January 17th, 2008
03:10 PM ET
8 years ago

Bill Clinton gets heated with reporter


Watch Bill Clinton get upset with a reporter.

(CNN) - Bill Clinton became visibly combative with a reporter Wednesday after being questioned about a lawsuit in Nevada that is seeking to ban caucus meetings in nine casinos on the Las Vegas strip.

The lawsuit, filed by the state teacher's union - an organization that has backed Hillary Clinton's White House bid - came Friday, shortly after Barack Obama was officially endorsed by the Culinary Union. Culinary Union members primarily work in casinos, and could constitute the majority of participants at caucuses held at those locations.

The teacher's union is claiming the at-large caucus sites would unfairly have more weight in terms of delegate allotment than caucuses throughout the rest of the state. The lawsuit also takes issue with caucuses being held midday at those sites – which could make it easier for culinary workers to caucus than it will be for other Nevadans.

Critics of the lawsuit say it is a clear attempt to suppress Obama’s support, a notion with which the former president sharply disagreed.

"Do you really believe that all the Democrats understood that they had agreed to give everybody who voted in a casino a vote worth five times as much as people who voted in their own precinct? Did you know that?" the former president said, growing visibly upset. (Watch Clinton's back and forth with the reporter)

"What happened is nobody understood what had happened. Now everybody's saying, 'Oh, they don't want us to vote.' What they really tried to do was to set up a deal where their votes counted five times, maybe even more."

Clinton also maintained that his wife’s campaign had "nothing to do" with the lawsuit," and claimed the reporter was taking an "accusatory tone."

"Get on your television station and say, 'I don't care about the home mortgage crisis, all I care about is making sure that some voters have it easier than others should count five times, and when they do vote, when its already easier for them, their vote should count five times as much as others," Clinton said in a raised voice.

"If you want to take that your position, get on the television and take it," he added, as aides pulled him away. "Don't be accusatory with me, I had nothing to do with this lawsuit."

UPDATE: A federal judge has ruled that the Democratic Party can go ahead with the 9 at-large caucuses on the strip. The ruling could have a decisive effect on the result in the state given that recent polls show a dead heat between Clinton, Obama, and John Edwards.

Related: Clinton, Obama battle for upper hand in Nevada

- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (774 Responses)
  1. E. C., Houston, Texas


    January 17, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  2. arun

    This is what I miss about Bill Clinton. Don't mess with slick willy – he will put you in your place.

    Chris Wallace can tell you – I watch that youtube clip each and every morning how he shut him down and made him look like a 2 year old chump.

    January 17, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  3. Doug

    “COUNT ALL THE VOTES” she yells, except when it does not benefit our side in Las Vegas. In that case Hillary’s operatives file a lawsuit to disenfranchise the voters she wants to silence. More dirty tricks from the masters of sleaze. This is just the beginning for her.

    “GET CORPORATE LOBBYIST MONEY OUT OF POLITICS” she yells, except when it does not benefit our side. In that case Hillary takes more of their money than all the other Democrat AND Republican candidates COMBINED.

    What hypocrites. The saddest part is this corrupt bunch will win because – “WE WILL BE MAKING HISTORY BY ELECTING THE 1ST WOMAN PRESIDENT” she yells, and the uninformed and naive will flock to her like lemmings toward a cliff.

    After, and because of her Presidency, it will probably be another 200 years until a woman gets a chance again.

    January 17, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. E. C., Houston, Texas


    January 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. jyfranca

    Clinton plays God,anything wrong by him or his wife is good but the worse thing is any thing done by Republican or their opponent.In 2000 they blamed Bush and Republican for saying voters were disenfranchized.Now he supports strong for disefranchisement.

    January 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  6. Al in Wpg

    Oh, so they didn't know what they were voting for now? C-mon. I see a theme here. And the teacher's union is upset because voting is taking place in a casino, where those union workers work... on top of where they usually are... in schools... where teachers work.
    And if bill really had a problem with everyone having a fair vote, which weighed the same, he'd be taking on the entire Caucus seeing how people in small towns have higher voting power than those in large areas...
    Sorry Bill, no third term for you.

