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. WILLIAM

    BILL WILL NOT BE ABLE TO RUN THE WHITE HOUSE THROUGH HILLARY IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CNN OR OBAMA OR RACISM SOME CANDIDATES WILL RESORT TO ANY THING OR ANY MUSLINGING TO GET IN ANY RACE OF PEOPL,E THAT WILL VOTE FOR THE CANDIDATE AT THE TIME IS OK RICH OR POOR TILL THEY GET IN OFFICE HILLARY SHOULD NOT SHOUT RACE THEN START CRYING

    January 23, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  2. Kurt

    Enough of Obama's surrogates doing his dirty work. If a fight is what he wants, let the coward come out and fight like a man.

    January 23, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  3. John, Jacksonville Fl

    This is why they call it the Clinton News Network CNN!

    January 23, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  4. Helen

    I am a registered dem. in Tx. Locally I vote indepently some time. I liked Mc cain in 2000, But he let me down on several ocasions when he sided with Bush after that brutal attack during the campaing.Before that I voted for Bill twice. I will not vote for him in 2008.(I know whose name is running for the nomination). But a vote for Hillary will put Bill back in the Whitehouse,and I am tired of Bush/ Clinton. I am undecided at this point to whom I will give my vote.I don`t think it will be Hillary.

    January 23, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  5. Russell

    I haven't seen a more concerted effort to sway, and manipulate the public in my life. CNN is singing Obama's song, and taking every bogus opportunity to crush Hillary Clinton's chance of becoming the first female president. Could CNN be sexist, or do they just get off on taking away the rights of the people? I hope this pisses some of you off enough to go to the polls and tell CNN, that no you can't steal my vote!

    January 23, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  6. GCBFRED

    I have watched what Bill said several times this evening on CNN and will probably see it again several more times. I for one think he hit the nail right on the head with his comment. The new media doesn't care about the issues They are more interested in filling up their time slot with something. Doesnt matter what. And of course the clinton haters will spin it to best suit their feelings or agenda. When he makes a statement that isnt true, I will be the first to jump him about it.
    So far, he hasn't.

    January 23, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  7. Steve

    It IS truly incredible to watch people defend the Clintons, claiming that the poor, poor Clintons are not getting a fair shake from the mean ole press!!! WaWaWaWaWa!! The press carried, lied for, protected, and made excuses for Clinton from the time he ran the first time. But you probably don't remember that, do you? That's because you have been Clintonized and all but your selective memory is gone. IF, and I do mean IF, there is any favoritism being shown towards Obama, there is NO better person to recognize it than good ole Bill.

    Keep it up Bill!! Your making me laugh and making yourself out to be a fool.

    January 23, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  8. Nita

    Bill is absolutely correct. The media is really switching this around. However anyone with half a brain can see through that. They are pro-Obama but Obama is not going anywhere no matter how much you praise him. We don't need a dancer we need a fighter.

    January 23, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. Virgil Coulter

    I am not a clinton fan, but Bill is right on about the news media. The 24 hr media creates intertanment not news. This election belongs to the 24 hr media not the people. I use to average three hours a day watching cnn no more. I still watch the Larry King show. The 24 hour media should be fair and inform people THIS IS ENTERTAINMENT.

    January 23, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  10. Jeff

    It should be illegal for Bill Clinton to be doing what he's doing.

    What a terrible message to young women – "Women can only be elected president if their husband does it first and does the dirty work in her campaign as well".

    It's a disgrace. And I used to love Bill and Hillary.

    How is it fair that Hillary can campaign in two locations at once by using her husband?

    How is it fair that Michelle Obama never says a cross word about Hillary yet Hillary's spouse gets to attack her opponents from the world stage any time he pleases?

    Really now, how is it fair? How is it empowering to women?

    Shame on you, Bill and Hillary.

    January 23, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  11. Paul

    My god, this guy is out of control.

    I guess it's a wake-up call for CNN
    to see this dirty Clintons. CNN,
    turn away from the Clintons and
    expose this habitual liars.

    I like las night's Clinton asleep
    and still lies while asleep end
    of the CNN clip.

    To get power, these Clintons will do
    any thing.

    January 23, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. Excited Republican!

    As a Republican, I am excited to see that it looks like Hillary will be the donkey's nominaton. In an election, in which we thought we had no shot in hell, it nows seems like we will have a REPUBLICAN president!!

    GO McMain!!!!!!

    January 23, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  13. Steve

    CNN,

    If this is the video where Bill Clinton gets "visibly upset" and went "on and on", then CNN is making things up.

    If not, you own it to the public to air the clip where Bill Clinton does get "visibly" upset and attack the CNN reporter.

