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. Zachary `

    Don't blame bill. CNN is acting like the ONN right now...the OBama NEws Network. Clearly biased. Are you guys on Barack's payroll?

    January 24, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  2. Sean McM

    Media should REPORT....not interject itself to become the news.....or to sway the news.....where is the integrity of the press???????????????????

    January 24, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  3. Lang Manion

    Bill has issues with entitlement..........he thinks he's kewl?

    Bill is a bully.

    Bill is self-serving so is The Hill.

    January 24, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  4. Cheryl

    CNN IS JUST CAUSING MEDIA HYPE, THEY ARE NO LONGER CREDIBLE. I COME ON HERE TO VENT MY ANGER SO HERE GOES- THIS IS AN ELECTION! THINGS ARE SAID IF OBAMA CANNOT HANDLE IT HE CAN GO WITH PLAN B DROP OUT!!!!!!!!! THIS SHOULD PROVE TO THE PEOPLE WHO THE WIMP IS! AND WHO CAN STAND AND DELIVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BILL AND HILLARY ARE WHAT WE NEED EXPERIENCE! FROM WHAT I HAVE SEEN OBAMA COULD NOT HANDLE A PTA MEETING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HE IS THE ONE STIRRING ALL THIS UP TO MAKE HILLARY LOOK BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HIS BACK IS AGAINST THE WALL AND HE IS DESPERATE AND A CRY BABY! IS THIS WHAT PEOPLE WANT IN THE WHITE HOUSE? OR SOMEONE WHO IS IN CONTROL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!GO HILLARY YOU HAVE MY VOTE!!!

    January 24, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  5. Ravi

    To the American Press and your holier than thou attitude

    I am not American yet I can categorically say this (I think I understand American history and I can safely say I know my American history) – Bill Clinton will be a famous former President for more reasons than one – and the most important is he did not disadvantage US economically, socio-politically, and engage in wars unnecessarily.
    CNN – shame on you not sticking to the relevant content of the present election. You'ld rather be mud slinging ex-Presidents. Makes great journalism – not!

    To those American People and your holier than thou attitide

    Bill Clinton is no different to the next person who has had regretable extra-marital indiscretions. Having done it while in office makes him no different to a successful CEO of a large company who is raising stakeholder and shareholder value, yet could be sleeping with his secretary without his wife's knowledge. Look at yourself and see what benefits you have brought your country.
    Look at Bill Clinton and see what benefits he brought America when he was President. More than any of you arrogant people will ever contribute in your lifetime. Shame on you to criticise someone else when you have so many flaws in you!

    To the God & Peace Loving Americans

    This election will see candidates criticising each others politics while praising their own. Each one of those candidates have one thing in their minds – that is to become President. But only one of them will become President, and that's because a majority of you can recognise parts of yourself in that person. You recognise that the belief's and messages they relay are those that you believe in.
    You realise that that Person wants the office of the Presidency not to increase their self worth, but to enrich all of America.

    Listen to the candidates – attend live conferences, ask probing questions, question their political motives, read in between the lines of their answers, understand their background and after all that vote wisely and with your heart!

    I wish America peace and prosperity!

    – Ravi

    January 24, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  6. dani NY

    I think: Bil's right, CNN needs to do a reality check on their reporters and "best polit.team like Yelin, jack and Martin!!!!!
    Who do they work for? Obama or CNN?
    Or CNN works for Obama?

    January 24, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  7. Attacks by the Establishment on Ron Paul Continue

    The Clintons are much smarter than others in this kind of game. They will win!

    We suggest those supporting the other candidates come on over to Ron Paul. You may be surprised just how much you agree with him on all the issues, except maybe the one about killing babies or human beings called abortion. But Ron will probably let the people vote on that one and the great thing about Ron Paul is that he is a people person and the people wil rule!

