Pete Wilson invokes Clinton sex scandal at Ryan fund-raiser
September 7th, 2012
01:22 AM ET
6 years ago

Pete Wilson invokes Clinton sex scandal at Ryan fund-raiser

(CNN) – Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday night reminded at least one Republican of another time the former president stepped before the microphones.

Former California Gov. Pete Wilson said Thursday at a fundraiser for GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan that Clinton's finger shake was reminiscent of the time he denied engaging in sexual behavior with a White House intern, and he used the moment to jab at the former president.

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"How many of you watched that little show last night?" the California Republican asked the day after Clinton's major speech before the Democratic Party, according to a pool report. "The return of Bill Clinton? You know, all through that… all I can think of was the last time I seen him shaking his finger."

To laughter, Wilson paraphrased the famous Clinton line from a 1998 press conference: "I did not have sex with that woman."

Speaking at the Beverley Hills fundraiser, he continued to skewer the former president, questioning Clinton's credibility.

"I figured that anyone who can redefine sex as he did in that moment is fully capable of redefining economics, which he tried to do last night," Wilson said.

Among other points, Clinton argued in his remarks at the convention that Romney's proposal to handle the national debt failed "the first test of fiscal responsibility" and was based on numbers that "don't add up." But President Barack Obama's plan, he said, would deal with the national debt before "it will deal with us."

While the campaigns will wage war over the coming weeks, the true head-to-head battles will take place in the presidential debates and vice presidential debate, all of which come in October, just weeks ahead of the November election.

And that is something to which Wilson looks forward.

The number two debate, between Vice President Joe Biden and GOP running mate Paul Ryan, is a fight between "an ageing lightweight against a youthful heavyweight."

"God," continued Wilson, "sometimes I think he must be a Republican: he gave us Joe Biden, who is good for at least one gaffe a day. How would you like to be his keeper? You'd need a year's worth of valium."

Filed under: 2012 • California • Paul Ryan • President Clinton
soundoff (297 Responses)
  1. Shannon

    I'm sorry, but who is this guy? Also, the best jab he can come up with is something that happened almost 15 years ago? Clinton apologized to the American people and his wife forgave him. I mean at the end of the day, the people who have to deal with his infidelity are his family anyway. They have moved on. So should everyone else.

    September 7, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. Gene

    Awesome! I hope all republicans do this! This is hateful (surprise!) and is one sure way to get the democrats fired up–if anyone remembers what he is talking about. As one of theirs famously said: bring it on!!

    September 7, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    So, Pete Wilson.....what is his legacy? Oh yes, destroying the budget process in California, and shamelessly using fear of illegals as the basis of his short-lived presidential run. If having a political hack who destroyed the GOP in CA is the best Romney can find as a surrogate in CA, the Dems have nothing to worry about.

    September 7, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. dm nash

    What I remember more about that time is how much money & time Republicans wasted to shame a sitting President on an non-impeachable offense (not treason) all the while hypocryte Gingrich was doing the same. The world laughed at us for being such puritans here. The laughing was at the Repubs and not about Clinton who was and is internationally respected. It was another example of Repubs not taking care of the peoples business but instead playing games. btw – Clinton was acquitted since it was a non-impeachable offense.
    ...and really, ANY & EVERYBODY that gets caught having an affair will deny it at first- it's a human response...
    What was/is impressive is how much Clinton accomplished and was still able to do for the American people all the while under attack. His record is still tops among many in last several decades.....and that shameful book about the testimony, ended up doing quite well for the economy as it became a bestseller.
    Move FORWARD already....and stop wasting our time & money Repubs....and Rayn sleeping in his office is the ultimate freeloader!

    September 7, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  5. DaisyinNY

    this again? It was a good enough argument to get Clinton out of office or lower his approval rating and they think this will stick to...wait that sounds in poor taste, they think this will affect President Obama? I dont think so.

    September 7, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. Karl Jonas

    If Bill Clinton could run for president again he'd win in a landslide. Against anyone.

    Pete Wilson... who?

    September 7, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  7. Cam Spurgeon

    What a desperate Republican pig.using those kind of tactics to raise money for lyin Eddie Haskell. They are disgusting.UGH!

    September 7, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. Betty

    Of course they bring that up. They have nothing else they can say about the man. Nevermind that he was a great president who left office with a 68% approval rating. I dont care who the man slept with or even that he lied about it. I am not his wife. I do care about what he did for our country. That is it.

    September 7, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. Sidewinder

    I had a really scathing comment for this article...but as I read through the comments, I think they cover about everything I was thinking of writing. Kudos.

