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. ChrisB GA

    Hillary Clinton can not win this election.

    There may be a particular reason why she is trying to disenfranchise hispanic voters in Nevada.
    Not only did she support the hotel caucus before she was snubbed for the endorsement, but there is a bigger issue here.

    As a concerned American, I just found out that she supported Barry Goldwater over LBJ when they ran for president. And yes, I am a young voter because I just found out about this fact, but here is the real story: Barry Goldwater was totally against civil rights! If it were up to Senator Clinton, hispanics wouldn’t have benefited at all from MLK and LBJ civil rights movement.

    Talk about someone who doesn’t deserve to represent Americans!

    January 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Russ, Cincinnati, OH

    It has to do with the amount of delegates you get for each region or precinct a candidate wins which is based on the population of that precinct. So, according to Bill or the teacher's union, based on the population of the area where these voting booths are, whoever wins that area (precinct) will get like 700 delegates, which according to them is disproportionate to the number of delegates other precincts have based on bigger or smaller populations. So is Obama wins this special precinct near the casinos then he would get 700 delgates, and if Clinton wins another precinct with a similar population, then she would only get 200. That is what he is talking about when he says the people who vote in the special precinct have their votes count more than people in other precincts.

    That is what I understand to be the problem. It is a little fishy though that this only became a problem after Obama got the big union endorsements. BUT I still think it is a problem if one precinct gets a disproportionate amount of delegates. I don't care that these voting booths were set up to accomidate these night workers who do not get to caucus but their votes should not get to count more or anything.

    January 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. Scott Martin

    For 8 years Bill Clinton always defended himself with "the first I learned of this was when I read about it in the newspaper". Really?

    January 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  4. AnnAloha, PA

    I see Hatred still is worth spewing for the anti-Clinton movement and all this over the right to have accuracy in voting in Las Vegas. Hmmmm Wasn't it just a week ago that all this hatred spewing anti-Clinton people, accusing the Clinton campaign for voter fraud in New Hampshire and demmanded a recount of the votes?(via Kucinich)
    All the other political parties are simply laughing at all of you hateful and dirty minded people. Can't control your anger and have to channel it through stupidity and ignorance. You just set America back 20 years, want to make it 40?

    January 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. level head

    Combative? I didn't see anything combative in his response. A candidate or his/her supporters can't say anything truthful without the media totally blowing it up.

    January 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. william

    Well written article. Now, do you want to explain Mr. Clinton's comment regarding why its unfair and how the votes would count up to or more than 5 times other voter's vote?

    January 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. GP Cuonzo

    Can't the US come up with a better class of candidates? This group sound like a bunch of ignorant rednecks. The DNC should be embarrased–thebehavior exhibited by the two alleged front-runners is disgraceful and I do hope the voting public takes note.

    January 17, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. MC

    Watch the video, he didnt raise his voice, aides didn't pull him away. People in Casinos arent the only ones working Saturday, I am sure that hundreds of Police and Firefighters will find ways to exercise their right to franchise without having their own little caucus set up at the workplace.

    I also found that article to be typical CNN inflammatory garbage attempting to create a story where there really is none.

    January 17, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Mohammed Qureshi

    The above article is quite sensationalistically worded; I saw the video and Bill Clinton, though irritated, did not speak to the reporter in a "raised voice" (which suggests he was shouting) and he was not "pulled away" by his aides... for someone who didn't see the video, you've written it to look like he was out of control.

    Using words like "lashing out" is quite a misdiagnosis of the incident and is not the kind of objective reporting that a respectable news organization should claim.

    For my part, I thought Bill was right to object and good on him for taking issue with it.

    January 17, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. Mati

    Drama January 17, 2008 1:43 pm ET

    "Would someone enlighten me please, how can a vote count five times, maybe more?"

    It is about the number of delegates attached to votes. I don;t know how they count 5 times, but nobody attacked this point and i saw it somewhere else. The main idea is that you make caucusing easier for a particular group no matter with whom they will vote. And this was perhaps known by some when rules were made. So I guess the candidate trick was to get endorsed by the privileged group. My main concern is about caucusing with your co-workers. This is not a personal vote, its open. How are you your position democratically when your job may be in trouble if you don;t go in the same corner with your boss?

    January 17, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. Sal......Illinois

    Go Bubba......next time....punch 'em in the mouth....slap'em across the face....give'em a black eye......I don't blame you brother for getting a little upset.....I would do a lot more to them if they disrespected my wife like that.....

    January 17, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. DMW, Roeland Park, KS

    At a certain point, one gets tired of the media always wanting to crown Obama King, and the casinos have the voting set up where the workers vote will count for one than one vote. This is not constitutional. This country is one man (woman) one vote. If the votes in the casinos count as more than one, then all of the votes in Nevada should count more than one.

    The media is doing everything it can to help Obama win and try to slant EVERY story to make the Clinton's look bad. I'd be mad as hell too!

    January 17, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  13. Ethel, New York, NY

    The two of them are pathetic.

    January 17, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. carol

    Wow! Go Bill! We are all tired of the inaccurate News Reporting.

    January 17, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Ron Az

    How many times has someone asked you a question about politics or religion and you defend your opinion, sometimes with an argument? The Clintions have the same right right, thats why we have soldiers dying in Iraq for, the right to speak our minds. Bill was exercising his rights.

    Better take advantage of it now because if the Obama gets elected your rights will start dissapearing.

