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May 12th, 2008
09:42 AM ET

Carl Bernstein: Could Clinton land the VP nomination?

Carl Bernstein writes that Hillary Clinton's campaign recognizes that it faces an uphill battle.

Carl Bernstein writes that Hillary Clinton's campaign recognizes that it faces an uphill battle.

Carl Bernstein
360° Contributor

Friends and close associates of both Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are now convinced that, assuming she loses the race for the presidential nomination, she is probably going to fight to be the vice presidential nominee on an Obama-for-president ticket.

Clinton "is trying to figure out how to land the plane without looking like surrender," a prominent figure in the Obama camp said Friday. This means, in all likelihood, bringing her campaign to a close in the next few weeks and trying to leverage her way onto an Obama ticket from a position of maximum strength, said several knowledgeable sources.

A person close to her, with whom her campaign staff has counseled at various points, said this week, "I think the following will happen: Obama will be in a position where the party declares him the nominee by the first week in June. She'll still be fighting with everybody - the Rules Committee, the party leaders - and arguing, 'I'm winning these key states; I've got almost half the delegates. I have a whole constituency he hasn't reached. I've got real differences on approach to how we win this election, and I'm going to press the hell out of this guy. ... Relief for the middle class, universal health care, etc.; I'm Ms. Blue Collar, and I'm going to press my fight, because he can't win without my being on the ticket.' "

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Carl Bernstein • Hillary Clinton • Raw Politics
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. K. Dalton

    Bill Clinton was impeached as a sitting president. Senator Obama
    should not be forced to take on and be tainted by the Clinton baggage
    of scandal.

    May 13, 2008 at 8:05 am |
  2. Sandra B.

    What I want to know is how will Hillary Clinton be able to "honestly" back Senator Obama when he become the nominee...

    May 13, 2008 at 3:00 am |
  3. Jim

    Obama will pick his own VP. Hillary may be on the list but at the bottom. She has too much baggage for herself and Obama. She is caused so much damage already.

    If you are a Democrat, not a Republican crossing over as a Red Democrat in Operation Chaos and not a racist you will vote for a Democrat.

    May 13, 2008 at 2:27 am |
  4. jan

    Wake up Hillary haters:
    The more you bash Hillary, the easier you make it for John McCain and the people who have supported Bush to win in Nov.

    You haters should get reeducation. It's always good to listen to your parents' advice, so you people won't get lost!

    May 13, 2008 at 1:19 am |
  5. Larry

    Obama's entourage want Hillary out before another shoe drops.

    May 13, 2008 at 1:06 am |
  6. Charlie Jackson

    Hey Carl!! You are an Idiot and we all know that you have been anti Clintons for the last 18 months or so. You wrote a book accusing Clintons and we all know that too. If you don't have guts to be a fair journalist then you should shut your ass and get out of the journalism.

    May 13, 2008 at 12:57 am |
  7. Stuart

    I think every Democrat and even Republican can agree that this has been one of the longest and closest fought battles in presidential campaign history. Right now it is very hard to imagine an Obama-Clinton ticket, especially after all the fighting and attacks from the two campaigns to one another. I think the person who has fought the cleanest has been John McCain. I remember when this issue was brought up in March around the time after Obama had won 12 straight primaries in a row. Clinton is fighting for the presidency, the #1 spot, not the position below it. These two candidates have drawn a line in the Democratic Party that even though their ideas, goals, and outlooks are similar in many ways they divide themselves on the narrowest of lines. After the constant fighting i don't see Hillary going on this Obama-Clinton "Dream Team Ticket" This debate should have been resolved back in March and April, not now. It would be great for the two outstanding candidates to unite but we need leadership who really work TOGETHER to get things done. This election is huge, this will affect the lives of millions of Americans of the next generation and beyond. We as a country cannot afford to have a person such as Hillary Clinton going into the vice presidential office with the attitude of using it as political leverage, it is wrong, but hey its politics.

    May 13, 2008 at 12:21 am |
  8. VoteResponsibly08

    Carl Bernstein is wrong...
    Now do we really want a quiter in the white house...Look how Obama has not campainged in West Virginia..he knows he is going to loose but to not give the people a chance is aboslultely insane..
    I can only wish Hillary was our nominee, she has worked hard, foaught hard and worked her heart out in South Carolina even if sh eknew she was going to loose..but gave the people a chance to hear her! But the difference here is Obama wants it easy and he is a quiter..
    This nomination has been handed to obama by the media with the free pass's the media has given him...He is a quiter and a looser..He can not do it on his own... He will loose for the democrates... I am a democrate that for the firt time in my life I will not vote dem if Obama is the one.. and I am a minority..So I will be voting for McCain a republican for the first time in my life.
    Hillary keep going you can do it and we are with you. Prove that Obama can not pick up the hardworking middle class.... Black or white!
    Ooooohhhhhh I said white does this make me a racist...oooops I forgot, I am a minority who wishes not to use the race card like Obama, the media and the idiots that are now retracking our country back 40 years!!!!

