January 17th, 2008
03:10 PM ET
9 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. hhhmm

    Not many people on here have comented on the actual subject of the piece. Caucuses are arcane and don't fit with modern society. However, having one in the middle of the day in a place where tons of people work, does seem to disadvantage those who do not work there and/or those who have to complete a regular work day elsewhere.

    I believe Bill Clinton that the campaign did not have anything to do with the lawsuit. This primary season has been full of wrong conclusions jumped to by the media. I suspect that the discriminating reader (no, I don't mean race or gender), this would be such a case. I still support Hillary Clinton because she is the best candidate.

    January 17, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. Jeff Pemberton

    Wow, I can't believe the disconnect between the article (which makes it sound like Clinton goes mad) versus the video (where he basically keeps his cool and says his piece). And where did his aides "pull him away"? Certainly not at any time during the video you've provided. Reading these comments, one expects Clinton-haters to misinterpret the video in the worst way possible, but from "the most trusted" source for news organization, CNN? Come on, CNN. You report, we'll decide.

    January 17, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. Frank Rivas, Rockville, MD

    Can someone take this madman, Clinton, to a deserted island to cool down? Looks like menopause is getting to him. And, by the way, someone needs to make him real clear that it is the other Clinton that is running, not him.

    January 17, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. Jon Balston

    What a sorry state of affairs the Dems find themselves in. While it's true that any U.S. Citizen can become President, (given the quaifications as dictated by law), they find themselves with a Muslim candidate, and a woman, who, when shamed by her philandering husband, didn't have the chutzpah to toss him out on his ear.

    Let me guess why...perhaps he was viewed as the key to opening future doors to her political ambitions. Whatever her reasons, does anyone think that she has the aforementioned chutzpah to make decisions concerning USA and world affairs.? I certainly don't,, and she certainly hasn't shown me any differently. Dems, it should be back to the drawing board for your party. You've paraded a group of unqualified losers before the public, in a time when a strong leader has the perfect opportunity to unseat the incumbent Republican.

    January 17, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  5. Onari

    Come on guys, can Bill cough without so much noise. Are you guys trying to take away his free speech right. It is only those who wear the shoe know where it pains them. Some of you hide behind computer screen and make remarks that always vilify the Clintons. For once can they be regarded as free citizens and be left alone?

    January 17, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Kaiya Taylor

    His comment did not sound as though he was combative. The media is loving this right now because they needed more drama. Not enough to report on Brittney or OJ today. The reporter asked a question and he answered the question. I did not detect that he yelled, raised his voice or even said one curse word. He was exact in what he had to say and he got his point across. I must say the he handled himself in a way that showed his intelligence concerning the matter. Media I beg you, just report. Stop try to create stories that are not an issue.

    January 17, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. James

    For those who say Hillary is no Bill Clinton, yes you are all right. So don't make judgements based on that either by saying enough of 'clinton' years, cos Hillary has yet become the president. Judge her on her work record and what she stands for. Everyone should be judged equally based on their cases and what they say they will do when they get elected.
    Bill can hell defend Hillary if people keep making false statments. Anyone who has the guts will defend the one who is right. This is just out of control. Anything remotely negative about Obama is taken as race issue and get attacked. But on the other hand Hillary can't even defend herself. Give me a break.

    January 17, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. AL

    It proves once again that the clintons would do whatever it takes to get power. They are constantly playing politics with the minds of americans. Hilary Clinton claims to know everything, 35 years of experience, can solve all our problems and has no weaknesses. That's truly amazing for a woman who has no position on anything, voted for the iraq war, couldn't handle or fix the healthcare reforms she initiated, and recently showed wrong judgement on iranian nukes. What we need is real change and a refreshing view of politics, which i believe Obama has consistently portrayed through out this campaign. Stop the fear mongering!!!! we can all work together regardless of our background(s), beliefs, and party affiliation.

    January 17, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. Aaron

    You guys really need to read to lawsuit. Its pretty obvious that the creation of these caucus locations are violating nevada law.

