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. Boris Chevenski

    For the sake of the UNITED States of America, Obama and Clinton, step down and shut up.

    May 23, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. Wise White Guy

    silence do good: If your going to use an obscure pen name and talk about historical accuracy you might want to spell the name right.
    The correct name is Silence Dogood

    May 23, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Amy Jacobson

    Many of Obama's online supporters are Iranians, Pakistanis and Arabs. They post here in large numbers.

    I am NOT talking about the civilized modern ones (I have many friends amongst those), but I'm talking about the ones still living the stone age mentality but know how to type on a computer.

    May 23, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Loyal Texas Obamacan since January

    He should not offer Hillary anything period. There are many of us former Republican voters who are loyal Obama supporters and as the GE campaign progresses there will be many more Repubs and Independents to join with him.

    Single endoremenets by high profile people don't mean much but collectively you have to start paying attention. Hagel just got a lot of people's attention.

    Don't ruin it with Hillary on the ticket.

    May 23, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Realist

    She is doing evenything to destroy the chance of a democratic win in the Fall. Looks like she is preparing herself for 2012 –Machiavelic strategy where the end justifies the means! Her ego seems to follow the price of the barrel of oil.

    May 23, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Janice

    Graceful? There's nothing graceful in how she has run her campaign. This is not about her....this is about what is best for this country. I used to support the Clintons through thick and thin, I no longer support them and have seen them in a new light. It is time for her to put into action her words of caring and bow out now and unite with the party for the greater good. She is not entitled to VP or any special considerations, it's time to move on.

    May 23, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. J Pat

    By the way the candidate does not have the power to choose the VP. They can reccommend to the delegates and hope they follow their wishes.

    If anyone thinks the supers won't go with Clinton in an open floor fight for VP you are dreaming. Politicians would love the easy way out of giving one the Presidental nomination and the other VP so they can say they untied the party.

    Obama will win or lose this election between now and September 1st with the choices he makes.

    May 23, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. Joe

    Stop with the better candidate crap. If she was the better candidate then why didn't see win the nomination. It is her first real test and she failed it miserably. Being first lady does not give anyone 35 YEARS of experience. PLEASE!!!

    May 23, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  9. LaTreetha E. Sharpley

    If the American people wanted the Clintons, back in the White House she would be leading. Let our nation move on beyond the Bushs and Clinton to a new day and a new way of doing things.
    If people say they will not vote for Senator Obama, when we as a nation will suffer as we have the last 8 years. If you vote for some one you know will not help the nation, we will suffer.

    May 23, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. mike

    Hey! Hey! Hey! GOODBYE HillBilly!

    May 23, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    The big question is this.
    Obama supporters: Clinton or McCain.
    Clinton supporters: Obama or McCan.

    Problem is majority of Clinton supporters will vote for McCain. Hense, McCain will win.

    I vote for the person and not the party and this is the order I'm voting. Clinton, McCain then Obama.

    May 23, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Bob Smith

    Dedicated Republican, planning to vote for Obama, ....unless he has Hillary Clinton as a running mate, in which case I will absolutely vote Republican.

    May 23, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. Clay Anderson

    My respect (and perhaps even support) of Obama would dissipate if he were to offer Hillary the VP spot. His campaign has been focused on bringing change to Washington, and Hillary is the absolute antithesis of that position. Obama owes her nothing, and would damage his own credentials were he to extend such an offer. By doing so, he'd subvert his entire platform.

    Personally, I'd love to see John Edwards join the Obama ticket. Philosophically, his campaign was similar to Obama's, and as VP, he'd shore up some of Obama's weaknesses.

    May 23, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. stan pittsburgh,pa

    hillary clinton only stayed in this race this long to pay off her debts using money that unwise people donated to her campaign....sad, she knew her real chances of winning ended after indiana yet she still persists...

    May 23, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. two cents

    obama has won more states–but also more meaningless states for this november–states democrats will never win (idaho? utah? please!). the presidential election is won in ohio, california, new york, pennsylvania, michigan and florida. can obama win these? if democratic primaries were winner take all, like republican primaries (and the presidential election), hilary would already be the nominee. add it up, it's a fact. with obama as the nominee, start getting used to saying president mccain.

