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. Joe

    Hillary cannot win the general election. I mean are you kidding me who do you think is pushing her as VP, that would be the Republicans who know that they will get out their vote for sure if she is anywhere near the ticket. Obama has won this nomination fair and square. It is time to run the Clintons out of this race and tell them to go back to.... Well where is it that Hillary is from now is it Illinois, PA, New York or Arkansas. It is Friday so who knows there might be a new state to add to the list never know what BS she is pushing today. I mean after hearing that fighting for Florida is like freeing the slaves, and the civil rights movement can she say anything worse then that. What a joke Bill and Hillary Clinton are.

    May 23, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. Bobby

    I watched the news this morning before i went to work and saw these three "exit" stratagies and found them to be amusing! I feel that their should be a 50/50 split between MI and FL meaning both canidates recieve the same amount of delagates from each state. I also feel that BARACK OBAMA should not give HRC the VP spot. I understand that he may need her supporters but can he really trust her? HRC supporters even have the audascity to go to the DNC and make claims for "Every vote counts" crap when ONCE AGAIN, the DNC striped their primaries due to rules violation!

    I can't wait when this mess is over so "we" dems can concentrate on MCCAIN!

    May 23, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Sean

    Democrats can win in November if they come together. There will be upset people whether Obama or Clinton wins the nomination, but neither can win in November if the party doesn't see beyond their petty differences and unite behind the eventual Democratic nominee.

    I for one am not willing to sentence our country's youth to the life-threatening prospect of a continued war to satisfy my personal frustrations. To do so would be unforgivably selfish and disgusting.

    May 23, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  4. Down With Republicans

    If those of you who love throwing around the "Obama can't win in November" nonsense would just shut up and vote for him, guess what. HE WOULD WIN!!

    And, anyway, as you may recall, every poll run in the US before Iowa had Hillary Clinton winning the nomination. So much for polls... There is a lot of time between now and November and oh so many things that can happen. The current polls mean nothing for November.

    Finally - do any of you Hillary supporters REALLY believe that as much as the Republicans will roll out Jeremiah Wright and flagpin stupidity that they won't roll out Whitewater, Monica, and Sniper-gate if Hilalry is the nominee? You are all so focused on Obama's weaknesses because he is winning. If she was winning she'd be looking unelectable, too.

    So why don't we accept that Obama has won the process and all band together to drive out of Washington these evil thugs that have ruined our country!

    May 23, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. larry

    If Hillary is Obama's VP he will have to watch his back 24/7. The only reason she would take the job is with the hope that Obama does not survive his term. I do not trust the woman.

    May 23, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. SuziQ

    As a black professional woman I proudly applaud and stand up for Hillary, she is an outstanding woman who should be President. It is clear that Obama needs to embrace her and her supporters if he wants to win in Nov. If his simple minded followers can't see that, then it will be clearly representative of the blind following he and his backers have attracted all this time. If Hillary is not a part of his ticket I will not vote for him and will seriously entertain casting my first vote for a republican. Obama needs the experience and strength of Clinton. BTW I dare not stand up as a black woman and say out loud that I don't support Obama, I run the risk of being attacked by any one of his rabid followers.

    May 23, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. Wise White Guy

    Jackie, he wins the blue collar workers and white people just fine. He won them in several states. What he has a problem with are uneducated and or lower income people. He does not speak in sound bites or pander so they do not get his messages. He does not walk in and tell them what they want to hear like Hillary did. He tells things the way they are and it cannot be done in short sentences with small words. Our problems are complex and need this higher level of thought to solve them. What we need is for these people to take an interest in this country and get educated. The ridiculous notion that in KY and WV they thought the gas tax holiday was a great idea is enough to show you where the problem really is. What we need is for this to get done and Hillary to do what she said she would and campaign on behalf of Obama to get his message to them. She is just better at telling them whats what in a way that they can get it. The question is whether she can manage to do that without telling lies like the whopper in Bosnia or the super whopper about her leading in popular vote.

