George's Bottom Line on Clinton for Veep

Is Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., staying in the race to get the vice presidential slot?

George thinks so.

Clinton vowed to fight on today, despite a growing chorus that says Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has just about wrapped up the Democratic presidential nominaton.

ABC's chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos told Charles Gibson on "World News" that Clinton is staying in the race to negotiate a spot on the Democratic ticket in November.

CHARLES GIBSON: George, she puts on a brave face in public. What's going on behind the scenes?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I think it's fair to say ... that everyone's waiting for a signal from her on how to go forward. Today, the signal was very clear — we're staying in — [according to] the Clinton campaign. And it's based on the hope that anything can happen. And that every Democrat deserves a vote. That's the principal they're running on right now. The arguments against, inside right now, are you may be spending a lot more money in [a] futile effort. You may also be dividing the party the longer you go on. You heard (California Sen.) Dianne Feinstein say that as well, but the math just doesn't work.

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CHARLES GIBSON: So, George, if and when the time comes that she decides to get out, who is going to be in that inner circle with her making the decisions?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It is a very small group, Charlie. Of course, President Clinton and Chelsea will be there. Likely, Maggie Williams, her chief of staff, and Cheryl Mills, who is a close advisor and also was a lawyer for President Clinton during [his] impeachment. Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the campaign, will be there to advise on the money as well, but this is going to be a small group. Everyone knows the decision ultimately is hers. Those close to her also say, however, that she is very realistic about this, she is not delusional.

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CHARLES GIBSON: Is there any discussion of what kind of an exit strategy there would be?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: There are various exit strategies right now. Number one would be, go out on a win. So, stay in until West Virginia, where Sen. Clinton is likely the winner, and Kentucky on May 20, and after that, bow out. Two, negotiate for the imposition of Michigan and Florida, to get those delegations seated, declare victory on that, and get out. But the big one, Charlie — and this is what some people close to the Clintons are talking about: Is there a way to negotiate a settlement with Barack Obama to have Sen. Clinton on the ticket?

CHARLES GIBSON: And what do they think?

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: It's hard to know. I mean, first of all, would Sen. Obama go for it? Can he get over the bitterness of this campaign? Can he be convinced that it's the strongest ticket? Third, of course, would Sen. Clinton take it? I think if it was offered in the right way, yes.

CHARLES GIBSON: All right, George Stephanopoulos. Very interesting. Thank you.

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