March 26th, 2008
01:25 PM ET
3 years ago

Lewinsky questioner surprised with Chelsea's response

The student who questioned Chelsea Clinton on the Monica Lewinsky scandal said he meant no harm.
The student who questioned Chelsea Clinton on the Monica Lewinsky scandal said he meant no harm.

(CNN) - The college student who appeared to upset Chelsea Clinton with a question on the Monica Lewinsky scandal said Wednesday he was merely giving the former first daughter an opportunity to show how strong her mother is.

Evan Strange, a Butler University student, told CBS he is a supporter of Hillary Clinton, and meant no harm with his question about the infamous White House scandal.

"Surprisingly, I am a supporter of Hillary, I love Hillary. But when I talk to my friends, one of their constant questions to me is, 'What makes her such a strong leader?', and they always bring up that scandal," Strange said in an appearance on the CBS Early Show.

"It’s not something I asked to cause trouble, it was to show those people what makes Hillary so strong, and was an opportunity for Chelsea to show all the doubters how strong Hillary is," he added.

At an event on Butler's campus Tuesday afternoon, Strange asked if the scandal had damaged Hillary Clinton's reputation. (Watch Chelsea's reaction)

Chelsea Clinton appeared taken aback by the question, saying, "Wow, you're the first person actually that's ever asked me that question in the, I don't know maybe, 70 college campuses I've now been to, and I do not think that is any of your business."

The crowd immediately cheered loudly at Chelsea's response, but Strange said Wednesday he was surprised with the answer.

"I can see where she'd get a little defensive because of the question, and just hearing Lewinsky over and over again I can see why she'd react that way, but I would liked to have heard her say something about her record, or something like that, instead of just dismissing the question," he said.

Though she has faced the glare of public life since she was a girl, Chelsea Clinton has contended with renewed press coverage after taking on a more prominent role in her mother's campaign earlier this year.

The Monica Lewinsky scandal made a brief return to the news last week, when newly-released White House schedules indicated Hillary Clinton was likely in the White House during at least 6 reported instances of encounters between her husband and the former White House intern.

Related: Evan Strange says he was shocked by Chelsea's reponse

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Chelsea Clinton • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Mary

    I dont doubt that Hillary is strong but I do believe that her ambition outweighs her strength...Chelsea absolutely gave the right answer to that stupid question...It's really time to drop all this crap and get back to real issues.

    March 26, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  2. from Boston

    Let the past go.

    March 26, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  3. TheBlues

    I believe she was weak in not answering this question. She believes, "oh, i've been to all these places and no one has ever dared asked me this question, so you know what, I'm not going to answer it, HA! She is a joke. She needs to admit that she was caught off guard and needs to face the reality of what her father has done.

    March 26, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. Pennsylvanians! DON'T FALL FOR IT!

    I don't think that Hillary decided to remain married to Bill because she is so string but rather a statement of how caculating she is!!!!!!

    She decided to remain married because in her estimation at the time she had her eye set on the White Houas and didn't want to be seen as a quitter with the women on this country- after all women are her strong point- Most daughters would have responded the same in her place.... Sghe certainly doesn't want to say something that will be contraversial at this point in her mothers campaign- It what a smart political move for anyone that would have been put in that position...

    For Obama

    March 26, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. Mike Jones

    Can someone ask her why her mom is coming out bashing Rev. Wright? Her father, Bill Clinton has been to Rev. Wright's church and Rev. Wright was invited to the White House during her father's administration. Wolf Blizter can you get started investigating this please? I heard that Bill Clinton has been to Rev. Wright's church before.

    March 26, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. CW in DC

    How ironic. Well this certainly puts a foot in the mouth of the Clintonites who were screaming yesterday that the question was probably asked by an Obama supporter.

    Not that Chelsea needed to answer the question, but given his reason behind asking, Chelsea lost an opportunity to boost her mom's credentials. Then again, it's best she didn't answer as she might have "misspoke" an answer to the question. I guess she hasn't quite caught on to the likes of the Clinton political savvy just yet. Could it be she won't end up like the mess that her parents are? There is hope for you Chelsea dear.

