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. Sam


    He needs to stay out from in front of the camera! He looks really desperate that his wife's presidential bid is more about him than it is her!


    I swear that I am voting Republican if Hillary wins!

    January 17, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. Sam


    He needs to stay out from in front of the camera! He looks really desperate, and it seems that his wife's presidential bid is more about HIM than it is her!


    I swear that I am voting Republican if Hillary wins!

    January 17, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Deb

    They are looking so desperate now. I love Bill but Hillary is no Bill and she never will be.

    January 17, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. james ny, ny

    Obama is ABCD- All Blah Confused Democrate

    CNN is not going to post this however they would post all the crap about clinton

    January 17, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. Gobama

    Ha ha!

    Raging Bill!

    Rage against the (Clinton) Machine. lol


    Considering that Bill Clinton has a bad heart, you would think that his wife would care about her husband's health and be encouraging Bill Clinton to take it easy, and


    January 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. Dan

    Please do not vote these communist, sociopathic PIGS back into office. Both Hillary and Bill should be in Prison not the White House. How soon the feeble minded of America forget...or don't care.

    January 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. Hank Castle

    Hey, everybody has a bad moment. Bill's just happened to get caught on camera here. Look at the drink he's clutching in his hand. It may just be that he partook a bit too heavily of the Spirits prior to the line of questioning.

    January 17, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. micheal

    I've always found Clintons hatred a bit of a baffling phenomenon. At times, I've disliked the political timidity of the Clintons, or thought that Bill Clinton allowed his personal appetites to overwhelm his public duties to the detriment of this country.

    I think Obama has walked a fine line of character and integrity.
    Vote with your head not your heart!

    January 17, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  9. Peace4all

    TLO – thank you.

    Once again – shame on the media.

    January 17, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Katy Hill Prescott Az.

    Bill Clinton is out of control and showing the nation what an arrogant jerk he is and always has been. Deny,deny, deny is his way of dealing.

    January 17, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  11. disenfranchised

    @norma ... try reading more about the facts of the situation before going on your rant.

    Norma said: "This was rather cute, nicely coordinated trick on his part to change the rules to include a particular group of voters, and disenfranchise others who just happen to have a different schedule. And he believes this is a fair and honest move. It would have been a done deal had not the Teacher's Union come forward. What a disgrace, and he espouses being above dirty politics."

    Those rules were set up months ago, before the Culinary union endored Obama. It's the teacher's union, who support Hillary that are trying to 'change the rules.'

    What I'm curious about is: if the Caucus is on happening Saturday (19th), how many teachers are going to tied up with work? I don't get it.

    Also: aren't most votes held in schools anyways?

    January 17, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Jessica

    Bill Clinton is upset because the media is reporting that Hillary's campaign had something to do with this lawsuit. Is it so far of a stretch to believe that the Teacher's Union can make its own decisions? Maybe Bill is just tired of the media slanting everything, whether it be against the Hillary campaign, the Obama campaign, the Edwards campaign, the McCain campaign....everything is sensastionalized. I agree with the above comments. This is not Britney Spears, this is a former President of the U.S. we're talking about. He might be campaigning on behalf of his wife and deserve objective criticism, but he still deserves respect.

    January 17, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. wordslinger

    Didn't seem like he was that angry, or at least not as advertised. Garrison Keillor had a funny column the other day about the media overuse of the term "lashed out." Wasn't much of a lashing.

    January 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. The G; Henderson NV

    1. A caucus is not a fraud – nobody is forced to participate period. Anyone who believes people have to caucus in front of their boss is completely uninformed.

    2. I am a temporary caucus chair for my precinct. I am a Democrat. I will not be checking ID's at the door for th caucus. I was not instructed to do so at our caucus training, and it does not say anything about that in the instruction booklet issued by the Nevada Democratic Party for use during the caucus.

    January 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. jim, chicago, illinois

    BOO-HOO! OH....BOOOO-HOOOO! i've emptied a whole tissue box crying for the injustice of it all for bill and hillary.

    it's so strange that the lawsuit came 2 days after then culinary union endorsed obama and not hillary. it's also strange that hillary and her pitbull husband didn't contest this arrangement when she was ahead in the polls in nevada.

    BOO-HOO hillary, BOO-HOO bill. i feel your pain!

