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. curlyman

    It's amazing how ignorant people are of what needs to be done to win an election. If Barack does not pick someone (most obviously CLINTON) who can help him win the swing states, then he (and clinton) will have squandered what should have been the easiest presidential election for democrats in a long time. Pitiful that people can see that selecting Clinton as a VP would be the key to winning the election due to her pull in these swing states, regardless of how they feel about her.

    May 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  2. Don't Let the Door Hit Her

    I heard that Bill himself said Hillary has to be offered the VP slot or there will be out and out war. She started waging war in mid February so I say bring it on. She will only hurt herself and any chance for Chelsea to enter politics if she pursues that.

    If Obama is such a bad choice why do they want Hilllary to work for him? Doesn't make sense. She is still demanding that she is entitled to something when millions of Americans don't think so. Not because of her gender but because of her lack of character.

    Among the many reasons why having her on his ticket would be a disaster there are two words that ring in my head: Vince Foster

    May 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. stop Obama now

    Obama has had MORE than his 15 minutes of fame.

    The man has never done anything for his country.

    He can not enunciate his own positions on policy matters.

    he got this far on rhetoric, celebrity endorsements and by corruption in the electoral process.

    This mockery must stop now or it i IS Civil War.

    May 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  4. Griff

    It does not matter what you do now.... You're Prodigy, Obama is Out....
    You won't be told..... He can not win in November... How do I know??
    Psychic!!! Have been for the past nine year's...

    May 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. PT

    Saving face? She has already done enough damage to herself, her party, her supporters and especially Barrack. Manipulate, lie, distort & condemn. She has no conscience, grace or dignity left to be saved from.

    May 23, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. James Bergman

    Senator Clinton is not qualified to be President or Vice President. Her argument that she is exprerienced is totally false. How can you count her 8 years as first lady as experience for the presidency unless you think that the 3 a.m. phone call she claims she can handle is a request for her to select which set of china should be used at the state dinner she is hosting.

    May 23, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. Ted

    Who made up this story anyway? Where did it come from? More baloney from the media. Not reporting it but making it up.

    May 23, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Elisabeth

    Do you mean a "graceful exit strategy" for Barack Obama?

    May 23, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. FreshAir

    "Save face" hahahahaha – how about stop acting like a sore loser?

    May 23, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Wags

    Rodriguez "It appears there are more states that BELIEVE in OBAMA than Hillary" Can't dis-regard the numbers they are speaking volumes here!!!

    May 23, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. john

    I'm on the fence with Obama or McCain. If Obama chooses Hillary as VP, then I'm McCain all the way. Obama would be completely contradicting himself if he lets Hillary get involved, period. Same with her. They do not need to be on the same ticket together. We are about to find out if Obama is going to stand behind what he says. If for some crazy reason Hillary gets the nomination, then I think Obama should run as an independent, just like Lieberman did a few years ago for his office. Obama claims that he should be president, he's got the $, so put your money where your mouth is. Run independent. To say that the Democratic party can be unified is BS. It's already split. Our country is big enough to support 3 parties. The "democrats" can be unified, but only those "true" democrats. I'd guess 30%-50% of the voters for Obama/Clinton are cross over republicans or independents. They have no interest in being "unified" with the democratic party. Hillary is the "true" democrat candidate here. Obama is not.

    May 23, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  12. JK

    Has anyone noticed that Hillary is just another "stay the course" candidate. I think we've had enough of them. Anyone who doesn't know when it's time to quit (and Hillary, it's time!) should stay out of public "service." Hillary is one of the sleaziest candidates we've ever had for president. I'd love to see a woman president, but if it would be Hillary, I can wait!

    May 23, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  13. Tim C

    Hillary's supporters .... Women ages 35-90 white uneducated!

    Honestly, Ladies, give it up your dream is over can we stop being bitter as if your husband just cheated on you with a better looking woman. If you love Hillary so much take a page out of her book. When Bill cheated on her she didn't get upset and leave him. She put that smile we all love one and stuck it out for the success of the country. Time of all the ladies of the country to realize that despite their best efforts... Yes, an African American has won the nomination and unless you rather have your teenage sons killed overseas you better get on board the ship. It's leaving with or without you. Suck it up... come on ladies, we still love you. Johnny Mac is just that creepy old man that hates you for your garden and Barack is the nice black man that always has a cup of sugar and comments on how nice your hair looks today. Does that make it better? This is the American president were talking about not American Idol.

    May 23, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. john williams san diego, ca.

    the only option for the witch now is the poisoned apple.

    May 23, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. Bob

    If he does not offer her the VP slot, then she would be justified to run for President as an Idependent. She can read the Polls. She could possibly win. She has been left by several people the Clinton's have helped in the past, so what does she owe the Party. Benjamin's Corner has a point.

