November 12th, 2007
07:25 PM ET
6 years ago

Bill Clinton: 'Boys have been getting tough' on Hillary

Clinton campaigned for his wife in South Carolina Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton continued to weigh in Monday on intensified criticism of his wife, telling a South Carolina audience, "those boys have been getting tough on her."

"It's a great time to be a Democrat," the former president told students in Charleston, South Carolina. "Even though those boys have been getting tough on her lately, she can handle it."

The comments are in reference to the heat Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, has taken since a Democratic presidential debate two weeks ago when she appeared to hedge on a question about drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants.

Bill Clinton also came to his wife's defense last week, linking the current criticism of her debate performance to the "swift boat" television ad campaign aimed at then presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 and an ad in 2002 questioning then-Sen. Max Cleland's patriotism. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, later said he was "stunned" by that comparison and Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, called "it over the top."

Clinton has repeatedly said her rivals are teaming up against her because she is leading in polls, not because she is the lone female presidential candidate.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Hillary Clinton • South Carolina
soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. Jaik , chicago, IL

    Bill is the only thing Hillary has going for her. Its so depressing we'll have to vote for her in the general election and then watch her lose to an evil warmonger like Gulliani. Noone like Hillary except the corporate media and Bill.

    November 12, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. Chris, Middletown, CT

    "tough on her" – do you mean trying to get her to answer a simple question?? The Clintons (and their supporters) amaze me....Hillidiots unite – your cult follower has spoken....can't wait for Giuliani to take end this once and for all

    November 12, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. Mac, Severn, Md

    The President of the United States has to be able to stand up to the thugs and tyrants that exist in this world.

    Ms. Clinton's Democrat party rivals are not nearly as bad as those that the President deals with on a regular basis.

    She is too weak to be President, and she is showing it.

    November 12, 2007 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. bill

    Its funny, those politicians dont personally care what they answer, they just need to know what the majority thinks so they can answer in line with them.

    November 12, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. Len, Fallbrook, CA

    Assuming we are stupid enought to elect this woman.........

    Pres Hillary Clinton finished addressing the UN General Assembly and the Sec General says:

    I'd like to introduce former Pres Slick Willy Clinton to expalin what she really meant to say and to plead with you to stop picking on her because she is a woman."

    November 12, 2007 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Sasha, Columbus, OH

    I like Bill Clinton. But lately I've been wondering if he really wants his wife to win the nomination, or if he's trying to subtly undermine her campaign. His presence is obviously overall a good thing for the campaign, but some of the things he's said certainly haven't helped her.

    November 12, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. Theresa LV NV

    The arrogance of the Clintons is beyond contempt. Hillary's refusal to answer questions and release documents from the Clinton library to back up her claim of "experience" do no make her tough – it makes her arrogant. It shows how little she thinks of the citizens of this country.

    We do not need another arrogant president. We need a leader with good judgement and convictions.

    We do not need any more years of the Clintons personal battles with everyone who disagrees with them.

    The candidates are defining themselves against their rivals. It is no ones fault but Clinton's that people are finally questioning her. If she had any answers and truly knew how to lead there would not be a problem.

    November 12, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Steve, Portland, OR

    Well Bill, If she can handle it then what are you doing this defensive husband routine for? I suppose considering she put up with what you did she probably is pretty tough. Very evasive with answers we need though. Reminds me of someone else asked a question about having sex and the answer wasn't exactly forthcoming.

    November 12, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. HJ, Waco, TX

    Way to play the gender card, Billary.

    November 12, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  10. Mike, Houston, TX

    I think we need to ask Bill what his definition of "tough" is.

    November 12, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  11. Karen,ny

    Hillary is to weak to become the president. As a democrat I will not vote for her unless she is the only one. Her husband is not much better. I am tired of Clintons and tired of Bushs. We need a new name in the white house.

    November 12, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  12. Nick, Eden Praire MN

    I still don't get why people would vote for her. Even if you get past (and I don't know how you do) the voting for the Iraq war, voting for the Patriot act and other Bushish laws, and her taking money from lobbyists and other undesirable backers, what do people think she'll accomplish in the white house? Can anyone explain to me how they expect her to gain bi-partisan support for any chances she wants to make? Whatever you think of her, there is no question she's a divisive person. Her health care plans will never go through. Assuming she ever does, when she decides to take a stand on any of the major issues (immigration, social security, medicade) they will fight her tooth and nail. No change of any kind will come with her in the White House. So I dare you Hillary supporters, dispute that!

    November 12, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. Just a Little Fairness Please, Vermont


    I agree that Bill's reaction is "out of school" but it's to be expected. Hillary isn't being attacked as a person, Senator or candidate. Here positions, or I should say lack of same are.

