January 23rd, 2008
09:00 PM ET
8 years ago

Bill Clinton gets upset with CNN reporter

CNN

Bill Clinton got visibly upset with CNN's Jessica Yellin Wednesday.

(CNN) - Bill Clinton became visibly upset Wednesday over comments by a prominent South Carolina Democrat that compared the former president's actions on the trail to those of infamous Republican strategist Lee Atwater.

In an interview with CNN's Jessica Yellin, Dick Harpootlian, a former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party and a supporter of Barack Obama, said some of Bill Clinton's recent remarks on the campaign trail were appeals based on race and gender. He said the comments were meant to "suppresses the vote, demoralize voters, and distort the record," and said they were "reminiscent of Lee Atwater."

Clinton sharply disputed the charge, and lashed out at Yellin for raising the question.

"You live for this. This hurts the people of South Carolina," he said. "Because the people of South Carolina come to these meetings and ask questions about what they care about. And what they care about is not what's going to be in the news coverage tonight, because you don't care about it.

"What you care about is this. And the Obama people know that. So they just spin you up on this and you happily go along. I mean, the people don't care about this," he added. "They never ask about it. And you are determined to take this election away from them. And that's not right. That is not right. This election ought to belong to those people who are out here asking questions about their lives."

soundoff (1,260 Responses)
  1. Dee

    I hate CNN for MANY reasons, but No. 1 is the lack of objective reporting of the news. Then, again, few quality news agencies out there anymore. Stupid CNN reporter was baiting Bill for him to "attack" her so CNN could report "news" of this spinned up story. If CNN had any respect for objective reporting, they would've reprimanded the reporter for acting like a Star Magazine journalist and not reported the event. The rest of you who are sucked into CNN's spin of this story need to go wash your brains out.

    January 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. ME

    This excerpt from the State newspaper in SC says it all:

    "But we also have a good idea what a Clinton presidency would look like. The restoration of the Clintons to the White House would trigger a new wave of all-out political warfare. That is not all Bill and Hillary’s fault – but it exists, whomever you blame, and cannot be ignored. Hillary Clinton doesn’t pretend that it won’t happen; she simply vows to persevere, in the hope that her side can win. Indeed, the Clintons’ joint career in public life seems oriented toward securing victory and personal vindication."

    "Despite America’s bitter partisan divide, all sides should agree on this: In such an environment, little gets done. Congress has been largely useless under both Republican and Democratic leadership. Setting aside the ideological conflict for conflict’s sake to get anything worthwhile done has fallen severely out of fashion.

    And America certainly has things to get done. "

    Political warfare is not what we need now. Obama or Edwards. That's the choice to get away from scandals of years past and move on to solving today's problems.

    January 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Shirley

    The "commenters" who are probably Republicans, are only interested in bashing the Clintons. Facts are Facts...Obama made the statements and they are on tape. If Obama cannot face the truth how do you think he will survive the real lies by the Republicans?

    To compare the Clintons to Lee Atwater is ludicrous. Obviously the black community thinks that the best defense is an offence but this is surely going to backfire. They are playing the race card with the Democratic Black Caucus saying that if Bill doesn't stop and Obama doesn't get the nomination, they will withhold their votes. WOW, talk about slimy tactics! Face it people, Obama is 46 years old and a career politician. If anyone is acting like a Republican, he is.

    January 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. Kate

    Is this CNN or Entertainment Tonight? Is it really that difficult to provide readers with real political news that may actually make a difference to a voter? Or does it take too long in the editing room to spin real news in favor of Obama?

    January 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. steve

    Enough is Enough! Obama 2008!

    January 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Sam

    CAREFULLY LISTEN AT BILL CLINTON'S SPIN:

    "What you care about is this. And the Obama people know that. So they just spin you up on this and you happily go along. I mean, the people don't care about this," he added. "They never ask about it. And you are determined to take this election away from them. And that's not right. That is not right. This election ought to belong to those people who are out here asking questions about their lives."

    APPARENTLY HE IS TRYING TO SAY THAT OBAMA DOESNT CARE ABOUT WHAT "the people" CARE ABOUT!

    BILL IS SO FULL OF CRAP!

    IF HE REALLY CARED ABOUT WHAT "the people" CARED ABOUT, HE'D DO US ALL A FAVOR AND DISAPPEAR..........AND TAKE HIS WIFE WITH HIM!

    HE'S SUCH A SNAKE! HIS SORRY AZZ HASN'T BEEN TO SOUTH CAROLINA BUT TO CAMPAIGN...NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN HE "cares" ABOUT THE PEOPLE...

    GIMME A BREAK!

    January 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Will it Ever End

    According to Hillary, "this is the fun part" for the Clintons.

    Maybe he needs another nap...

    January 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. Elaine, Atlanta

    Go home Bill you look tired!

    January 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. SilverSpring

    It is sad to see Bill Clinton stoop his low.

    January 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. Jeremiah Grant, Phoenix AZ

    What? Billie Boy got mad and tried to intimidate another reporter? Goodness, who would have ever expected that?

