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. Chi4Obama

    I don't have any issues with Hillary being on Obama's ticket.

    It's not as if you are bringing Rev. Wright and Geraldine Ferraro together :-).

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

    Well, it's either Clinton or McCain for me. An experienced leader has a lot more to do with my safety than an educator turned politician.

    May 23, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  3. Amused from Afar

    I have no stake in the primary (or election to follow) but I used to really like Hillary. I often thought she would make a good candidate.

    Having to watch her continual self-debasement has revealed characteristics that make her not just un-electable but increasingly intolerable.

    She's less of a "brave fighter" than the Tanya Harding of politics: a poor sport, the last to realize she lost who you just wish would go away.

    May 23, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. sandi

    Are you kidding? Her "Friends & Supporters" are pushing for her to have a deal to drop out of the race? I'm overwhelmed at the gall of some people. It will be gracious enough just to play this all out to the end. After all they are spending money just holding the final primaries/cuacuses. If she really cared about the American voters, she'd stop wasting their money. Also did John McCain pay for Mike Huckabee's campaine debts?

    Sixties Baby

    May 23, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. Ann

    I am a Clinton supporter who will invariably vote for McCain if Obama is GIVEN the nomination and then thinks he will get our votes if she's on his ticket...think again NObama....we'd still have to go with McCain so you are fighting a losing battle. are jumping to conclusions anyway. Take a deep breath and go see your spiritual advisor..Wright. At least McCain didn't sit under that pastor for 20 years and learn how to hate blacks. And as far as foreign policy, please~~he stutters over the least little thing,,,much less foreign policy. He never stutters when he's whining about the same old song and dance about being brought up by a mother on food stamps and having a father who left them. He needs to put on his big boy drawers and deal with it...just not as our Presidential nominee!

    May 23, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. Terry

    Hillary equals Slick Willy, Travelgate, Bosnia sniper fire, Hillary advertisement saying McCain better Commander-in-Chief, Whitewater, Clinton Foundation donors, I voted for the Irag War, etc; etc; etc;

    May 23, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Ruth

    Many of us believe Hillary is the better candidate. Why do Obama supporters have to throw so many insults?

    May 23, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. NObama

    NO JOINT ticket please!!!

    If so she won't be able to beat John McCain in 2012 to become president!

    May 23, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  9. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah



    May 23, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  10. Margaret 2

    After losing a 30-point lead and failing to get the voters/delegates needed to win the nomination why, for Heaven's sake, is Obama required to "woo" Senator Clinton? For the women's vote? I've heard a few strident comments by Clinton supporters saying "this is our time" [for a woman president] but isn't it REALLY America's time? She lost. IF she's the savvy politician so many claim she is, SHE knows it is in HER best interests to support Obama – completely, totally – for the Presidency. Because if she doesn't, or if she's churlish about it, she will never have another chance at it.

    May 23, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. true to hill

    No need for any discussion.

    Hillary Clinton supporters are firm in their conviction to NEVER vote for Obama.

    We will write Hillary Clinton in.

    She is the most qualified to lead and she has the best positions on all the issues.

    You screwed your own best chance at victory.

    Don't expect our help now.

    May 23, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  12. Mario

    Difficult to see her as veep. I think that an opening in the supreme court is what's best for her. They also miss a female judge there thanks to Bush! Here is what I would like to see:
    – Obama Prez
    – Biden, Dodd or Richardson VP
    – Edwards as attorney general
    – Webb as defense secretary
    – Biden secretary of state
    But we need also more women in the cabinet

    May 23, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. Tabitha from Minneapolis, MN

    I would rethink my vote for Barack Obama, if Hillary Clinton forces her way on to the ticket. Bill and Hillary need to go away!! We do not need anymore shady characters in Washington, D.C. We need people to start "really" caring for the people, not the wealthy elite playing head games with the people for their own agenda.

    May 23, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. J Pat

    For those of you who still spew venom at Mrs. Clinton you better think about the 17 million democrats that voted for her. Without them Obama goes the way of Kerry and Dukakis.

    Change can not happen without victory.