    May 23, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. Liz

    I love who the losing candidate is expecting to call the shots....Hillary it was over a long long time ago, and instead of doing what's best for the party you continued on with your scorched earth policy, if I can't have it then no one will have it...

    Please Barack, don't even think about putting this lying, cheating, manupilative woman on your ticket. If you do, you'll end up just like Vince Foster and so many other people who have crossed the Clinton's, you won't even serve a year as POTUS before "something" would befall you.

    Bill needs to just shut up and go back to doing what he does best, letting interns s**k his you know-what, and cheating on his wife. He should not be involved in this in anyway, shape or form, he just wants to get back into the Whitehouse so bad he can't stand it.

    JUST SAY NOT TO THE CLINTONS!!!! Their time has come and gone, and put them and the Bush's out to pasture, no more!

    May 23, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Santos from Boca Raton, Florida

    This primary have shown the Democrats what Republicans and Independents already knew; The King of Lying and the Queen of Denial are a PITA! 🙂

    May 23, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Moses

    Obama is the Chairman of the Senate sub-committe on Afghanistan. He did not even hold one hearing because he was too busy giving speeches to the weak minded.

    It is not because you sit on a committee that you become effective. The proof is in what you accomplish and not about sitting on committees. Obama talk the talk but does not walk the walk.

    Hillary will become President, whether the Left wants or not. She is the best hope for America.

    May 23, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. Kathy

    Wow, some of you Obama supporters are so naive – do you really want to turn your back on Clinton?? Have you been reading the recent polls out of PA, OH, and FL which shows Clinton easily beating McCain while McCain beats Obama for the general election. Seriously people – are you all college students or younger who have no clue how this works? Go ahead and dismiss Clinton's supporters as you are doing and see how much support Obama ends us getting – it won't be pretty in the end.

    May 23, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Heidi in Houston

    As much as Hillary can sometimes make my blood boil, I think she'd make an excellent Secretary of State. I think she can be very diplomatic when she wants to and chooses her words very carefully and cleverly. Who else could convince the DNC to consider going against the rules in the fourth quarter of the game? Hillary, that's who. I think she could make people believe the moon is made of cheese if she phrases it properly.

    Hell, she was a great trial lawyer that won many of her cases. She might have to curb blatant sneakiness with foreign leaders, but I think she'd do a great job of getting people around to the US Democratic Party Administration's angle on a lot of things.

    May 23, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. TL


    clinton supporters? obama supporters? I'm just saying....what happened to, oh I don't know, Democrats? I know you didn't start it all....I'm just saying that EVERYONE needs to chill and get back to the big picture, stop taunting each other like this is the Sox vs the Yanks (or Bears vs. Green Bay, if you will), and get with the program of making sure that a certain false maverick has no shot in hell at the white house no matter what.

    In other words, "If you kids can't stop arguing, we're not going to the movies!!!" lol

    May 23, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. She is the BEST

    Remind me...
    What has Obama ever done or achieved?

    What are Obama's positions? He seems to change his position on the issues every day.

    By what merits did Obama get this far?

    How is Obama superior to Clinton?

    Why can't Obama win even with EVERYONE and the MEDIA all piling on his side and ganging up against Clinton?

    He must really really suck.

    May 23, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  15. Karin

    Well the end is in two weeks.......and to tell you the truth.......If Hillary could have won and won it fair I would have voted for her even though I'm a Obama supporter.....but if she have plan on stealing the win I will not vote for her.....I just wont vote at all........I think I would just leave the USA and move to UK.....

    May 23, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  16. Darryl M. Arlington TX

    You can't the Clinton to face reality just look at how long took for Bill Clinton to tell the truth about having sex with Monica Lewinski and for Hillary to admit that she was not under sniper fire in Bonsia.

    Accepting the truth always came a little hard. Lets just give her time.

