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. Daniel

    Did we really need any more evidence that the Clintons will stop at nothing to gain the upper hand?

    I say, enough to the "fairy tale" of the Clinton! Let's call it like it is! A cheap trick on the American public. Look who's gotten rich from all this nonsense. Not the American people.

    Let the people vote. Shut up, Bill. You look stupid.

    January 17, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  2. stan pitts pa

    obama has what it takes to be commander-in-chief, leading this country with wisdom, good judgement and competent surrogates!

    January 17, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  3. Charles in Salt Lake City, UT

    The Nevada judge's decision today was quite clearly correct: the Democratic Party is perfectly entitled to determine whatever rules it chooses to exercise it's First Amendment right to assemble, and the Court would be wrong to attempt to interfere. On examination, this was sound judgement from an impartial and Constitutionally correct jurist. I applaud him.

    Bill Clinton, on the other hand, appears to feel that the Party's First Amendment rights are of secondary importance to whatever is expedient to help his wife in her election bid. Not surprising at all. This selfish man's first interest has never been in what is "fair," but only in what is of personal benefit to him. America is nothing but his toy.

    January 17, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. pete

    hilary cries, bill goes into a rant RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA!! that is class for an ex-president. Get votes by crying and going into a red faced pent up rage!!

    I vote for a president that is above this GAME PLAYING!! i have never seen obama cry or get angry to get votes, even though he had reason to cry and get angry especially after this silly obvious court challenge launched by clinton supporters.

    emotional outbursts when things are tough, what about as president, when things get really tough. Is bill going to yell at anyone against his wife? is she going to cry to get support in the congress?


    January 17, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. Geri

    In Iowa the caucuses are held at night...some in schools, some at other places. Why in the world should the rules be changed in Nevada just to accomodate the casino workers. They don't work 24 hours a day. Another ploy of Obamas campaign. The Clinton bashings have to stop. Its not good for the democratic party or for anyone else. All the nasty comments are uncalled for and who knows what skeletons Obama has hiding in his closet. They'll start coming out when someone isn't afraid of the racist card being thrown at them. Grow up and behave like adults. Shame on CNN for being so biased. They slam Clinton at every turn & ignore Edwards. They're beginning to make FOX news & Bill O look like angels. Did you all see where Chris Mathews got his come uppance and had to apologise.

    January 17, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  6. natalina

    You really have to wonder how stupid the Clintons think the rest of us are. I mean, do they realize how obvious they are? Because if they have any inkling of how transparent their dirty tricks are, and they still try to justify them, or play the "we had nothing to do with it!" card, then they assume that we are very, very, very dumb. And, then you must ask the question....is the media stupid to buy into it? Or are they also banking on our ignorance? Open your eyes people. If it looks like a duck.....

    January 17, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |


    Dearest CNN,

    I was thrilled to see the headline "Bill Clinton goes off on reporter". In fact, I was convinced that the story was going to discuss a Howard Dean-esque blowup (see: hilarious). Unfortunately, upon seeing the clip, I quickly realized that was not the case…

    Do you really consider Clintons response to that question to be considered "visibly combative"? Oh please. I am disgusted by the hyperbolic nature of your "reporting". Re-evaluate what you release and get a grip on reality.

    Until you do, I am perfectly satisfied spending my time on nytimes.com.

    Mrs. Silence Dogood

    January 17, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  8. billy

    Isn't this shameful, supporting the lawsuit but cawordly disassociating himself from it. Why is bill disgracing himself like this. The Clintons are clearly disparate.

    January 17, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. AtlantaVoter

    Spouses campaign for spouses. Get over it.

    Hillary Clinton '08!!

    January 17, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  10. Jay

    Bill Clinton is quite possibly the worst liar on Earth. Anytime he is accused of something or anyone asks a question or makes even the slightest suggestion he did something inappropriate the guy goes off.

    If you had nothing to do with the lawsuit then why do you so strongly support changing the rules six days before the caucuses and get so angry when someone simply asks if you had anything to do with it.

    It seems to me if you had nothing to do with the lawsuit you would simply say "We had nothing to do with it." and leave it at that, but Bubba's anger and face say it all.

    I remember when he got angry at us and shook his finger at us and said "I did not have sexual intercourse with that women." and shamed us for even asking if he had. He shook his finger at us in anger as if to say "How dare you suggest I had sex with that girl."

    January 17, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  11. Josh, Chicago, Il

    CNN I've stood by your network, promoted CNN, and even changed the channel in the gym to CNN when it happened to be on FOX and you repay me by censoring my comments that are based in fact, with respect to the candidate I do not support, and you censor me.

    CNN? Vocally, in written words, and from here on out no more. MSNBC here I come.

    January 17, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  12. Don, Rochester, NY

    Isn't it funny that so many people (Hillary-supporters) are complaining here and elsewhere on CNN's sight that their comments are not being posted after being moderated. I have tried four times, with four comments, on this article alone and none of them are posted OR any longer waiting to be moderated. There was nothing offensive in these posts. In fact, they were much more intelligent than 90% of what I see here. What's the deal CNN, really?

    January 17, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  13. Don, Rochester, NY

    Now they're back? ...and they're not where they were chronologically earlier. hmmm...

    January 17, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  14. NickNas

    WOW! My opinion of Bill is starting to change. I have ALWAYS disliked Hillary but Bill is sliding. That Lawsuit is a Dirty tactic. The terms were agreed on 10 months ago. The lawsuit was filed RIGHT after Obama got the endorsments. YOU do the Math.