    January 24, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  8. Julie

    As it is clear that some of you are mad at Bill Clinton for responding to Obama's record then in the same token why can't you give he and Hillary credit for not responding to attacks from Obama. As everyone is now aware the Clinton's said nothing when Obama's campaign called her the Senator from Punjab, nor did the Clintons say anything when the Obama campaign approached a reporter months ago asking him when is the press going to start investigating Bill Clinton's sex life. All the press knew about this as well as the Clintons but they said nothing and surpressed this fact while at the same time they would have daily coverage of the general, who is gay, asking a question in a debate. He was not a main player in Senator Clinton's campaign just a man asking about something that pretained to him with no negative reference to Obama. That can not be said for the Obama operative who asked for the press to pursue Bill Clinton's sex life. I call that dirty tricks, aka Rove and Atwater.

    If the press will not report on negative Obama tactics then why should the Clintons let that lay. What Bill Clinton said about Obama's different stances on the war is true. If the press reported the facts, which few have, and people actually study what has occurred then there would not be these heated exchanges. We would then actually be reviewing the facts and discussing discrepancies. Isn't that how it is supposed to happen. It is easy to see that Senator Obama is not ready to handle what the Republicans will throw his way. THEY will actually distort his record. The Clintons have not.

    January 24, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  9. MR

    THE MEDIA IS HAVING A FIELD DAY WITH THE CLINTONS AND OBAMA AND PEOPLE ARE LOVING IT. I WISH THE MEDIA CARED MORE ABOUT FAIRNESS AMONGST THE POLITICIANS–THERE IS A BIAS.

    I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA TELL US "WHAT CHANGE"
    HE IS GOING TO M AKE???? HIS HERO SEEMS TO BE REAGAN. YES, WE ALL LOVED REAGAN, FOR THE WRONG REASONS.

    SINCE NIXON AND CLINTON COULDN'T "CHANGE THE TRAJECTORY OF THE NATION LIKE REAGAN DID" IS THIS THE CHANGE? TO FOLLOW REAGAN?
    HE MAY BE ABLE TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER, BUT I DON'T THINK HE KNOWS WHERE TO TAKE THEM????? HE DOES A LOT OF TALKING, BUT DOESN'T SAY ANYTHING.

    EXPERIENCE IS DEFINITELY NEEDED!!

    HILLARY CLINTON YOU HAVE MY FULL SUPPORT-AND VOTE!!

    January 24, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  10. american

    obamma is a phony. he is supported by mindless liberals and has no realistic chance of winning. he should do the contry a favor and get out of the race now!

    January 24, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  11. roger, conway sc

    I was watching CNN when Wolfe Blitzer commented that Bill Clinton had LASHED OUT at reporter Jessica Yellen, I watched the clip and if CNN, Wolfe, or Jessica call the exchange between the two a "lashing out" they are either crazy or very very sensative and are in the wrong business. It is like this all politicians tell their lies and that includes the Clintons & Obamas and all of the others. Also all of the news media leave out half of the story to make a bigger story or tell what they think to make headlines so they are not honest either. I still can not understand why people make such a big deal out of what the Clintons say, it is no worse than what the Obamas are saying. So Bill was the President he is now a citizen and his wife is running for president....get over it, the man still has the right to freedom of speech. Obama & his wife started the "LASHING OUT" with the Clintons along with the Edwards, the Clintons laid low for awhile and now they are giving back just what they received and Obama is acting like a bully and is playing the race card, if you think Clyburn ask Bill Clinton to CHILL on his own you are dead wrong that was due to Obama's crying & whining.

    January 24, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  12. merlin gili

    Bill has a point, the media wants to get headlines, and not what the people wants. people like to read this bickering between candidates. Less are after what the people really wants.
    Reporters must learn how to be equal on both sides, otherwise it's not reporting anymore...
    GO HILLARY>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    January 24, 2008 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  13. mawbrew

    Absolutely nobody can feign indignation like Bill Clinton. He's fabulous at it. He can absolutely trash those that oppose him and when called on it will attack both his opponent and any media that dares question him. Only Bill cares about 'the people'! Only Bill is trying to help them! The media is in league with his oppostion and (both are) attempting to prevent Bill's good works! Amazing.

    January 24, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  14. Carl L.

    What really annoys me is the Clintons' attitude to the common people – it's almost like they act we can't think for ourselves.

