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. Neto

    The public does not raise the race question. It is the media that does that and then spins it every time to says folks out there are asking, please give me a break. The real culprits are the media. I applaud the Clintons for standing up and defending themselves. I am ashamed that Wolf is also getting involve in the spin. I was not leaning towards the Clintons but i like the way they handle themselves and i believe i will be voting for Hillary and potentially get actively involved.

    January 23, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  2. Jason

    Why is senator Edwards not getting the same attention as both Obama and Clinton. I feel the media does not care about the issues, but instead looks for more back and forth between Obama and Clinton. Edwards wants to talk about the issues and his plans to change America, but instead CNN cares to report on the saga bewtween Obama and Clinton.

    As of last Thursday night, I had not decided on a canidate, but after the democratic debate Edwards has won me over. I hope CNN will give equal treatment and provide Edwards more attention.

    January 23, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. JoeSchmoe

    Okay, my previous post didn't go through. 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 amplify their comment. Now that's disengenious.

    January 23, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. Victor

    Wow. CNN surely got defensive.
    Have you seen the video?! Bill was very calm, not upset at all and there was no lashing out.

    January 23, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. winterman93

    There are tops that spin slower than the Clinton Machine...We called Bill Slick Willy for several reasons...I am waiting to see how a President who painted the White House black can EVER call shame on anyone...

    fact is, he is overly involved in his wife's campaign...i NEVER hear from ANY other candidates' sig others...except for Bill...he is the one that stands out more than any other. Yes other spouses are involved...but NOT nearly at the same rate that he is.

    He was NOT the first "black" president...he is white...no matter how endearing the african american community is to him...he has NO idea what it is to be in the skin of an African American...no caucasian ever EVER will. Eminem is not black no matter how close he is to the african american community. There is simply NO way for us to put our feet into those shoes or empathize for those who are in a situation that we will never find ourselves. Bill be yourself, enjoy retirement and live your life away from ours.

    January 23, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  6. Marco, NJ

    Mr Blitzer, Mr Cafferty, and Ms.Gloria (I don't remember the last name). President Clinton has a point. Your group is biased....you have brought race into this, not the Clintons....take responsibility for it.

    Marco

    January 23, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  7. John

    CNN = CLINTON NEWS NETWORK

    WHY ELSE WOULD THEY CONSTANT SHOW A NON-CANDIDATE AND ALL HIS ATTACKS AGAINST A REAL CANDIDATE, BARACK OBAMA?

    IF BILL & HILL, BILLARY, THE 2 HEADED SNAKE OR WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL THEM PLAN ON HAVING 2 CANDIDATES, THEN CNN SHOULD BE TREATING BILL AS A CANDIDATE AND FACT CHECK WHEN HE OPENS HIS MOUTH AND FAIRLY ATTACH HIM AND ALL HIS ATTACKS TO HIS WIFE, BECAUSE THEY ARE A PACKAGE DEAL, AND SHOULD BE TREATED AS SUCH!!

    January 23, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. Geri

    Good job again CNN. Blast Clinton & praise Obama. You are so biased. Has he asked one of you to be his vice president IF he's elected. The way you all act is disgraceful & sickening. If he loses, you can bet the people will be after you for reporting something negative but they'll have to dig really deep. He really is your fair haired boy that doesnt even claim a white mother just so he can be the BLACK CANDIDATE..

    January 23, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  9. Nanci

    Poor little Bubba...you don't like the family feud when it's you that's being interviewed. Wah! You can dish it out but you can't take it. I thought this was the fun part!

    Go away and let your wife campaign on her own. If you want her to lose you're doing a great job of helping her (which is fine with me because I would love for her/you to lose.)

    January 23, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  10. veronica

    Bill is 100% right about this.
    Obama is such a loser, but a worse loser is the media!

    January 23, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. ROUSS

    Obama: I dont know whether I am running against Hillary or Bill
    Hillary: I dont know whether I am running against Obama or CNN
    :^)

    January 23, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  12. GaryO Virginia Beach

    CNN is prone to exaggeration. I looked at the video, and I did not see where Bill Clinton “lashed out.” Bill Clinton did not look upset to me, but he did make some good points.

    I think it’s amazing the way the press and others are so intent on babysitting Barack Obama. You of the press are doing your best to usher Obama through the primaries and into the general election.

    CNN, and other media outlets are exploiting this campaign as much as possible to increase ratings and market share. Obama is a black man running for President. That’s the biggest story you have, and you want to make it last. Hillary is a woman running for president. That’s a pretty good story, but not as good as Obama. And poor John Edwards, arguably the most capable candidate against the Republicans, has been totally pushed aside by the press because his candidacy just will not generate enough interest.

    The news media has totally abandoned its social conscious and replaced it with a lust for market share.

    I don't know about anyone else, but I do not like being MANIPULATED by the press.

    VOTE NOT OBAMA !!

    January 23, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    Dear Bubba Thumpers,

    Don't underestimate Billy C. If he could run for a third time he wins handily. Yes, he plays hard because that's what politics is. If you don't like hard ball find another hobby.

    Life is real for better or worse.