    January 17, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  15. no comment


    January 17, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  16. NickNas

    Mike, Cleveland, OH January 17, 2008 2:14 pm ET

    Every negative comment I've seen about Bill on this comment board so far hasn't addressed his point at all. He was entirely right and forceful about it, which is EXACTLY what I want from a statesman. Be right and be strong.

    Yea Mike............................... Don't forget " A Liar" He's lieing but you just keep on "not inhaleing" right along with him.

    January 17, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  17. nazirmo

    Obama may be leading in polls but the fact is that recently he said that =
    he did not want his staff to give him any paper until 2 seconds for fear =
    he would lose it. He also said that he was not a chief operating officer =
    and said that being President is not making sure that schedules are =
    being run properly.
    In contrast Hillary responded on the MSNBC debate that she would lead =
    from day 1.
    With the kind of comments from Obama above his he =
    really suitable for the highest job ?

    January 17, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  18. James Lucas

    Do your thing Bill. .. You are still the man !

    January 17, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  19. pete

    remember folks. the clinton camp is SETTING UP ANOTHER VICTIM PLOY. if they lose Nevada, they will blame it on the UNFAIR casino workers court decision. get votes my making americans feel sorry for you!!!

    How clever of the clintons. How stupid do they think we are?

    January 17, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  20. cornhair

    I find CNNand others so biased against hillary clinton. The old boys club is at work. They do not want to see a strong woman in the White house that they can't push around. Cnn bring on all these bias cronies who never say anything good about Hilllary? Are'nt they ashamed of the messages they are sending to our young people. Do they have mothers? Why do they hate this woman so much? who have done them nothing. I don't think they like obama they are just trying to boost him because they hate HILLARY . gO hiLLARY GO ! THE LORD IS WITH YOU AND THEY WILL NOT BE AbLE TO PULLY OU DOWN BECAUSE GUESS WHAT! THE LORID IS ON YOUR SIDE.

    January 17, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  21. Alice, VA

    Finally, people are starting to see what more than half the voting public saw in 1992. The Clintons are a dishonest couple that will do anything, and say anything to get elected. Why are they getting so angry now that their plan is in jeopardy? Is it because they care about America, or because they care about their "destiny"? I say the latter.

    January 17, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Does anyone know how long ago these caucus meetings were planned?

    I hadn't heard of any problems with them until the Culinary Workers decided to make their endorsement.

    January 17, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  23. treborjant1975

    Let's give Obama some heat for a change?! What is this country coming to??

    I would NEVER consider voting for a candidate that has direct affiliation with the despicable people named below! Maybe Obama supporters should learn a little more about their candidate!

    Let’s discuss Obama's spiritual advisor Rev. Jeremiah Wright, senior pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago; and the other clergymen revered by Obama, Rev. J. Alfred Smith Sr., senior pastor of Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, Calif.; and Rev. Michael Pfleger, a Roman Catholic priest in Chicago.

    After reading an article (see URL below) associated with Obama and these sorry excuses for humans…I’m speechless! Why has this not once (that I’ve seen, read or heard) been brought up in the media? They cover everything else! If Hillary farted in the wrong direction the media would be putting some negative spin on it! But yet, not a peep about this?? A perfect example of the media’s bias toward the Obama campaign. It’s appalling! If this is the company Sen. Obama chooses, whom he respects and looks toward for spiritual advice, there is a real problem here and how dare he say that race should not an discusses as an issue?? And the media should be ashamed of themselves for the lack of coverage, no matter how “inspiring” Obama may come across. Tisk Tisk!


    January 17, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  24. dwayne

    BLACK PEOPLE WAKE UP. PLEASE READ ABOUT CLINTON AND HER GOLDWATER DAYS: Young Hillary Rodham answered that challenge the next year as the 17-year-old class president at Maine East High School in the Chicago suburbs. She described herself in her memoirs as "an active Young Republican" and "a Goldwater girl, right down to my cowgirl outfit." As a politically attuned honor student, she must have known that Goldwater was one of only six Republican senators who joined Southern Democratic segregationists opposing the historic voting rights act of 1964 inspired by King. Hillary headed the Young Republicans at Wellesley College as a freshman before defecting to the Democrats there. But when in 1969 at age 22 she was the first Wellesley student to deliver the commencement address, she did not place civil rights first. She talked about a demonstration in Founder's parking lot at the college that "protested against the rigid academic distribution requirement" and supported "a pass-fail system" and "a say" in "academic decision making." That was not quite Martin Luther King's agenda. THIS WOMAN IS NOT FOR US. THIS WOMAN IS FOR HERSELF. NOW: How can she support Dr. King and Goldwater (segregationist) in the same year. They stood for total opposite things. If you black people (and yes, I am a black female), don't start reading and getting educated about the Clintons, you are gonna find out the hard way, that in her blood, she and Bill are republicans. They know that without dumb black people like Magic Johnson and Bob Johnson, they don't stand a chance. We can tell them NO. We have the power, and in this election, BLACK PEOPLE, WE ARE THE MAJORITY. WE can stop them. I challenge each person supporting Clinton to read about her history. She said she would answer questions, she said to inquire about everyone running, so let's inquire. Ask Bill about Fulbright. Don't be afraid of their answers. Don't be afraid to watch them squirmish and come up with some good excuse for this.

    January 17, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  25. Greg OH


    Again, please stop spreading spam emails

    January 17, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
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