    January 17, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. JC

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

    January 17, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. Steven Klein

    Even through the impeachment, I supported Bill Clinton. But in this election, I am supporting Obama. Either way, Bill was on his way to restoring his place in American history, until he began to savor the idea of living back in the White House. Actually, slobber is a better word than savor. He is so obviously disgusting, that I think his legacy is gone forever, unless Hillary gets elected. Then, imagine how he will treat reporters, how often he will "leak" stories, how many times he will pick up the phone to call world leaders without clearing it with his wife, the politicking he will do behind her back. It is repulsive to even think about. Not to mention the thought of him wandering the halls of the White House, looking for girls or some sort of action. There should be some sort of law keeping an ex-president out of the White House whether his wife gets elected or not.
    Just try to imagine who would take the VP or Sec of State jobs with Bill around. Only Bill Richardson would consider it. This doesn't even address the phony claims of Hillary to 35 years of experience making change. How about her 12 years at the Rose Law Firm, the biggest corporate establishment law firm in Arkansas...that is 12 of her supposed 35 years. She made change then, all right, six to seven figures of dollars of change. What a phony. If she is elected, the majority of the world, certainly the Arab countries, won't even deal with her. If she couldn't get health insurance passed when we had a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress., imagine how the Republicans will stonewall anything she tries to do. We are looking at 4 years of stagnation, if she can even get elected. I can think of nothing that will unite the Republican party more and give them a chance to win than nominating Hillary...someone with the highest percentage of unfavorables in the country.
    Bill, please shut your mouth, and go back into hiding. Not that you and Hillary are living together anyway. Hillary made a Faustian bargain 20 years ago, and now she and Bill are trying to make it come true. And Bill is showing himself to be the Karl Rove of Democratic politics. Sickening, isn't it?

    January 17, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. pam Eugene OR

    Bill Clinton and his wife for the matter, gets angry whenever they are asked questions they do not want to answer. They act like How dare you question us, don't you know how we are?
    You can bet there would not have been a lawsuit if the union had endorsed Hillary instead of Barack.
    They are all about winning, no matter the damage they do to the party.

    January 17, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  19. Kandi Beaman

    These two – Bill and Hillary Clinton – are the sleaziest politicians in our country. And we are paying attention? When did Bill Clinton become the candidate? Has anyone made mention of the fact that Senator Obama's wife and former Senator John Edward's wife are both conducting themselves with the highest integrity? Does that count for anything anymore? Are we going to slip down the same filthy slide Bill took us 8 years ago? Why do you think we got Bush and all his cronies to begin with? Two words. Bill Clinton.

    January 17, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. Nalla

    Bill, you have heart trouble, don't mess with the reporters and get stresed. Like some one said, go back to your slick willy days. No third term for you and your wife.

    The DNC agreed and so does the federal judge now. But apparently, slick willy is a champion of caucuses !! What a joke....

    As long as the Clinton coverage is negative, keep them coming CNN.

    Viva Obama

    January 17, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. Inquiring Mind

    ***********Has any one besides me noticed that while the Clintons are out there playing dirty politics, throwing dirt on Obamas name and campaign, Barack has taken the high road, not talking about the Clintons, trying to resolve issues with the Clintons instead of playing there back and forth he said she said game. Obama is more focused on the people of America then the Clintons who are obsessed with taking him down instead of the real issues*****************

    January 17, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  22. Joan, New York, NY

    Doug...you are brilliant...

    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 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. Paul, Atlanta

    Why not Ray. Why shouldn't he defend his wife. He is seeing the country go down in recession and the economy slumping and he is worried hat any other candidate will not make it better. He needs to make sure that his wife becomes the prez and with his support again the economy will grow, Don't forget that we had 1 trillion dollars in surplus when he was the prez. He can do it again.

    Now the media is so sleazy. They talk about the Clintons as they talk about Spears, Lohan and Hilton every day. Give these guys a break. He was the best prez our country had and his wife will be superior to him.

    January 17, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. YES-WE-CAN


    Thank God the COURT intervened again on behalf of good as opposed to evil. The Party of Jim Crow FAILED to disenfranchise voters and that's the way it should be. This entire election will be one for the History books and the Clinton's have tarnished what little bit of good standing they may have gained in the 1990's.

    January 17, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  25. cjvwise1

    Reporters ponder why the citizens of the US do not make platform an important issue. I ask, "Why wound anyone worry about issues, when you cannot believe a word that is uttered? Lack of trust worthiness, dedication to pork and self interests is primary. We cannot worry about issues, just which person is less likely to steal away our lands and freedoms. My son lives in the "Romney manditory insurance state". The bill gives full power to the Insurance Companies to decide that his family of four policy must cost him $1000 per month because "THEY" decide he can afford it.

    There is no choice? Where is the logic?

    How can anyone afford that assessment on top of house payments, mtg taxes, fuel costs. I think Edwards made a great point in the NV debates when he asked Hillary and Obama what they thought the Insurance companies expected for thier contributions. It shows in Massachusetts and it will be everyones problem is they do not realize what power our representatives are granting to the Insurance companies.

    Here in WV they assess road tolls to upkeep the highway. But misappropriation of those funds made it priority for the Dems to increase fuel taxes for road repair the first week they were in power. Why don't they demand repayment of misappropriated funds?

    We all know the answer. The only issue on our minds is how do we survive, despite the corruption in our capitals? It seems to me that someone would realize we have just about reached our saturation point for corruption. We are a sinking ship and we are soon going down if someone does not step up to the plate and "DEMAND" accountablility.

    When Democrates can look into the camera with a straight face and say, the Billions of dollars in pork attached to a bill is nothing, then complain Social Security is failing, we need a reality check.

    And while I am at it! Why does no one ask the Clintons about their Camen Is accounts or their investments in the Domican Republic?

    January 17, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
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