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. Jenny, Paxton, MA

    the public's approval rating for the corporate mass media must be below 10%, i bet. that's why they never publish a poll about themselves. weasles....

    January 17, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. James

    This incident just proves what all of us have thought for a long time: if you have the gall to question the Clintons, you are in trouble. The lawsuit may not be the Clinton's idea, but it certainly merits questioning as to the motives. Oh, and as for the votes counting five times? That's the logic of a man hellbent on getting back into power through his wife. Just do us all a favor Bill, and focus on presenting the case as to why your wife should be president, not how everyone is out to get you and Hill.

    January 17, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Mart from Chicago

    I agree CNN and all other news company... Put more Obama on these tickers and the news... Maybe everyone can see its not only Hillary that is on the attacks.. Wake up people... Obama and Edwards have been attacking Clinton since day 1 but thats ok coz its Hillary right?... You guys who said she's negative all the time are hypocrites.. you only hear what you want to hear...

    And instead of putting this ticker on, why dont you CNN, explain what is Bill talking about? Maybe there is some truth in what he is saying about the 5 times worth of votes... that is real news that i want to hear.. how these votes and the rules of voting changes the outcome

    And stop it with the bashing of the Clintons... we Clinton supporters will stand by her no matter what you say on here. And prove that the Clintons is doing the suing!!! Coz from where I can see and hear, its not them who is suing. If you Pro-Obama-ers have your conspiracy theory about this, well I would say i have one of my own, that Obama started the race card by distorting Hillary's speech on MLK... READ the script of what Hillary said that day!! and maybe you ignorant people who hates the Clintons so much can get and idea there is no racial comments made by Hillary... But then proobamaers will say "Obama's sooooo pure and kind and honest, he wouldn't do that..." He is a politician for goodness sake!!! He'll do anything too to get into the white house...

    January 17, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    This further proves that you can't ask these people a simple question without this perjured, disbarred ADMITTED LIAR pointing his fat little finger at you.

    You are not allowed to ask the King and "Queen" any questions.

    Did Mrs. Edwards or Mrs. Obama do or say anything today or this week?

    This serial adulterer deserves no more FREE PRESS than any of the other candidate’s spouses, but this also shows that she could not get elected dog catcher without his help or name.

    Chris Wallace asked him a valid question and "Slick wily" overreacted, but that's what these "people" do when asked anything other than a planted or softball question.

    So much for being “Presidential”.

    They get accusatory, but that's what trash does.

    I respect Obama and his classy wife more everyday.

    January 17, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    The Clintons are called over zealous, cold, calculating – they wouldn't be complaining about this if the Culinary Union had endorsed Clinton, etc. What a bunch of crap. I expect fully, that Hillary with her husband's help, will do what she can to win. That is what I want her to do.

    When is the media going to pick on Obama like this? They refuse to – why?

    Those that say that the Clinton campaign has changed and that they think the campaign is coming unraveled – I hardly think so. They are fighting for survival against their opponents AND the media.

    Remember, the "left-wing" media is owned by rich and powerful conservative republicans. Why do you think these stories are so anti-Clinton?

    January 17, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. sally sharp

    Please I said it once and I will say it again Hillary and Bill need to get out of politics do you really think it will be Hillary running the country if she wins.We need a new face and a new change in Washington.

    January 17, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Stephen from Nevada

    The clinton campaign is feeling the heat here in Reno because most people I know are going to vote for OBAMA. I feel sorry for them because they know what's coming at them on Saturday. NO THIRD TERM FOR THE CLINTONS, SORRY!!

    January 17, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. Ed

    Welcome to the Clinton News Network (aka CNN). It's amazing how many times you see the Clintons on the site and on the tube. I have seen more things dealing with Hilary's campain (some good, some bad) and it always seems as if it always comes off in a bias nature (pro-Clinton). What about Edwards? I do see some hits about Obama, but it's always with a spin to turn it into a Clinton article. I hate this election. But to put it nicely, We are looking for the lesser of two evils now and everything comes out the same. That's what happens with a bi-partisan government.

    January 17, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. Gbryant

    You Obama people are making people sick. Voting is usually done in schools, fire stations, and even in our case here in Ohio in a nursing home. Who votes in Cassinos? where the food workers are?

    January 17, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. Lou, Williamsburg, VA

    Funny how it has taken some people this long to finally figure out what many of us already determined in 1992. The Clintons are transparent, will do anything for a vote, and care only about themselves. Maybe it's because we can clearly see the desparation in the Clinton's actions now that it is becoming evident there will be no automatic coronation for Hillary.

    January 17, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. Manuel, Pearland, TX

    It looks like most of people posting didn't even see the video. Clinton is not "lashing out". He's making a firm point with a reporter trying to imply that the Clinton campaign is behind this suit.

    It's unbelievable how the media and some of the boobs (Egna, ZH, etc.) who post on this site distort any information on the Clintons.

