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. Luvenia Lucas

    Both Sen. Clinton and her husband disappointed me with their subminial racist rhetoric; as a former supporter of both
    Clintons, I forgive them. but for their moral inappropriateness,
    I'm not forgiving and I believe that Sen. Clinton should
    exit while some her political integrity is intact.

    May 23, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  2. Patricia

    I don't get the people who cry sexism because Hillary lost. Or who claim she's won the popular vote (she signed off on an agreement to not allow FL and MI to count – let's not forget that!). Or who claim Barack is somehow stealing superdelegates. They must support their state – unless of course their state went to Barack, then they must vote their conscience. I would have supported her as VP – until her race tinged comments came about the last few weeks. Unfortunately he may have to choose her as VP to appease all these people claiming he stole this election. Because obviously a well spoken, well educated, strategic black man could never beat Hillary on his own. And to all those people who would rather vote for McCain than Barack – well, then when we have another four years of Bush Jr, don't complain.

    May 23, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. Asher

    So sorry that McCain will be in the White House due to the Obamaniacs' inability to hear that their leader's speeches are full of platitudes. He is an image - only.

    May 23, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. Pam

    Experience needed to be president of our country takes more than sitting on some committees.

    May 23, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. evelyn

    Hillary as a Supreme Court Judge???? Someone with her disrespect and disregard of the law and of justice??? PUHLEEEZZE. Yes, she is smart, she wears pearls with her pantsuit, but to be interpreting the Constition for the rest of us? I think not.

    And Obama does not need the baggage she brings.

    May 23, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Alan Snyder

    All you Obama people are blinded by smooth talk and are ignoring the real issue here. Those that say 'rules are rules' are ignoring the existence of so called inalienable rights, because as Americans, it is unconstitutional to take away the right to vote regardless of whatever politics occurred or who signed off. We are a nation of rules, but we have the supreme court which has the authority to rule using common sense and adherence to inalienable human and constitutional rights. Rules change–that's our system. Counting each and every vote in our democratic nation can not and will not be undermined by supporters of the other candidate or by a governing body who made up unconstitutional rules contrary to American values. Hillary is still in it, and no, she won't be VP. Barack will. Hillary will be President, and the democrats will win handedly.

    May 23, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Jerry in Fresno

    Senator Clinton is just not believable.

    I wouldn't trust her any more than President Bush, neither seem to realize that telling the truth is important.

    Senator Obama as president would not have a reliable partner in Senator Clinton as VP.

    Senator Obama wants to work with the Republicans and Senator Clinton would be a problem.

    Senator Clinton should go back to the Senate and build a reputation which would allow her to run for president at a later time.

    May 23, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Jarrod

    Obama should make his own choice. Biden, Richardson, Edwards, but not Clinton. She acted like a republican in every way this campaign , sleezy, and did more to split the party than unite it. In many ways I cant tell her from McCain. Change is not going to come from a veteran of the system.
    With regular Americans being crushed by rising costs of gas, food, utilites, falling home equity, raises that dont keep up with inflation, no way to save for thier own future, no real plan for energy independence, no plan for a post oil economy, a pointless war thats cost lives, billions and made us less safe... need I go on?
    The issues far greater than personality quirks, flag pins, pastors, race/gender and the like. If we DONT get real change , to REAL problems, our way of life will not exist for the next generation. Period.

    May 23, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. Dee Okla.

    Please don't she is not the one.

    May 23, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. The O

    Most ecellent news. Now it's time for the real game to begin. and to all my fellow Obama supporters. we need to show respect to hillary supporters. we know Obama would treat them with respect. so should we!!

    BARACK THE VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Charles

    After going back and reading the recorded notes from the Rules and Bylaws Committee, there is no way I could support Clinton on the ticket. There was only one dissenting vote regarding stripping Michigan and Florida of their delegates. Only one and that one was an Obama supporter. All of Clintons supporters: Ickes, Wolfson to name the most recognizable voted to not seat any of the delegates from those two states.

    It was not until after Super Tuesday that Clinton began to talk of seating the delegates. It was not until the delegate count did not go her way that she began to talk of the popular vote. She knows that political parties are membership only clubs. Now she is trying to distort by playing on people's emotions: millions of new participants who do not know or understand the rules.....

    Several studies have been done that show that as many people did not vote because they believed their vote would not count. In short, she helped DISENFRANCHISE millions as well.......

