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. PollM, Dallas Tx

    Pointed and forceful rhetoric increasingly becoming the tone of every encounter.

    What Democratic Presidential Candidate do you think made the biggest lasting impression at the Iowa Jefferson Jackson Dinner Speech?


    November 12, 2007 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. Esther,NYC,Ny

    Hillary Clinton is one of the most dedicated public servants we have. She will make a wonderful President. She is clearly the smartest of the field and I will be delighted to vote for her.

    You all are nuts.

    Posted By Celeste Johnson Pinole, cA : November 12, 2007 6:15 pm

    Keep supporting her till that day you and her will see you on the pondium holding Obama's hand up high asking me to join you in supporting him...Keep watching history unfold, till that day,
    see ya!

    November 12, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  3. Natasha,NYC

    It's quite legitimate to be questioned and crytisised on issues and positions.
    Bill Clinton shouldn't defend Hillary Clinton. She joined the race, nobody made her to do so. She should be ready to answer the questions.
    What will Bill Clinton say if she is the nominee and really attacked by the Republicans and swift boats?

    November 12, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  4. OMG, LA.

    Hillary fell overboard! hey was that a movie? well anyway vote for MR.. BILL CLINTON. OMG GEEZZZZZZ

    November 12, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  5. Jonesy NYC

    It isn't the "boys" (and think of what a sexist statement THAT is) who are giving Mrs. Clinton the heebee jeebies. Her spine shrivels when someone asks her a question and expects a straight answer.

    November 12, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  6. Lois, Los Gatos, CA

    Message to Hillary – tell Bill to "put a sock in it" and stop getting into the middle of things.....It looks like Bill (and his big ego) just can't take a back seat during this campaign and stick to fund raising and his "projects". He's making you look weak and "unpresidential"

    November 12, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  7. Peter,Manchester,NH

    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.

    I have a word for you Miss clinton, If I ever hear you declare yourself a frontrunner again, I will vote for Obama or Edwards..You only got campaign boost by CNN which I think you owned the whole summer. It make no sense to run for primary if you can not tell us the difference you hold from your colleguos. You had already gone to republicans attack before you tell us what you can do and how. Now that things are not so good you are melting down to tell us how you are leading. Stop being delusional and we can help you. Till then I am voting to the candidate who best deserve my time,energy,trust and my vote!

    November 12, 2007 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  8. Aunt Betty

    Well Bill should know about touch questions. He doesn't like them and he is a liar. And here is a nice quote to end this comment:

    "If a President of the United States ever lied to the American people he should resign." – Bill Clinton running for US Representative in 1974

    November 12, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. Cheryl Des Moines IA

    Hilary is making too much out of the fact that she is a woman. Everyone already knows that. Suck it up Hilary. No one said it would be easy. We havent even gotten to the real dirty fighting yet. This in no way compares to the Swiftboat attack on Kerry last year. Go OBAMA!!!!

    November 12, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. Terry, VA

    Bill's comment of "those boys have been getting tough on her" is what the dem's cry about a right wing conspiracy. However, it is coming from her own party. I can't wait for her have to debate or stand up to the other side. Hillary better get out of the kitchen because you can't stand the heat and she certainly can't cook.

    November 12, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. Len, Fallbrook, CA

    "We need Hillary, and she is the one with the plans."

    They are??

    "I pray we get Hillary for president–I don't know what will happen to the USA if we don't. We may be too far gone for even her and Bill to straighten out this mess."

    God help us!

    "If you don't believe me, then take a look at what she has accomplished as a Senator and for her wonderful work with women's and children's rights around the world. I just think your all just jealous of her success as a woman."

    As a sitting Senator I'd be more impressed if she did something for the citizens of this Country.

    What was I thinking?

    November 12, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  12. MaryAnn Oswego IL

    Everyone I know is voting for Hillary Clinton.. she is the true vision of hope. Hillary has and will continue to work with all politicians..Democrats and Republicans...that is how our country will come working together ...The other candidates are attacking their own ...that will only divide us more.....GO HILLARY 08

    November 12, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. scott,manchester NH

    americans have the uncanny tendency to "evaluate" job performance based on things not related to the, naturally when we all think back on the "bill years", some of us think only of scandal,and some of us think more about his abilities to offer up some brain mass (which we all miss sorely), run a country, battle a republican congress and command respect around the world; we're always gonna have those people who put a magnifying glass to "other stuff" and let that dominate (stupid stuff in a country of some truly stupid people)..
    bottom line?..hillary is human..she's not gonna give a bulletproof answer everytime and thats gonna be the best evidence the competition's gonna find in their battle.
    when you look past the stupid stuff that only gets attention because we're all so hungry for the entertainment of mistakes, we still have a better leader in hillary than the republican party could ever find..

    it'd be the first best step in cleaning a house of incompetence: the white house.

    November 12, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  14. Marty Albany New york

    Bill never cared about what he did to Hil(Jennifer,Paula and Monica) in the past, so why start caring now.

