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. Megan

    NOOOOO! She should let him offer and then decline saying she has work to do in the Senate. I don't know why her supporters would want her to take the VP role anyway, I'd want Obama to turn it down if things were reversed. ALso, if she's VP, what is Bill? He was always her defacto VP. I don't think I would publicily offer it to her either bz. I don't hink he can trust her and Bill to not say "sure" after they already agreed to decline the offer (kinda like suddenly saying MI and FL count after signing a pledge with the DNC that they don't). She hasn't exactly proven herself as trustworthy. Barack needs to stay fresh to get the republicans on the fence and clinton on the ticket kills that.

    May 23, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. cybersport

    The issue as I see it is Sen. Clinton would rather see McCain win if she does not win the Democratic nomination herself. Any support of Sen. Obama would be reluctant, to say the least.

    I consider myself independent but will likely vote Democratic this time. the Democrats appear to be trying to do everything possible to sink their own campaign before it even begins.

    May 23, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. steve


    May 23, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. JDM

    35 years of history is alot of baggage to carry. He has a better chance with someone new. JIM WEBB would be my choice. He covers alot of ground as a VP with Obama. I really need a break from the Bushes and the Clintons. We all need a break.

    May 23, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  5. AJ, IL

    How can Hillary be Obama's VP and rigorously/honestly defend him against the same attacks she used against him?

    May 23, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  6. Brian of Oakville near Toronto

    Had Hillary any shame, she would be concerned about saving face. She could easily save face by doing the right thing and gracefully submitting to defeat with honour.

    But she has no shame, no capacity to do the right thing, and no grace.

    She is banal and predictable. If only another woman–a good person–had run instead of she. That woman might well have won the nomination, and if not, that woman would have been a force for creativity and unity. Hillary is not that woman, because she is not that person.

    May 23, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. Joe Regis

    There is little more
    that need to be done, I Think.


    Obama/Jim Webb

    Obama/Hagel 08&12

    May 23, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. Abbi Dutt

    I think it will be suicidal for Hillary to join Barack. Barack will surely lose to McCain unless the constitution is amended to get rid of electoral college. I do not see Barack winning either Ohio or Florida. Barack's support is very similar to Gore and Kerry. It could even be like Dukakis. All three were defeated. Let us not forget that Barack needs a specific type of voters to win. After all the endrosements and huge money advantage he lost his neigbouring states – Kentucky and Indiana.

    It will be prudent for Hillary to just sit out.

    May 23, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. King of NJ

    the fat lady clears her throat... and prepares to sing!

    No we can apply this Full court press to Mccain united at democrats

    Obama 08
    Democrats for life!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. AngryObamaSupport

    We don't want Hillary on the ticket with Sen. Obama. If we did, we would have voted for her and I'm sure her supporters feel the same way. Not only that, Sen. Obama should not help her pay her campaign debt, she incurred it, so she should pay it. As she state a in Feb. let her lent herself some more money.

    May 23, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. mpay

    It's too late. Hillary has already made herself look as if she's delusional with statements like "if you count the votes the way that I count them" and "support the nominee, whoever she may be". Did Barack Obama get a sex-change while the nation wasn't looking???

    The crazy talk needs to stop!

    May 23, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  12. Bismarck From Alberta, Canada

    A Note to Obama

    I commend you for your kind offer to help senator Kennedy deliver the keynote speech at the Welslean University.

    This is a noble deed and is what make america great. However heres a caveat, Please try and impugne all political references or postures from this even, or you will run the risk of people misinterpreting your good intentions as a political maneouvre to score cheap political points.

    Please let this be what it is, An act of kindness for a friend in need.

    Any political note you strike in that address will not go down well with me, with kennedys kids in the school, with kennedys family and with millions of americans.

    I hope you remain as smart and open as you have been so far and do the right thing.

    May 23, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. TIMBER

    More Obama propaganda! Why would she pull out when she obviously has the popular vote?!! That means more people voted for her, but she does not win? We complained about that in 2000 and now we are doing it ourselves! What is going on with the democratic party?

    May 23, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |






    May 23, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Voice of Reason

    One reason I could never be in politics (and why Obama is certainly a bigger person than I, in that regard)... I mean, I understand the some of the complexities of this situation, but... Why the hell would Barack even entertain the notion of MERGING teams? It's an outwardly absurd idea! Clinton -and her team- have run a disastrous campaign, squandering huge momentum early on. She has performed like a loser and is behaving like a loser. Barack -and his team- have run a near-stellar campaign. Only extortion will bring these two teams together.

    May 23, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Lynne

    and I'd like to win a million dollars. Hillary needs to face reality and her "friends and supporters" who are telling her to continue even though she can't win, may not have her best interests at heart. I would think she'd want to be graceful and dignified in exiting, so that 2012 really could be a possibity for her.

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  17. Franky from Cali

    Looks like Obama is goin to win the nomination. We will see Clinton's true character in the next couple of days and I'm hoping that the two teams can work together to unite the party and really take it to McCain. We will certainly see something special in the general election because some of my die hard republican friends across the country are going to vote for the democrats.

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. Eric

    Since the beginning, Obama impressed everyone by his sound judgement and his decisions. So there is no way he will be pressured by the different tactics thrown at him by the Clinton's camp. The fact is, Clinton herself killed the possibility of being vp. By her own negative campaign, lies, dirty politics, race cards, say all/do all, she made herself unattractive for anyone who wants to get elected. Her negatives are just to high. Plus, there are plenty of good people out there for vp, people who could bring different experiences (governors), attract different votes (Richardson).

    Let's not forget Obama wants to run a diffrent kind of campaign. If it means to let a couple of people behind (bigots, old women, racists) so much the better, he is already winning in most swing states opening up in former red states. He simply does not need her. Before May 31st, he will have enough delegates to declare victory. He will then be able to seat the whole Fl and MIchigan delegations and avoid any kind of late mess Clinton will try to create.

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. G

    If a democrat jumped off a cliff, would all the other democrats "unite" and jump, too?

    Don't let this Unaffiliated voter stop you.

    (some of you people need to learn how to type).

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. Rayshaun

    Clinton be considered vice president under Obama? I think she'd better focus on more realistic goals like getting elected to the senate again when her term is up, because if she continues down the current path she's on I think that might even be in doubt for her.

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. Nancy
    It looks like all three, McCain, Obama, Hillary have to exit.
    Take a look at this site. Something innovation is happening.

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. bridgette

    Sounds like a winner. I think they are both extremely smart people and they will work this out.

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. Linda from Prescott

    I don't know how to say this, but.....why is it Senator Obama's responsibility to help her make a graceful exit, her own actions are preventing her from doing sol.
    Also, why should he pay off her debt, she or her campaign have gotten themselves into the debt and she continues to finance it through her pocketbook and why should Obama supporters who gave money to his campaign pay the price? Not right.
    Mrs. Clinton needs to sy, hey, I gave it my best shot, now lets unite and move forward.
    There is no need for anymore thrashing about or supporters name calling and threatening not to vote, it's time to get with the program, unite and help the Democratic Party regain 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. Daniel, NY, NY

    Keep fighting Hillary!

    We are behind you 100%. The DNC must count every vote!

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |

    Hilary cant bully herself to Obama ticket. She is not needed period.

    May 23, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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