    January 23, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  14. Marcella

    President Clinton is correct. You the news media,continue to concentrate on the unimportant and are feeding the Clinton/Obama she said /he said... be a grownup and think like Walter Cronkite... when the news was the news....

    January 23, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  15. GaryO Virginia Beach

    CNN is prone to exaggeration. I looked at the video, and I did not see where Bill Clinton “lashed out.” Bill Clinton did not look upset to me, but he did make some good points.

    I think it’s amazing the way the press and others are so intent on babysitting Barack Obama. You of the press are doing your best to usher Obama through the primaries and into the general election.

    CNN, and other media outlets are exploiting this campaign as much as possible to increase ratings and market share. Obama is a black man running for President. That’s the biggest story you have, and you want to make it last. Hillary is a woman running for president. That’s a pretty good story, but not as good as Obama. And poor John Edwards, arguably the most capable candidate against the Republicans, has been totally pushed aside by the press because his candidacy just will not generate enough interest.

    The news media has totally abandoned its social conscious and replaced it with a lust for market share.

    I don't know about anyone else, but I don't like being MANIPULATED by the press.

    VOTE NOT OBAMA !!

    January 23, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  16. Dorothy

    I am really getting tired of all the finger pointing – I am starting to loose my respect for the Clintons – Hillary at one time had my vote – now I am not so sure

    January 23, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  17. Dorothy

    I am really getting tired of the finger pointing – I am also starting to loose my respect for the Clintons – at one time Hillary had my vote – now I am not so sure

    January 23, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  18. Sue

    I have watched CNN for years. Always thought it was much more fair than other channels However I am now going to stop watching CNN. The past few weeks have been nothing but Clinton bashing. Over and over we see the same thing. We are in America and I think Bill has a point. It is the media. Why else would you replay the same clips!!!!! I have not heard one negative about Obama and there are plenty of them including run ins with the press. You are pro Obama and anti Clinton. This is America so you have the right to support who you want on your own time but the news should not be so one-way. After years I am over CNN!!!!! You continually bring up "the race" issue . There is so much more to report . How can you complain about Bill and his actions when yours are no better!!!!!

    January 23, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  19. Edwin

    That was the most shocking piece of yellow journalism I have every witnessed. Bill was not angry at all - see the video (unless watching Bill Clinton makes you nauseous). He spoke thoughtfully and pleasantly. He did chastise the reporter for sensationalizing rather than reporting, as he should have.

    Stop getting in a tizzy, people! He said/she said is pointless and stupid. Everyone who has at least an average intelligence should know that ALL POLITICIANS are spin doctors.

    For those of you who spout on about the Clinton scandals, I would ask you about the Bush scandals (both father and son) and Reagan scandals. Illegal sales of arms. Illegal wiretaps. I could go on, but the point is this: ALL POLITICIANS are involved in scandals. There are NO CLEAN POLITICIANS.

    Vote for the one you think will do the best job, not the honest one. Because the honest one will lie, too. It ALWAYS happens.

    Maybe it's Obama. Maybe Clinton. Maybe McCain or Huckabee. Choose based on issues and on who you think will lead the country best, not on this kind of sensationalist s**t.

    January 23, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  20. Val

    It is time to overhaul our electorial system. Two years is way too long to run for president . The american public is tired of the bad ads and the candidates always blaming each other for their own campaign problems. I vote to reduce the time to run for president from 2 years to 4 weeks!

    January 23, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  21. Vancouver-Truth

    Gloria Borger is so transparent in her dislike for the Clinton campaign. What good is her opinion when she is unable to be objective. Whatever happened to objective reporting?

    CNN is the one with deplorable tactics. You throw gasoline on any little spark between the candidates. You are far from the best political team in television at this point. I've been a loyal CNN watcher for 8 years! Who is your producer? What's happening to you all?

    I also notice how it's OK for your guest's to call Hillary a "...wicked witch" . Why didn't you stop that? Calling a woman a witch is like calling an African American something disrespectful. I bet that wouldn't get by you. Double standards and bad reporting. Thanks guys.

    January 23, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. Robert M

    well Mr Clinton< I was leaning twords the Clinton's in this election but your maturity and attacks has driven me to Obama!!!! How would you feel if Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson campain for Obama like you are for Hillary you would not be a happy camper either!!!!!

    January 23, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  23. Anthony Fraser

    Analysts:

    Did you hear Bill Clinton say: There are two people who marched with MLK who are still alive and they support us (not the exact words) He then said :

    "Let him (Barack) go and talk to Andrew Young and Mr. Lewis about this"

    This is a disgraceful "divide and conquer" strategy which colonialists and white racists historically used to divide black people.

    It is simply disgusting, much below the level of discourse and strategy that one would expect of a former President.

    January 23, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  24. Ray

    of course CNN "Best Political Team" says Bill is wrong. OF COURSE!!!

    GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

    January 23, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  25. MARIA

    president bill clinton keep going, the clintons are the best...clintons to me means surplus in the deficit, prosperity. and help for the poor. bring back the prosperity that the republicans so nicely squandered. husbands and wives are naturals advocates of candidates and i dont see any reason why bill clinton is being stopped. it is a campaign. it is a contest, and you send your best surrogates. CNN stop being instruments of the obaMA whining.

    January 23, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
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