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. zavia17

    I am soooo tired of haters trying to say that people are voting for Obama just because he is Black. It is the issues. He is more than black he is the right person for the job!

    January 17, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  2. JFK

    Wow, usual Clinton hatred being spewed here. I guess no one has better issues to talk about. This Union deal for caucuses is a bit strange and questionable to any candidate that’s not Obama. It seems his Culinary Union does cast some shadow over impartiality here. But it would be nice if people could have an intelligent conversation here instead of just hurling insults!

    January 17, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  3. Larry

    Bill and Hillary must be running scared. Come on, lets get real. If Hillary cannot stand up for herself without acting as though she is about to cry, then she needs to stop running. I like Bill....I voted for Bill. I think he did a great job as president but I do not appreciate this "good cop,bad cop" routine the Clintons have going.

    Why did they wait until they got to the South to pull out Bob Johnson? Is it because 50% of registered voters in South Carolina are Black? I am glad that Johnson's comments backfired and he had to apologize for his comments.

    January 17, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. NickAtNight

    Where are the questions about Hillary's illegal campaign donations – Hsu? Paws?

    Or her indicted fund raisers – Gupta, et. al.?

    Or her being the only candidate running in the Michigan primary. The other candidates took a principled stand. Hillary just has nor scruples.

    January 17, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  5. Robert Zuckschwerdt

    Why don't they vote in hospitals, grocery stores, Walmart etc, this Casino thing is ridiculous ! Sounds like slick Obama has some friends in the gambling world.

    January 17, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. Laura

    Thank you Bill for reminding the world that you and Hillary are part of the politics that everyone is so sick of. Thank you! You just keep opening your mouth like you do and we will all just sit back and watych your campaiggn crumble. With joy.

    January 17, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. pam Eugene OR

    Listen up folks!
    This was agreed on by all parties last March. Everyone said OK back then. But of course, Hillary would have never guessed that she would NOT get their endorsement
    so she had no problem with it back then. Now since she did not get the endorsement she/teachers union went to court to try and get out of the deal they had settled on months earlier changed. I can't understand for the life of how so many people go off half cocked and defend Hillary blindly. She agreed to this till it did not go her way. Please people use facts and not emotions.

    January 17, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. Duck U. Fuhbya

    To E.C.

    Her 'filthy crude' husband just happens to be the best president in century for this very toubled country. If you want to talk about crude and filthy, let's talk about the absolute SLEAZE that has governed for the last nearly 8 years.
    I am a John Edwards fan and supporter also, but we don't need your devisive and totally WRONG, and unjustified slams at Bill Clinton. You kind of behavior is crude and filthy.

    January 17, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  9. Cody

    That reporter sure sounded like had an agenda. I'd have gotten annoyed, too.

    January 17, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  10. Jawinka Smith

    For once, I actually believed him.

    He's right. Unions are so incredibly powerful. Now they are rigging the vote. What a shame.

    January 17, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. Travis

    A judge knocked it down. I'm sure Hillarea will start crying real soon.

    I'm curious, will Bill run to her aid when she has issues with international leaders? Will Rangel defend her when Chavez gets riled up? When congress does not act right will her people sue?

    January 17, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  12. Beth Keating

    I agree with Bill Clinton. It seems that reporters relish trying to goad candidates and create ill will between the candidates even when they are trying to avoid confrontation. The race issues were largely created by reporters slanting the words of the candidates and trying to create problems. It is annoying and frustrating to watch.

    January 17, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  13. Karen Arndt

    Bill Clinton looks and sounds like a guy with a HUGE problem–the old ways are not working for Billary this time and what we are seeing is the Clintons' thwarted sense of entitlement. If you want to see something really scarey, pull up the speech Hillary gave in St. Louis in 2004 where she makes a crude joke about Ghandi. Go to YouTube. I don't have the link here. Watch it and feel your skin crawl.

