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. Sarah

    I don't blame her, I suppose I understand what the student meant by asking the question but it was just in poor taste. Consider what Chelsea, let alone her family, has gone through due to that scandal – you would be defensive too!

    March 26, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. Laura

    I believe it was an honest question as well. Chelsea can be so smug sometimes.............typical.

    March 26, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Roger

    I guess congratulations are in order for another Clinton just trying to sweep a genuine question under the rug. Nice of this story to follow up the one on how Clinton 'misspoke' about running from sniper fire in Bosnia.

    And for the record, Clinton supporters may not support Obama in the general election but Obama supporters will sure as hell not support Clinton if she wins. I'm guessing the Dems won't be in that oval office anytime soon.

    March 26, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  4. Susan from Texas

    Way to go Chelsea! You have grown up to a smart, wonderful young lady, and I am sure that your mother is very proud of you! What kind of a jerk takes something like that out on the innocent kid?

    March 26, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  5. Anna

    I mean what did you expect??? You are talking to the person who was, probably, hurt the most in that infamous situation. Did you expect Chelsea to just chat as if that was just a trivial situation?? If you indeed want to know this, you should address either Hillary or Bill not their daughter, common?? Are we supposed to feel sorry for ya???

    March 26, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. jbone

    Wait...a reporter asking a question with a political motivation?!?!

    March 26, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. Ladyleo Atlanta

    I think her answer was very immature and rude. Hillary and Bill knew someone would ask Chelsa this question and they should have prepared her for the question better.Then again if it had never happen the question could not have been asked.

    March 26, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. N.King - Texas

    The reply was well-deserved. I'm NOT a Clinton supporter, but thought the question was one that has been beaten to death. It doesn't take too much to understand that he really DID mean to stir things – it's not a question that lends any weight to Hillary's strength. He could have used some common sense and asked a question that has relevance. Good for you, Chelsea! It was a question that begged to be dismissed! Evan, you're a goober.........

    March 26, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. Rena

    I'm amazed at her response because it seems to me that all Obama personal life seem to be everybody business and know one has a problem with asking and expect for him to respond to any question that is asked. So what make Hillary any different. I believe it is a lagitimate question. Hillary want to expose everyone else dirt but not her own. So if you don't want something to be done unto you then don't do it to someone else. Plan and simple. See, this is what being negative and throwing dirt around will do to you, it eventually will come back to you.

    March 26, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  10. Bill

    It is very annoying to see Clinton supporters blame Obama for this. It was a Clinton supporter who asked the question. Then people act as if this question was in bad taste. The question was perfectly legit. Chelsea needs to understand that this IS the American people's business. People are tired of the secrecy from the Bush administration and now it seems that we will be getting the same treatment from a Hillary Clinton administration. The last thing the American people want to hear is "it's none of your business".

    March 26, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  11. Steve

    How in any way does her decision to stay with or leave her husband affect her ability to be president? If she were the one cheating then perhaps it would be relevant but otherwise isn't it basically "none of your business" how she chooses to deal with it?

    Personally I cannot see how it shows strenght or lack thereof? I just think its one more thing to needlessly try to needle by devisive Obama supporters. hope indeeed

    March 26, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  12. Tiffany

    You see how Chelsea refused to answer a question she didn't want to answer. Why couldn't her mother do that yesterday when she was asked about the whole Rev. Wright thing. "I was asked a question so I answered." She could have refused. But she didn't want to because she wanted to take the attention off of her own faults. The Clintons are crazy and manipulative. Most of all, a great disappointment.

    March 26, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. Carolyn Martin

    Good for Chelsea. Shame on the student. I think Chelsea's response shows how strong SHE is. Maybe we will see her in the political areana one day.

    March 26, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. Illinois

    If someone is going to ask such a moronic question, you should ask it of the person that it directly affects...Hillary....and not her daughter. Some of you people are always looking for an excuse to hurt someone in the Clinton family. What does that say about YOU, you bunch of sadists???

    March 26, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  15. Marisa

    I seriously doubt he is a Clinton supporter, but more of an Obama supporter in sheep's clothing. Hillary Clinton supporters are concerned with issues, such as the economy, not the salacious details of a decade ago.

    March 26, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. Doug R.

    It's past. It's history. It's really no ones business.
    Let's all remember what Rudy Giuliana said when asked about his numerous extra-marital affairs and multiple marriages.

    March 26, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. tant

    Clinton family has no shame and 're all liars-why she couldn't answer a simple question from her mum's supporter? Shameful.

    Obama 08.....

    March 26, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Amused, Las Vegas

    What a tasteless, mean-spirited "gotcha" type question to ask.

    March 26, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. dave

    Great question that should have been answered! It goes to the heart of why a majority of Dem voters, and other parties, question the validity and motives, of the Clintons.

    March 26, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. BG - Texas

    Must be another real slow day for CNN!

    April 22nd and the PA. primaries can't get here fast enough so that you can report on some real news that will definitely make a difference for the democratic nomination and the presidential election.

    All of this hoopla is nothing more than just plain silly and has nothing to do with the real issues that will affect all of us.

    Do you really think bringing up all this old news is really doing anything positive and contructive?

    We all know about the "affair" and the "sermon" but not too much on the specifics of the real issues that seperate Hillary, Barry, and John.

    March 26, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  21. Farah

    Good for you Chelsea–you don't have to answer any questions that make you uncomfortable!! Yeah Hillary '08! :)

    March 26, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. sozzi

    Hillary deserves this kind of treatment. She has her daughter campaigning for her, Chelsea should have stood up like a 28 year old woman and answered the question.

    March 26, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. Neutral

    Evan Strange asked the DUMBEST and CRUEL question. Any son or daughter will answer it the same way as Chelsea did.

    Chelsea, KUDOS young lady.

    Senator Clinton was the victim of her husband indiscretion.

    This makes Obama in my lists ain't worth even half a penny.

    March 26, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. julie

    Jamie, I thought you were talking about Obama there for a minute,Cnn I dont care if you dont post my comments, I worry that you dont even get them? thanks to Obama supporters on fox blogs taping into it Ihave no idea whose using my name and e-mail, Its getting scary out here!!!!!!!!!!

    March 26, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. Eric S

    It's extremely tacky to ask a daughter about a sex scandal of her parents. Would you feel comfortable to comment about your parents' private life?

    March 26, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
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