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. angelina_ MN

    Bill and HIll their true colors coming out slowly but surely. They can not let it go of power, and will do anything to maintain the status quo. Bill let it go_ we know you like attention but please.

    I just want to know if it is Bill and Hill on the ballot or if it is : bill or just Hill?

    We are all watching what these (Bill & Hill) two are trying to do
    it isa shame that they are so low so low.


    January 17, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Courtney S.

    Why do ALL the Clinton supports BLAME others. It's ALWAYS Obama's fault or the Media fault, or Santa's fault...

    This is the freaking problem with American LACK of personal responsiblity (like the housing market...you DESERVE to lose your house, if you were retarted enough to THINK your income would rise 30% in two years, I didn't buy a home because I use my brain!)

    I am NOT blaming the Clintons for this latest election drama (although it was a Clinton supporter who brought the suit).

    I just read some of this stuff above, you have one crazy saying this is Obama's trick, one who keeps calling Obama a Muslim (which is not only untrue but a sick scare tactic.) Why don't we all try to be objective and lets include Mr. Edwards in the coverage.

    I AM an Obama supporter, but I too adore Mr. Edwards message and PRAY its either Obama or Edwards...or better yet Obama/Edwards (at this point I don't care who leads). Just not Billary Clinton! ENOUGH!!!!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. Andy, SC

    Bill Clinton is the world's biggest hypocrite and phony. Bill, you are ruining your wife's campaign everytime you open your mouth. You are yesterday's news, so please do us all a favor- disappear.

    January 17, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Johnny J

    Sorry Bill. Guess their's one judge that you don't have in your pocket. Maybe you should have let him stay in the Lincoln Bedroom.

    January 17, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  5. Lance

    Ive always Admired Bill Clinton regardless of his reputation NOT HILLARY.
    These days.................im very very suspicious of the Clintons...................
    HOw could any clear thinking american fall for the games the Clintons play.
    Its obvious a theatrical act for the clueless and naive and a carnival for the cautiousless.

    January 17, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. Hillary

    Bill, control yourself! Down...Down...and put that back in your pants. We've talked about that in the past.

    January 17, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. Jufus, Milwaukee, WI

    GO Bill! GO Hillary!

    I LOVE you both and I'm VOTING FOR HILLARY!

    Someone has to stand up to the press and all their CLINTON-BASHING!

    Does everyone KNOW that most of these CULLINARY WORKERS are ILLEGALS, and should NOT be ALLOWED to VOTE!

    January 17, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Michael Gooch

    Dear Clintons,
    By having your name as the only viable name at our most recent Michigan Caucus, you have shown us your low point in integrity. Then, when you attacked the reporter crying about fairness, you use a figure of 5 times the votes?
    Wasn't placing Hillaries name on the ballot a means to gain 5 times the exposure over ALL of the other Democratic Candidates?
    You have sickened me, and the DNC, I believe.
    No, you can not have your house back. It will go into foreclosure January 1st, 2009 in the hands of a more "trusting" candidate.

    January 17, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Mark

    And if the caucus was being held in a school I'm sure the Clinton's would be providing buses to ensure that every Democrat's vote counted equally. Puhleeze.

    January 17, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Andy Woerner

    In fact, Bill Clinton's vote is worth 20,000 times* more than the average American citizen because he is a super-delegate at the convention.

    Please spread this message:

    On January 16th, Bill Clinton said that this is a "one man, one vote country"... even though his own delegate vote is worth more than 20,000 times* that of the average American.

    Obama and Edwards have both done a great job of bringing attention to the issue of lobbyists, but none of the candidates have addressed the fact that political insiders control nearly 40% of the delegates needed to win the democratic nomination**.

    All of the candidates need to pledge to only accept the Democratic party nomination if they win the popular vote.

    Spread the word.

    A fair election hangs in the balance.

    Andy Woerner
    Kailua-Kona, HI

    *assumes there are 70 million registered democratic voters being represented by 3,253 pledged delegates.

    **based on approx 800 superdelgates of the approx 2,000 total delegates needed to win the nomination

    January 17, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. Marsha

    I have tremendous admiration for President Clinton and Senator Clinton. They must love this country very much to put up with the constant harassment from the media that they do. You can't blame them if they occasionnaly finally get upset or cry a little.

    January 17, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. Jason, Ottawa

    So, the article states "Clinton said in a raised voice" and "as aides pulled him away" but the video clearly shows neither happened. He didn't raise his voice at all, that's a normal speaking volume for anyone...nobody touched him to pull him away. Is CNN just so used to BS'ing people they do it on autopilot now?

