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. Jon

    Shame on you, CNN, for your biased coverage. Bill Clinton is right.

    January 24, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  2. Mike in Kentucky

    And yet again, we witness the media coverage becoming the story, instead of the serious issues we face as a nation having the front page coverage they ( the issues) need and we deserve.

    I did not see or hear anything the former President said or did, that was inappropriate or untrue.

    Look, this is hard ball politics and the whole idea that we are going to be able to magically change the characteristics of human beings by hoping for it is ridiculous.

    Grow up, the Clintons are political professionals...they know how to win. If you don't want to be in the fight, do not step into the ring.

    I am listening to a talking head on PBS, talking about "scorched earth" politics: Quite frankly I have seen no smoking dirt in Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire or Nevada , serious Presidential politics..yes.

    All the talking heads want a piece of the Clinton story: the Clintons pull in eyeballs, and I believe the near future,as the recent past has shown , will reveal they pull in votes as well.

    January 24, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  3. Blaiso

    Well I think Americans should stop beating around the bush. What is important is the future of this country. This is not about Obama, Edward, or the Clinton's this is about Americans. CNN should improve in the way the are handling things.

    January 24, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  4. CR

    I totally agree – HC is just like Dick Cheney, having others (bill) do their planned dirty work but she calls the hit and is undercover (absent)! And just like Cheney the hit is WRONG.

    It doesn't matter who said what, IGNORE the C's.

    HC wants this election for herself, for her resume, for making history, not to serve the people honestly and fairly, and not the people of the dem party, if it was the other way around should wouldn't be stupping so low. I guess some voters really like her behavior, I pitty them all.

    C'mon Howard Dean – enough is enough, or are your hands tied in favor of HC too?

    If the C's were behaving like this in the business world they would be FIRED, or at least silenced. Let's fire them both from this campaign! Boy how they love to fight though, and that is what they will both do in the White House, two desks in the oval office, and two confusing decisions taking up to much time to implement. What a joke they are. Their marriage ( if one can call it that ) is polluting the campaign. So unnecessary.

    Al Gore must be sitting back holding his awards in his lap and just having a whale of a laugh.

    All other candidates – IGNORE the C's immediately, they are diluting the soup with dog poop and laughing all the way to the next primary. I hope they carry this stench with them for the rest of their lives.

    January 24, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  5. Peter Oriavwote

    Bill, thank you for reminding the CNN reporter. This whole thing about race and gender is being vigorously highlighted by the media with a biased motive in their mind. Of course, what they seem to achieve in South Carolina will not be replicated for the remaining states because they have different demographics. Over all, Hillary is the most qualified of the three democratic front runners. The media should desist from their bias against Hillary. When she gets the democratic party nomination, then she will unify the two parties and the independents and win the general election: there are political ways and means.

    January 24, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  6. L.J.

    Can someone tell me who is running for president, Bill or Hillary?

    January 24, 2008 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  7. BIG INDIAN

    BILL DIDN'T LOOK UPSET TO ME, LOOK LIKE HE TOLD CNN THAT THEY ARE PLAYING THE RACE CARD...CNN HAS TURNED INTO FOX'S SECOND NETWORK .

    AS MY FAVORITE NEWSREPORTER USED TO SAY "AND SO IT GOES"

    January 24, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  8. RC

    This is interesting to see so many republicans, acting like upset democrats and posting on the site. That means they are really worried for November.

    January 24, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  9. ROBERT

    HERE IS A POINT THAT MUST BE ADDRESS , ONE ISSUE IS WE HAVE A QUILIFY AFRICAN AMERICAN THAT IS CAPABLE OF RUNNING THIS COUNTRY , BUT HILLARY AND BILL USE THIS RACE CARD , TO COMBAT THE SC PRIMARY. I THINK ! THEY USE THIS POKER HAND , TO PLACE A CLOUD OVER OBAMA HEAD TO UNDERLINE THE AFRICAN AMERICAN VOTER. AND CREATE CONFUSION NOT JUST FOR THE AFRICAN AMERICAN VOTER BUT FOR ALL VOTER OF AMERICAN. ( WE JUST DONT NEED BILL AND HILLARY DRAMA IN THE WHITE HOUSE AGAIN) wHAT WE NEED IN THE WHITE IS A STRONG PRESIDENT AND FIRST LADY, NOT BILL AND HILLARY FAIRY TALE MARRIAGE WHICH THEY ARE PUTTING ON A ACT TO GET IN THE WHITE HOUSE. WHICH I KNOW SOON AS HILLARY AND BILL GET IN THE WHITE HOUSE BILL OTHER AFFAIRS WILL COME OUT OF THE CLOSET AND WHITE WATER WILL COME BACK TO HUNT THIS COUNTRY AGAIN. (AMERICAN DONT NEED THIS DRAMA )

    January 24, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  10. Concerned

    I think the world does not need the Clintons again. Having being a governor for many years and a president for eight years, why is Bill Clinton not satisfied? The Clintons should give a chance to others.

    January 24, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  11. austbill

    Bill, you are still Mr. President, thanks for working with the next Madame President.

    January 24, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  12. Concerned

    This is called fair and balanced reporting. CNN has been nothing but the Clinton News Network since this campaign begin. Now that they see the intelligent people of America are not swallowing their crap about how great the Clinton's are, they are reporting accurately for the first time. The Clinton's are liars and criminals.

    Why are you people so opposed to having the true nature of your candidate shown?
    The tactics Biliary have been using since New Hampshire are not "reminiscent of Lee Atwater" but have been stolen directly from his playbook.

    Obama will be president as long as the voting public continues to think for themselves and refuse to be led like sheep into the slaughter of another Clinton in the White House.