    Maybe they have Bill out playing attack dog so that Hillary doesn't have to cry in public anymore.

    Talk about a campaign that's frustrated–frustrated they can't get crowned today and must actually work to persuade voters.

    January 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. Luke

    Bill Clinton is right. Why can't the CNN reporter just stick to the real issues and not to appear to be partisan and favoring another candidate. Yellin was out of bounds. She probably hate Hillary or envious of her that Hillary is a tough cookie. And your reporters should alway appear non-partisan like Wolf Blitzer.

    January 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Matt

    Something smells fishy...Oh never mind, it is Bill's Finger!!

    January 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. HJ, Richmond

    Unfortunately, Sen Obama has lost his stride and message. The Clintons will do anything and everything to get the nomination and election. If that is the case our hope only hope is Mayor Bloomberg!

    January 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. John

    It is begining to look like CNN is becoming like other networks (Fox to name one) and trying to ask anything or do anything for a story. The headline in the front page said " Bill Clinton gets angry at CNN reporter". Did not look like he was that upset at the reporter as much as upset over the allegations. CNN reporters need to start showing some ethical standards.
    The news in the CNN are sounding more and more like Obama sided than Edwards or Clinton. The democratic party will figure out who is the best candidate for the party. CNN just need to cover stories imparitially, equal to all candidates.

    January 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  15. pat

    How overstated! Comments pointing out the preference to report on the ongoing battle for the vote with an obvious softness toward Obama's positions and charges is bound to be wearing. I thought Bill was, factual, clear, and rather calm as he pointed this out. And yet the exchange gets labeled as him lashing out. Apparantly, this is the best way to get viewers to watch the segment, but watching the whole segment sheds a much different light on the situation.

    January 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. HANNITY & COLMES FOX NEWS

    Have Bill Clinton check by a doctor...He is not well! Something is very wrong in the picture. The Clintons are boring! I will not stay in the united States while Hillary is leading my country. As an independent, I will vote Obama or Republican.

    January 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. Pete in Moorhead, MN

    I support Mr. Clinton's remarks. I don't believe I want a president in the White House that skirts issues, as well as not vote on various legislation.

    By the way, Obama must be loved by the tobacco lobby, as he is a smoker. I don't want a smoker in the White House, as it stinks bad enough under a GOP regime.

    January 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. RRC

    President Clinton is right: CNN does not want Hillary Clinton to win the democratic nomination. In the night she won the New Hampshire primary, CNN called the race "undecided" long after all the other outlets had announced the winner.
    The media is definitely against Clinton, coming out with all these polls that turn out to be far from reality and never following on the problems in Omaba's resume.

    January 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Joanne Babineau

    I am from Canada and I am intriqued by what will become history. I believe that USA will have the first American WOMAN President. Hillary Cliton is ready to make all of you proud. Listen to her carefully. She has experience, integrity, and the respect of many who believe in her policies. . I look forward to the coming weeks. These primaries are fascinating. Funny how men just do not get it.
    More power to you Hillary. You would have my vote.
    Sincerely,

    Joanne Babineau

    January 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. dean

    Clinton gets "MAD" at reporter. Your choice of words is meant to make Bill Clinton look bad. CNN is getting worse than Fox News in its obvious slant. I listened to the entire clip, and I didn't see a "mad" Bill Clinton. I saw someone trying to set the record straight. CNN appears to be protecting Obama and taking obvious sides.

    January 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. Clifford

    Good for Bill, he's making a point that the media doesn't address the real concerns of our country, they would rather talk about things that boost their ratings and not about healthcare, the billions we spend monthly on a "oil war" that kills innocent American men and women. Those that disagree with Bill and Hillary and other candidates that are trying to discuss the real issues in our country, you are lazy, you are part of the problem and not the solution.

    If Obama becomes the Democratic candidate for President, I for the first time in 30 years will vote for a Republican. Obama won't last fours in the Whitehouse.

    January 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. lynne c

    Little Willy, Willy won't go home. ..and for Hillary's sake he really should. He's going to remind everybody of the bad ol' days. Everyone calls him a political genius. This just makes me laugh. He's really just a really sneaky, manipulative good ol' boy.. I'm sure he could pick your pocket with a smile and leave you grateful he had lightened your load. Wake up everyone...and remember

    January 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. mark

    It's now clear to me that CNN is incapable of reporting unbiased news when it comes to the Clintons. CNN should leave the biased news to the competing campaigns and try REPORTING for once.

    January 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. Sven

    Maybe Hill-Billy should just stop with the lies. No one believes you guys any more! You are liars through and through! Blaming the media when YOU made it about race and started with the negative ads and voter suppression. What a piece of garbage. If Obama loses because of your dirty campaigning- guess what ? A boat load of us are going to vote REPUBLICAN in November!!!!

    January 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Daniel Oberhauser

    Everyone wants to be in the White House....Clinton, Obama, Edwards. For any of you to say that the Clinton's have not gone the extra mile to help the middle and lower income citizens is deplorable.

    January 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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