    May 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. Zion

    Enomisa, the only voters Obama has no appeal with are the bigoted voters who feel robbed by educated blacks. I hate that bigoted whites are the ones whose opinion seem to matter the most in this election. There are plenty of intelligent whites that support Hillary and those that support Obama. Whenever I hear people say, Oh he gets no support, normally we are talking about bigoted whites who would not support Hillary either if she ran against McCain. People with that sort of mind set will always choose the white male.

    Mike in Columbus you are totally correct. I will even paste your comments because I could not state my opinion any better.

    Obama sits on the foriegn relations commitee, and the homeland security commitee. Part of the reason I love to hear people say he has no experience, is because it only shows they actually know NOTHING about him. His approach of engagement is exactly what this country needs. The Iraq war exposed to the entire world that our bark is far worse than our bite. And our bite is getting weaker everyday. Time to start playing on the same field, and stop thinking we are the umpire!

    May 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. John W., Milwaukee, WI


    Hillary is in this to WIN the PRESIDENCY!

    NEVER, and I mean NEVER, would she accept the VP POSITION.

    Should the incredibly stupid and dumb thing happen here and the DNC & Superdelegates steal the nomination from Hillary, I am sure that the DNC & Superdelegates would FORCE Senator Obama to offer her the VP Position... [Michelle says she would love that!]

    Hillary would never accept that.

    A vastly more appropriate solution for this entire mess would be for Senator Obama to withdraw: Personal Reasons, he cannot win the GENERAL ELECTION and he is DESTROYING THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY!

    May 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. eww

    The best case scenario would be for a Clinton supporter to fill the VP spot. I'm not sure Clinton wants to be #2 on the ticket. It will be very hard for her to acquiesce her style to Obama's for the national campaign. The ideal choice which would help to bolster the ticket would be Gen. Wesley Clark. He embodies the "change" DC needs. He is not a DC insider yet he possesses an impressive resume on international affairs and national defense/intelligence having been Commander of the Allied Forces in the Kosovo conflict. And he is a Clinton supporter.

    I believe that would be a ticket she could easily support.

    May 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. marissa

    "Even Hillary's most "low information" voters can buy that nonsense."

    Seriously Shawn from MD, do you think those who support Hillary are all "low information"?

    I have a master's degree (a minor in political science, to boot) and I support Hillary.

    FYI, we're not all the oft-mentioned blue collar workers.

    May 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  16. fairandstraight

    If she make an exit too soon, she will not be able to manipulate people into paying off her debt by donating to a failed campaign with the only chance of resurrecting is to change the rules at the end of the game.

    May 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Abina

    HILLARY IS DONE!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |

    Why should the other 48 states, that didn't break the Primary rules, now be punished by letting Michigan and Florida break the rules?

    OBAMA 08

    May 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. Hillary the True Champion!

    To all of you besottled Obama supporters, here's what Maya Anjelou wrote - and she supports Hillary vigorously:

    "You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may trod me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I'll rise.”

    Hillary will rise, and history will prove what a loss it will have been if she does not become president!


    May 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. Scott

    I think Hillary and her group are black mailing Barack into a choice he should not make. Hillary is out of her mind thinking a combination ticket would be a dream ticket after all of her rantings that Barack is not "presidential" material. Barack will lose many votes if he chooses her over someone else. Do you ever wonder why both Hillary and Bill want into the White House so bad??????? This is scary and should be closely examined by all. They have had their turn, now they can both sit back and write books.

    May 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. ed

    remember the whole world is watching how the democrats, from the nation that claims to be a world leader, play out democracy . think out of the box

    May 23, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  22. Rick

    Obama and Hilary supporters – REMEMBER

    The real battle is in November. Do not abandon your party just because your preferred candidate loses.

    And do not vote for McCain in frustration. McCain is 4 more years of Bush.

    May 23, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. Pat

    I would like to see Obama select either Edwards or Richardson for VP, definately not Hillary. I think choosing her would destroy the campaign. He should offer her a cabinet post that would deal with women's rights. It's possible that she would find it easier to concede if he let her know that, privately, now. Ending her fight, is long over due.!

    May 23, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  24. pavel

    Yes, We Can

    but McCan't

    May 23, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. JS

    Now we are moving in the right direction. How to end this thing without loosing too much face.

    Hillary would not be a good Vice President to run on the Obama ticket, because of their personality styles, direction (CHANGE). This campaigning has gone on way too long. The mode of the process that we are in now could render the whole democratic party powerless and ineffective to win.

    I am a supporter of Obama and hope that the process ends soon, so we can move onto the next phase.

    May 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
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