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. Nancy

    This person writes:

    To-Hillary-supporters May 23rd, 2008 1:12 pm ET

    If you want to go and vote for Mccain, go for it!!
    You will realize what you did is wrong when you lose an other thousands of young people in a sensless war! that will be to late!


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

    I love you Hillary and im secretly getting my faithful following of jobless dittoheads to vote for you.

    May 23, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. dave

    clinton does not want the v.p. spot she wants the leader of the senate job .if the the numbers are correct that they expect 2m turn out in p.r and that she is leading by 30% she could lead in popular vote without fl and m. with the threat to go to the convention and the political capitol the popular vote gives her it's hard to see her not getting what she wants. as leader of the senate she can make b.o. and the person she hates the most n.p live hell. she would also be well positioned if b.o. fails

    May 23, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. TC

    HRC is the worst thing to happen to the Democratic party.

    May 23, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. Carlo

    All of this about Hillary VP as a "consolation prize" is lame. Her campaign was run lousy and is deep in debt. She has used every trick in the book, from pandering to voters (gas tax), hinting at a "dream team" ticket (as a political move), using republican scare tactics against Obama (3AM and ads with Osama Bin Laden). Now we're going to ask Obama, who has run a very steady and clean campaign the whole time, that even though he won, he can't pick his own VP. Wow.

    May 23, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. Clinton Supporter

    Amazing how Obama's "fans" think Clinton's the one practicing divisive politics. On the contrary, it is none other than the media, DNC and Obama. Even now, there are some of you saying "no more Clintons".

    You can have your Obamamania, and when the country goes crashing down around you, you'll have nothing to turn to but regret. When that happens, you can all thank Hollywood and CNN for keeping you so out of touch with reality.

    Onward, displaced democrats: Time to become unaffiliated with the democratic party. If they can blatantly sabotage one of their own, what will they do to us "little people"?

    John McCain gets my vote. I'd rather have a war-mongering president whose interest is in protecting our country from all corners of the earth, than one who will bring war to American soil. Hillary Clinton was the safe alternative, whether you like her or not.

    The myspace generation and media have arrived: Thoughtless, selfish, superficial, clueless, self-destructionists who think the prettiest face and best rhetoric is what it takes to be a leader. Anti-American morons!

    supporthillaryclinton dot NET.

    May 23, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. Wise White Guy

    Cammi, I wish you were right adn i hope you are. The thing is that none of the delegates including superdelegates actually vote until the convention. By Clinton's own words she does not intend to drop out of the race until we have a nominee and we do not have a nominee officially until they have voted at the convention. I am not saying this makes sense to rational people but I am also not saying Hillary is rational. She is going to do whatever she can to win along with her mob of old women and it might cost the Democrats the election in November. Normally I would rather lose than have her on the ticket but this is a very very important time to win. We have a serious environmental and energy problem that needs to change RIGHT NOW. If it does not the scientific community is predicting that we could damage the planet enough that we will not survive 40 years.

    May 23, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  8. Former Hillary Supporter from NYC

    How about the honorable thing?

    "My fellow Americans, I have decided to immediately suspend/terminate my campaign. I have finally come to the realization that my efforts have been futile and selfish. I apologize for my delusions of grandeur and thank you for your patience in waiting for me to come to my senses. God Bless us all. Love Always, Hill"

    Why do the Clintons find it so difficult to be honest?

    May 23, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  9. gertrude lang

    I reject the idea of having Obama paying Hillary's debt; I for one wouod not conyribute any more to his campaing. Moreover ofering the VP to Clinto woud a big mistake.

    May 23, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. Blabberwitz

    Does she have any dignity at all? Certainly, her history with Bill shows no self respect. Perhaps this explains her lack of respect for others.

    May 23, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. John in Ohio

    Millions of people still support Hillary.

    Millions of people also still support Ron Paul, Huckabee, and Alan Keyes. Millions of people supported Kerry in 2004 and Gore in 2000, and millions of people supported W in those elections as well. Millions of people support Obama now. The winner of the contest is not determined by whether or not somebody has millions of people supporting them. Simply by being in the contest, odds are that the candidate has millions of supporters. The winner is determined by who has the most delegates. We have a candidate who leads in delegates, both pledged delegates and superdelegates. I'm pretty sure Obama leads in popular votes now as well, but that's *completely irrelevant*, because those aren't the contest rules. How many states were won is also completely irrelevant, but Obama leads in that as well. Who has won the most swing states is irrelevant. It doesn't determine who will be the nominee, the person with more delegates is how that is decided. And while we're playing swing state math, Hillary won PA and Ohio, but Obama won Oregon and Missouri. Playing the what-if game and trying to extrapolate how a state will go in the general by how it went in the primary is foolish. There will be months more of campaigning and debates and advertisements, and anything can change between now and November. It has no impact on the nomination process. What Clinton and Obama supporters want doesn't matter right now. What matters is, who has the most delegates? Obama has over half the pledged delegates. It's ludicrous for Clinton supporters to expect superdelegates to make the "right" decision and pick Clinton outright. and the reason it's ludicrous is because the supers have been going to Obama in a steady stream over the last few months (largely because they're better at math and political science then the average Clinton supporter), they are not likely to stop doing that. And it is very unlikely that they will all switch back to Clinton.

    May 23, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  12. RobLa

    When one reads all of the spite, hate, anger, and negativity found in the above comments to this story, one has to wonder what's going on with most of these writers. America is what each of us makes of it each day...good or bad, by the way we live our lives and the work we do. So much power (and blame) is being given to a candidate (if we wake up with a headache, it must be the President's fault), one wonders how we got to this point.