    September 7, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. KRR

    The Clinton thing happened 14 years ago.
    What is GOP offering for TODAY and TOMORROW?

    September 7, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  11. skarphace

    Republicans hoisted Bill on a pedestal in order to make Obama look weak by comparison. Then, when Bill makes a speech that has them on the defense again, they attack him for his past indescretions that have already been taken care of?

    Pathetic. Just pathetic.

    Then, the following quote: "God," continued Wilson, "sometimes I think he must be a Republican."

    God is not interested in politics, and I hate to tell you Pete, if he was he would definitely not be a Republican. They hold the Bible in one hand while contradicting it with their words and their actions. God is not a hypocrite. If he was, then he would be a Republican.

    September 7, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. geggyg

    A week ago the repubs were saying Pres Clinton was a good maybe even great president how considerate and bipartisan he was , because they thought Clinton would give a speech that would damage Pres Obamas campaign . Now that he gave a great speech supporting Pres Obama the repubs have flip flopped and Clinton is once again public enemy nomber 1 or 2 (Clinton/ Obama or Obama/Clinton they arent sure). All this filp flopping must be giving them a migraine.

    September 7, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  13. Ol' Lefty

    Pete basically destroyed the GOP in California w/ his anti-Hispanic crusade, so I guess it makes sense for him to back Willard, who's doing the same thing for the national party.

    September 7, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. flatbushfred

    Talk about desperate! First the Tea Party fundamentalists aka Republicans try to use Clinton sound bites criticizing Obama, then they say he has no credibility. Looks like the lack of credibility is on the GOP end!

    September 7, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. David

    Who the hell is Pete Wilson? Besides... this news is only 15+ years old... and nobody cares...

    September 7, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. bethjoyce

    Oh Please!! Is that the best the Republicans can do?

    September 7, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. David

    Make fun of Biden all you like. No one has died because of him. Thousand of parents lost their children because of Cheney. I think I will take a gaffe a day over a death a day.

    September 7, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. Drinky Crow

    Here's what ticks off the GOP; in spite of Bill Clinton's BJ in the White House, he remains one of the most popular presidents of all time. If he were allowed to run for POTUS again, he would win by a landslide.

    September 7, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. Puddin

    I just knew some Repub. would bring up Bill Clinton's indescretions. But wait.............what about the many indescretions by their own since then, and many just recently such as the one who displayed his private parts on video and others who resigned from the party because they got caught carrying on with some man or woman. They are "like the pot calling the kettle black." They should clean up their own front doorstep before criticising others' doorsteps. Pure and simple, the Repubs. have to run others down to try and make themselves look good; it's called being "insecure."

    September 7, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. Grady

    Have you come across any republican politicians in public restrooms lately, like at the bus station or airports??
    "Let me show you my – head of state -"?

    September 7, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. Gina Kennedy

    Wow, seriously Cnn took the time to report this. I guess if you have no economical substance in your party you need to dig up trash from decades ago. This is the Pete Wilson that had to take the bar exam four times before he passed it. The man is 79 years old and obviously dimentia has set in. Shame on you CNN for reporting his obvious health issues.

    September 7, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. Riley

    "I figured that anyone who can redefine sex as he did in that moment is fully capable of redefining economics, which he tried to do last night," Wilson said

    Interesting, the republican party has tried to redefine rape, but I guess when they redefine something it's okay. Yeah, they're not hypocrites.

    September 7, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  23. Just Me

    As an Independent, the Republicans have officially lost me and my vote in the presidential and the mid-term election that will follow. They have no problem bringing up Clinton's old sex scandal, while completly ignoring their own within the past 5 years. It will be a long time before I consider ever voting for a republican again as long as the likes of Boehner, McConnell, and Limbaugh lead the party.

    September 7, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  24. Edward

    Leave it to the republicans to once again climb into the gutter for a response. Is this the best you can do?
    Clinton said it right, of course. 8 years of lies from the Bush-Cheney regime yielded us a war with Iraq and 4000 troops dead. It gave us an economic crash that lined the pockets of their friends on Wall Street. And when a new President is elected, they work to block each initiative he puts forward.
    And this is Wilson's best response?
    The party of cowards and racists, the party of liars and now thanks to Wilson, I can also call republicans the party of cretins.

    September 7, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  25. Russ in Md

    Let’s not forget, Clinton is still the only president in U.S. history to be impeached by both houses and I think Obama will not be too far behind if he is by some un-justice of god re-elected.

    September 7, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
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