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. joe

    This hasnt been a story on CNN all day but all of a sudden when Barack Obama receives an endorsement from patrick Leahy, now you want to put this atop the political ticker. Which baracks story wasnt placed above hillary playing on the plane even though it came afterward. The Clinton News Network is practicing some dirty politics.

    January 17, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. hmmm...OKLAHOMA

    I believe that the voting system in this country is fatally flawed. Delegates, just as the Electoral College, really serve to rob the majority of American people of what they actually want. Although, often times, the people in both of these electing parties will go with the candidate of their states' choice, they also have the option not cast a vote for their states' decision on a candidate. Yes, they may face possible penalties from the people (ie. not being re-elected), but the damage is still done if their decision translates into either a party nomination or a presidential win. Honestly, I wonder why this isn't reported on more often…the media tends to "over-hype" the importance of the average person's vote in the race, rather than pointing out that no matter the outcome of the race, the American people lose every time. I call the the voting process "rigged for the establishment." Our people don't choose the president, our government does.

    January 17, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Phillip Bunn , Bailey NC

    This is the same Bill Clinton, a Rhodes Scholar, former President of the United States, who lied, under oath, a crime any common American would have been jailed for; the same Bill Clinton who tried to redefine oral sex to the American people; the same Bill Clinton who was impeached; the same Bill Clinton who approved NAFTA; the same Bill Clinton who appointed Hillary Clinton to head up a National Health Care Program, which either she forgot about, or lacked the inguenity and committment to carry through, but now in the wake of a presidental election suddenly has a plan.

    I'm a democrat, and I utterly despise George Bush, but in all honesty, I think America has had enough Clintonism and Bushism to last forty lifetimes. So whatever Bill Clinton's complaint may be with any reporter, discussing any issue, I take as politically motivated for his own personal gain and political agenda.

    January 17, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. Drew

    Alright! Hillary Cries in NH, now Bill throws a tempertrantrum in NV. Gotta love the Clintons!

    Too bad the rules have been set for almost a year now, and Clinton was fine with the rules when she had a huge lead in the polls. Now she's lost her lead, lost Iowa, lost support from the Culinary Union, and now the rules have to change because she isn't getting it her way.

    She knows if she loses NV and SC she's in real trouble of not getting the nod.

    January 17, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  5. mrland

    Would someone please explain what Clinton means when he says their votes will count five times as much as the others?

    January 17, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. Truth

    Disenfranchising voters is just disgusting. The Clintons can't lie their way out of this latest political ploy. People need to wake up. We don't need more of this double talk in the White House.

    January 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. Ohio Dem

    Is it me, or does it seem the Clintons are turning into Rove and Cheney? Last week, Hillary warned of having a president with little experience in the White House, comparing it to the terrorist attacks in England when the new Prime Minister took over. Can we please have an election without using the fear card?

    And now they are suing to supporess the vote of the Culinary Union, which, gee, just happens to be supporting Barack Obama? How about running on your own merits, then let the people decide?

    January 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. Kate

    Bill ... why are you so angry these days?

    January 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. hosea

    We need this guy back in power cuz he handles pressure so well.

    January 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. Ant in Texas

    The Clinton's have a pretty big deck of cards to play here. Over the past 2 week, the "Race Card", the "Gender Card" (cry on cue), the "Overzealous Supporter Card" and now the "If we can't get your endorsement we will take you to court Card", this has been in place for 10 months...wonder if it would be an issue if Hillary got their endorsement? Not!!! Somewhere, Bill has Karl Rove on speed dial getting advice on "Transforming a Loser into a Winner by any means necessary" or "I will do or say anything for a vote"

    The first lady of Ar-kansas counts as experience, Photo Ops with the President counts as experience, planning Presidential Tea parties count as experience. The "Junior Senator from the State of New York" and her hubby need to hire Rush as their spin doctor and their team will be complete!!!

    Will someone please make a Republican the President now, so we can lose our homes, all of our jobs can be sent overseas, build a fence and continue to turn the country over to our CEO's

    January 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Josh

    Bill Clinton is ruining his legacy for his wife's campaign.

    January 17, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Dolores Oakley

    I think Bill needs to hang it up and stay out of the presidential race. He's proving that his "woman" can't do it on her own. He's getting desperate and it's ugly.

