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Obama camp: Clinton not looking for a deal

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  • Obama camp: Clinton "will have the capacity to retire her debt"
  • Clinton camp: "We think Sen. Clinton is going to be the nominee"
  • Both campaigns downplay talk of joint ticket
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(CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign rejected suggestions Sunday that Sen. Hillary Clinton is staying in the race in hopes of brokering some kind of agreement with the likely Democratic nominee.

Sen. Hillary Clinton isn't interested in the No. 2 spot, her campaign said Sunday.

"I don't believe that Sen. Clinton is looking for a deal," Obama's chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod, told "Fox News Sunday," when asked about suggestions she may want the Obama campaign's help retiring her campaign debt.

"I don't think that's what this is about," he said.

Last week, Obama sparked rumors that his campaign would pay off Clinton's campaign debts once he secured the nomination.

"I'd want to have a broad range of discussions with Sen. Clinton about how I could make her feel good about the process and have her on the team moving forward," Obama told reporters Friday.

Axelrod on Sunday called the discussion "premature," and said he believes Clinton "will have the capacity to retire her debt."

Axelrod said Clinton has "competed hard" and is "playing it out as she sees fit. I don't think she's waiting for a cue or a signal from us or an offer of financial assistance. And I think that would demean her to suggest otherwise."

He added, "I don't think even under any scenario ... that we were going to transfer money from the Obama campaign to the Clinton campaign. We obviously need the resources we have. We have a great task ahead of us." He said he believes "there was a misunderstanding out there about that."

Axelrod said he believes Clinton "will have the capacity to retire her debt."

He also denied rumors that the Clinton camp may be in some kind of discussions with the Obama camp to make her his running mate. "There's been no discussion about vice presidential nominees and this whole scenario," Axelrod said. Video Watch the latest on talks of a joint ticket »

Axelrod also denied reports that Obama's wife, Michelle, wants nothing to do with the Clintons, presenting a potential obstacle to what some have called a "dream ticket."

"That's false," he said, emphasizing that there have not been "any overtures" about a possible Clinton-Obama ticket.

Also on "Fox News Sunday," Clinton's top strategist, Howard Wolfson, said that "We think Sen. Clinton is going to be the nominee," and that he has "seen no evidence of her interest" in the No. 2 slot.

"This isn't about debt retirement or about the veep," he said.

"This is about winning campaigns in key upcoming states, making the case to superdelegates that based on Sen. Clinton's track record, winning the big states -- Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Florida -- running ahead of John McCain now nationally in polls and in those key states, that we would be the best nominee."

Wolfson said the Clinton camp is about $20 million in debt.

Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton campaign chairman, said Sunday said that Clinton is open to the possibility of loaning her campaign more money to continue in the race.

Speaking on NBC's "Meet The Press," McAuliffe said he spoke to Clinton about the possibility of contributing more money, and "she said that she would be willing to do it."

Asked if the Clintons will be able to repay all debts after the campaign is over, McAuliffe said, "We plan on it."

Both Democratic campaigns cite different polls to show the candidates' potential nationwide standings against Sen. McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.

Wolfson added that if voters in West Virginia "want to end this on Tuesday, they're perfectly capable of it." Both campaigns expect Clinton to win in the state, and polls show her ahead by a wide margin.

But mathematically, Clinton's chances of collecting enough delegates to clinch the nomination have shrunk to the point that many consider her presidential aspirations for 2008 virtually over.


Both campaigns have broken fundraising records. But Obama has outpaced Clinton since January, outspending her in advertising by a wide margin in many states. The Clinton camp has large sums of money in donations usable only for a general election, if she were to make it that far.

Wolfson and Axelrod appeared separately on "Fox News Sunday," avoiding the head-to-head matchups they have often engaged in. They also limited attacks on each other to a minimum, in a noticeable change from the back-and-forth throughout much of the campaign season.

CNN's Josh Levs and Jessica Rummel contributed to this report.

All About U.S. Presidential ElectionHillary ClintonBarack Obama

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