    January 23, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  14. deborah

    Here's a little paraphrase inspired by the nostagia of the Sixties;

    What if Bill Clinton said something....
    and NO ONE covered it?

    Pleeeease??

    January 23, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  15. Russell

    STOP TRYING TO MANIPULATE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, CNN. IT IS NOT YOUR RIGHT TO CHOSE OUR NEXT PRESIDENT. STOP THIS SEXIST CAMPAIGN AGAINST HILLARY CLINTON. SHAME ON YOU! YOU WILL DO ANYTHING TO TRY TO GET YOUR GUY ELECTED. READ YOUR OWN TICKER, YOU WILL SEE THAT MANY THOUSANDS OF YOUR VIEWERS ARE ANGRY AT YOUR BETRAYAL. LEAVE THE VOTE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, INTELLIGENT PEOPLE SEE RIGHT THROUGH YOUR SHALLOW ATTEMPT TO FORCE OBAMA ON US.

    January 23, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  16. Excited Republican

    As a Republican, I am excited to see that it looks like Hillary will be the donkey's nominaton. In an election, in which we thought we had no shot in hell, it nows seems like we will have a REPUBLICAN president!!

    GO McMain!!!!!!

    January 23, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  17. Jack O

    Whenever Bill Clinton wags his finger at us, it means one thing – he's lying! I'd love to play poker with him. He'd lose every hand.

    January 23, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  18. Jack O

    Whenever Bill Clinton wags his finger at us, you can be sure of one thing – He's Lying! I'd love to play poker with him – I'd take all his money.

    January 23, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  19. veronica

    Bill is 100% right about this.
    I just saw the full clip on TV.
    He was very convincing, and was not hotheaded at all!

    January 23, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  20. Terri, Plantation, FL

    I voted for this man twice. What he and his wife have done in this campaign wipes away every shred of respect I ever had for either of them.

    It is so saddening to see someone so disgrace themselves for political power. What is most appalling is that neither of them care that they are harming the Democratic Party, and by extension, the country by their actions.

    A reputable candidate campaigns on truthful distinctions in policy. What the Clintons have done is play Karl Rove politics..and against their own party. This makes them even beneath Rove.. and I never thought I'd ever see the day when I'd ever say that about anyone in the Democratic Party.

    January 23, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  21. daveinboca

    Bill is starting to resemble Britney. He's now angry that CNN asks him a question about what a colossal lying fraud he is-as mentioned by a S.C. DEMOCRAT politician!

    How dare they commit journalism!

    January 23, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  22. Mary Ann Maikish

    President Clinton was absolutely right!!!! CNN focuses on these personal attacks–which during the last democratic debate were started by Senator Obama. This is something that you neglected to show in your "sensational" journalism. The debate covered many issues important to the public but these did not get any coverage from CNN or the other Press. There was no coverage of John Edwards questioning of Senator Obama's double talk regarding why he did not vote for a certain limit on interest rates.
    Senator Obama consistently uses this tactic. Whenever he is asked a question he does not want to give an answer to, he attacks Senator and President Clinton.
    His record shows he has consistently been right of center–more an independent like Senator Liebermann than a true democrat.
    As far as your "sensational" journalism regarding Senator Clinton using President Clinton for political reasons, this is a very smart action. As smart as Senator Obama using Martin Luther King and Civil Rights.

    January 23, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  23. Susan

    Soledad O'Brien just made Bill Clinton's point for him. First she chastized the former President because he was upset with one of CNN's reporters for asking him about all of the squabbling between the the Clinton's and Obama's. He basically said that voters wanted to hear about issues and stated that the reporters are creating a story and that the voters don't want to hear about what they're "reporting." After chastizing Mr. Clinton, Soledad then went on to say that the voters want to hear about issues, not all of this personal drama. EXACTLY HIS POINT!!! Is it to much to ask that CNN report about news, not create the news?

    January 23, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  24. aware

    Three Cheers for Bill Clinton! He is leveling the playing field. The media is no longer the supreme influencer. If the media was fair and doing its job in an unbiased way, Barack would be getting the tough questions from them. Instead he has been coddled and allowed to use his velvet dagger without question.

    Bill Clinton is upfront with his comments, and I have heard nothing he has said to be untrue. None of this under the table stuff. Keep it up Bill. Someone has to keep it honest!

    I loved Colin Powell, but Obama is too slippery for me. I guess I have heard too many charismatic preachers to put much stock in his rhetoric. Also, I check all of the candidates comments in context! 🙂

    January 23, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  25. Karen

    Senator Richardson: Sorry, you can't quit, cuz' I'm voting for you!

    January 23, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
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