 8.00 a gallon for gas

    May 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  25. Addis - observer

    ..."graceful exit" ... what does that mean?? ... I believe it is too late to exit gracefully... and that is no-one's foult... What i see it this woman is very influencial... like a queen... even at this moment she has people who r worrying about her grace (if any, at all) .. Amazing America!! Can't wait to see how this primary end and how this woman react at the end... Can't wait...!!

    May 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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