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. Maxi

    Please stop all the bickering before a promising young political career is ruined. I would like to see HIllary as the next president because I believe she is the best at this point in time. I would love to see Obama working with her in an important position, to gain some more experience. The next president faces tremendous challenges and huge, nearly impossible problems to solve, both domestically and interracially. It could be political suicide for a young, talented politician to take over this sorry mess. Hillary at 60 years of age will give it her very best shot, and do the best she possibly can. Even though her talents are considerable, the odds of bringing about the expected , and promised, changes in the next four years may be against her (or anybody else for that matter). At least she could look back on a long and fruitful career in politics. Given the same situation, Obama would only be 50 years of age, with the best years (as far as political life goes) still ahead of him. Please get along. Do not argue to the point of no return. You can both benefit from each-other. It is my opionion that Senator Clinton is the best possible person person to turn this country around, and I really don't care whether her husband, many years ago, had a "thing" for the ladies. She forgave him, and so can I.

    January 23, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. JAM

    The person who writes your captions obviously has an agenda. It was clear that Bill Clinton was disgusted not upset. and although I am an undecided Independent voter, I don't blame him. CNN's bias in favor of Obama would be laughable if it wasn't so reckless.

    No one has played the race card as much as Obama and his friends in the media. I wish he would stop all the whining already and stop getting the media to fight his battles for him.

    I have lost a lot of respect for CNN, it has turned into the Obama version of the FNC.

    January 23, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. B.O.

    Let me ask something....is it worse to a nation that requires political, economic, and global leadership to:

    a) lie about receiving pleasure from a floozy who probably threw herself at the man in question

    or

    b) lie about intelligence that falsely leads your country into an unnecessary war that has killed thousands of Americans and ten fold Iraqi's, while there is a real war to be fought against terrorism, allowing for your contractor friends to make billions, and force oil prices to record-breaking highs that are beginning to put the economy into a recession.

    If anyone thinks a) is at all applicable to this election, they do NOT care about the future of this nation. If anyone thinks it has anything to do with Hillary and her ability to be President, you are a HATER who refuses to believe she has any qualities whatsoever.

    Get a grip people.

    January 23, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. Johman

    We all know that USA is the most powerful country in world. We cannot let
    someone who is a novice, a rookie in politics to lead and run this country. It's going to be disastrous. Pres. Clinton when he was the president,e able to balance the budget during his terms and left a big surplus in the treasury. They have a proven records.

    I am an independent voter, I don't have a party, but when election comes,
    I will vote for Hillary.

    January 23, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. Dianne

    Well, Bill, if you don't want to be compared to Lee Atwater, maybe you should stop behaving like Lee Atwater. You and your wife's behavior in this campaign have moved her from being my #1 choice in the Primary, to my #2 choice, to where she stands now: Not going to vote for her no-way-no-how, not even in the General if we are unfortunate enough to have her as our nominee. And I have always voted Democratic. I won't vote for a Republican or 3rd party candidate in the GE; if her name is at the top of my ballot come November, I will for the first time in my life leave the Presidential contest blank.

    January 23, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    i dont understand why anyone cares what he says....hes not a in the election and his wife is terrible. We let two people who cant even stay in a normal relationship run our country..... REAL SMART AMERICA

    ANYONE BUT HILIARY 08

    January 23, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. Ann, MO

    If Bill Clinton REALLY wanted to talk about issues instead of keeping this fight going, do you really think he would have stopped and talked to this reporter?

    January 23, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. Tim, Seattle

    SOmebody wrote: "He didn't look too upset to me; maybe tired, but not upset."

    Maybe he didnt have a nap today? Oh wait thats only at MLK events 😉

    January 23, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. Charlie

    I'm a life-long Democrat and will vote for the Dem. candidate this fall, but I am sick and tired of this back-and-forth between the Clintons and Obama. Both sides share the blame, but it is the Clintons who started it and who are continuing to ratchet it up. Does either side honestly think the other side does not support civil rights, or long-standing Democratic economic principles? Do the Clintons really think that Obama prefers Reagonomics to long-standing Dem. policies? Of course not. So stop with the childish mud-slinging. You demean yourselves, and our party.