    January 17, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  14. stuffy


    January 17, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  15. Wilhemina

    Go Obama! Clintons' listen to what America is saying to your supporters, either you are arrogant or ignorant or both (like the Judge told OJ about his slickery). No one wants your scandalist behavior to run our country. What country would take either of you as a threat, you are looked down on by every overseas government. No to a impeached former President and his wife, My God, have some respect for your country!

    January 17, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  16. james ny, ny

    Definitely rigged election. shame on you Obama

    January 17, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |

    Go Steven Klien...you really hit the key points there about Bill Clinton

    January 17, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  18. Thomas - Reno, NV

    Rigging the vote? Hillary and Co. tried rigging the vote back in March when they thought they would get the endorsement of the Culinary Workers Union. The didn't, therefore they again attempted to "rig the vote" by attempting to have a federal judge rule that it was not fair to hold these "at-large" caucuses. The federal court has no jurisdiction over state caucuses, and therefore should have thrown this out immediately.

    ALL candidates were involved in the planning of the caucuses. When it didn't go in her favor a week ago, her followers decided to file a lawsuit. Great leadership from Hillary. Let's disparage 200,000 voters in Nevada, even though we helped get these caucus locations created in the first place.

    When will you people WAKE UP!?!

    "For once, I actually believed him.

    He's right. Unions are so incredibly powerful. Now they are rigging the vote. What a shame."

    January 17, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  19. James Brown ( Independent )

    Everytime Bill opens his mouth it's another Vote for Obama.

    January 17, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  20. ABC123, NY

    Slick and Hillary are shameless, egotistical, arrogant politicians whose only goal (their birthright?) is getting back their power. They don't are how they do it. If it hadn't been for Ross Perot in '92, nobody would even remember Slick, and he'd be back in Arkansas chasin' trailer park trash under Hillary's nose.

    Obama in '08!

    January 17, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  21. pete

    people, WHO IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, BILL OR HILARY? is having your husband do your dirty work the kind of change America is seeking? vote for hilary and get another third term for bill clinton.

    If she has to rely on her husband to run her compaing who is going to run the white house when tough decisions need to be made?

    January 17, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  22. Tom, Boston MA

    jawinka smith or some bubba writes:

    " He's right. Unions are so incredibly powerful. Now they are rigging the vote. What a shame."

    Unions are organized voters. how do they "rig the vote" by voting their conscience? first, your ilk cry hollywood entertainers shoul shut up, not the union should be disbanned or something? all shut up except you and your ilk, right? it's a real shame that you get to vote at all.

    that aside, CNN censored my comment out, but let me try again:

    Boycott CNN and other corporate media that fill you up with junk, and google Democracy Now and get real information!

    January 17, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  23. Mike

    I don't understand "old" Bill. Where does he come up with the concept of a vote being worth "five to one"?

    January 17, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  24. kern 52

    Hey, CNN are you going to cover anything related to a Washington Post editorial that disclosed that Obama's spiritual advisor and church leader gave an award to Louis Farakahn? Stop your cheezy campaign coverage and get out there and get the facts on Obama. We know plenty about Hillary and John Edwards. It's time for you to do your job as the forth estate and do some real investigative reporting. You, the media are failing the Amarican public by not doing your job in our democracy. That's why people get their news from comedians and big fat limbaughs. All of the preceding hate speech about the Clintons most likely originated with limbaugh. Just make things up and keep repeating. That's waht passes for news these days. You, the media are responsible for helping Bush glide into the White House twice. And you did it with this kind of reporting. Now get out there and find out how Obama feels about Farakahn. America needs to know!

    January 17, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  25. Bill in Montgomery, AL

    I thought maybe Billary was claiming he never had sex with that woman! For all of those that think the Clintons are so high and mighty, just wait until they reveal their true colors. They're the most conniving, underhanded, dishonest, sneaking, including the little princess, people you've ever seen. Even right now, Hillary won't reveal herself and those pictures of her "crying" are just a big publicity stunt to try and win over votes. The Clintons could care less about the average American. All they're interested in is more power.

    January 17, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
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