    January 24, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  13. Lucas, Nashville TN

    Bill Clinton currently inspires in me some phraseology involving urination and a rope.

    Vote Obama and teach this smug, pompous windbag a lesson.

    January 24, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  14. Charles

    I am so sick of Bill.
    I think is time someone tie him down. He his out again,this is not his election. If he his not ashamed, at least his wife should be.

    January 24, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  15. Solange

    The fierceness of Bill's attacks on Obama are so pathetic. I'm glad that so many of the voters got to see the real Clintons. The Hillary/Bill tactics have been methodically and ruthlessly calculated in order to taunt Obama. This has always been the Clintons Modus Operandi!! Do not get caught in their “Fairy Tales” and hype!!! I just hope that the American people will see thru their lies in an attempt to convince the voters that she is the better candidate. God help us all if she is elected. We’ve had enough of the Clintons to last us a lifetime. We have to send them back home to roost.

    January 24, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  16. Dignity

    Agree with u Rahul

    January 24, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  17. Jr., California

    Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton .... = insanity!!!!!!!!!

    January 24, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  18. John

    Typical Bill Clinton. Everything is great when he isn't challened. Gets hostile when he doesn't like the question. Expect more of the same. Much more.

    January 24, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  19. david

    the clintons will do anything to get elected. we HAVE to move on beyond them. way to go CNN.

    January 24, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  20. aware

    I just watched AC 360 and AC's interview with two AA women. I am a former Canadian, and I must admit that I have never understood the racial issue in America. I am learning! It was so sad to see two Black women admit that although there really is very little difference between Hillary and Obama on the issues that black women may be drawn to Obama because of race and gender issues. 😦

    I can see the generational thing having an impact but race and gender? Don't women remember that the Clinton's have been their strong advocates. Also, Black women do not have an easy time with Black men. Why would they trust this man over a woman who has been their advocate?

    Who is this man born of a white woman and a black father? What has he ever done for African Americans or anyone else? His resume is pretty thin. Why does he claim a Black heritage even though he is equally White? Why is he running for president at this time? What is the rush? Is it instant gratification or something more? Why does he claim to be an agent of hope and change when a search of his rhetoric and actions prove otherwise? Why does he fan the flames of anger in an already angry younger generation, disaffected Republicans and Independents? Is this the new politics of unity?

    Why is the media mischaracterizing what Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton say while covering Barack with a mantle of protection. Are they just on a feeding frenzy, a power trip or what? The media needs to cool it big time!

    Bill Clinton has been the voice of reason in all this whipped up paranoia. I say – Shame on you CNN, MSNBC and FOX for your lack of respect and civility.

    January 24, 2008 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  21. Earick

    Count Hillary's years of experience and you find the numbers and the story don't add up. She is always harping on her experience. Give me specifics on her experience. We know Obama's experience from his books. We know Hillary's half truths.

    Anybody remember a book called "It Takes A Village to Raise a Child". As far as I'm concerned, she is a second hand storyteller who knows 0% about a Village raising a child. Heck, her Village is pretty posh compared to those whose village ain't so posh. Can she hang in my neighborhood helping the poor of the cities, rural areas, appalachian mtns, etc? I don't think so. Hillary is too pompous and too far above the crowd to hear the little folks. Oh she will hear them now but will forget about them later. Talk about a fairytale life. That is who the media should focus on. Her fairytale life.

    Obama has been to the village and can help those there as well as protecting our economic future and get America back in good standing in the world. Silly wars (i.e., Iraq) won't be on the agenda.

    Obama '08

    January 24, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  22. april

    Tonight we were watching CNN international from HongKong. One of the headlines given was "How different are Clinton and Obama?" With great anticipation we waited for the details but sad to say that we found the report one- sided, that of course was pro-Obama. All we saw on screen was Obama and wife and his interviews and campaign trails.

    Is CNN now a tabloid channel?
    We just feel sorry for the Clintons with the treatment that they are getting from the media, but sadder for America if Obama gets the nomination.

    However, just a friendly advice to Bill.
    Bill, you have said by now what you want to say and to those who have ears they have already heard you. It's time to leave behind all these unnnecessary exchange of accusations because it's only hurting you and your wife. Both of you deserve more respect than all these dirty campaigning. Keep your good name, both of you are worthier than hundred million votes. Leave the people judge Hilary's good deeds and leadership abilities. In whatever way they do, it's not Hilary they are judging, it's themselves!!.

    January 24, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  23. Mohinder Khanna

    I always thought CNN is a good news organization but after watchibg your election coverage day after day , it is quite apparent that you are biased and bent on supporting Obama and ridiculing Clintons at every opportunity you can find. You ought of ashamed of yourself . I am glad that President Clinton lashed at Jessica Yellin. He should do it more at the other CNN reporters.

    January 24, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  24. Rich

    It's incredibly obvious that so many of these who have posted comments DID NOT WATCH the Clinton video segment. If you WATCH the entire video, I'm sure you will begin to see the tremendous SLANT here at CNN. I have just competed reading all of the comments and find it absolutely amazing that CNN has failed to mention over the airwaves how many people feel THEIR reporting is slanted! They made a big deal over the comments about race/gender, but not this topic!

    Again, it sickens me that in all of this coverage, the media still fails to cover the issues that were brought up in the recent debate. The Rezko scandal and lawsuits, the voting record. Instead, CNN reporters feel it necessary to harp on the "fight" between the candidates and not the issues. OBAMA IS A FRAUD!

    January 24, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  25. Jeff an Independent

    This reminds me of the "CLINTON FATIGUE" I felt eight-ten years ago. I sure hope this ends soon. Imagine this finger-wagging, yammering hype through November? Imagine it through the next four years and another election cycle? Just make it go away, please.

    January 24, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
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