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. Eric, Los Angeles

    I dunno, he seemed to be responding like any normal guy would. This article headline is baloney.

    January 17, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Angela

    Did half the people commenting on this actually watch the video. Bill Clinton did not lash out or get heated he directly answered the question which was from a reporter that seemed to want to make a name for himself. Once again pathetic reporting by CNN.Also please stop all the conspiracy theories, the rules are unfair look them up on the nevada democratic caucus website, the Clintons didn't bring the law suit, the teachers union brought the law suit. There must be 50 hours in the day if the Clintons are orchestrating all the actions they have been accused of. As for the poster that wanted to hear from the moral Michelle Obama you should take a look at some of her speeches and listen to some of the comments she has made about Hillary Clinton and other aspects of the race – I wouldn't call them moral!! If you want to debate about the issues then fine but stop these hateful personal attacks.

    January 17, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |

    Bill before this union endorsed ANYONE. nobody said this would be a PROBLEM. So when the union decided to endorse Sen. Barack Obama Clinton supporters are CRYING LIKE THEY DO!!

    Bill I honestly liked you during and after you were President but I am not really sure what has happen to YOU??? Mr. President please and I say this with every fiber in my body PLEASE leave your wifes' campaign you can't MAKE HER PRESIDENT.

    January 17, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. Roberta

    Another phony story cooked up by CNN. Clinton isn't "lashing out " at all, and he does't "visibly get more upset." He's simply stating his opinion in a very stern manner, which he's done on numerous occasions. CNN's continuous hype of such stories to generate controversy where there is none smacks of daytime talk shows and Jerry Springer. It's pathetic, but it's what we now call Political Coverage.

    January 17, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Thomas - Reno, NV

    "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,"

    Another misleading statement from Bill. 6% of the delegates in the most populated area of Nevada. Hmm... five times more is embellishment at the least.

    He should have said what he really felt. Get on your television station and say "I don't care about whether they get to vote or not because the Union has endorsed Obama, and that should not be allowed. Voters should not stand for anyone who decides to support a candidate other than my wife."

    Next up from the Clinton's – The Nevada caucus doesn't matter and shouldn't count. They're all Obama supporters, and that do not follow the policy of my legacy. "

    Get over yourself Bill. Her inevitable reign as the first female president will be decided by all voters, and not only the Clinton faithful.

    January 17, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Carrie

    Don't tell me the Clinton machine didn't know about the changes made in Nevada? It was only a problem when the Culinary Union decide to support Sen. Obama. When are people going to realize and wake up, the Clinton's are just as bad as the Bushes. Stop blaming the press for their constant negative spin. Its time for change!

    Obama 08

    January 17, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. PW Va

    Exact quotes from Bill Clinton:

    "I did not have sex with that woman."

    "I had nothing to do with this lawsuit.."

    Begin to see a pattern here???

    January 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Pirouz Ganji

    He wasn't even that upset. If you call that heated what do you call GW's speeches?

    January 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. Obama never won a real election

    CNN can you PLEEEAAASEEE do a report about yesterday when Barack praised Ronald Raygun and said the GOP party had the most vision and inspiration over the last 10-12 years?


    January 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Emily, Cambridge MA

    Exactly how is this "combative"?

    January 17, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |


    January 17, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. B. Ambrose

    Pat, be aware that the rules are made by the Democratic Party following their own internal rules. Do us a favor and be informed, do not disgrace your self with ignorance. HRC, and her husband together with some ill-informed establishment personnel wanted to dis-enfranchise the Obama camp.......the truth has prevailed. Let's be grateful we live in a country where the law is the best arbiter.

    January 17, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. Maxx

    President Clinton is right. I'm glad that he stood up to the media. The only divisiness in this campaign, and in this country is the media, and CNN leads the pact. The media is giving Obama a pass like they gave Bush. Senator Clinton is constantly attacked by the media on a daily basis. She deserves as much consideration and respect from the media as Obama does. At least we know she can endure the ridicule since the media has been trashing she and her husband since they came to Washington, DC.

    The media failed to scrutinize Bush and look what we ended up with. Now, they're giving Obama a free ride, and we'll end up in the same place. Obama scares me worse than Bush did when he got elected and re-elected. They're both too idealistic.

    CNN is so bias, and I say that with the utmost respect for the network. But, I tell you, lately, I have had to agree with that pompous Bill O'Reilly about the bias in the media. I never thought that would happen.

    January 17, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. Andy, New York, New York

    The more Hillary makes Bill make a fool of himself trying to get her elected is the more damage he is doing to his legacy and the more turned off voters are becoming by the desperation of the Clintons.

    I think the Clintons have not only met their match in Obama, but Obama seems to have old political hands from the Democratic Party working with him against the Clintons.

    This is going to get uglier before it gets more beautiful.

    Vote Republican! Vote McCain-Giuliani!

    And I am a Black New Yorker!

    January 17, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |


    January 17, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |

    Stop harrassing the Clintons and fairly cover this election. The name calling on CNN=Politics, i.e., Pitbull is inappropriate.

    January 17, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. Rao Guntur

    Bill is right!! He should also have added that caucuses by design are basically undemocratic. There is no true democracy in USA. We use an outdated electoral college system.

    January 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. Hammermill

    Uh boy, for those Hillary supporters out there. Do you really want to see the Clintons on the tv again? Jeesh, I was kind of hoping those days were over...

    January 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. Joe

    This is old news! Must be a slow day for CNN. How about we talk about the issues??

    January 17, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. Jeff

    I'm surprised Bill-ary's rising anger hasn't been more of the focus by the media. This is a guy who used to be unflappable on the campaign trail. Now he's lashing out at everyone. He's like my cranky Grandpa!!

    It's only a matter of time before HE breaks down and cries, effectively ending his – I mean Hillary's! – bid for the White House. Wouldn't THAT make for delicious news coverage!!

    January 17, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Justin

    He's the only presidential hopeful's spouse that is always in the news defending and fighting for the candidate. Is that how it will go when she's president? It's so true that we're voting for Bill more than Hillary.

    January 17, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. Chunky Monkey

    Whats the big deal? I hardly call that going off on a reporter, he merely argued his point. Thats not a raging uncontrolled fit of anything.

    January 17, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. Liz Wetzel

    Why are my comments deleted? Has the CNN media been paid the same ones who paid OPRAH to back up Obama?

    January 17, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. stan pitts pa

    Pat Huntington NY January 17, 2008 3:36 pm ET

    Bill is right. The change was unfair. It's obvious Obama couldn't win under the old rules, so he had them changed in his favor. Now, who's Slick?

    ha weird you say that as the rules were made in march 07 by the democratic party leaders (not obama), and since then hrc didnt complain, now obama gets the endorsement of the culinary workers (a huge endorsement) and all of a sudden there is a problem, yeah theres only a problem when the hrc camp dont have their way!

    January 17, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. Mary, Las Vegas

    The under handed methods & slimey intimidation, I assure you is by the Culinary union in las vegas
    I have asked why this stroy is not being covered for 3 days straight & my comments have been blocked.
    This caucus is like something you would expect to see in some 3rd world country
    Please understand, if you are culinary & working saturday only Obama supporters are allowed
    No wonder Bill is mad-we are embarrased & disgusted with the way this caucus has been handled in Las Vegas.
    Only the negative Clinton comments are posted here

    January 17, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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