    May 23, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Tim

    I'm an avid Obama supporter and think the Clintons simply carry too much baggage and are far to divisive to be the best option for the country. They represent the past and status quo politics. This has become even clearer in recent weeks as they've started feeling the nomination slip away.

    That being said half of the party clearly disagrees with me and we do owe them respect. No one can deny the Clintons have a vast wealth of knowledge in foreign and domestic affairs that would be valuable.

    If it was up to me I'd say no V.P. position for Hillary but it would never keep me from voting for Barack!

    May 23, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  17. End Game

    The only history made by the DNC is failing to win the presidency by supporting a unqualified candidate and being bias against to the most qualified candidate who carries all the necessary democratic states to win in November. The DNC elders will make history by ruing the only chance of have a qualified women president and not convincing Obama he would be best served to be VP now and win in 2016. Support him now with all the bagage and lose both candidates and supporting base for at least 4 years.
    BO already will lose FL, MI, WV, KY, and mostly likely OH.
    Really sad how self service super-delegates are not fulfilling their role for the long haul. McCain wins if Clinton not on top of ticket, no doubt about it.

    May 23, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. nate

    God almighty you lost. Get over it. My daughter's 11 yr old soccer team has more backbone than you CLinton supporters.

    May 23, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. Nate

    Hillary supporters who are saying that they won't vote for Obama because of the Obama supporters is a pretty ridiculous line of logic. I don't care what Hillary supporters say or think, it's more about her and what she represents. If I agree with it then she gets my support.

    Forget what Obama supporters are saying. I am an Obama supporter and I disagree with a lot of the things other people are saying. Some of it is down right offensive. But I don't judge Obama by his supporters but rather by who he is.

    This should be a lesson to everyone. When there are two good candidates within a party who stand for the same things you must not go negative to achieve victory. When that happens is it drives a wedge and entrenches supporters on both sides. You're seeing it in the responses above. If neither would have gone negative and instead used their campaigns, the media spotlight and the platform to attack McCain he'd be shell shocked. There's no way he could have withstood fighting two exceptional candidates. We've missed that opportunity but we still have the opportunity to take back the goverment and get things going in the proper direction.

    May 23, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. Save the Party

    The super delegates need to support the BEST candidate.

    That is clearly Hillary Clinton.

    Then the party will unite and the DEMS can win in Nov.

    As long as they continue this misguided course of forcing Obama on the voters- the dems will lose.

    Even most democrats won't vote for Obama.

    And the man just shows MORE weaknesses with time.

    Bring back Hillary Clinton. If not, we will just write her name in. She is the best of the three and there is no reason to settle for less.

    May 23, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. Chuck

    (so reach right on out to Hamas – you are gonna get your head handed back to you….but at least you will all still have the same intoxicated look of infatuous adoration in your eyes…..)


    It's comments like this that keep us Obama supporters from reaching out and giving hugs to everyone Craig. We do agree on one thing. For Obama to be able to keep his cool and to maintain his open-arms hopes and beliefs he is a remarkable person. But when the rest of us see comments like yours above we would rather just boot you in the a–. Be that as it may we'll try and live more up to Obama's standards and forgive your ignorance and hatred.

    May 23, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Kate

    I agree with the person who didn't want his/her money going to bail Hillary out of debt.

    Obama, don't you give our money to Hillary. It's not yours to give and she and Bill have enough money of their own not to need our hard-earned money to bail them out of mismanagement affairs.

    I have a fourth scenario to whoever is listening: Hillary gets out and declares voluntarily that she's not interested in being VP. She's then supported for senate majority leader's position (with the condition that she will work nicely with Nancy Pelosi who heads the House). But no money, no VP to Hillary!

    There are plenty of us women out there who will vote for Obama-Gore or Obama-Sebilius or even Obama-Pelosi.

    May 23, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    Neither Hillary or Obama can win a general election. It doesn't matter who the VP is. I've said this from the begining and now all this bickering has made it worse. Buckle down for four more years of McSame. May god have mercy on us all. Our only hope now is that the Libertarians split the Republican electorate.

    May 23, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Chuck R

    I think it would be good for the candidate that has won the most delegates elected by primary elections to put the second place finisher on the ticket. I hope Clint picks Obama as her running mate.

    May 23, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. GoHillary

    "Save face"???????? Save whose face??????

    Sen. Hillary has run a great campaign and is going even stronger at the end of process. We Hillary's supporter are very proud to stay behind her all the way to the end! It was you, CNN, should think about exit strategy since you have been a biased and pro-Obama propaganda machine. You may have to think it hard how you have conducted through out the season. I am sure history will judge you!

    May 23, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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