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. Texas Terry

    Here are the choices. 1-Hillary is the nominee. 2-Hillary is the VP. 3-John McCain is the next President of the United States. I don't care how much people like Mr. Cafferty don't like Senator Clinton. Face the facts. Anyone want to test my theory. It will only take a few months to see. If Hillary is not the nominee I and droves of Clintonites will not vote for Senator Obama if Hillary is not the choice for Democratic Vice President.

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

    More millions rather Obama be the nominee.

    May 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Sharon

    For all of you who think that Hillary Clinton can win in November, you need to wake up and count the number of Democrats that have stated from the start that they would never vote for her. Republican voters are not the only individuals in America that deplore her - and her "change every fday or two" personality. She never had a chance of carrying the Democratic Party because of lifelong Democrats that would have voted for a dead candidate over her.

    May 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Tony

    Clinton should say NO if asked to be Obama's running mate. Let the Democratic Party and the superdelegates ...and the Demorcratic voters lose AGAIN!! becuae of their ignorance and arrogance in choosing the WRONG candidate as the nominee to go against Mc"Bush" in November.

    We deserve to lose, even though this should be the easiest win for us in decades!

    The Democratic Party and the fools who make it up just never learn. Just goes to show that when it comes to infinite stupidity, the Democrats can more than hold their own against the Republicans.

    May 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. TD

    Afte this tacky and cruel campaign Hillary has ran, I hope Obama does not consider this option. Pick someone else more credible and trusting. She has shown me a different light about her and I have always loved the Clinton's. It is not good move to have Obama and Clinton on the same ticket. It's got to be a better way and still win this election. Got to be!

    May 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. jterrell

    Obama supporters are weaksauce.

    6 months ago they were all but lining up to sign off on the Hillary/Obama joint ticket.

    Now that Obama has pulled ahead he should just push past her and she is a bad possible VP?


    Obama can not win without Hillary's supporters which are a large portion of the Democratic base he claims to represent. He darn well should "appease" them.

    Hillary has a lot of ammo int hats he will very likely win the overall vote count if she merely pushes on to Puerto Rico.

    Obama has been excellent at many things but he should have offered her already and put this bed before she won Kentucky and other recent states by huge margins making his own inevitably truly questionable.

    I'd prefer Hillary as the candidate and 8 year President with VP Obama with 8 years following that for Obama as President. That is what every Democrat SHOULD want but we are too stupid to defeat even GW Bush.... so what can you do.

    May 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. GMMiami

    The only strategy is to bribe, squeeze, or blackmail the Obama campaign in to paying off or funraising to pay off the Hillary Campaign's Debt. Its clear that this would be the only way she'd "help unify the party" and support the nominee. There won't be a graceful exit or support unless the DNC and Obama campaigns agree to this demand.

    May 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. Obama spin

    Obama got this far by actively avoiding talk of the issues. His campaign was one of hype and spin.

    Now that the prepared speeches carried his this far, he must take over with his own merits.

    Trouble is... he has no merits. Turns out, it was all "JUST words". He waffles on his own positions on the important issue, he has no track record to refer to, he can not answer questions intelligently, and he has lost the trust of many democrats.

    Only Clinton can save the democratic party.

    May 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. D-Obama 08


    It amounts too nothing more than black-mail by the Clinton campaign to put Clinton on the "ticket". Sen. Obama, should have the right to choose his own running mate, he should be able to choose someone more reflective of himself and the values he have for his administration as president of the US.

    Clearly if he chose Clinton in the short-term as his running mate she'd get what she want and so would her supporters, however, in the long-term, President Obama would have to contend with her and her divisive attitude, I certainly don't see her being subordinate, she'd do nothing but create problems for him, and I don't see her as a team player. She has to be the one in charge. I don't see that she has the kind of respect that would allow her to work as #2 to President Obama. She would be too contentious, and of course, there is President Clinton.

    Let's be honest! This is no dream ticket. The Obama's would be in a constant state of nightmare, not to speak of the ultimate voters would subsequent realize for pressing having her in the office of VP.

    President Obama, would not be able to govern and/or perform the duties of president with Clinton forced on him as vice president. He'd not be able to fully trust her.

    He has the right to choose his own second. President Clinton is now pressing this, but I wonder what he would have done had he been forced to have someone as vice president that he didn't want. Seems to me he ought to show Sen. Obama the same respect to choose his running-mate without forcing his wife down our throats. Besides, if those folks that voted for Sen. Obama because that's who they want.

    I wonder how many of you that work anywhere would appreciate having someone forxed on you in your workplace that you don't or didn't want. It's always fine when it affects someone else, isn't it?

    May 23, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. Haley Rodman Clemson

    I hope and pray that both Clinton and Obama exit the race. They are both poor excuses for Americans.

    May 23, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. Kevin

    I love how Hillary's supporters say that she'd surely win the presidential election when she can't even win the Democratic primary. She's arguing right now that every one should have the right to vote. But come June 4th, when every one has voted, and she's still way behind, I guarantee you she still won't drop out. She doesn't care about the party, she's in this for personal gain.

