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. Philip

    I'm a Obama supporter and I believe that he's racist. There. Anyone can claim anything they want without consequences.

    March 26, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. McCain08and2012!!

    Although I think it was an inappropriate question to ask the daughter of a lying cheating man, she has put herself in the middle by campaigning for her mother. If she thinks what her father did as our commander and chief is none of our business, she is VERY wrong!! Hillary is not the right person for the job!!! It is our business when you except the role as President of the United States of America!! Can I get an AMEN!!

    March 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Mike

    Yea, missed opportunity for her there.

    I am not a Hillary fan by any means, but Chelsea had a nice setup there I thought – there are so many things she could have said that would have really turned that around and made people say "Wow". Instead, she opens with something about not being asked this question in X number of colleges (buying her time to consider a response in my opinion – after all, she gets some new questions everywhere she goes I'm sure, but I doubt she says to each one "you are the first to ask..."), only to say it's none of his business?? I'm sorry, but it is his business – this was a legit question as it was worded and judging by his response to the situation, he meant no harm.

    If she is going to take things personally, or use the "none of your business" response to avoid legit questions she doesn't want to answer, maybe she should not be out doing this for the campaign.

    She chose this, so I'm pretty far from feeling sorry for her – I have a hard time believing she didn't ever expect to get a question related to the incident.

    March 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. Joe Black

    She anwered the question she wanted to answer, not the question that was asked.

    The question was about her Mother's credibility – "not any of our business?" Wrong answer.

    The right answer would have been "I don't think it has."

    Either Chelsea is not very bright, or she is programmed for damage-control mode by Mom.

    Rule of campaign: Any question that touches on a Clinton scandal should be shouted down....

    Scary family.

    March 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. Julie

    When Evan Strange was given the opportunity to present a question to Chelsea, couldn't he have come up with an intelligent question dealing with current issues, rather than bring up something that has nothing to do with Hillary's capacity to lead this nation. People like Strange remind me of gossipy old women whose only importance is how much they can be the center of attention with trashy stories about other people. Grow up Mr. Strange – you'll need to before you get out of college and into the real world.

    March 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. fred

    Obama is the one without shame...to have a pastor, friend, mentor and so called family member...to talk like he did about America and whites is totally disgraceful!!!

    GET OUT NOW OBAMA!!!

    March 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Sue

    I dont see why Chelsea responded that way. It doesnt make sense.

    The question IS our business.

    Hillary's credibility after staying with a husband that cheated on her 3 or 4 times is harmed. So the question was fair.

    It seems as though Chelsea had that answer PREPARED for anything that had to do with Monica, and was going to use that answer even if it didnt make sense.

    March 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. PA voter

    His question was totally inappropriate.

    PERIOD

    March 26, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. Kimmie

    He had every right to answer, just has Hillary did when asked about Rev. Wright. The student did nothing wrong, when you campaign, no questions are off limits.

    Obama 08

    March 26, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. Brenda Marshall

    Chelsa have the same Bobble Head as Hillary..

    March 26, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Eric Z

    We see your true colors shining through. Apparently it is ok to talk about Obama's past but Hillary's is off limits. Sad so sad

    March 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. True Independent, MD

    A woman chooses to remain with a man who is a serial serial adulterer and you say we do not need to know why? It happened when he was on our payroll and shew wants to rule us and you say we don't have to know why?

    I certainly don't want to set that kind of example for my children.

    March 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Veronica

    All the Obama folks don't seem to be full of hope anymore. Please don't drag Hillary Clinton into the Obama core of hatred.

    March 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. Eric-PA

    The individuals question was not consistent with what he was trying to argue with his friends. Sounds to me that he was trying to instigate.

    March 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. Jennifer

    I'm an Obama supporter and I found the question tacky. Good for Chelsea for not commenting on this situation that was probably very devestating for her. She's campaigning for her mother for the POTUS nomination, she shouldn't be expected to comment on a very personal situation such as the Lewinsky debacle.

    March 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. Watcher

    I thought CNN was a 24 hr News Channel.

    What is this fluff?

    March 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  17. Wayne

    Chelsea is not cut out for politics if she cant answer a question because it's difficult. Part of the penalty that Bill deserves to pay is to forever have that blemish on his legacy. That is why cheating on yor wife isnt worth it. Years later people still question the affair, Bills judgement and moral character. Thats the price you pay...she cant get mad at the questioner..she needs to get mad at Bill.

    March 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. john williams san diego, ca.

    Chelsea, i guess actions that cause impeachment of an American President by Congress is nobodys business if you're not a Clinton.

    March 26, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  19. food for thot

    i moved from america to europe and all my friends are wondering why we choose to focus on this things when our country is almost in recession,its pathetic,God,theres so much hate

    March 26, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  20. D in atlanta

    Like mother, like daughter. Avoid the truth, lie whenever possible- just don't get caught. If you do get caught, you just "mispoke".

    March 26, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. nate

    Why on earth should she dicsuss her parents private issues? Who knows if she has ever spoken to either parent about the incident in any depth?
    How obnoxious and shortsighted of this fellow!

    March 26, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. Bill

    Answer the question!!!! Everyone has stayed away from this issue and it needs to be addressed after all if her mom wants the job of leading this country we ALL need to feel comfortable with her. It IS our business, it happened in OUR whitehouse while we were paying for it and I DEMAND an answer... I don't think she handled the situation very well. What happens if one of our "friends" jumps into "bed" with a country we are not "fond" of and makes deals with them? Will she just ignore it and act like it didn't happen or will she just not answer the phone.............

    I can't see having the "drama" of another Clinton in the WH can do the American public any good and to be honest the other two are not that much better............

    March 26, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  23. Laura

    This is such a nonissue! Shame on CNN for making it one! It is a PERSONAL issue and should never have been 'grounds' for investigation or impeachment. Look at Bush for crying out loud! Now there's some impeachable issues!

    March 26, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. Trev

    If this were not a pro Obama media universe, the person who asked the question would never be on TV. Sorry, but this is not a story. She said what she felt. There was a time when Americans liked that sort of thing.

    Hillary 08

    March 26, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. David Johnston

    Perfectly legitimate question. In context, the question was "Do you think HC's response to the scandal hurt her credibility?"

    It wasn't a query about a stained dress or how her mother felt about being cheated on. It was a question about public scrutiny, difficult occurrences and her response to them, and how the public at large perceived her afterwards. She's going to face at least this if she's elected, and I see nothing wrong with the question.

    Do I blame CC for being defensive? Of course not. But- she could have taken the opportunity to have given a measured answer to the question that cast her mother and herself in an intelligent, thoughtful light.

    You know- kind of like Obama's been doing with the personal questions about his choice in places of worship?

    March 26, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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