    January 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Rob

    Crazy Billy! LOL

    January 17, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. Janet

    Put a muzzle on it Bill.

    January 17, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. Brian

    The Clinton campaign is obviously in tremendous disarray.

    January 17, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  10. demwit

    Will the real slick willy please stand up..

    January 17, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Dave

    Bill, that 'legacy' you have been working so hard on since leaving office is being destroyed by your ugliness in this campaign the last couple months.

    January 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Why not. The Clintons are dinged and danged and harrassed at every turn. Wonder what would happen if any of the other candidates were treated that way. You have never ever ever heard any of the reporters confront Obama with any of the attacks, the mess he throws at the Clintons or any of the stupid things he has done. He is treated as the fair haired boy. The Clintons are treated as people to be harrassed.

    January 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. James D.

    Gee Bill....this was created entirely by the DNC (!!) in NV MANY MONTHS AGO, you supported it then. What's wrong with it now? Oh sorry, I forgot, the Culinary Union endorsed Obama instead of Hillary. Well, then of course, the original plan is awful, unjust...down right un-american! It must be stopped!

    The level of Bill Clinton's hypocrisy is simply ASTOUNDING... and to think I used to be one of his biggest supporters. I was blind. I was wrong.

    January 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Rachel

    Bill, I love you and I'm voting for your wife, but please go to the Carribean and chill out for the rest of the primary season.

    January 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. John G

    Awww did someone hurt wittle Billy's feewings?

    Hey man you were President so you know better than anyone you take some hits on the campaign trail and if that means that some caucuses have more supporters for Candidate A than Candidate B then oh well that's life in the big leagues.

    I doubt he would be this upset if the Culinary union was backing the ole ball and chain

    January 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. james

    Ahhh Bill.... are you done disgracing your legacy yet?

    January 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. John Q. Public

    This was our "Greatest President" according to the Democrats...

    And why does he get upset? Because for once, a reporter from the mainstream press calls him out on his attempt at defrauding voters. Goes to show that they have been giving him a free ride all along!

    January 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. jp/michigan

    The media as usual is trying to cause a riff between Clinton and Obama campaigns. They stirred up the fire about race and now their trying this. Give the voters, all voters, a chance to voice their opinion and be able to choose the candidate they want. all should be treated fairly though out Nevada.

    January 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    You'd think some reporters would have learned something after watching Clinton excoriate Chris Wallace, who was busy pimping for the RNC s regards OBL.

    January 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. Attacks by the Establishment

    Media sticking it to the Dems or the Dems sticking it to the media. Who cares!

    The Democratic Party (unless it wakes up and comes around to Edwards before it is too late) will offer the people of this country a great choice , a female LBJ or a Muslim Carter!

    "I have never witnessed on any previous occasion such entire disregard of the usage of civilized warfare and the dictates of humanity." General Robert E. Lee in a report concerning Union destruction of civilian property in Virginia, 1863.

    A fine bunch of loving Americans those yankees!

    January 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  21. Yonas

    What kind of democracy is this? to suppress the voter? come on People. This shows me the dirty trick of Clintons Campaign.

    January 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. Wufpakmom, Illinois

    Bill is rapidly proving himself to be a distinct liability to the Clinton campaign. He'd better cool his jets or he can give up the idea of redecorating the White House.

    January 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. J Williamson Buffalo, NY

    Bill is telling it just like it is, so what is all the fuss about? Polictics has never been for those who can't or won't assert themselves – who would respect a leader like that?

    January 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. Scott, Madison, WI

    Bill you are becoming an embarassment to former presidents. Next step is to call Barack Obama a bozo like your friend George Sr. called you during the campaign in '92, then you'll really be at a new and desparate, all-time low.

    January 17, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. Jim Clark

    CNN didn't even bother to mention the name or affiliation of the reporter. What a sloppy story.

    January 17, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
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