    The rest of the Democratic candidates are well within their rights to question her stand, cite opposition and comparisons etc. This is part of the process. Bill's protesting a bit too much and again raising questions of just who is running.

    Let him spout, but hold her feet to the fire.

    November 12, 2007 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. Ben, Ames, IA

    "The President of the United States has to be able to stand up to the thugs and tyrants that exist in this world"


    Apparently he has to stand up to the thugs of the Domestic variety too. Like him, or hate him, GW had withstood more abuse and verbal assault than this woman could stand.

    November 12, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  15. monica, rochester new york

    "Hillary has repeatedly said rivals are teaming up against her because she's leading.." That's not true, she just started saying that recently after she got criticized for playing the victim and characterizing legitimate challenges as "boys attacking the girl". Which Bill seems to still be doing. She also keeps asking us to "look at her record of success over the past 35 years", yet when she and Bill won't let anyone have access to those very records until 2012.

    November 12, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. Maeve

    It figures that the first 3 to comment here are "boys," and two of them can say nothing else but the vacuous lines their conservative masters have fed them.

    Chris from Middletown, CT, though no doubt NOT Wesleyan University affliated, wouldn't know a straight answer to any sort of question even if it slapped him in the face. Does he ever post anything here but white-bread conservative talking points?

    Mac from Maryland, who obviously has fallen for the Republican ploy of calling the Democratic Party the "Democrat party," (does Mac wear a collar and leash?) tries to measure from his armchair an individual's presidential strength or weakness by, of course, reading an article that doesn't include even a single statement made by Hillary. What's he using for measuring? Let me guess = the length of her skirt? He'd probably make these silly comments about any female running for the office.

    Geesh. Males can be so simple-minded.

    What next, guys? Gonna double-dog-dare Clinton to "arm rassle ya"?

    Why don't you try to put a little intellectual depth into your comments instead of only reguritating the Republican slops you've been sucking down?

    November 12, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. Aaron, Saint Paul MN

    "Clinton has repeatedly said her rivals are teaming up against her because she is leading in polls, not because she is the lone female presidential candidate."


    Her opponents are attacking her POSITIONS because they are ambiguous. They are attacking her POSITIONS because there are at least 3 other dem. candidates with better positions.

    The great respect I had for Bill is waning in his blind support for his wife!

    November 12, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. Terri Tacoma, Wa

    Nice flip-flop Bill. Did you read some polls which found the American people find your "explanations" to be defensive, over the top, and hurting her campaign?

    So NOW it's a good thing the "boys" are being tough on her?

    Before it was "swiftboating"... but a week later it's a good thing.

    Uh huh. Maybe you and Hillary are simply doing/saying anything to get elected. Sorry to tell you, though, "desperation" isn't a political virtue.

    Thanks but No Thanks to the Clintons.

    November 12, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  19. Henry Tucker, Ga

    I'm glad you came around, Bill. I know you historically always like it when boys attack girls.

    At least you're now being consistent with your wife.

    November 12, 2007 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  20. Lee, Ann Arbor, Michigan

    Hillary is pathetic...she has to have Bill come to her defense each time there's a little controversy.


    The Clinton handlers have tried to control everything about what she says, what she has to answer, how she sets up the appearances, etc.


    November 12, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  21. Lee Paul Columbus Ohio

    I been reading a lot of stories and no body has not give me a good reason why I shouldn't vote for Hillary. It like watching soap TV shows. Sad part if people look at history of political same old story over again. Where are the real stories on fix of the USA. Hillary been pop up with the right answers all long. She has my vote until I start reading real stories why I shouldn't?

    November 12, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  22. Joan Nicholson

    Why hasn't anyone mentioned that poppy Bush has come out to defend his boy, Georgie, telling people to get off his son's back about the war? Isn't this the same thing? And are these kinds of issues IMPORTANT?????? Geez!Let's get serious. There are really important issues out there to deal with.

    November 12, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  23. Christine Atlanta, Ga.

    I wrote a positive remark about Hillary Clinton and it was not displayed here. Is the person monitoring this site not willing to display positive remarks about her.
    Everyone I know is voting for her.

    November 12, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. KJ, CA

    When the campaign is rosy we see Hillary everywhere – when the going gets tough we see Bill.

    Come on Hillary run on your own merit, defend yourself, let us know what you believe in. Stop taking credit for your husbands Presidency, stop using Bill to raise your money and stop using Bill to defend you. If you cannot stand on your own two feet you have no business running for President. I guarantee you some of the questions you will have to answer as President will make that debate look like a debutant ball.

    November 12, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  25. Aaron, Schaumburg, IL

    If Hilary needs Bill to defend her during the election process, what happens IF she is elected to the Office of President of the United States? Is Bill going to have a show down with the bullies in other countries?

    I think Bill just made his wife the little girl in the race.

    November 12, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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