    -Requires a location to have 4,000 workers that are unable to vote because they have to work. Fine and dandy but then teachers at a school (obviously less then 4,000 workers) can't have the same privilege. Hence there reason for teachers union involvement in the lawsuit.
    -Each new caucus location at the casinos is treated as its own county and therefore gets 80 delegates minimum. Therefore, if only 400 people vote then there is one delegate per 5 people. In Clarck County which has more then 4,000 registered democratic voters (the way that delegates are named is 80 per county or counties with more then 4,000 registered democrats 1 delegate per 50 registered democrats) there is only 1 delegate for every 50 registered democrat voters. Therefore because of the difference in calculation (also a violation of nevada election laws) there is the potential for a vote in these floating precincts to be worth 10 times or more as much as one in clarck county. (also a violation of equal protection under the law)
    -the new locations are open longer (violation of equal protection under the law)

    All of this is in the lawsuit, its only 13 pages long and is actually a pretty easy read. I would recommend it before you draw judgement from this sensationalized article.

    January 17, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. Obamasupporter

    Senior senator to back Obama.....Now tell me if they are any foolish bill...

    January 17, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. Sad to Say

    No matter what they do, no matter what they say someone always manages to spin the mess around in the Clintons favor. Listen up this is not a fake story two days after they gave their support for Obama, Clinton supporters filed a lawsuit against them. Now this was agreed to back in March of last year and re-affirmed in August of last year the lawsuit should have been filed then not let's wait and see if Hillary gets their endorsement or not. I hope the Judges make them honor their agreement.

    January 17, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. chandra

    All I can say is : When a tangled web is weaved it will always come undone, when it began as deceit. I am not surprised that the Democrats are loosing(going off) it. The Clinton's hard work is full of deceit and the efforts of hiding it is what they call hardworking and working for the People.

    January 17, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. Liam

    How would you like to be Hillary's Vice President with Bill around all the time. Hillary's VP position, the graveyard where a prominent Democrat would go to die, just like Bill ruined it for Al. Gore.

    January 17, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. James

    This video definetely shows someone with enough gut and knowledge sticking up for what is the right thing to do and set the record straight with right information. People need to be more open minded. Place yourself in the shoe and see how you would react. Probably punch the reporter.

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

    Good job Nevada!!!!!!!!!!! Just heard the court ruling on allowing casino caucuses. The little man DOES still have a voice.

    Let the games begin...Billy Boy shut the heck up. Are you going to cry that the federal courts are anti-Clinton????

    Go Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go America!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

    Yea, and you want this man and his wife in the White House for 8 more years? Not me. I had enough seven years ago. I'm now for anyone but her.

    January 17, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Mike, Cleveland, OH

    Every negative comment I've seen about Bill on this comment board so far hasn't addressed his point at all. He was entirely right and forceful about it, which is EXACTLY what I want from a statesman. Be right and be strong.

    January 17, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  18. KWWW

    I read the article and watched the clip... to use the terms "visible combative" would be a gross exageration of what transpired. It appears to me that the writer of the ticker article was being "grammatically combative" in his choice to words that only seemed to make a mountain out of a mole hill. Was the tenor of his writing really an unbiased reporting of what happened or an effort to stir the pot, as it were, for the most shock value?

    January 17, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. Erin

    I have had a major problem with Hillary holding onto Bill's coattails her whole political journey. Having to read an article tells me it continues. How can anyone have respect for a presidential candidate that cries over losing and has her impeached husband speaking up for her. C'mon!!! What's next a debate between the spouses? Oh, that's right, Bill Boy gets the press, no one knows anything about the other spouses.

    January 17, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. Alex

    "Lashing out"? Come on. He just told the person what he thought, cohesively and without conciliation. Talk about media hype.

    January 17, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Joan, New York, NY

    I find it so contrived when all you see around Bill Clinton are African Americans. Why must this couple play so many games? They had their time in The White House and I don't remember any significant changes in the country. In fact, I remember a few terror attacks. Oh yes, Bill rode the wave of the technology bubble which had the economy soaring...

    January 17, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. JC

    It should be apparent to all by now that the Clinons are up to their old tried-and-true tactics...probably why a lot of people want "change".

    January 17, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  23. kim

    I'm not going to research all the Presidential campaigns, but Bin Laden blowing up the WTC basement was definitely a warning that he needed to be dealt with.

    January 17, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. Jim - Tucson

    Bill said "Don't be accusatory with me, I had nothing to do with this lawsuit." and "I never had sex with that woman."

    You know how to tell he's lying, his mouth is open

    January 17, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. Nando, Florida

    Hey remember bill got a bad heart he better take it easy, He may implode before it all over!!!!!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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