    January 23, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. Jason

    I consider myself very Independent politically but I am afraid that I am reminded of the rancor of the 90's when I see President Clinton wagging his finger. Now, I don't think he is to blame entirely for the political tone of that decade but he certainly isn't innocent.

    I am excited about this year's election and feel that there are some compelling choices. Also, I have a great deal of respect for President Clinton and his awesome capabilities. Nonetheless, the Clintons hunkering down for battle is an idea I am through with.

    January 23, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  11. Jose of NYC

    America will make another mistake by putting obama in the white house. Fourtunatly, Not everyone is decieved by his "speeches". Obama = Unexperienced = Bush.

    January 23, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  12. JOE KILPATRICK

    WHY CAN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE PRESS SEE THE ONLY WAY TO GET THE ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK IS TO DROP THE FEDERAL INCOME TAX. THIS WOULD INSTANTLY GIVE EVERYONE IN THE COUNTRY A PAY RAISE WITHOUT ANY INCREASED BURDEN ON THE EMPLOYERS. IT WOULD ENABLE MOST EVERYONE TO AVOID THE LOOSING THEIR HOMES WHEN THEIR VARIABLE RATE LOANS (TEASER LOANS) GO UP. FOR THOSE NOT IN THAT SITUATION IT WOULD PUT MONEY INTO THE ECONOMY FOR INVESTMENTS, POURING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO THE CRASHING STOCK MARKET, IT WOULD ALSO GREATLY INCREASE CONSUMER SPENDING ON EVERTHING FROM CARS TO CLOTHES TO GROCERYS. IT WOULD ALLOW PEOPLE TO MAKE CHERITABLE CONTRUBITIONS, WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT I HAVE ALWAYS DONE BUT NOW CANT AFFORD TOO.
    KEEP (FOR NOW) THE SOCIAL SECURITY TAX IT COULD EVEN BE RAISED BY A PERCENT OR TWO HELPING TO BAIL OUT THE FAILING SYSTEM.
    THE POLITATIONS WILL SAY THE GOVERNMENT CAN NOT CONTINUE TO RUN IF IT GAVE UP ALL THAT INCOME. BUT BE REALISTIC, WE HAVE ALL SEEN THE OUTRAIGOUS EXAMPLES OF GOVERNMENT WASTE. AND JUST LAST MONTH THE NEWS COVERED FOR DAYS, WITH A SMILE, ALL THE PORK BARRELL PROJECTS THAT RECENTLY WENT THROUGH. JUST LIKE OUR BUDGETS AT HOME AT SOME POINT WE HAVE TO TELL THE GOVERNMENT THAT THIS IS HOW MUCH MONEY YOU HAVE TO WORK WITH. SPEND IT WISELY BECAUSE THATS ALL YOU HAVE.
    ANYONE WHO THINKS WE CAN AFFORD TO PROVIDE HEALTH INSURANCE FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTRY AND A SIZEABLE PORTION OF MEXICO THANKS TO THE WELCOMING IN OF ILLEGAL IMMAGRANTS IS COMPLETLY OUT OF TOUCH WITH AMERICA.
    ALSO, WE CAN NOT AFFORD NOR DESERVE TO BE THE WORLDS POLICE FORCE. NOONE WANTS FOR RADICALS TO HAVE NUECULAR WEAPONS BUT ITS NOT REALLY OUR PLACE TO TELL OTHER COUNTRIES WHAT THEY CAN AND CANT DO. OBVIOUSLY IF WE ARE DIRECTLY ATTACKED LIKE ON SEPTEMBER 11 WE SHOULD STRIKE BACK WITH EVERYTHING WE HAVE. I BELIEVE KILLING 100 TO EVERY 1 AMERICAN KILLED. WE HAVE DONE THAT AND MORE SINCE 9/11 ITS TIME TO COME HOME AND DARE ANYONE TO TRY IT AGIN.
    MORE TO COME........JOE KILPATRICK

    January 23, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  13. decstl

    I just watched Wolff B. and his little panel. Why don't they just call it the Obama Campaign Headquarters. Everything that is wrong right now was put at the Clinton's doorstep. They are the total cause of bringing race into the campaign. I suppose when African Americans are voting for him by about 60 points that is their fault too. No, we must be politically correct and never bring up that point.