    CNN can you post exactly why the teacher's union filed this suit.

    January 17, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. DJ, Missouri

    seriously, please explain the 5 times deal. I am trying to make an informed decision. Does anyone know?

    January 17, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. AlterEgoEve

    Bill is an ego maniac. He is obviously sabotaging Senator Clinton's candidacy. His ego couldn't take being referred to as First Lady Bill. How would he get any chicks that way??? I wouldn't vote for a Clinton for dog catcher.

    January 17, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. Felly

    Bill Clinton is losing his credibility as days go by. He wants a 3rd term in the White House by all means. Americans are suffering from Bush-Clinton -Bush-Clinton syndrome. I wonder what would happen to Bill's legacy with all these mess.

    January 17, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. lisa

    Bill, you are not helping!

    January 17, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. Concerned Voter

    WOW...I thought voter suppression was a tactic that republicans only practiced

    January 17, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Gbryant


    OH COME ON...........Why can't culinary workers and cassino workers vote unless they do it at the work place? What a question.

    Are hospital workers voting at the hospital? Are air port workers voting at the air port? Come in. This OBAMA thing is like a Jim Jones thing, if any of you on here are old enough to remember. It is brain washing craziness. Obama's group is young and watch MTV.

    January 17, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  18. No Tizzy Fits

    This is getting ridiculous. It serves this country no good when a Past President ,regardless of party, goes off the deep end like Bill Clinton has been doing recently. He's turning into Hillary's worst enemy. For the record as numerous reporters and posters have stated. The DNC and the Nevada State Democratic Party agreed on these arrangements long ago. It is only after the Culinary Workers Union endorsed Obama that some Clinton supporters in the Nevada Teachers Union decided to try to supress the vote via this lawsuit. The DNC rightly intervened to project the original plan.

    Remember that both Clintons "dissed" Iowa after they lost and if the same occurs in Nevada and/or South Carolina, we'll probably see more of the same. Bill Clinton is shooting the Democratic Party in the foot and giving the GOP a boost. Go home, shut up and stop making a fool out of yourself, Bill! Your day is over. Play the supporting role, to be sure, but no other Presidential partner or spouse has done such a lousy job of supporting their candidate.

    Please God, he doesn't blow it and use the "N" word.

    January 17, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. christine

    How many of you could take the middle of the day off to vote? It did raise my eyebrows to hear that all casino workers were being given time off to caucus. Are teachers supposed to leave their classrooms?

    Every candidate should want the election to be fair – endorsed or not – and should speak up to that effort. Obama, Clinton or Edwards would all serve well. Let's stop bickering and try to keep the courts out of this!

    January 17, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. Rachel

    Come on, CNN. Yesterday's title was that Hillary "attacked" Obama when she highlighted their different management styles - a fair discussion among presidential candidates. Today's title is that Bill "goes off" on a reporter because he strongly expresses a point of view.

    You are not fooling anyone with your biased pro-Obama coverage, and I think you're losing the respect of thousands of viewers every day.

    January 17, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  21. Leah

    I keep hearing of Bill Clinton getting irate. I'm surprised is it age or what? The reason I say this is because I think the whole reason he won the Presidential election when he ran was because of his calm, pleasant demeanor. Being so cool and smooth. Now he keeps getting angry in his wife's campain concerning Obama. I think this may cause her too lose.

    January 17, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. ready to win

    Poor old Bill ,someone needs to send him home for a nice quiet rest. He's can't stand the heat , so the cold of New York is just what he needs. And we know he never could stand the truth....

    January 17, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. Cathy sunrise beach mo

    Seems Bill is getting testy a lot lately. If the Clintons aren't involved then
    why be defensive?

    January 17, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  24. Boston Mike

    Bill Clinton seems to get crazier by the day. Does he not understand that his finger pointing and flush-faced anger make him look like a hungover WC Fields struggling to make a point to an audience that can't make sense out if whatever point he is trying to make. This guy is coming apart, and it ain't a pretty picture.

    January 17, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  25. Sick of dirty politics

    As was mentioned, the caucus is on Saturday, a day which teachers can easily vote, becuase they do not have to work. Casino workers do and holding this at casinos allows them to vote! It is not, as Bill said, that casino workers' votes count more, it is that these sites are planning to host the largest numbers of people IN GENERAL, teachers and casino workers, and so have more delegates.

    Casino workers will not be able to vote if caucuses are held at schools, obviously a huge victory for the dirty playing Clintons. It is crazy how the Clintons behave like bratty children, insisting on getting their way all the time. Hillary is not a viable candidate, her victories come from playing dirty and being tricky, not from being an excellent candidate.

    Obama is electable in the general election, since hard core democrats will vote for a democrat whether it is Hillary or Obama, but in the case of Obama, so will independents and disillusioned republicans (who would NEVER vote for Hillary).

    January 17, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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