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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

"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. us_1776

    The GOP is so two-faced.

    The GOP makes nothing of its own scandals and then tries to make some mountain out of this Clinton thing.

    I got a better idea.

    Let's leave people's private lives out of politics altogether.

    Clinton was one of the best presidents this country had in 50 years.


    September 7, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    GOP is gone to dogs by the mercy of WBush the thush......

    September 7, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. jcourtn1

    Haters gonna hate. No surprise here.

    September 7, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. fastrack1

    GeeOpie theme leading up to the election: Don't tell anyone the plan to fix our nations problems. Instead talk about ancient history, point fingers and talk louder than anyone else. Okay then, let's talk about the men who were president both immediately before and immediately after Clinton; you know, the one who left us in debt, then the one who spent Clinton's surplus, then left us with two wars and a bigger debt. What? I can't hear you.

    September 7, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |

    I, like many Americans found it improper for Clinton to conduct himself before and after the scandal broke in the manner that he did. That said; in hindsight, I would have contributed to a fund to get him anyone he wanted; rather than endure what has happened to this Country at the hands of both parties since then. Clinton was actually an effective and smart man and not the first to give it all away for sex; my issue with him is the damage it did to the Country.

    September 7, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Tony

    Because Romney has hundreds of millions in campaign funds, the mother of all Big Lie campaigns is coming. Romney tried gentle persuasion, "it is OK to break up with Obama" approach, but it did not work. Now the Romney campaign is telling Fox News that it will "carpet bomb" airwaves with more than a dozen new ads. A Romney campaign official likened the offensive to the "daisy cutter" bombs used in the Iraq war.

    Democrats, against a Big Lie campaign, you need to rebut the lies loudly and repeatedly. There is no other way.

    Romney, where is your job plan? Will you talk about your tax cut plan? What spending do you want to cut? Are you going to hide details of your plans like you hide your tax returns?

    September 7, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  7. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    If you want to talk about morality and integrity, you should question the integrity and character or lack thereof of your chior boy Newt Gingrich who cheated on his wives and who had the audacity to say that his last wife encouraged an open marriage that allowed him to see other women.

    September 7, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. DENNA

    Huh! The Republicans spent $40 million trying to catch Clinton at something and all they got was that he was a womanizer. Heck, I could have told you that. The Whitewater investigation turned out to be a sex scandal that no one cared about. Old news anyway. Move on. How about those jobs the Republicans promised in 2010 if we would only elect them into Congress? You haven't done much about that, have you?

    September 7, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. guest

    Did Pete Wilson comment on any of the Republican sex scandals? Mark Sanford, Clarence Thomas and Newt Gingrich immeidately come to mind. Karma can be a real bitch!

    September 7, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. Mikithinks

    Boy the Republicans sure are interested in other people's sex lives. Is it because they don't have any of their own? However, that can't be because there was Newt and then the problem trying to find some Republican without his own possible sex scandal to replace Newt as Speaker of the House. There was Guiliani and his mistress in Gracie mansion, and even Eisenhour and his driver. Not to mention the page boys. They just must be interested in sex, and somehow not an educated interest 'cause there is Aiken, and his "just shut it down". The Republicans just can't stay out of other peoples bedrooms.

    September 7, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. Sniffit

    ""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. "

    Clearly, because economics isn't at all about crazy nonsense like's about ideological unicorn farts and double-rainbow "free market" daydreams.

    September 7, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. DaveC

    Wow, that is sooo old news. When did that happen, like 1998 or 1997 (maybe earlier)? Pete, you are just ticked off that Governor Brown is the Governor of California (again) and is creating no waves and getting things done. Unlike the last couple of republican governors who couldn't keep their name out of the papers. Republicans just don't get it. They didn't get it during their convention and they don't get it now. It's called LEADERSHIP. You don't go on a foreign policy trip and tick off everyone. You don't make silly statements like Russia is our number one enemy. You don't scare the heck out of the senior population without explaining your program. You can't cut taxes while reducing the deficit without explaining what else you are going to cut (especially if you are going to increase defense spending drastically). You can't live in a fantasy world.

    And you sure as heck can't talk about something that happened in 1997 and expect to be relevant.

    September 7, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. lbpaulina

    Hellooooo? Governor Sanford? And others...
    Please, please...these Republicans have to stop with their hypocrisy, because they begin to be really boring.

    September 7, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. demwit

    According to Hollywood and the state run media, "Bill is a great man, despite is personal flaws."
    The very same excuse they use for pedaphiles in Hollywood.

    September 7, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. Anonymous

    and the Repulican "family values" poster boy Clint Eastwood has had 7 children with 5 different women.

    September 7, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. Wanderer

    The GOP now can’t sleep. They wake up all night pulling that many-year old rag from their closet trying to put it on President Clinton. President Clinton didn't say he believed rape is NOT rape, though.

    September 7, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. Minh Tran

    What a cheap shot from GOP!!!

    September 7, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. Sniffit

    And in that photo, he's holding up the finger he uses to point out the witches in his congregation so they can be submitted to the drowning test. Booga booga booga!!!! Economics has nothing to do with math!!!! It's all about ideology and magical thinking!!!

    September 7, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. NeoCon Joke

    At least the Deomcrats are willing to have their past President show up at their convention. The Republicans don't even want to name theirs.

    September 7, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. Laura, Boston

    Go ahead, keep drinking the super improved flavor of "kool-aid". Last time it was hope and change. This time it is nothing but blaming everyone including American people! Obama needs to go open up his Chicago home and get ready to move back in! Hope its not a cold winter!

    September 7, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Lyla M

    Wow....pardon the expression, but hit appears the GOP is out of gas and are "groping" for hot buttons. I had to laugh hard at this one! Wasn't their poster child Newt for awhile? Clinton blew it for sure; no excuses from me. But, he is one hell of a President and no one can take that away. Besides, he has more charisma in his little finger than any GOP candidate has; they're just jealous.

    September 7, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  22. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney have taken lying to a whole new level that they have inevitably bridged the "Bridge to no Where" with their noses!!! Who needs a bridge to Gravina Island when we have Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney???

    September 7, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. ThinkAgain: Mittens 'n' Munster are Liars

    Repubs got NOTHING! Clinton's past behavior does NOT change the FACT that the specifics he gave about Repubs; failures (including the Mittens/Munster budget) and President Obama's successes are ALL TRUE.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    September 7, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. wes

    Remember how the GOP spent millions of dollars attempting to impeach him for a BJ... Thats really fiscally conservative...

    September 7, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. Canadian

    Clinton brought himself shame
    He shouldered the blame
    This no serious claim
    The GOP on their dirty game

    The electorates know
    GOP has nothing to show
    All they blow is air
    And they don’t really care

    The DEM have unity
    And that’s the beauty
    A cultural balance
    Something of substance

    September 7, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12