    Why can't someone ask Hilary and Bill if the presidential pardons in the dying days of his presidency were for sale.

    Tired of Washington games. Vote for Obama ! If hilary (God forbid) gets the nomination, the vote McCain.

    January 24, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  15. carol

    Obama is now saying that he accidentally hit the wrong button when he was voting on some issues! Help us God if he were to be elected! He might hit the wrong button and launch Nuclear Weapons!

    Go home Obama and grow up!

    January 24, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  16. Frank

    William Jefferson Clinton - there's no one more loathsome in my view.

    But, hey, even Ciaphas prophesied correctly about Jesus ("that one man should die for the people").

    And, as Cowper said, "Even a fool must now and then be right by chance."

    SO I have to admit that even Bill can make a valid point on occasion.

    And this time, he has. Pack reporting, tabloid style, distorts the actual reportage of campaign events. And no outlet is more guilty of this than CNN (which is, however and after all, the Clinton News Network, and Billary's greatest friend).

    January 24, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  17. Mike, Cleveland

    Did I just get two perfectly legitimate comments not approved?

    January 24, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  18. Cathy

    Oh come on all you Clinton camp people. If there is one candidate across the board who whines and plays the "boys are ganging up against coz I'm a fragile woman" card it is Hilary when she drops in the polls or gets legitimate criticism.

    She is notorious for fact fudging, a born Washinton insider and part of the mess we are in.

    I am even surpised that Americans feel the need to support her. Just shows what a dumb nation (partly anyway) this is.

    January 24, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  19. Betty Ann Strawhorn

    Bill Clinton is supporting his wife and why not? The fact that he is an ex-president seems to make it a crime for him to campaign for her. The media is responsible for all this unnecessary hype and are blowing the whole thing way out of proportion. I'm sick of reading about it.

    January 24, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  20. C

    Obama supporters are clearly scared of Bill for his popularity. The facts are that the average person's quality of life greatly improved with Clinton. All this reporting about Bill hurting Hillary's campagn is a stunt to remove Bill from the scene and tarnish his name.

    Lastly, Obama has no accountability or integrity. Everything to him is false if its negative, he turns everything into an attack on him, fooling the average american, and glady plays the victim card in every situation. You have my pitty Obama.

    January 24, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  21. Jean

    Ravi I am with you!!!

    January 24, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  22. Flem

    What a waste of flesh this person is. Totally demeaned the presedential office when he was pres. Now he's demeaning the traditional statesman stature a former president is supposed to uphold.

    The lies that come out of both of these losers' mouths are astounding...only bested by the way the Clinton supporters lap them up and ask for more.

    Disgusting.

    January 24, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  23. David, Atlanta

    Its all this stuff that makes me realize that Clinton with a democratic congress is not a good thing. She would not be able to work with both parties. What got us into our current mess is free party reign. Bush with a republican congress. Clinton with a democratic congress will be just as bad. Put a Republican in the White House with a Democratic congress and hope they can work together. If we don't the next president and the next congress go unchecked for years.

    January 24, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  24. Mike

    Case in point. CNN characterizes, by clever use of a headline, that Bill gets "upset" with a reporter. Yesterday it was an "outburst". This is exactly what he is pointing out. The CNN media is feeding selective soundbites to the pubic for ratings and doing a disservice to the people who want to hear about the real news and the issues about the candidates. After reviewing this clip and the one yesterday I would hardly call Clinton's comments as "upset" or an "outburst". I will say this this, when you as a reporter have been dressed down by the ex-president of the United States, you better smile, nod your head, and say, thank you for the clarification. CNN is starting to look more like Fox everyday.

    January 24, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  25. Jim Kansas

    Let it fly Bill. Just to remind folks, Obama started casting stones. He made the mistake of slinging them at people who learned along time ago that you fight a fight by fighting back.

    I ghave to agree with Clinton, newscaster have made a story where there should not be a story because it sells, not because its news worthy.

    After 8 years of the new Republican Party rule, is there truely anyone out there that believes this country can stand for another Republican adminstration until some serious changes are made in the party.

    CLINTON 08

    January 24, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
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