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. racer bob

    Obama is the new facw that this country needs,, now he needs to pick a VP face that isn't in Washington. It is time for the New Government. This country is in REAL NEED OF NEW Direction Before we all loose what we have worked so hard for.

    May 23, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Sharon Minnesota

    Hillary Clinton should most definitely NOT vie for or accept an offer of the democratic vice presidency. This would cause me to rethink my support of John McCain and that would be very very disconcerting. She needs to go for bust or it's all been for naught. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to not belong on the same ticket, it would be obscene.

    There's still time to mull all this over, and by November we should be ready to pick a new president and vice president. No matter who it turns out to be, we will say a prayer for GWB on his way out and try to keep a modicum of respect for a former president no matter how we may feel about the man.

    May 23, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. DDC

    When Obama supporters are talking about their nominee, they thought the winner would take the all! That is totally wrong. This is a closest campaign we have ever seen. If the winner could take it all, Hillary was the winner already. Don’t be narrow mind. Hillary has over 17 millions supports. The votes between Obama and Hillary are almost even. Obama won the delegates account. Does he really win the core of Democratic Party? He must very careful for that.

    May 23, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Terry

    If Hillary is anywhere on the ticket I will vote for McCain!!!!

    May 23, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. Claudia - Oregon

    If Hillary were not a Clinton, I believe the DNC would have "invited" her to leave the campaign long ago. The DNC is acting like they are afraid of her (and Bill). The only way she can safe face now is simply to resign and commit herself to campaigning for Obama in the general election.

    May 23, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. Dan (TX)

    The Clinton campaign "exit" strategy most likely includes scamming a way for Hillary to be reimbursed for her $11.4 million loans from the Obama campaign.

    Guess Hillary can't round up a million more 10 year olds to sell off their video games. A multi-millionaire taking money from children – disgraceful!

    Sadly, only a court decision will likely show her the way out!

    May 23, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. Al

    Hillary voiced her thoughts regarding the dismissal of the Florida/Michigan vote count at the beginning of the primary. Now that she is against the ropes she wishes to claim all of those votes?? The delegate count (playing by the rules Hillary/Obama/Dem. Candidates originally agreed to) clearly leaves Obama as the presumptive nominee of the party. Seems pretty cut and dry. Let's quit fighting with each other and focus on what is at stake in November.

    May 23, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. jake

    I wonder what would have happened IF BOTH CANIDATES HAD THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY TO SPEND, SO THAT THE RACE COULDN'T BE BOUGHT. Then WE WOULD HAVE HAD DEBATES TO BRING OUT THE ISSUES, I have no idea what there weren't more debates???? That is what & how people get to REALLY KNOW THE CANIDATES. Not from the media spin, one way or the other which is how this race has been run. Debates are the only way we know how they both think, and we were robbed of our chance to do that by unbiased debates. WHY..

    May 23, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. bern

    No to Clinton as VP under any circumstances. Barack has the right to choose who he wants as a running mate. That has been the case with every nominee in recent history. Hillary and Bill cannot be trusted. Barack would be in a very dangerous position with Hillary as VP. Very dangerous. She will go to any length to be president. Whatever it takes.

    May 23, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |


    Millions MORE would like to see Obama as the nominee...

    She is holding the Democratic party hostage at this point.

    Clinton will cause a scene next week at the delegate convention.
    Florida and Michigan will be seate, but not to her liking...
    Clinton will appeal to the next higher up comittee...
    She might get her way, or migt not....
    Clinton will then appeal to the floor of the convention....


    and she will burn this party to the ground to get it.

    May 23, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. Nunya

    Whichever candidate you support, before you attribute nastiness to the supporters of the other candidate, make sure that you *know* that the nastiness in fact *is* coming from supporters of the other candidate. Just reading comments in pixels on the CNN boards or any other website is *not* sufficient to verify that. Anyone can type any message they feel like here and pose to be whatever they think will serve their purposes. When you read some nasty comment about "Nobama is a closet muslim who consorts with terrorists" or "Hillary is a lying, deceitful b**** who will do anything to win", you have absolutely no clue who is writing it. It could be a supporter of the opposing candidate. It could be a supporter of your candidate trying to make the opposing supporters look bad. It could be a Republican trying to make both sides look bad and fan the flames of division. And which of those do you think has the most to gain from such comments? Obviously the Republicans do.

    If you're going to decide that the others' supporters are evil and nasty, do it after you've had face to face discussion with some of them, so that you know you're right rather than following some wild goose chase that a too-clever Republican planted as bait for you.

    May 23, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Mike D.

    Just PLEASE PLEASE don't be a sore loser hillary!