    November 12, 2007 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  15. Sam Lutz, FL


    Start talking about REAL candidates like Kucinich, Gravel, Obama, Edwards, and even Ron Paul!

    November 12, 2007 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  16. Ron, Salem, MA

    "...Hillary has and will continue to work with all politicians..Democrats and Republicans..."


    What planet are you from?

    November 12, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  17. LRS LA,CA

    If you think they are attacking her now...just wait and see what they do when and if she gets in the white house!!!....All that testosterone on capital hill,geez she will never get anything done...Someone will always be critizing her because they didnt think of it first.Not because she is a woman or anything like that.{LOL} Because she is Hillary Clinton. Be smart and dont vote for Hillary Clinton. We need to get some things done for our country...preferrably before I die....We just wasted 8 years with Pres. Bush and now we want to take another gamble with Hillary?....Wake up america. VOTE NO on Hillary Clinton.Id nominate my dog before Hillary. Most people like dogs.

    November 12, 2007 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. Daniel, NY

    The Kentucky Senate race is getting very hot. A major Republican is now threatening to run an independent third-party campaign, which could REALLY hurt Mitch McConnell. Full analysis

    November 12, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  19. John

    Can you name some of these Republicans that you say Hillary will work with? Did you see her "speech" at the JJ Dinner on Saturday. "Turn up the Heat", yeah that sounds convincingly bipartisan. Attacking everyone in America that disagrees (I can't even say we necessarily
    disagree, because we don't know where she stands on almost anything)has no chance of bringing anyone together. If she's aiming to bring exactly 50+1% of the vote then you might, might, get a win, but don't think for a second that she will or could change ANYTHING.

    November 12, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  20. Vickie, Columbia, MD

    "Bill never cared about what he did to Hil(Jennifer,Paula and Monica) in the past, so why start caring now."


    ...and Hillary didn't mind subverting the rights of women who dared charge him with violating them either. Nothing and no one was or is going to get in her way to the WH. Except, hopefully, the voters smart enough to see through these two. So much for her championing womens' rights.

    November 12, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  21. Matt, Canoga Park CA

    Hillary and Bubba. To use your own stupid metaphor. They only have turned up the heat because should could not give a straight answer to a simple question and then tried to back pedal when confronted about this.

    How is this for a metaphor "If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen."

    Your wife is a wimp and so were you. Do yourself, the Democratic Party and America a favor and just DROP OUT NOW.

    Do you think America wants to have you "speak out" on her behalf every time there is even moderate criticism?

    Just drop out, split the money evenly between the remaining real canidates and don't ever try and go before the American people again.

    Your wifes waffeling was bad enough last week. To hear you moaning about it like a child has killed any chance she had. And deservedly so. In one week you have given America a glimps of the next four years you have in store for us and we do not want any of it.

    CNN time to pick a new canidate and crucify this woman like you did Howard Dean.

    November 12, 2007 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  22. stanley pitts p.a

    The office of the president of the UNITED STATES is no childs play or joke!!! America is the mother to whom the rest of the world runs crying to for help, we dont need a chicken in there we need a brave heart!!! hate george bush all you want but at least he stands and defends his ideas and policy against the harshest criticisms,IF SHE THINKS THE AYATOLLAHS IN IRAN will be nice to her and come at her with kids gloves she better think twice, she could never handle the heat and stand strong.. if Hillarys inability to answer a simple yes or no question means that the "boys are attacking her"
    then she should quit her campain tonight and run home so bill can protect her, she will never be the president of the U.S.A!!!

    November 12, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  23. Olivia - San Antonio - Texas

    Christine from Atlanta. I also have written many comments – positive about Clinton and negative about the other candididates and some don't show. Doesn't matter – CLINTON is the best and she has my vote. And,so what if Bill is defending her. What about Obama's Michelle that got up on soap box and sang like "Maria Callas".

    November 12, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  24. WD NC

    I know how to get Bill to back off – Tell him that Hillary will make a better President than him and that her legacy is bigger than his legacy and Bill will completely freak out. Nothing is more precious to Bill than protecting his legacy. Just ask Sandy Burglar. Maybe that is why Sandy is now working for Hillary to make sure she doesn't grow a bigger legacy than Bill's.

    November 12, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  25. pam Eugene, OR

    Ron, have you been hiding under a rock. She (Shrillary) does not work with both parties at ALL. Clearly 1/2 of the people in her own party HATE her. And the republicans, well that's even worse. They will assure she will get nothing done. I never talk to anyone with mixed emotions about Clinton. People either love her or hate her. No one is undecided about that. I will not vote for her in the primary or the general election. BTW: Where does she stand on illigal aliens getting drivers licenses? Is she for that or against it. I honestly can't tell. Is she trying to buy their votes because they sure won't rush out and buy insurance. It has been over 2 weeks now and I still do not know the answer she says she has given 5000 times. Where does she stand on this?
    No to Clinton from this Dem female. Yes to Obama, Edwards, or anyone but Hillary.

    November 12, 2007 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
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