    No matter who wins, if this is the way we elect a president, then we are indeed a lost people. This may be Democracy, but this method of practicing it sure is low.

    May 23, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  13. Nipper

    I live in Florida. He won't get my vote unless she's on the ticket. Many Florida voters are leaving the Party and registering as Independents. He will not win Florida unless she is on the ticket. I think members of the DNC must get up every morning and take their stupid pills. Punishing voters who had nothing to do with the date of the primary is insane.

    May 23, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. TL

    The only reason for Hillary to be VP would be to keep the redneck vote in the "D" column (yeah, I said it).Them and bitter hyper-feminists. Everyone else rational who makes decisions based on policy will soundly recognize the vast similarties btwn HRC and BHO and vote for their "close second" choice and put all this emotional BS behind them.

    On a side note, with all the shady connections the Clintons have (keep in mind. Bill and "Bush I" have a foundation together), I would honestly be in fear of OBama having an "accident" if she was to become VP. Yeah, yeah...everything sounds far fetched and paranoid–until it actually happens.

    May 23, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  15. Ian in Boulder

    Having Hillary as VEEP would only hurt Obama's chances in the general election. There are other VEEP candidates (Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is one such candidate) that can bring most of the Clinton supporters over, without also bringing over all of the Clinton's baggage and ruining Obama's political brand . Some Clinton supporters won't vote for a black guy no matter what, even if Clinton is on the ticket. Finally, there is a sizeable block of Hillary's 'supporters' who voted for her in the primaries but would not vote for her (let alone for Obama) in the general. Some in this category are 'Operation Chaos' drones, others have put aside their sexism only long enough to indulge in their main hobby – racism.
    Bottom line – most of Hillary supporters will enthusiastically support Obama in the general. As for the rest – good riddance; we don't need or want them in our party.

    May 23, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. Obama is scum

    Get rid of Hillary and kiss all her supporters goodbye.

    We are sick of the way Clinton has been treated- trashed and bashed and swiftboated by her own party.

    We will stick with her all the way to the GE in Nov.

    We don't care for corruption and cheating and fixed elections.

    Obama is the sneakiest, sleaziest scum ever to run on the democratic ticket.

    May 23, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Al

    Regardless of who wins the primary, to even consider shifting party lines in the general election in spite of losing the preferred primary candidate does nothing but hurt our country. Vote Democrat '08.

    May 23, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. FrankKW

    She should consider moving to Kentucky where she is so loved and can drink plenty of boilermakers with her adoring fans.

    May 23, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. Sandee

    The Clintons don't know how to gracefully exit anything, even Bill's exit from the White House was not graceful with all the pardons he gave....and this whole mess is why the Republicans win the White House so much more often than Democrats. There is so much bickering and infighting among party members. However, I am a female Republican who switched over and voted for Obama in the primary and if he wins the election will vote for him in the GE. It's time for change, not necessarily party wise but people wise. We need to change the direction this great country is going in and I believe Obama can do that along with his cabinet....But Hillary will stay in forever because she wants to run in 2012. I would like to see a female elected President, but not Hillary....maybe Pelosi? It would be against everything Obama stands for if Hillary were running as VP along side him (she's of old school politics).

    May 23, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Addis - observer

    ... Unless another sniper fire kneel her down, she will not exit without breaking all the DNC rules... I see that she has that "connection" power... Funny America!!...

    May 23, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. dimitri

    GOD help this country if Barack Houssein Obame
    is the nominee!!!

    May 23, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah


    May 23, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  23. A rational human being

    When are we Americans going to wake up and realize that our country is not "under attack"?!

    We are at war because we invaded not one, but TWO sovereign nations without just cause. The events of "Nine Eleven" were a terrorist attack by a rogue group of fanatical extremists angry about our foreign policy tactics of bullying and interfering in the matters of other autonomous governments. Sorry to break it to you all, but continued cowboy diplomacy is not going to do anything more than great a new generation of terrorists who abhor our actions. (Note: They do NOT hate us because of our "freedom"!)

    The greatest protection that the American government can provide to us, its people, would be recognition of the fact that the world is made up of hundreds of great nations, and that we all have to work together to improve the lot of the human race as a whole. We are no longer in a position to dictate the affairs of other countries and so it is time for us to (re-)embrace diplomacy and become more mature in matters of foreign policy.

    May 23, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  24. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    "Rodriguez May 23rd, 2008 1:30 pm ET
    Democrats, we screwed this one up big time! We needed Hillary's foreign policy experience, her ability to win the swing states and her ability to beat McCain! "
    Hello, it's not our fault that Hillary failed. She failed because she didn't plan past Super Tuesday. She thought she'd have it all wrapped up then.

    Obama took nothing for granted, and that's why he won 11 states in a row. It's not his fault, it's not our fault, it's Hillary's fault!

    May 23, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  25. joseph

    If nominated Obama should offer the VP spot to Nancy Pelosi for a number of reasons. First, she is from a BIG state, CALIFORNIA and can probably help carry surrounding states. Second, she has national name recognition, and should be able to reach out to party leaders around the country to rally behind the ticket, especially in other big states like New Jersey Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York. Third, Obama needs to extend some type of olive branch to Clinton supporters. Fourth, Pelosi has enough stature and clout within the party to ensure that no one would try to sabotage the ticket.

    May 23, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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