    January 17, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Jim, Carbondale

    CNN: Why was my comment never posted? It wasn't offensive and there have been plenty of pro-Clinton postings? Why aren't you allowing all the pro-Obama postings be posted? More evidence of the hypocrisy of the Clinton News Network!

    January 17, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Sabrina

    Bill Clinton is right, and I saw the video, and he sure was not combative. Remember it was Teachers that brought this suit, Get your facts straight!! Besides what makes you think everyone in the Culinary Union are Dems. Get ready for Madame President!!! Love you both.

    January 17, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. aware

    This is getting ridiculous! Obviously America is not ready for an inexperienced Mulato who goes to a Black Liberation church, a more experienced woman with a former president for a husband or a trial lawyer who shouts populist rhetoric but lives way above all the people he claims to be concerned about. America probably isn't ready for a Morman or a Southern Baptist either. That leaves Rudi,
    McCain, Thompson or an Independent. Way to go America. You are narrowing the field!

    January 17, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. kw


    January 17, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. David Snider

    Oprah left after a couple days and left a good impression on Obama. Bill's still around causing more damage to Hillary. Good strategy Hillary, your experience shines and I can see your own voice finally, but.... it's a mirror reflection.

    January 17, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. Chim Chim

    The downward spiral continues!

    Maybe Bill is ruining Hillary's chances on purpose. Imagine what it must be behind the scenes when someone doesn't bring him a cheese burger fast enough!

    At least the Daily Show won't have to rely too much on writers...

    January 17, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  19. Vince Rinehart

    Combative? Come on! The press has given the Clintons such an unfair shake. They have tried to back Hillary into a corner with pointed and trick questions. Even Tim Russert, whom I used to think was pretty fair, attempted to do the same at the Nevada debate. Why didn't he press Obama about his pushing the race card which he denied on Sunday and then admitted during the debate? Is this what we can expect if Obummer becomes President? No tough questions since it it might be construed as rascist? I will never vote for anyone who plays the race card just as I would never cast a vote for a Republican who runs a campaign on fear and hate. You may not like them but the Clintons are the best thing that has happened to this country in decades. BTW- thank you conservative Republicans for giving us the absolute worst president ever- GWB!
    Go Hillary!

    January 17, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. Rick

    Hillary and her camp agreed to the set up back in August. Then her supporters file a lawsuit when they find out the people affected don't support their belief Hillary is the best candidate. typical democratic tactic, if you don't like the rules try to change them to get what you want.
    How is this different than not requiring id to vote. Same person could vote multiple times under assumed names.

    January 17, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  21. D

    caucus = fraud you are exactly right, considering in states like nevada up 20% of the service industry is illegal immigrants, is that really who we want deciding who our nominee is?...and then you have people defending this, why wouldn't you want them to have to show a form of ID– who do you think is voting have you ever been in a kitchen people? This is so classic as to the direction our country is headed. It doesn't take a genious to realize that if Obama has the support of the Culinary Unions and the caucus are held at the casinos GUESS WHAT? he'll win those seats easily based on a portion of the population that is not representative of the voting public in Nevada–does this sound rationally fair to anyone?-Obama would want this challanged if he were in the reverse position (and he rightly should if he were in that position) so stop claiming Bill is crazy for stating what is clearly unfair. By the way i am not supporter of either, look at who is funding their Campaigns–Obama –Goldman Sachs -C'mon! Edwards is the only one who speaks to the majority of the population, not white, not female, not black –the all encompassing middle class.

    January 17, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. Ron, NJ

    I think the solution to this lawsuit is not to remove the special work place caucus areas but to expand the program to include everyone possible.

    January 17, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. C. San Francisco

    Sounds like Bill has it right. The press can get the focus wrong and miss critical details of a story. At least this gets out the needed clarification.

    January 17, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  24. L Harper

    Bill showing his infamous true colors as always. He looks like death warmed over. What goes around comes around, and they'll see that in about 11 months when someone else is elected President, and it won't be Hilliary. Go back to sleep til this campaign is over please...........

    January 17, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  25. colaumbus

    I bet these are the SAME democrats who despise Republicans and President Bush and have been praising Slick Willy for years. Now they've found themselves a liberal and all of a sudden, the Clintons are on the defensive for once. Word of advice – If I were you, I wouldn't waste your vote on Obama because I am fairly certain that most of the country is not going to vote for a liberal with ZILCH experience. You'd have more of a chance voting for Hillary or Edwards. Duh.

    January 17, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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