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. Reese

    Hillary Clinton is not to be trusted. And if her supporters believe that the sun rise and set in Hillary Clinton they are misinformed. This woman lied on national television, and she did not have to. This liar believes the white house belongs to her, and it does not. If the supporters believe that Hillary Clinton should win at any cost; They have not even anticipated the riot if this thing was taken from Obama. She, her supporters, and Bill need to take this in consideration. Hillary had every chance in the world to claim this victory. She was well like, well respected, and she had the finances to take her to the presidency. Yet, she made some poor decisions that she is now attempting to correct at the voters expense. Get it through your head Hillary, you bombed. She hired a lobbyist, Mark Penn to run her campaign. Her campaign did not make sound financial decisions.

    If she wanted Florida and Michigan votes to count, why didn't she say something before now. Her reasonings was she thought she had the nomination won. What a surprise! And the saddest thing she has done is use the race card. The people down in Kentucky and WV ate this race thing up, and she became a catalyst. I will never vote for her. I started out wanting to vote for her–a polished, intelligent woman, who would do great things for the country. I changed my vote when she became an angry dirty candidate that openly lied. Just like her voters, I will stay at home before I vote for a deperate liar like HIllary Clinton.

    May 23, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  2. Larry, Apex, North Carolina

    She is a selfish pig!! Don't put her on the ticket with Obama! Integrity rules!!

    May 23, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Michael

    There is also a fourth option (the Godfather option). Offer her nothing! Not even the $ to pay off her debt. This option ensures I vote for Obama.

    May 23, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. David, Santa Rosa, CA

    Oh look, the Clinton campaign is being disengenuous and decieptful again. I'm shocked.

    I have a question... why are the superdelegates sitting on the sidelines at this point? It's in thier hands now, they know what they have to do. Why aren't they doing it? This delay cannot be good for us Dems.

    November has the potential to be a fun and exciting month, providing we don't shoot ourselves in the foot. To me, it looks like the gun is loaded, pointed down, and the trigger is hafway to the firing point.

    May 23, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Sillary

    Haven't heard anything from Miss Hillary today. Somebody must have put her in her place and told her to shut up and stop ripping the democrats apart. It was probably Bill. He's the only one of that group with common sense enough to know that she was beginning to bury her career.

    May 23, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. America Rocks

    He should give her the VP slot- and the Democrats will win and the haters will move to Canada.

    May 23, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. James, SC

    How can Senator Obama accept a bid for the VP spot from Senator Clinton when she and her husband proclaimed that only she and McShame were Presidential material? Once she did that, she not only questioned Senator Obama's Presidential qualifications, but also ratified Songbird McCain's. I am completely baffled by Senator Clinton's supporters as to how they can ignor all the things she has said. Worst yet, she changes her opinion from day to day. How can you believe in anyone like this? How can you trust anyone who not only ignors the rules in general, but also changes the rules as we go along? How can the American people allow themselves to be swayed by everything that the Clintons say? You don't need a college degree thing. All you need to do is look at what you like. Look at how people present themselves. Look at the quality of their campaign. Look at how well the candidates are organized, and then choose who is most truthful about what they say. Race, sex, age, and experience has nothin to do with integrity, honesty, and truthfulness.

    May 23, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. James Mo

    What kind of reporting is this? Sensationalism journalism at it's best! Anything to keep the supporters arguing and keep the fighting going. Anyone on this blog could be the sources for this type of non-reporting of facts.

    May 23, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  9. Maggie

    Clinton to stay in all the way and will the nomination.

    May 23, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  10. Write On

    If the superdelegates stick us with Obama, WRITE IN Hillary in November. Let the party establishment know that we're not taking this treatment. Clinton is the most qualified candidiate, she won the most votes, the proportional delegate system and caucus systems are unfair, the DNC's handling of Florida and Michigan and Obama's efforts to block revotes are disgraceful, and the sexist and disrespectful way Sen. Clinton has been treated by the media and party establishment are flat out unacceptable.

    Write-In Hillary if you won't support Obama and aren't inclined to support McCain. It's easy to write a candidiate in. Take a stand.

    Hillary '08.

    May 23, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. Democracy, Not Dynasty

    I'm a proud liberal, and I'm an unequivocal fan of Barack Obama's candidacy. His message of change, of hope, of something new and different from the same old entrenched Washington politics is one that I hope will succeed.

    However, if Clinton becomes the VP, I will not be voting for Obama. Already this country has too much in the way of political dynasties, families that grab onto power and refuse to let go, like the Kennedys and Bushes, and like the Clintons. (And now they're starting to push Chelsea in 2016!) I strongly believe that dynastic politics does irrevocable damage to democratic politics, and no matter how odious the main opponent, I will not vote for a dynasty member.

    The Clintons do not have an entitlement to the White House. The fact that Hillary doesn't want to quit, that she believes she somehow deserves the presidency despite the fact that she's losing in all relevant metrics, should not force the Obama campaign to pick her as VP.

    May 23, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |

    <MR. AMERICA enjoyed a big laugh today from all you right wingers and Hillary suporters stating that Obama is "not electable."

    We'll see!