    January 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  16. Ronda Clough,Concord,NH

    Always a witch hunt w/ the Clintons. They both are good people. Leave them alone.
    This country needs them both back in the Whitehouse. Hillary is going to be a great Prez and Bill is going to help get countries to re-trust us again. Why doesn't
    the current administration get the negative media that they deserve?

    January 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. cjvwise1

    Bill gets really upset when the truth bites him in his back pocket.

    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 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. B T A, D.C.

    Gee, the title of the report is misleading. Again. I watched the video. He didn't seem like he was spitting fire.
    However, i do not agree with his position. Trying to take voting rights from people is just plain wrong. Have a nice day.

    January 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. Will

    Billary will do anything to get back into the White House, they'll even stoop to voter suppression. The teachers union may have filed the lawsuit, but whose pulling the strings on that one. Hillary supporters are fools not to see that Bill and Hillary's true movtiation is POWER!

    January 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Liam

    Judge just ruled against the Clintons, and pretty much said tha Bill Clinton is a big fat liar. Will slicky Willie now claim that he was always against the lawsuit by the Teachers' Union, just like he claimed that he was always against the Iraq Invasion.

    Here is the latest on the lawsuit ruling:

    Judge OKs casino caucuses in Nevada
    Posted: 02:10 PM ET

    LAS VEGAS (CNN) — The Democratic Party can go ahead with a plan to let casino workers take part in Saturday's Nevada caucuses in "at-large" precincts set up in their workplaces, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

    January 17, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. Ed and Lois Denaut

    January 18, 2008

    Dear Fellow Americans,

    We are both registered Democrats.

    We feel it is unfair that some Democrats get the advantage of being able to walk from their work place right into a Caucus close to their workplace while other Democrats have to drive to a certain location in their neighborhood where they are registered voters, usually miles from where they work, to caucus for their favorite candidate!

    This favored treatment for some of the Democratic Voters is unfair!

    Are they setting up caucus locations in your workplace so that you don't have to
    drive to your neighborhood where you are a registered voter and caucus???

    This is setting a precedent that all states should have to set up caucus locations in all workplaces for everyone, both Republicans and Democrats to make the causcus process fair to everyone!!!

    Just because we are a 24 hour town doesn't give any reason for special treatment for only a few Democratic and/or Republican Voters!!!

    What do you think? Do think it is fair that the workers on the Las Vegas Strip get special treatment in the caucus process???

    Ed and Lois Denaut at ldenaut@yahoo.com

    January 17, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. Donna Logan

    Another example of media hype where reporters prefer to exaggerate events rather than report them. I watched the video and laughed at the word choice "combative." Mr. Clinton responded with what I would consider appropriate vigor and did not even approach combat, aggression, or excessive irritation. And I'm even a Barak Obama supporter.

    January 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. tiredofHillBilly

    Would the "Teacher's Union" have done the same thing if the Culinary Worker's Union had endorsed Hillary instead ? Bill Clinton might think he is being assertive, but I see it as being plain rude. If he is not visibly combative, it is apparent that he is very upset with the question. What confounds me is that why is he upset with the question when he thinks that the Teacher's Union is doing the right thing? A cooler denial was all that was needed. Displays of emotions like this will only hurt the Democrats as a whole. I guess this goes with Mrs. Clinton's "finding her true voice" episode in NH....Does we really want Bill Clinton to behave like this as a prospective "First Husband" ?

    January 17, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  24. RH

    Erin, you better do some research because you are very misguided. If it wasn't for Hillary, Bill would've never become what he did. For you to say that she's riding his coat tails is ridiculous. It's actually the other way around.

    One more thing. I'm tired of the segment of the population that thinks we're not allowed to stand up for ourselves anymore. I'm tired of all this PC stuff. I want to know what people really think. I also want people put in their place when they open their big mouths and are wrong about what they say. There are too many people who make up stuff and then everyone believes it. I want somebody who actually stands up for themselves.

    Bill wasn't being verbally combative and defensive. He was taking charge and setting the record straight. Way to go Bill!

    January 17, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. Jordan

    I don't know if I would have called Bill "combative" but definitely hysterical. Aides had to pull him away? This is a sign of someone who is more than "standing up for himself"...it sounds a bit like he's beginning to lose it.
    If a candidate (and her husband) agrees to something without looking at or comprehending the possible scenarios, should they be the one to have their finger on the big red button?

    January 17, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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