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. ftc

    An emotional, uninformed electorate gets the government they deserve.
    The notion that many primary voters think Hillary Clinton is qualified to be president of the United States is as absurd as the idiotic voters of New York that elected an unqualified carbetbagger from Arkansas to be their senator.
    As she conned New York, she is conning the nation. She has not one piece of legislation with her name on it after 6 years in the senate. Know why? She started running for president the day she was elected senator. Her senate record is atrocious, yet nobody calls her on it. She gets a free ride from the media, who all grovel at her and Bill's feet. What a pathetic nation we have become to even consider such any "empty dress" for the premier executive leadership position in the world.

    January 23, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. Kim

    Bill Clinton has his focus on the White House......he doesn't care if he is pushing Democratic voters to the Republican party or is this his strategy? Maybe Hillary Clinton will be McCain Vice Presidential running mate.

    January 23, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  3. Sam in NY

    I still don't get why the majority are voting Clinton again? Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton? Unbelievable. How many decades for two families? Sounds almost like a dictatorship to me. People aren't thinking about this logically.

    Yes Bill did some good things for this country – but as many people in this thread point out – there were so many problems – remember impeachment???? Remember the Pardons???? This is not an election for Hilary – it is for the Clintons. (BTW his achievements seem to go on her "ready for day one resume" and his gaffes seem to go on her "that wasn't me" list – HMMMM). They seem to be making it very clear of their plan to run the country as a team.

    I believe a woman President would be a great thing for this country, but Billary? I am losing confidence in the woman in this country who are being taken by these sleazy sales politics. This election reminds me of the last election – the majority votes Bush a second term and then 6 months later says"WOOPS – didn't think that one through".

    Anyone but this for our future please.

    January 23, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. Dan, NJ

    The Clintons started race as an issue and gender as an issue. They are the ones who slung mud at Obama (and continue to do so). Example: Bill called Obama's campaign a "fairy tale". What issue that the people care about was that referring to Bill?

    When it inevitably comes back to him, he yells the media is at fault.

    Good to see you still don't know how to take responsibility for your actions.

    Just like your wife: "I will not say voting for the Iraq was was a mistake." Or just like George W. Bush.

    More and more I'm on the Anybody But Hillary bandwagon.

    January 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  5. odessa

    Clinton tells it like it is! The media is pushing this phony Obama. After super Tuesday, Obama can go back to Illinois and spare us any more fairytales.

    January 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. Mamas4Obama

    It's like a housewife that had to send her husband out to yell at the neighbors.

    Give me a break lady – if you can't campaign on your own merits and with your own voice, don't waste our time.

    Its clear she doesn't have the "glands" for the job and it has nothing to do with being a woman.

    January 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. Gerry Mitchell

    Your program really irritated me today. I hope their is a media back lash! I'm with Bill Clinton on this one and resent that you suggest that he 'unleashed' on reporters. They got what they camne for not what was important. These issues you are creating are not serving the voters. You are attempting to make something of race that is not there!

    January 23, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  8. Robert in Albuquerque

    this is getting out of hand. CNN once again is pushing the "SPIN" on these types of stories. Not once did we see Mr. Clinton get all upset and rude, nor did he say anything harsh or rude to the reporter. CNN needs to end this hyped up headline crap and be a true avenue of information and reporting. Keep it up and you'll lose readers and viewers!

    January 23, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. odessa

    Clinton tells it like it is! The media is pushing this phony Obama. After super Tuesday, Obama can go back to Illinois and spare us any more fairytales. Watch Fox news for fair and balanced reporting.

    January 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. DJ, Philadelphia

    California Lady January 23, 2008 4:52 pm ET

    DJ in Philadelphia – What the heck are you talking about, The African American politicos have themselves to thank for the problems in Obamas campaign.
    Have you been sleeping during all of this or what. Let's get real hear. all you have to do is listen to Hilary and Bill and you can see what their game is.
    Give me a break. What a fairy tale Billary is.
    --
    Typical Obama supporter response. Unfortunate for you and his other supporters, the press defining the Hillary supporters as the beer guzzling, uneducated demographic of the popolus is inaccurate. Enough said.

    January 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  11. Robert in Albuquerque

    this is getting out of hand. CNN once again is pushing the "SPIN" on these types of stories. Not once did we see Mr. Clinton get all upset and rude, nor did he say anything harsh or rude to the reporter. CNN needs to end this hyped up headline crap and be a true avenue of information and reporting. Keep it up and you'll lose readers and viewers!

    January 23, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. newname

    Thanks CNN for erasing my comment about US news agencies. There was no swearing, no bad comment except to say that US news agencies are the worst. I will no longer watch any of your channels. Belive me, it will not be difficult to miss Nancy Grace or Glenn Beck. In case this message stays up and for the benefit of any reader who is sick of US news practices – don't watch them. Hit them in the ratings and maybe they will change.

    January 23, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  13. karla

    Clinton tells it like it is! The media is pushing this phony Obama. After super Tuesday, Obama can go back to Illinois and spare us any more fairytales. Watch Fox news for fair and balanced reporting.

    January 23, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Mauri

    QUESTIONS. If all the stuff folks are saying about Bill Clinton is true, then pray tell why is his approval rating in South Carolina is at 80%? What's Obama's?