    May 23, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  17. erika morgan

    Obama and Clinton each have their good and bad sides, for me, as the next Pres. I can not really make the choice of which would be better for America. It is very important that the GOP be knocked out of the executive branch so our economy can begin to recover, and our reputation in the world as a government that takes the high ground, makes intelligent and measured responses, supports intelligent technologies, has superb education and a healthy and ready work force; and can once again become the "shinning beacon on the hill". I think these candidates should each concentrate on beating McCain, and the remainder of the delegates can make their choice on the one who will most easily beat him. This means there should be a halt to their primary campaigning against each-other and that they both need to stay in and run against McCain until the convention which should be able to ratify a winner for Democrats to support in November. This has the added benefit of the excitement of a real convention where something actually happens to change our political outlook for a better future.

    May 23, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. Bitter Tommy Hussein in St. Louis

    The worst thing Obama could do is pick Hillary as his VP. First, he cannot trust her, and her husband will make a circus out of the White House. Secondly, having her on the ticket will turn off a lot of independents and swing voters who would otherwise vote for him.

    May 23, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. Chuck, Democrats United We Stand

    Obama picked up a total of 3 superdelegates plus two more of Edwards delegates out of NM. The third super delegtate not mentioned today is Jenny Greenleaf from Oregon. Now it is 56 and counting to seal the deal. Obama now leads with + 190 over all delegate and superdlegate combined.

    So I guess there may be some conversations going on through the back channels that no one really wants to talk about.

    May 23, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. Mike Stephens

    I have to laugh..Clinton's racist supporters? *cough* when Obama received 93% of the black vote in some states? This is but one excellent example of the bias exhibited towards Hillary Clinton. Thankfully, half of the Dem party was too smart to fall for stuff like this!

    May 23, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. Trish- PA

    Save face?? You have to be kidding me. This woman is a disgrace to the Democratic party and a disgrace to my gender. I have never seen a more selfish, self-centered person in my life. This woman has tried to break every rule imaginable in this campaign. And her supporters don't care! And yes, she did indeed sign a pledge that those votes would not count in Michigan and Florida. Some supporters seem to think that there was no pledge but there was. And she stated on camera that they would not count. There is no saving face for this horrible, disgusting woman. She lies, she cheats and she breaks the rules. Why, on earth, do some of you still think she would be a good president??

    May 23, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  22. Derek

    BYE-BYE CLINTONS (Bill and Hillary). Besides Obama and Kathleen Seblius (Kansas Governor) makes a better ticket for change.

    May 23, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. Clinton and McCain Love Strawmen Games

    Obama's campaigning in FLorida. That should bring his numbers up there.

    If Obama pulls ahead in the Florida polls then all of Clinton's strawmen arguements are finished. She's finished anyway, but that's not any real news. This woman is going to set women back with her sickness.

    WOW @ women over 50. I understand your cause, but now it's time to start opening your eyes and thinking. Clinton lost fair and square and now she's trying to show that she's willing to cheat and sabotage the election just so she can win. How someone thinks that her pathetics acts of ungraciousness will somehow benefit women in the future is beyond me.

    You don't have to like it, but it's real talk. I'm not sexist either and plenty of other thinking women are saying the exact same thing. Trust me, Obama cares more about women then Clinton does.

    May 23, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. lori

    if that happens, then obama would really be an appeaser. let hillary go back to her place in history...senator and first lady...

    May 23, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  25. Justin

    Clinton cannot be the VP choice. Like it or not, it has to be a white male, preferably moderate with military experience. That's the only way you're going to get the swing state men who like to appear tough on things.

    While there's a lot of big talk about Clinton supporters not voting for Obama in the general election, we all know that isn't going to happen. That is as empty a threat as the people who vowed to move to Canada if Bush was re-elected. When the time comes to punch that chad, the thought of a McCain nightmare will compel every Clinton supporter to vote for Obama. I know it, you know it, everyone knows it.

    May 23, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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