    May 12, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
  9. Karen

    I notice many people use sports analogies to describe why Hillary Clinton should get out of the race–i.e. it's the last inning, she can't win, etc. When was the last time you saw a game of any kind called because one side was winning?

    I swear, if I hear the word racist used much more I may become racist. This is causing hurt feelings and creating prejuidice where perhaps it didn't previously exist.

    Please, PLEASE run independent, Hillary. I'll vote for you.

    By the way, I am a college-educated, purple person.

    May 12, 2008 at 11:34 pm |
  10. Marion

    I hope she does not become Obama's VP but will run as an Independent and I will vote for her. There is no way I would vote for the corrupt Marxist Obama for any position.

    May 12, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  11. Lawrence

    I think it is very likely that Hillary Clinton will virtually split the Democratic party. How can Obama make her his VP, when she and her fans have said such horrible things about Obama?

    Hillary is running the Republican play-book against Obama, and the Democratic leadership should really let her know that at some point, she is simply going to destroy her whole political career – basically, she will not eve be able to operate as a Democratic Senator.

    You just dont use the tactics she is using.

    Obama will have a huge challenge if Hillary tries to screw this up, but if she does that, the Democratic party should just shut her down with a full-scale attack.

    Interesting that both the Democratic and Republican parties are being torn asunder right now by fanatical factions.

    May 12, 2008 at 9:11 pm |
  12. jes

    IF Bambam wins I hope & he asks Hilary to be his VP I hope she tells him to shove it were the sun doesn't shine. When ths is over Hilary will need some time to take theKnife out of her back!

    May 12, 2008 at 8:47 pm |
  13. Jim Carroll

    Why is it that Hillary Clinton can ask me for donations to her campaign and she LOANS the campaign money!!!

    How do I get the proper form to LOAN her campaign $1,000?

    Another question, who repays these loans, the Democratic Party???

    May 12, 2008 at 8:43 pm |
  14. Annie Kate

    A combined ticket would be the best of both worlds – Obama's fresh change and Hillary's experience. A combined ticket makes a lot of sense – so it probably won't happen. And when it doesn't happen the Democrats will have done the biggest favor it could to the Republican McCain ticket.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    May 12, 2008 at 8:33 pm |
  15. Floyd Kephart

    While it is fun to fill the time on CNN by discussing an Obama -Clinton ticket, we all know it is not going to happen. It doesn't make any difference what HRC wants at the end of this campaign. It does matter what Obama wants and needs to get elected. Hillary is trapped by the process. Obama can leave her off the ticket and lose nothing. Hillary and the President have to support him just as strongly as if either of them were candidates. If he wins, he will be reason. If he loses, the Clintons will be blamed. Neither of them can afford that.

    When we stop "filling time" for a 24 hour news cycle and return to common sense political analysis, we know that Obama will be the Democratic nominee; Hillary will not be on the ticket; Hillary and Bill will work tirelessly to get him elected; Obama will agree to help them pay off the debt but will not transfer any of his funds for that purpose; and the VP will be the person that enhances his candidacy from an experience and geographic standpont.

    We should stop feeding the speculation pig on an hourly basis and return to the basic political analysis and factual reporting that is needed in these incoherent times.

    May 12, 2008 at 7:49 pm |
  16. spencer

    Sorry Vince, but I would never vote Republican......

    May 12, 2008 at 7:32 pm |
  17. Barb

    When Hillary Clinton speaks, good or bad, you can feel her love for America. It is there and I think a lot of american know 's she will do everything she can for america and she will always act too protect the american people.

    When Obama speaks about America it comes across as just words,
    he wants america too love him, but he fails to show any pride, or express love for America.

    The only time I seen any love or respect coming from Obama , was when he spoke about his pastor, even when he separated himself from the Rev. you could tell his heart wasn't in it.

    The easiest thing in the world is too talk about love, but too express it without feeling it is almost impossible and I think that is what Obama is lacking.

    May 12, 2008 at 7:18 pm |
  18. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    I hope if she is screwed out of FL and MI, the voters of FL and MI are screwed over (which apparently is going to be the case), and Obama is handed the nomination by the stuperdelegates (which also apparently is the case) that she runs as an independent and wipes the floor with Obama and the DNC. She deserves more than a consolation prize handout from a Kennedy wannabe. Her supporters deserve the chance to help her gain more voters and give McCain a real run for the presidency.

    May 12, 2008 at 7:11 pm |
  19. Nancy

    I think the press is exerting too much influence on the election and they need to stop. While I would love to see the ticket including both Clinton and Obama, the primaries are not finished yet. Members of the press have a responsibility to provide Americans with the "facts" not their personal opinions. I feel quite capable to make an informed decision and do not want any reporter telling me how to vote. Unfortunatley, some voters interpret opinions shared by the press as fact and will vote accordingly. As an American Voter, I would like to ask CNN to stop interferring and to just provide facts!

    May 12, 2008 at 7:05 pm |
  20. Dawn

    and by the way.....neither should be on either's TICKET!!