    What has happened to Obama's messages of hope and change? Why doesn't he drop his searing bombshells about Hillary and get back to telling what he will do as President? Why does Obama continue to defend his religion when it's been proven that none of us care what church he belongs to?

    Why does he not tell us why he really voted "present" over 130 times when he was in Illinois State Government? Why does his explanation of his voting record as being standing operating procedure when two senators he's running against say that isn't true? They should know about this.

    Why does he attack Hillary for questioning his words about the Republicans' record when the mere act of his bringing up Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich means nothing? What really was his point in talking about their record if it were not for complimentary comparison between his own party, especially when he said Reagan had the ideas; Clinton did not. How fair is that?

    And finally, why did he throw the first punch at Hillary about her being on the board of directors of Wal-Mart, then have a hissie fit when she returned his punch about working for the "slum lord" who is now under indictment and awaiting trial? And why don't we know more about this man?

    Why did Obama castigate Hillary about the things Tom Brokaw has written about her in a book soon to be released? Is it fair for Obama to bring up contents of a book and off-limits to talking about some of the things he admitted in his own book?

    Last Comment. It appears that Obama is jealous of Bill Clinton's popularity vs. his own rather than concentrating on his presidential candidacy. Perhaps it's because his tank of ideas and qualifications for the office is running on empty.

    Could it be that this is God's way of protecting us from another four years of immaturity and inexperience? We need some level heads now and this would be a good time for Barack Obama to demonstrate his superiority in this regard.

    January 23, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. Lexie

    Yeah Bill!! Loved ya during your presidency and glad to see you out there telling it like it is now! Go Hillary!

    January 23, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. Randy

    Bill,
    We're so sick of seeing your face, and watching you act like a baby. Go home and stay there. In fact go stand in the corner, you wife is totally capable of winning this election without you. In fact you'll screw it up for her.

    January 23, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. Marg

    Senator Clinton and President Bill Clinton are NOT racists. They have both done a lot to help the African-American community. The media is letting the Obama
    campaign stir up this non-story. Of course, Obama is trying to create this false
    idea in order to turn the African-Americans against the Clintons. The news media
    should not keep bringing it up.

    January 23, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  18. Claudette Siar

    How much is it costing for the Secret Service to guard Bill Clinton while he is campaigning for his wife? I know we give security to former presidents, but this is ridiculous.

    January 23, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  19. JoAnn/Las Vegas, NV

    Bill Clinton gave the reporter what she deserved, a verbal spanking. The media is desperate for ratings and the reporters want their 15 minutes of fame.
    The bottom line is: Reporters can ask what they want (free country) and the people, yes even Bill Clinton, can answer the way they want. However, a word to the wise, CNN. Keep up the bias coverage and you'll lose ratings like MSNBC is losing now for their lousy coverage of this campaign.
    Bill Clinton is campaigning for his wife. That is not going to change. So, here's a suggestion Jessica Yellin: You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. You could have the chance of a lifetime to ask an intelligent question on the issues facing this country and you could have Bill Clinton eating out of your hands. As a result, the public would get some insight. Instead you stooped to tabloidism. Too bad.
    Hopefully, people will wisen up and get their facts about each candidate off the Internet while researching their records and platforms and vision for this country.
    Then we all can make an intelligent and informed decision on who we think would make the best president. We certainly can't rely on the meida. There are several TV (pretend) news shows out there that need to go bye-bye.

    January 23, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  20. joe

    YES INTERESTING HOW CNN WILL ALWAYS MENTION WHEN

    OBAMA GETS A ,MAJOR ENDORSEMENT BUT YOU NEVER HEAR CNN

    MENTION WHEN HILLARY GETS A MAJOR ENDORSEMENT

    LIKE THE GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA ENDORSING HILLARY TODAY

    CNN IS BIAS ON RACE TOWARDS OBAMA

    January 23, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  21. joe

    YES INTERESTING HOW CNN WILL ALWAYS MENTION WHEN

    OBAMA GETS A ,MAJOR ENDORSEMENT BUT YOU NEVER HEAR CNN

    MENTION WHEN HILLARY GETS A MAJOR ENDORSEMENT

    LIKE THE GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA ENDORSING HILLARY TODAY

    CNN IS BIAS ON RACE TOWARDS OBAMA

    HEY THEY ARE BASED IN ATLANTA...GO FIGURE..

    January 23, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. Nelson

    bill go home and hillary go with him, while you still have some dignity. you are destroying the Democratic party. we will have another republican president thanks to you clinton idiots.

    January 23, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  23. OBama loses!

    Clintons are being attacked daily by the OBama machine. SC is not the prize nor a big purse – and the OBama camp is diving the dems...it will cost them many white liberals elsewhere.

    January 23, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  24. JoeSchmoe

    I've seen the video about Bill getting upset, it wasn't evident to me. However, CNN managed to get a frame of the video to visually depict him as getting really upset, even using strong words such as "sharply disputed the charge" and "lashed out at Yellin" to over. Now that's disengenious.

    January 23, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  25. Erika

    This is why I love the Clintons. He is absolutely right. The media has become so focused on scandal and hype that they have begun to lose sight of real issues. While I am grateful for the forward movement from the Fund for Independant Journalism, I wish more reporters would catch on to what the public is truly wanting to learn about.

    January 23, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
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