    I never believed I would see the day I would agree with Bill O' Reilly, but at least he is honest to say what is going on. The mainstream media is fawning all over themselves to praise Obama as the next coming. Too bad that Americans are too smart to fall for that.

    I would like a non-partisan reporting once again. Simply report the news. I really don't care what your personal opinion is one way or the other.

    January 23, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  14. truth

    CNN is obviously taking side with Obama. Every headline on CNN web site is negative about Bill and Hillary Clinton. I thought journalism is about fair reporting. When are you ever going to reveal the truth about Obama?

    January 23, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  15. Talbert Fox

    I'm not a great Clinton fan, but I'm with him on this. Let's discuss the real issues facing this country and who can best deal with them!!

    January 23, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  16. Mark

    Stop crying Jessica Yellin. It's pathetic!! Was it brought up 5 times in the last hour?? JT is right FOCUS ON THE ISSUES.

    January 23, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. Jairus Okech

    Bill Clinton is turning off alot of minority votes. It is going to be difficult for Hillary to appeal to Obama supporters if she ends up being the democratic nonimee. I am an Obama supporter and am thinking of voting republic if Hillary is the democratic nominee. With the strong negative statements Bill Clinton is saying about Obama, how is he going to turn around and give a speech during the democratic convention to suport Obama should Obama win the nomination

    January 23, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  18. MB

    I see several people wondering where their comments are. Obviously CNN doesn't want to print everything for all to see. I made one hours ago in this thread and another and neither are here. So much for Leave your Comment.

    January 23, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  19. Damon

    Bill is right on again. Message right on target. It tells the truth – SC voters don't want to hear all this stuff that doesn't matter (neither does the rest of the US). Here's the rub...(and the veiled falsehood that is typical of the Clintons)...the Clintons started it. "Come on Barrack...stop talking about bringing us together and jump into Clinton politiccs...where we know how to win."

    Barrack – keep your vision high and character in tact. Defend absurdities quickly and get back on message. Clinton politics may work now but they won't in the general election.

    WE NEED YOU!

    January 23, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. BOBO

    As a life-long democrats, I hate to see what is going on......
    are we trying to beat the reps or what? sad... sad... sad...

    January 23, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  21. myvote

    I just saw in CNN that again they say that Bill clinton is angry. Look like some in CNN decided to support Obama and their reporters are paid form OBAMA camp. No other way they can say these things. I did not see when got angy in their clip. I do not understand.

    January 23, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  22. Dee

    I have NEVER cared for anything from the Clintons. I think they are fake. How can you be the so-called African-American president when more African-American children are being killed than any other race. And, most are still POOR, below average schools, extremely high crime and deaths in the African-American community. If you have so much power to change the world, I don't see the change. Child please, go home CLINTONS and retire. I'm one black vote you won't receive.

    January 23, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  23. James D.

    Once AGAIN...today....Bill Clinton injects race into the campaign:

    Bill Clinton:
    "On our side neither Senator Obama nor Hillary have lost votes because of their race or gender," Clinton said in Charleston. "They are getting votes to be sure, because of their race or gender. That's why people tell me Hillary doesn't have a chance to win here."'

    The Clinton tradition continues...do or say anything if it helps you win. In this case, marginalize a probable loss in SC due to: Black people voted for Obama. The only problem is.... Hillary *was* ahead by more than 20 points a few months ago!

    Keep going Bill...you're making Karl Rove proud.

    January 23, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  24. jeff

    Bill is correct. The media is pushing this on behalf of Obama. Sick!

    January 23, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. dave l.

    As an objective outsider, I am concerned that Obama has to fight TWO Clintons at once. It is blatantly unfair as in this uneven fight, Obama is clearly the underdog. Furthermore, the former president is clearly in a situation of conflict of interest, because when his wife becomes the president, her husband will once again reside in the White House and, most probably, be consulted by his president-wife before making important decisions. Therefore, in my opinion, he should stop critizing his candidate-wife's competitors, be they Obama or Edwards.
    As it stands, the present president Bush then should also be allowed to campaign for the Republican candidates. Would the American public stand for it?

    Therefore, in my opinion, Bill Clinton should stop critizing his candidate-wife's competitors, be they Obama or Edwards. Instead, he should direct his considerable skills to attack the REAL opponents; i.e. the Republican candidates.

    January 23, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
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