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. jeff

    Oh God steer us away from our fascination with identifying specks in each others eyes, so that we may hopefully see your truth more clearly to find the path for our country's future.

    January 23, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  2. Mark, Chicago, IL

    CNN, YOU OUGHT TO BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES. THE TITLE OF THIS PIECE IS "CLINTON GETS UPSET WITH CNN REPORTER". I watched the video piece... Clinton was NOT UPSET... He was composed, he was articulate, he was stating his point of view in a rather calm manner. HOW IS THIS GETTING UPSET?

    WHO WRITES FOR YOU? MAYBE THEY OUGHT TO BE WRITING FOR TELEVISION AND GO ON STRIKE... IT IS SO MISLEADING AND FALSE... IT ONLY FEEDS INTO THE CIRCUS THAT THE MEDIA HAS CREATED – as was pointed out so intelligently by President Clinton!

    HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO WATCH CNN WHEN YOU CLEARLY ARE ENGAGING IN "YELLOW JOURNALISM". I WANT INTELLIGENT NEWS DISSEMINATION, NOT SENSATIONALIST EMOTIONAL LADEN FALSE REPORTS.

    IT'S DISGRACEFUL.

    January 23, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  3. Luke

    Bill CLinton has no business telling others what is honest, fair and ethical.

    He's the one person who should not be opening his mouth.

    January 23, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  4. Tom in VA

    I am wondering why my comments are consistently "moderated" out. I'm not saying anything controversial. I'm just saying that no one in the public on either side of the "debate" actually bothers to really listen to all of the voices. If you love Hillary, you hear only Hillary. If you hate Hillary, you hear only the negative things about her. I personally do not like her, but she does have some positives, and she's not always wrong. And she's not always right either. Not only do we have a polarized society with respect to Democrats and Republicans where each listens only to their own side, its replicating itself within the party.

    We need a strong third party, really badly, in this country. But that's a point for a different day. Meanwhile, please remember, your right to vote also includes your right NOT to vote which, if I end up not liking the eventual candidates, I'll willingly employ.

    January 23, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  5. Dan Gilmore

    Looks like Ol' Bill just S-canned Hillary's campaign in South Carolina. Bill made a terrible mistake by PO-ing Dick "Harper" (as he is known to us who actually know him personally). In fact, Bill Clinton S-canned Hillary in the entire South. Just let this be a lesson the to Democrats as a party – We (Southerners) aren't a bunch of racist rednecks or sexist pigs. In fact, I would venture to say that a majority of White Southern Democrats will vote for Mr. Obama and that race has nothing to do with it on all sides. Frankly, I'm happy that Bill won't keep his mouth shut because anyone but Hillary is OK with me.

    January 23, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  6. Linchristi

    If we really paid attention to what he said. He is right, why keep asking questions that are not relevant to the issues. People want to know the issues..WHO CARES about the race card or the gender card!! Plus, why is Obama whining about who is he running against..Isnt he running for the american people not against Hillary? Plus, is this how he is going to run against the Republicans? whining? And then saying he doesnt know who he is running against..

    To be fair, Michelle Obama does say things that are pretty harsh about Hillary and John Edwards..Obviously, they all have spouses that are determined to say anything to get their spouses noticed and elected..It isnt just Bill..

    January 23, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  7. A Texan

    What's up with Bill's comment in that video where he says "Obama put a HIT on me" ???

    Now what is Bubba insinuating?
    Sounds like a bit of subliminal mudslinging again.

    Time to go home Bill...

    January 23, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Interesting – you dont quote the question that provoked this response.

    January 23, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. Al

    The Clintons left South Carolina to Bil because they feel that they have won the state. They KNOW they have the white vote vote and the icing is the black vote that takes them over the top. Whites in SOUTH Carolina will NEVER vote for Obama. And it doesn't matter which Democrat wins SC, because that state will vote Republican in November.

    January 23, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  10. J

    Bill Clinton needs to go sit down and let his wife win on her own merits....which she can't do.

    Obama 08

    January 23, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. Stop the double-standard

    Mr. Clinton has EVERY right to support his wife-–too bad for Obama that Mr. Clinton happens to be a very intelligent man and ex-President........Obama's wife is welcome to join the fracas--no one is stopping her or Mr. Edwards' wife from saying things in public to support their spouses. Let's stop the double-standard that implies that Mr. Clinton hasn't the right to speak out on behalf of Mrs. Clinton, especially just because he is "male"-–would folks complain so much as they have if Obama's wife came out and said things? I doubt it.

    At least with the Clintons, you get 2 for the price of 1 when she becomes President. He is the answer to our country overcoming our tarnished image now that bush has ruined our country's reputation in the world.....

    The debate the other night highlighted the fact that Obama cannot speak about his "plan" for America--he HAS NONE. He spends most of his time saying that he will "inspire" Americans to work together to make the country better......I thought we were electing a President to work for us.......

    January 23, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  12. grace

    Bill Clinton should stay out of the race. From the display of Hillary's temper and controlling personality she doesn't need him. Seems like the Clintons are too busy trying to control others to explain issues of Government. Can't see Hillary in the Presidency w/her "I know more than anyone else" attitude.

    January 23, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  13. D

    The ? to ask yourself is, was the economy in the toilet when he was in office? No, & who do you think wore the pants in their family, Hilary.... Listen to the man, he know what he is talking about..