    May 23, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. Kathryn, Indiana

    Hillary mismanaged her campaign.
    Hillary is not wanted for president by the majority of anything.
    Hillary & Bill are old politics.
    Hillary & Bill would sabotage Obama if she was VP.
    Obama doesn't need her....she is antimatter.
    McCain doesn't know what's about to hit him.

    Obama 08!
    Obama 12!

    May 23, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. Blackalot


    OBAMA 08!

    May 23, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. The Mid West Sends a Message

    Don't give up Hillary. Make Oboma give up. We need you now more than ever. Don't be a quitter. Fight for us and we will fight for you.

    May 23, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. sally in cali

    Obama and Clinton supporters will be united in the general election. All who say otherwise want a Bush 3rd term no matter what the reason.

    Clinton supporters get a grip. Sometimes your candidate will not win. That's how the 2nd Bush term happened. So what did the Democrats do? They changed their efforts to taking over Congress.

    Ladies, it's time for change. Support your female Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Mayors, State elected officials, etc. if they represent your issues. Hillary has paved the way for a viable candidate in the future. Now buck up and be women about this.

    If Obama wins and does not do a good job, there's 2012.

    Democrats Unite! We can win this.

    May 23, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. I sit to pee and I love it

    No other presidential candidate (republican or democrat) was given special treatment in terms of being allowed enough time to consider how to "exit with grace" or "save face".

    I have to ask, does it have to do with the fact that she is a woman?

    As a young, female, minority woman I can't wait for the day when "mature" women that claim they are treated unfairly when they can't cut it realize that equal treatment doesn't afford you special treatment when you lose.

    Stop using your lack of a penis as a crutch for everything that goes wrong in your life. There will always be someone smarter, younger, and yes, prettier than you – get over it.

    May 23, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  21. enomisa

    I'm for Obama because he is willing to talk with our enemies.

    Oh wait, he only put that on his website, and stated it several times at debates for political gain. But now he is saying something else so that he can appeal to all the rest of the voters.

    Wow.... i guess I won't be voting for the pandering, hypocritical liar after all.

    Obama says what he needs to draw in voters: Race card for the Blacks, diplomacy with our enemies for the youth, sexism for the men... now he back peddles on everything to gain the support of all those he alienated with his first approach.


    May 23, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  22. Dick in Sioux Falls

    Hillary needs to begin to taper down her campaign. She maintains she has been a friend of the working poor for 35 years. Really? She was a NAFTA cheerleader and supporter right up to the campaign in Ohio. She claimed to have helped bring Peace to Northern Ireland until the British leader in the effort called her a Tourist bystander at best. She claimed to have created Children's Health Care until it was pointed out she was no such thing. She claimed to duck sniper fire in Bosnia, until the video showed nothing of the sort.
    She professes to understand the working poor, but has always had a life of privilege, and has loaned her campaign close to $20 Million.
    I will never vote for her, not because she is a woman, but because she has been a dishonest woman thoughout this primary campaign.

    May 23, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. Just want to know

    this is unbelievable………..

    if someone you ran against lied, used ever lame excuse made by woman to discredit you, would you want to offer them a VP position?

    let me be the first to say if obama was losing in this race and had encourage us his supporters to lobby in washington on May 31st, at a time when most of us can barely afford gas to go to work day after day, I would also be writing this about him.

    anyone who has or is a senator that would encourage such a thing like this is a cause for grave concern.

    it's sad, this group of people really think it's all about them.

    May 23, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. Justin



    HILLARY '08 or MCCAIN '08

    May 23, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. Kate

    It is too late in the game for this woman to save face. She has only caused hard to the democrat party and risked its chances of getting back the whitehouse. She does not care about America or what is good for America, she only cares about her own ego. She is a vile woman who resorts to any dispicable ploy to get votes. Her campaign has been filled with lies and she has been busted so many times for them. She signed away the votes in FL & MI and now has the gall to demand those votes be counted. Sorry Hillary, but the rules are the rules and you can't call a timeout just because you are losing. I have lost all respect for the Clintons.

    May 23, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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