    January 17, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. Rich In Seattle

    So Hilary is taking a cue from the book of George W. Bush. It's Ohio all over again but this time, we are doing it. Nice. Making it easier to vote it NOT A BAD THING!! I doubt this would have happened if Hillary got that endorsement. Booooo booooo Clinton. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    January 17, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. Kalman

    *wag finger*

    I did not have questionable relations with that union's leadership.

    /end wage

    At-large caucus sites have been on the books since May and the only thing that has changed is the endorsement for Obama.

    January 17, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Ca Native

    Bill coming unglued... again. All these two, Hill/Bill, know how to do is fight. Everyone becomes their enemy – right wing conspiracy, "the boys" picking on Hillary, the media, etc.

    Enough of the Clintons. Time for CHANGE!

    January 17, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  16. Tim

    wow, Can the media be ashamed of themselves? I wonder what they will write tommorrow.
    Stop this nonsense. We may be leaving out incredible people just like Bill Clinton in our math. Can I get an article about Obama?

    January 17, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. CL Orlando

    Seems to me that the Clintons are trying to make it harder for people to vote. I thought the Dems wanted every vote to count. I guess that is only true when they feel they have nothing to lose.

    January 17, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. Bob, Seattle

    This is prototypical Clintonese. Play the victim. Wave the innocence flag. Proceed to tell the folks "I did not have sex with that woman'.

    The Clinton surrogates know when to march, how to march, and what to say. It is a familiar game plan that has worked ever. Just like pro wrestling. Scream and shout, play innocent, be left for dead, then miraculously (according to script) rise from the dead and pin the opponent. Much to the applause of the crowd. A real Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus act. As P.T. Barnum once said 'There is a sucker born every minute'. The folks who BUY the Clinton circus act are the suckers. The ever present wannabe hangers on that are wowed by the smooth talking slickster. Poor Bill. Poor man. A higher judge will rule on where he spends eternity. In this, the American people will have no say. By the way, isn't Bill Clinton on the Dubai payroll? And didn't the Saudi's contribute $10 million to his library? And you think Hilliary isn't and won't be beholding to the middle east powers? Come on.................

    The proof that the crowd still loves the phony wrestler is measured by the roar of their approval. Very sad. Thankfully, most of America 'get's it' . Both the Democratic lead Congress and Hilliary Clinton have the highest negatives ever recorded among the folks.


    January 17, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Rechal

    Oooh my lord help us. Billary are back here like they own our media company. Can it get better than this?

    January 17, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. 2Up2Down

    Okay, so this article makes it sound like he is howling a screetching at the "poor reporter". That isn't the impression I got at all. I read the article thinking he was going to be a jerk or yelling or something! Nope, that didn't happen. Former President Clinton remained calm and composed and answered the reporters questions with honest factual answers. Nice way to throw some sling at the Clinton Campaign. When did CNN.com turn into TMZ.com??? Beacuse most of the stories coming off this site lately are blown WAY the hell out of proportion.

    January 17, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. Theo

    And now the CNN tells you who is the boss. CNN choosing for you the candidate of their choice. You have no right. Just go vote this choice because you have no right to think for yourself. Bill and Hill will do anything plus their media tha loves them to get elected.

    January 17, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. veronica

    Nothing goes on in the media except Clinton bashing.
    It's ignorant, and I'm thoroughly disgusted with it.

    January 17, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |

    Why so angry and defensive Mr. Clinton? This sounds SADLY familiar PLEASE NOTE HIS FIRM STANCE "NOTHING". "I have NOTHING to do with that."

    You guys remember this FIRM DEFENSIVE STANCE...."I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

    Sounds like he knows something that he doesnt want to talk about...i'm sure Hillary will support even if he lies again.

    January 17, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. Letha, Sioux Falls, SD

    If they aren't going to move the caucus in every county for the convenience of certain people or unions, they need to just leave thing alone. If the people find it important to go out to caucus, they can find the time to do it without "preference" given. The former president is right. Tell those whiny cooks to do the American thing and rearrange their schedules, take time off, or simply stop pouting.

    ¡Puede usted entender a amigos!

    January 17, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. Edna Ann Lindsay

    The reporter was more combative than Bill Clinton. He continued to ask the former President the same question over and over and over again without listening to the response. Since when did "telling it like it is become combative?"
    It is always viewed as combative when the respondent's last name is Clinton.

    January 17, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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