    January 23, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  14. A Texan

    Edited for correction:

    What's up with Bill's comment in that video where he says "Obama put a HIT JOB on me" ???

    Now what is Bubba insinuating?
    Sounds like a bit of subliminal mudslinging again and someone in the media should call him on the HIT JOB remark!

    Time to go home Bill…

    January 23, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  15. Eric S

    Bill is right on point! These reporters care less about the issues than injecting race and gender in this election. Pro-Obama CNN will do everything within its ambit to smear the Clintons.

    January 23, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. karen

    Bill isnt running for office and is making himself look unprofessional and out of control which is not impressive as a leader and spouse of potential president.

    This should be about issues that effect our country and not exchange of personal attacks and making issues out of non-issues, after all give the voters some credit that we can discern ourselves about what is said.

    January 23, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  17. Jane C

    Bill,

    It seems to me that Obama CANNOT ANSWER THE QUESTIONS OF THE MODERATOR and therefore throws up a screen. ....i.e. .starting a verbal disagreement. The only time I have seen him answer a question is when the question is first answered by another candidate. Now, I am 77 years old and perhaps missed something. However, I raised three children and know many tricks to avoid situations.

    The moderator should address the first question to Obama.........How do you plan to improve the economy?

    Jane

    January 23, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  18. sary

    I love the Situation Room can't believe you have that lady in panel at 6:30 pm. Wolf admire you for your professional approach, so is Cafferty and the young
    gentleman
    But the lady in the panel is awful she talk with her emotions and not in a scientific way's believe she have to know more about politics thing
    she used her emotions when given her 0pinion .I have to change the channel. I make up my mind I only will vote for Hillary or Edward. and many of my friends believe the same way I do. So your phrases about Obama are not helping.I wish they have a person in the panel that be fair given opinion.
    Your program is excellent,please,change the panelist.

    January 23, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  19. Rod

    WHY DON'T YOU FOLKS IN THE MEDIA TELL US

    EXACTLY WHAT HAS BILL CLINTON OR HILLARY CLINTON HAS SAID ABOUT OBAMA'S RECORD THAT IS NOT TRUE????

    TELL US WHAT HILLARY AND BILL HAVE SAID THAT WAS RACIST?????

    OBAMA IS THE MASTER OF GENERALITIES..... IT'S EASY TO ACCUSE THE OTHERSIDE WHEN THE MEDIA IS NOT ASKING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS.

    A SLICK PRESENTATION OF GENERALITIES LEAVES YOU WITH GENERALITIES.

    SHAME ON CNN
    WOLF BLITZER
    JACK CAFFERTY
    ANDERSON COOPER
    TONY HARRIS
    Well To Make It easier..... shame on you all.

    WE'VE BEEN HERE BEFORE.... THEN, THE MEDIA HELPED DELIVER US GEORGE W. BUSH TWICE.

    January 23, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  20. Roz, Peoria,IL

    Billary supports are always whining about the media and their bias reporting. if bill stays away from the cameras, maybe we will see more of hillary(the clinton thats actually running for president). bill needs to except the fact that he's not running(i am sick to death of seeing him). TO THE MEDIA, JUST REPORT THE NEWS. DISCUSS YOUR OPINIONS AT THE DINNER TABLE WITH YOUR FAMILY. WE DON'T WANT TO HEAR YOUR PERSONAL OPINIONS. I FOR ONE "DON'T CARE"

    January 23, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  21. California voter

    We need a real leader who can rise above all of this. Vote for Richardson on Super Tuesday. Richardson has: negotiated with world leaders, created jobs and promoted alternative energy. Richardson hasn't: engaged in bickering and attacking.

    January 23, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  22. ejk

    Listen to the message instead of the messenger. What Bill said is right, this is not the issue we need to be talking about. We need to be talking on the ISSUES – ECONOMY, HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION... When will CNN get the message and start doing some REAL SUBSTANTIVE journalism instead of this rag mag hype.

    January 23, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  23. Sinead in Ireland

    PRESIDENT CLINTON WAS 100% CORRECT!
    Obama has Oprah, Hillary has President Bill Clinton-–fair play, so get over it

    and what WAS that comment about Ronald Reagan?? Can't believe ANY democrat would praise that wanker!! Obama is an idiot and out of his depth....full stop

    Poor wee Obama, politics can be hard at times, especially when people actually bring up your record and you actually have to defend it. He is green but he should not worry too much, When Hillary is president im quite sure she will have a nice job for him so that he can learn how to be a proper politician and perhaps win next time:)

    HILLARY 2008

    TIME FOR A WOMAN TO CLEAN UP THE MESS AND SORT THE COUNTRY OUT

    January 23, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  24. Perry

    I love you Bill, but you started it!! As we all know, you are well versed in playing on words!!

    January 23, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  25. PCM 01

    Neighbours, get a grip.
    To accuse CNN of supporting Mr. Obama is ludicrous.
    Mr. Wolf would get an allergic reaction if he is perceived attacking Mrs. Clinton and supporting Mr. Obama. Never mind Mr. Dobbs.
    Neighbours is time to move on. Going back to obscure and obsolete political tactics will ensure another Republican governenment.
    We have had almost 30 years of the Bush/ Clinton political control. Look where we are now. Lets face it we are changing the guard out here. We are moving into a new generation of young politicians... a new generation of journalists. The spring is in the air.

    January 23, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
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