    March 26, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. Susan

    I can and do feel sorry for Hillary and Chelsea Clinton for the pain and humiliation that they have suffered because of this scandal, but I honestly feel that it is a legitimate question in regards to Hillary’s credibility. Even though Chelsea’s refusal to answer was understandable, I was disappointed in that refusal. We don’t need another cheerleader on the campaign trail, we need someone willing to answer our tough questions.

    When Hillary stated that Rev. Wright would not have been her pastor and that she would have left his church, she brought this issue back to the forefront herself. A lot of people still have questions about how she handled things back then and her decision to not only stay with her husband, but also to try to discredit the women involved in his numerous indescretions to protect him. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that it was her choice whether to stay with her husband or not and no one can say what they would have done in the same circumstance, but I do have questions about her actions during that time.

    I can also see where a man would not be able to push someone out of his life who brought him to the lord. Yes, Mr. Obama chose his church and minister, but Mrs. Clinton chose her husband and she chose to stand by him even after his disrespect of their marriage, their daughter, and the country. If Mrs. Clinton can say that a relationship between a husband and wife is more important than a relationship between a man, his minister, and his God, I question her judgment and credibility.

    We have religious freedom in this country to practice any religion that we choose, but then we condemn someone whose choice differs from ours. We don’t want to hold someone accountable for ACTIONS her husband committed in the White House, even though she was there, but we want to condemn a man for something his minister SAID when he wasn’t even in church that day. How hypocritical is that?

    I personally feel that none of them should be accountable for someone else’s actions, but I’m still waiting to hear Hillary talk about how she can hold someone else to a much higher standard than herself. Also, Chelsea you seem to be a very nice young woman, but you failed the ‘ready to tackle tough issues on day one’ test.

    Susan from Indiana

    March 26, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Obama08

    Even I don't think this is that big a deal... But then again, if it were Obama's daughter, they would somehow tied it back to his old Pastor...lol

    Maybe Chelsea thought she was under "sniper-fire" and just had a split second to react. That was the first thing to come to mind...lol

    March 26, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  9. FL FOR OBAMA

    She gets to say only the good things about her mom but dismiss the things that bother her.
    no one is reporting that chelsea confirmed her mothers story of sniper fire. her exact quote was i stand by my mothers story.
    Like mother, Like daughter

    March 26, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. Pennsylvanians! DON'T FALL FOR IT!

    don't think that Hillary decided to remain married to Bill because she is so string but rather a statement of how caculating she is!!!!!!

    She decided to remain married because in her estimation at the time she had her eye set on the White Houas and didn't want to be seen as a quitter with the women on this country- after all women are her strong point- Most daughters would have responded the same in her place.... Sghe certainly doesn't want to say something that will be contraversial at this point in her mothers campaign- It what a smart political move for anyone that would have been put in that position...

    For Obama

    March 26, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. Pennsylvanians! DON'T FALL FOR IT!

    I don't think that Hillary decided to remain married to Bill because she is so strong but rather a statement of how caculating she is!!!!!!

    She decided to remain married because in her estimation at the time she had her eye set on the White Houas and didn't want to be seen as a quitter with the women on this country- after all women are her strong point- Most daughters would have responded the same in her place.... Sghe certainly doesn't want to say something that will be contraversial at this point in her mothers campaign- It what a smart political move for anyone that would have been put in that position...

    For Obama

    March 26, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. Tim

    This guy was looking for trouble from the very beginning and is only looking to thrust himself into the spotlight. He was interviewed on the CBS early Show earlier today so he got what he wanted. Of course, leave it up to some stupid college kid to put a damper on things.