    May 23, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. Deanna - Charlotte, NC

    Some of you ought to be more respectful of Senator Clinton. She has proven herself to be a tireless patriot. I have always believed her motivation for getting into the race was because she cares about people whom the Bush administration wishes would disappear - people who depend on their country to be a democracy and not a dictatorship. This race will go down in history as proof that our country has made strides for equality for blacks BUT we remain without doubt a misogynistic nation.

    May 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. Chris

    The only thing I see wrong with having Hillary as the VP is that she could wield too much power. We don't need another VP trying to pull the strings of another President; we've had 8 years of that. It doesn't mean it would happen that way, but there is that risk.

    Even with this risk, I say put her on the ticket. While I like Bill Richardson or John Edwards better than Hillary as far as a "backup President", putting her on the ticket would be the best political move Obama could make. It would, without a doubt, guarantee the victory. In the end, isn't that everyone's goal?

    May 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. Belle

    Oh please, Senator Clinton, do not sully your name by attaching it in any way to Obama. After this is over, I will donate more to help pay the debt and I am sure there are others who will also help. Just concede to McCain in November. Perhaps the Democrats will learn to nominate an electable candidate, but then again maybe not; remember McGovern, Carter (2nd time around) Dukakis, and Kerry.

    May 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. Tyler in Raleigh, NC

    She should stop crying sexism and gracefully bow out, she is making it harder for women to run for President in the future.

    First the crying, then the cackle, the lying to appear brave under "sniper fire". She she should have run a coherent campaign on her strengths and not changed "voices" every few weeks. People still respected and trusted her before this election.

    May 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Susan Goldbeck

    One way or the other the Billary team as vice president flies in the face of Obama's change message and ultimately it still means the Clinton circus will be back in town. The only difference is Obama would not be able to control it but would have to be responsible for it. There is no way the Clinton combination could ever be anyone's second in command. It would make the commander in chief, third in line. Clinton supporters should be acting not in Hillary's interest but rather what is in the interest of the country. Short of their choice winning the primary, which she can't, would any of these folks really think MCCain is the better choice?

    May 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. Marc


    Exit stage left. Even if Florida and Michigan get seated in a reasonable and fair manner you are mathematically eliminated so please step aside gracefully and maintain your dignity.

    May 23, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. looking forward to battle

    This is a good day to fight for what you believe in:

    The puppet demagogue or the champion of the people?
    The boastful, cocky braggert or the hardworking woman?
    The inclusive true democrat or the pompous elitist?
    The mainstream centrist or the radical left-wing extremist?
    The policyless cutie or the intelligent policy wonk?

    May 23, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. Jamaal Kansas

    Hillary should Never Be on a Ticket with Obama unless it is for Lunch because she has used ever dirty trick in the book to destroy Obama canidacy she is EVIL EVIL EVIL and would stop this Obama supporter from supporting him

    May 23, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. Tex

    Hillary doesn't deserve the Veep position on Obama's winning ticket. She still lacks the character, honesty, candor and integrity to hold such an office. Also, her decision making skills such as selecting James Carville as an adviser, her misspeaks and dirty politics are the tactics of the past and have no business in the new American political vision. Besides no one wants to see Bill back in Washington....He is such a negative distraction.

    May 23, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. JLB

    Any exit strategy hopefully will NOT ( I repeat NOT) include her on the ticket......that would be enough for me to vote for McCain (providing he doesnt put that Arkansas ex governor on the ticket). Maybe she can be given a new Secretary of Poverty.

    There is no graceful way for her to exit......she has no idea what the wor "grace" means. Hoping the Governor Sebelius is the VP nominee on the Obama ticket.

    May 23, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. B. Brown

    I will be extremely upset with the Obama campaign if one cent of my contributions goes to the Clinton campaign to help them get out of the hold they dug for themselves. Maybe they shouldn't have been so exorbitant with their campaign headquarters (Bellagio visits in Nevada!). I would not have contirubted my 500 if I thought one cent was headed toward the Clintons.

    Angry in Idaho

    May 23, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Independent99999

    If Hillary is given any spot or consideration in Obama's Presidency, I would be DISAPPOINTED.

    To me, Hillary is the EVIL FACE of everything bad of WASHINGTON.



    OBAMA will gain the presidency only if Hillary is completely brushed off and pushed out. She has no SHAME and no RESPECT left in public life after everything she did in this campaign.

    OBAMA – Don't get the baggage of Clintons. It will DROWN your DECENCY and cost you the Presidency

    Clinton is a BIG LIABILITY and I for one will not VOTE for you if Clinton has any role in your administration

    May 23, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. dd L.B,CA

    I hope Obama does not HAVE TO offer her the Veepe spot. because she would take it & Bill would be in the WH again just like old times doing whatever. There are better choices: Bloomberg, Clark, Webb, Hagel & others. Another thing, I hope Obama does not have to use his donation $ to pay off Hillary's debt. I guess it is Politically Correct for him to help her exit with respect & dignity. If it's a choice of paying her debt or the Veepe spot, I think I'd rather pay the debt. I am sick of Clinton's & especially Hillary's CRAP.

    May 23, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. Independent

    Why aren't the Clinton backers paying the Clinton debt? For all the tough talk, they should put their money where their mouth is. If they really think she has a chance of winning, where is the money? Enough with the cant - hypocrites backing a hypocrite: this is ironic beyond irony.

    May 23, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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