    May 23, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Ollie In Augusta

    Hillary is outrageous!! If she is looking for a way to exit gracefully, how about demonstrating some grace and statesmanship and take her exit. She has no authority (moral or otherwise) to set any stipulations by which she would bow out. She is truly showing the extent of her selfishness and personal greed by trying to "negotiate" the terms of her departure. Do something for the party and the country – go back and try to be the best senator that you can be.

    May 23, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Anonymous


    As a Canadian looking in on the fascination of the drawn out battle in the Democratic party. I can't help to be amazed as to why Ms. Clinton is still in the race?

    She has played almost every card imaginable to defeat Obama. And she still can't. Now she wants the rules changed so the the delegates from Florida and Michigan be counted. Well they broke the rules and the ruling was that they be omitted from the election. She even accepted this!

    May 23, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Michael

    Any hope for an Obama/Ron Paul ticket? That's my dream!

    May 23, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. too late

    Nothing you do now will save the day for the democrats.

    We realize that the DNC installed Obama as the candidate and that he is the weaker, more divisive, less qualified one to lead this country.

    He now keeps backpeddling on his own stated positions. He is a liar and a fraud.

    He waffles on everything just to position himself politically- foreign affairs, Wright affair etc.

    I will follow my conscience and vote for the BEST qualified to lead- that is Hillary Clinton. My option will be to WRITE HRC in.

    May 23, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. William Simpson

    Obama has to make the offer. Hillary Clinton has to turn it down. Whether that will happen or not could decide the election. I don't trust Hillary, she is drunk on the prospect of gaining power. Hillary supporters, imagine this: President Obama, Speaker of the House Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Clinton. Can you imagine the accomplishments that trio could bring to this country.

    Please Hillary, think of your COUNTRY!!! If you persist in this madness, you guarantee these three words!! PRESIDENT JOHN MCCAIN Can you live with that???

    May 23, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. tj

    What happen to Pelosi, Dobbs, Richardson, and Obama himself comments,"The superdelegates shouldn't go against the will of the voters." Where is Pelosi, Dobbs, Richardson, and Obama now, now that Clinton's delegates are going against the will of her voters. All these supporters talked about riots on the street if the the superdegates chose Hillary as the nominee over the will of his voters. These leaders are silent now that the superdelegates are choosing Obama over the will of Hillary's voters. This is another reason to vote for McCain this year, because of the corruption and dishonesty coming from the democratic party. Besides, McCain seems to be a better candidate anyway as a moderate republican.

    May 23, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |

    For you Clinton voters, you got beat fair and square. All you are doing is destroying the Party and be asured that John McCain will be the next President. I didn’t vote for Hillary but if she beats Obama in a fair contest, follows the rules ,you can beat I would vote for her. So here it is, if Hillary voters that got beat fair & square, and can not support Obama because he won by following the rules, then ya’ll have succeeded and destroyed the Demo Party and John will be the next President. Sad situation isn’t it!???!!!you havent seen anything yet if obama is denied this nomination…AND SHE She signed a pledge and stated that Florida and Michigan wouldn't count AGAIN NO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!SHAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 23, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. Sam

    The fourth and most desirable scenario would be that Clinton concedes and offer to help Obama in the Fall general campaign without any conditions attached. That would help her repair her tattered image as spoiler, sore loser, etc.

    I don't think Clinton would make a good VP choice at all, given Obama's message of changing the way Washinton, DC. does business. Plus, she brings way too much of baggage – she is intensely dislikable person and so is her husband, which will make it difficult to govern and get things done.

    By wrecking the party, she will be wrecking her own political future.

    May 23, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. blair

    bout time obama-bar-berry or what ever name he is going by now drops out.

    May 23, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. Mike D. from San Diego

    two words my fellow Obama supporters….RALPH NADER
    What do I mean by this??? I’ll tell you.
    A small defection of liberals from the Democratic party to Nader probably cost the Democrats the White House in 2000. What do you think a defection of Hillary Clinton supporters could do? Perhaps the same thing?
    It appears that Obama is the nominee, but WE HAVEN”T WON ANYTHING!
    All of this taunting of Hillary Clinton’s supporters needs to stop NOW! We need every single vote come November. The cards are already stacked enough against Obama because of the race issue. We can’t afford to alienate anyone.
    Quit being a sore winner and extend your hand to your fellow Democrats who support Clinton or we can all sit together under four more years of McBush.

    May 23, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. Beltway Insider

    Don't let Hillary anywhere near the white house. She has displayed her dishonesty, hypocracy, and blind ambition to such an extreme degree throughout this campaign that someone would have to be crazy to want her in government at any level.

    May 23, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. Mike

    Obama has more issues than Bush yet somehow he is viewed as the agent of change and hope.

    McCain and Obama have taken two large steps to the left. McCain is more a democrat and Obama an extreme leftist.

    The only candidate that is where they should be is Hillary.

    That is why if Hillary is not the nominee, I will vote for McCain.

    May 23, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. Dave

    How can Obama accept someone as VP who has insulted him time and time again??? If she would have stayed on the issues, it would have been possible.

    May 23, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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