100% False


Rarely do the two chief campaign flacks, Howard Wolfson and Bill Burton, agree. But they both tell TPM Election Central that CNN’s report this morning that there are formal talks between the Clinton and Obama campaigns over her dropping out of the race and getting the VP nod are “100% false.”

Now that doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t some sort of back-channel communications going on. I’d be surprised if there weren’t. These people aren’t strangers to each other. They’ve all been involved together in Democratic politics for a long time. They talk. But as I said before, I’m skeptical that these discussion amount to anything approaching “formal talks.”

At the same time, I don’t doubt that CNN had what it considered to be well-placed Clinton sources feeding them these various scenarios for how the VP selection will play out and what her role might be. As I said before, it’s noteworthy in itself that some elements of Clinton’s supporters are making these kinds of noises.

In fact, Hillary’s top fundraiser, Hassan Nemazee, in an interview with TPM Election Central today, may have gone as far anyone in the Clinton camp thus far in essentially demanding she get the vice presidential nomination — or else:

“[T]here’s a risk that if she isn’t invited on the ticket, Hillary’s political and financial supporters may not feel compelled to be as integrated and involved in the Obama campaign in order to provide the maximum support that he’ll need to prevail in November.”

If she does get out of the race before the convention — which I think is still the most plausible scenario — it will be only after extensive negotiations over all manner of issues, political as well as personal. Today’s rumblings may just be the start to those negotiations. And as any good negotiator knows, your opening position better be as favorable to you as possible and then some.


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.