    March 26, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  13. Gary In CT

    Because Chelsea has been 'kept away' from reporters and their scrutiny, I have to wonder just what really is going on inside the head of Chelsea Clinton. Has she simply become part of the Clinton machine, blindly doing what they ask her to do and thinking none the less of it, or is she reluctant to keep standing up there and saying things to imbellish her mother, but does in fact see that her mother is pulling off some really low political moves to get the nomination? I really don't know Chelsea, but for some reason, I feel a bit sorry for her.

    March 26, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. JJ in NY

    The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree. Instead of answering the question,chelsea showed she is no better than her mother .

    March 26, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. darron

    I'm surprised that the question came from an alleged Clinton supporter. I originally was surprised anyone would ask the question, but I agree - I wish she had found a way to answer the question in another way than not answering it.

    March 26, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Sharon

    Chelsea, Grow UP !!

    This is something that is very much all taxpayers business. We paid for the investigation, We the taxpayers pay for your mother and fathers saleries right now and we pay for theirs and your secret service protection. We have a right to know the answer.

    This certain scandle happened in the Oval office to which your father was elected into by us.

    Your mother has you campaigning for her to be elected by the public. Everything she does is our business! She put herself in the public eye, now live with it.

    If you can't handle the questions, get out of the spotlight.
    The questions are only going to get harder.

    You're not 12 anymore !

    March 26, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  17. So Over It

    I'm no supporter of Hillary Clinton, but why on earth would you ask CHELSEA a question like that? Instead I would ask "Do you REALLY think your father would put you and your mom in the line of SNIPER fire?" Since her mother remembers the incident a bit differenty, of course. But this Lewinsky thing is entirely out of line.

    March 26, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. shortcake72

    What is this Tanya Hardy approach by Hillary Clinton? When is something going to be done about her being out of control. She is bringing the party down. It's time to step in and help the party – not Hillary! Enough is enough. She is not only embarrasing the party but she is also embarrising the United States.

    March 26, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. CL OT

    I guess she doesn't know why her Mom stayed with Bill either. Any self respecting women would have left him after the continual and well documented mistreatment of women. How is Hillary going to stand up for this country when she can’t even stand up for herself?
    God Bless America!

    March 26, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  20. HuskerWife

    Chelsea was a child when all of that happened. Last time I checked most parents did not share every detail of the sex lives (with each other or outside their marriage) with their children. I'm sure Chelsea was privy to more information than most children would be because of the situation. How would you like someone publically asking you about your parents sex life, or affairs?
    Yes, she is a public figure, but not in the same way that her parents are. This was an unfair question to ask. Chelsea did nothing wrong, why punish her for it.
    As far as I'm concerned this was a private matter between a husband and wife. I don't care if he got a hummer in the oval office or not – did it affect his ability to lead the country? NO! Maybe GW should have been getting a little more nookie – then he wouldn't be on his, "I'm the daddy" high horse running the country into the ground. The way it played out in the media made me sick. Bringing it up again now makes sick. We all know now that he was not the only president to fool around during his term in office – why can't we move past it. It's a marital issue – not a political one.

    March 26, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  21. khefer

    so she's okay with open marriage.

    NOW said "we have better things to worry about"

    another clinton supporter said "every man and woman have their own covenant"

    March 26, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  22. Reed

    I am a democrat and a Barack supporter, but loved Bill Clinton and think he's the greatest president we've had in a long time.

    However, Chelsea is an adult now, and the question is not out of bounds, If she's going to engage in politics on behalf of her mother she should not be treated with kid gloves, and her outrage at the question is pretentious, offensive, and catty at best.

    Chelsea, you're a grown woman, and putting yourself in the public eye. Act like one if you're going to engage in politics at the presidential level and answer the question.

    March 26, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  23. Mary, Atlanta Georgia

    I am not a supporter of Hilary Clinton, however, I do think the question was totally out of bounds. We need to ask questions and get answers that affect us.

    March 26, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  24. Sarah

    Hilarious that it was a Hillary supporter, after everyone commented that it must be an Obama supporter!

    Obama '08

    March 26, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  25. Jen

    GO HILLARY

    HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT

    HILLARY 2008

    March 26, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12