    May 23, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. David, Chicago, IL

    >Um, that ship has sailed. She is not the nominee and her outrageous
    >and hypocritical arguments on FL and MI should not be indulged. for >one moment longer.

    More stupid AND spiteful stuff from Bobama whiners. Heh, Dude, NO ONE has won the nomination....and Bobama cannot win the nomination without her support! Remember, Politics 101: Bobama is over 60 delegates short, and cannot automatically win the nomination. He needs Hillary.

    Heh, you Bobama backers are sure sounding desperate. A Democratic Party that wants to disenfranchise millions of voters in Michigan and Florida? You guys sound like Bush in his first election, and he managed to steal that one. You Bobama backers want to steal the nomination?

    Jeez, and they say that Hillary has all the low-education, low-income supporters...

    May 23, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  16. Delores in Columbus, Ga.

    We all need to take a long look at what's going on. Why are we still having to sit back and watch Hillary put off admitting she is beat? Wonder if the shoe was on the other foot, would the Superdelegates have sit Obama down several States or more ago?
    As far as Hillary being VP. She can not be trusted. What she can do is get her party together to support Obama, and stop being so selfish.
    Looks like since she did not win, she wants the Democrats to lose.
    Back off Hillary and help undo the damage you've done.Talk to your white collar and women voters . Let them know Obama is a Democrat.

    May 23, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. Barney in Eugene

    I say let her join the ticket. It will ensure a Republican victory in November.

    May 23, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. StanLee

    I'm sorry but Hillary is really, really desperate...If she gets the offer of VP, Obama will have Bill Clinton on his back for at least 4 years...which gonna be a Huge mistake; and also it is too late for her to abandon, because she thinks that she went too far, and back up will mean loosing her face in front of everybody, so she has to go all way through.
    But what she doesn't know, is , she is dividing the Democratic party into pieces, and this is crazy! Hopefully, the superdelegates will be smarter than that, and will not let this past June 3rd, and will react accordingly, maybe before this coming June.....

    May 23, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  19. DRW

    I find it both astounding and amusing that anyone thinks Hillary Clinton could win the Presidency. Just because a lot of Democrats like her does not mean she is electable. What about all the conservatives of both parties who will vote for anyone but her? Has everyone forgotten how despised she became during the failed Health Care Reform attempt?

    Believe me, McCain desperately wants to run against Hillary Clinton.

    If you want 8 more years of NeoConservative rule, go ahead and nominate Hillary.

    May 23, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. Oh my God

    Oh dear Melissa, please, please, please, please,... vote for Sen.Obama. I am on my knees, I am beging you... How can I survive without you? Oh my God, I conjure you ... vote my sweety for Sen. Obama. Without you... emptiness and gloom is around poor America.
    I am cring,... I am in despair...

    Good Luck, Baby! 🙂

    May 23, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. Chi4Obama

    I don't have any issues with Hillary being on Obama's ticket.
    In the end, I'm sure they will learn to get along.

    It's not as if you are bringing Rev. Wright and Geraldine Ferraro together on the same ticket:-).

    May 23, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Chuck

    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!

    Rodriguez May 23rd, 2008 1:30 pm ET


    What foreign policy experience of Hillary's are you speaking of? The 3 AM phone calls she has never taken? Hate to burst your bubble but Hillary could not beat McCain in the GE once her 60+ negative ratings started kicking in during the GE campaign.

    May 23, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. TEXAN

    She can be US Ambasador at Bosnia!

    May 23, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. Denver, CO 4 Obama

    Would you please explain to me EXACTLY what Hillary's foreign policy experience is? Obama never said he didn't want Hillary or her supporters to back him in November. In fact he wants them and knows he needs. It is Hillary's supporters who have decided on their own not to support him. So if this country is going down the tubes because half of the Dems won't back the candidate that has CLEARLY and FAIRLY won the nomination, they have no one to blame but themselves. People need to wake up and do some math. Even with MI and FL as is he still wins folks. If I can do that math a superdelegate certainly can.

    May 23, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. What?

    Seriously...people claim that Obama has taken swipes or played dirty with Senator Clinton throughout this campaign...would someone please cite a factual example of how?

    May 23, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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