    Dawn
    Canada

    May 12, 2008 at 6:49 pm |
  21. Dawn

    I just can't believe all the Americans who are willing to put up with more of the same!! GWB in 8 years has ruined your country!! JM will be a GWB clone and knows Zip about the economy!! HRC can't be trusted as far as you can throw her. Obama has been totally honest throughout the campaign. He has dumped REV Wright He will fight for each and every American and He is the most honest of the bunch!! He is NOT a washington insider as HC is. So much of what happens in the US has an Influence on canada, get your heads out of the sand and Vote for CHANGE!! if anything...vote for your childrens future!!

    Dawn
    Canada

    May 12, 2008 at 6:47 pm |
  22. Vince in CA

    With everything that needs to fixed in this country it's amazing that Obama (with the little experience he has) has made it this far. We need change I agree. I would just like it from someone with more political experience. Specifically the type that has to deal with the national level.

    May 12, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  23. Mario Carrillo

    We simply don't like how you guys show on CNN a very few to try to push Senator Clinton out of the race!!! I & my wife, Maggie, have been voting religiously democratric for 18 years straight, but if she is not the nominee, We will be VOTING Republican for our first time in 18 years. Senator Obama is not appealing for many reasons. He only talks and talks a lot of game, but doesn't show he knows what he is going to do; and it has nothing to do with race! I hope you show this email on TV.

    Maggie & Mario
    South Gate, Ca

    May 12, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  24. Jessie Mae

    I'm waiting on someone to call it and I hope she does it!!

    HILLARY needs to pull out and GO INDEPENDENT, just like Joe Lieberman did!

    I am African American and female. I am insulted that anyone can put in as many years as Hillary did (with a 2000 page resume), yet the "good ole boys" turn around and anoint a rookie who knows absolutely nothing! It showed in his debates.

    I can't wonder what would have happened if Obama had gotten the question in the debates about who the new upcoming President of Russia would be. I would love to have seen him even stumble over...

    I think we would have gotten his class dear in the headlights look!

    May 12, 2008 at 6:13 pm |
  25. Sandra Acquah

    She doesn't deserve the VP place. He picks that person for himself and for ME!

    May 12, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  26. Chris - Hemet, Ca.

    I certainly hope that Sen. Obama is not pressured by the DNC to take Sen. Clinton as his running mate. She is anti everything Sen. Obama represents and I believe he wants a different attitude in the people around him in the White House. One of the reasons I am an Obama supporter is his judgement and the use of that good judgement in choosing his cabinet and staff, not to mention Secs. of State, Defense etc. Queen Hillary needs to sit this one out and serve the people of New York she was so enthusiastic about serving two short years ago.

    May 12, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  27. Jane, Detroit, MI

    Hillary might get the VP position, but with John McCain, not Obama. Don't be surprised if this happens. Hillary's true colors are Republican Red.

    May 12, 2008 at 5:43 pm |
  28. Apple in Tampa

    If Hillary gets in the White House – whether its VP or President , between the Bush family & the Clinton family we will have been governed by them for 24 years. Can we spell "Change Needed? "

    May 12, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  29. Helen

    I don't believe Obama will ask Hillary to be on his ticket. Here a some valid points as to why.

    1. Whether she paraphased the AP report or not, she should have "never" mentioned that middle class white people weren't voting for Obama. He at least was/is trying to appeal to that vote. However, she has not tried to challenge the African American vote since SC. Why?

    2. Since this primary season began, Hillary has not failed to mention to the American people how great it would be for a woman to be president. However, I don't hear Obama mentioning how great it would be for an Afican American to be president.

    3. Her pandering to the American middle class vote was a disgrace to us all. I felt like I was watching the many faces of eve. Who can honestly say to me that Hillary Clinton on a regular basis throws back beers, boiler makers, goes out to the shooting range, stops at 7-eleven for coffee, pumps gas, or speaks with a PA dialect? Anyone?

    and finally

    4. Experience = learning from your Mistakes. Its when a person says, "been there done that.". Meaning, I've LEARNED MY LESSON from that choice and don't wish to repeat it. NOW I have experience in that field.

    May 12, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  30. connie from Ohio

    We don't need a Vice President with a bad temper like Hillary & Bill. We need a Vice President who is trueful and Honest. How about Edwards?

    May 12, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  31. Carol B., Virginia

    A combined ticket might have worked at one time. Now, it probably won't pan out because of the level of acrimony. Someone's campaign is going to flatline soon. RIP.

    May 12, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  32. Steve from NJ

    JT, you mean the super "Ds" that have the back bone of a snake to steal the nomination. That is not going to happen... as far as "polished and smart", she is sooo polished and smart that she is sooo far behind in all pledge delegates, super delegates, popular vote, and CASH for the nomination that it is indicative how she would run behind McSame in GE... she has LOST, and now has become a insult to HERSELF.

    Let's not be delusional about what is happening, the great clinton machine was beat down and is limping and will soon fade to OBLIVION.

    May 12, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
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