    May 23, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. Ed

    I voted for Obama in the Texas primary and caucus because literally anyone would be a better president than Hillary. I don't want her or any other Clinton anywhere near the White House ever again. I'm not a big fan of Bush, but he has had to put up with a lot of crap that Bill Clinton either ignored (Bin Laden) or started (NAFTA). It would be a travesty for Obama to come all this way only to put Hillary one slip in the shower away from being president. I want to believe things can be better than they are now, I want to believe that Obama has the courage to follow through with his convictions. Giving Hillary the VP slot will only show that Obama does not have the courage to do what must be done and therefore my vote will reluctantly go to McCain in November.

    May 23, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. nc

    I will not vote for Obama. I am a Hillary supporter. Come on women of the USA let's unite together. We can write Hillary in on the ticket. So you pundits out there get this. Tell the Obama campaign it will take the women vote to get him elected president.

    May 23, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. lang

    I have a feeling Mc Cain is going to win in Nov. My family and I are Hillary supporters, and like many Democrats, we will vote for McCain if Hillary is not the nominee.

    I don't understand why they use the words 'saving face'. Hillary has nothing to be ashamed of- she and all of us should be very proud of her efforts and what she has accomplished. She worked hard and did her best.

    You guys who keep criticizing her should realize she has done more good for a lot of people than all of you have in your own lifetime.

    May 23, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Leonora42

    The "Dems" must have a death wish. They keep on vetting candidates who cannot possibly win. (2000,2004, and now 2008!).

    I certainly WILL not vote for Sen. Obama, and I cannot stand the thought of voting for John McCain.

    Probably I will abstain or throw my vote away on Ralph Nader or some similiar candidate.

    May 23, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. Terry

    Too little too late

    Uh no. Its your girl Hillary that's wrecked the party and I think you know deep down why.

    Besides if she were the nominee who's to say that everyone would pick the old white guy instead of the white woman.

    Who's to say it woulnd't be MCain in the end.

    Give it up.

    May 23, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. Rave

    This is not about women, men, blue, red, white, black....
    Hillary was / is desperate for the nomination and that scares me.
    She tried every possible way and failed.
    Obama is clearly the people's choice.
    Now let's talk about VP. If AL GORE agrees for the VP Position, that would be perfect........ OBAMA / AL GORE 2008.

    May 23, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Mark T

    I think it's an abosulte shame that John McCain's health is an issue. For God's sake, he was bayonetted in the shoulder, groin, suffered two broken arms while serving our country... and went on to endure the the punishment of the North Vietnamese. Of course he will have some issues with health from time to time. This is more than Barack or Hillary have EVER done for their country. The only story here is CNN is having a slow news day and is stirring the proverbial pot.


    May 23, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Undi

    the Hill at this point, has gone too far for a graceful exist. Her handlers better look at three or so disgraceful ways for her to bolt and pick the least catastrophic one of those

    May 23, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  21. pam Eugene OR

    No to a joint ticket and I can not see why the Obama supporters should pay for Hillary's debts. I send Barack money to help him and bail out her unfair and untrue movers for the past several weeks.
    HRC knew she was doing this while she was broke. I don't think she should be able to trash the party and walk away debt free.
    Go home Clinton's!

    May 23, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. David D Kollie

    This is exactly what should happen now. I know apart from all of our blogging and favoritism concerning candidate of interest, Hillary is a strong courageous woman. It is time for the Dems to unite. The word is "united we stand". It is time for unity.

    May 23, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. Obama Mama

    Of course she wants the V.P. slot........As V.P. she knows she could get to the office of the presidency and we all know she would do what it took to get there. Barack would need to have a food taster with him at ALL times, amongst other special security. Hasn't anyone taken notice of how many "acquaintances and friends" of the Clinton's that have mysteriously died? Come on....NO HILLARY ON THE TICKET! BIGGEST MISTAKE OBAMA COULD EVER MAKE. I would NOT VOTE for that way, no how! They need to lock that looney woman and her whacko husband up! Take Chelsea while they're at it too!

    May 23, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Ellie in Aurora, CO

    Jackie and other Hillary supporters – the only way that Obama won't win is if you and other Dems decide to write in her name or vote for McCain. If you want 4 more years of Bush – the war, the economy, the lack of health care, by all means don't vote for Obama. But then – don't complain when your children are sent to war, or you can't affort medical care, or gas goes to $10 a gallon. Clinton and Obama have the same policies on 95% of issues – why wouldn't you vote for Obama???? If it were reversed, I would vote for Hillary – we simply cannot afford to have 2 more supreme court justices selected by the right wing if we want to maintain our constitutional rights!

    May 23, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  25. Annoyed in PA

    While it is true that there are many intelligent people in this country, a majority voted for Bush........TWICE (this is not counting the popular vote dilemma of 2000, although either way, it was a close call)

    So when I hear that college educated and above vote for Obama and highschool educated and less vote for Hilary, that makes me think...maybe the majority of us aren't smart enough to vote for Obama...

    May 23, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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