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. Mart from Chicago

    Just want to say, people who doesnt know anything about caucuses, dont bash Bill... Unlike some pro-obama-ers who seem to be so clouded by their arrogance and ignorance, Bill knows the system of caucus... Caucuses means they give state delegates and those state delegates will choose the real delegates to go to the Dems convention (Iowa has 900+state delegates and only can send 40 or 50+ delegates who goes to the convention, so I dont know about Nevada, but that is why its called caucus). Since casinos are "at large" caucus, they will get more state delegates.... and that is why the people who votes in casinos will get more votes!!!! Get your information right and then talk.... Note for CNN: it would be helpful for the CNN to actually report and educate the people on how caucuses works.. but then again, you are endorsing Obama silently, so why bother... You would rather the pro-Obama-ers and undecided voters to think that Bill is stupid to think a vote can count 5 times....

    and fyi, the teacher's union have not endorsed Hillary or anyone for that matter. So stop with the conspiracy theory that the union is silently endorsing HIllary and that the Clintons are actuallly doin the lawsuit. Coz i have my own conspiracy theory, the judge is endorsing Obama (silently) and that is why the charges were dropped...

    January 17, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  2. Sheri

    Aw yes! Once again former president Clinton, rushes in to save the day for Hillary again before the big day in Nevada. He did this prior to New Hampshire. Who's running as a presidential candidate? Hillary? or Bill?

    January 17, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  3. agron

    Go BILL...American people miss you...you was great American PRESIDENT,..PERIOD..


    January 17, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  4. the right thing

    great strong response. Thank you Mr. Clinton.
    voting for Hillary – always

    January 17, 2008 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  5. Greg OH

    Mart from Chicago,

    It is public knowledge that the individuals that brought the suit all donated money to the Clinton campaign.

    But besides that, the judge made the correct call: This was agreed upon in March 2007 and the lawsuit was only filed after Obama was endorsed by the union. If that is not strange, then I don't know what is.

    You can change the rules in your favor after an union you thought was going to endorse you decided to endorse your opponent.

    January 18, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  6. tntalk

    Whether you love Bill Clinton or not, you have to love him for standing up to sleazy reporting.

    January 18, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  7. rw

    Bill is still the best politician the U.S. has. He is brilliant, diplomatic and seasoned.

    January 18, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  8. Jimmie - Las Vegas NV

    Did you get a chance to watch the debates held at Cashman Field in Las Vegas? If you didn't you missed a good segment of Hillary showing her true colors. I don't think she has a clue as to how to answer a question directly without going around in circles. She talks just like a lawyer, no puns intended and she thinks the listeners don't catch what she is doing. Hillary, Nevadans (formerlly TX) are not STUPID! She made a comment how "pathetic" it was that our President was over in Saudia Arabia "begging" them to increase their oil production to help drive down the price of oil. Was Hillary aware that Congress on the very same morning of the debate introduced a bill that would impose a 40 cents a gallon tax over the next five years? Isn't Congress controlled by the Democratic? How "pathetic" of HIllary not to bring this bit of information up in her debate. Check with Fox News if you are in doubt about this. I hope President Bush vetoes this proposal!

    Secondly, the lawsuit that was brought about by the Teacher's Union in Las Vegas trying to stop the hotels from setting up a caucas so that all workers will have a chance to attend. When asked by a reporter about this incident, Bill Clinton got into the face of the reporter, and with a temper telling the reporter that he knew nothing about the lawsuit and had nothing to do with it., The reporter told Bill that the rules of the caucas were made last March, but Bill denied knowing anything about the rules. If something does not go their way, the Clintons wants to change the rules as they go along. If something does not suit their fancy, they want to file lawsuits and get the rules changed. Finding faults and lying about others to gain votes is one of the most tackiest things ever known to mankind.

    Yes, the Culinary Union is over 60,000 members strong and continues to grow everyday. Let me ask you something truthfully, if the Culinary Union opted to support Hillary, do you think for one minute that the other candidates would have went as far as the Clintons did to throw a lawsuit to stop the hotels from having a caucas just 2 days away from the Nevada Caucas? This is a classic case of "if the show was on the other foot" what would the Clintons have done?

    The unions cannot make you vote one way or the other – it's a matter of choice. My husband belongs to a union and during election time the union sends out a list of who they think we should support. We do not go by what others think about a candidate. We listen to the debates and watch the candidates on how they handle themselves, and if they are professional in the way they deal with issues. I have no use for anyone who is critical of others to gain victory because it is not an honest victory, deceiful, yes ,honest, no.

    My husband and I along with our daughter and her husband will be at the caucas on Saturday and you can bet one thing, we will not be there for Hillary.

    January 18, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  9. Karen, Jersey City

    The sad thing with this whole Bill and Hillary show is that they can't even be original. Everything Obama does here they come duplicating the same ads, the same message and the same rally style.

    What a pathetic couple.

    January 18, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  10. Geri Sacramento

    I saw that exchange. It was civil; Bill never raised his voice. He spoke in an even, but respectful tone, even though he was obviously (and rightfully) annoyed by the accusatory tone of the reporter.

    January 18, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  11. Fel Cat

    "A VOTE FOR HILL IS A VOTE FOR BILL" Bring back SLICK WILLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Clinton/Obama 08' YEAH BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 18, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  12. Texan

    cnn "moderates" out everything not favorable to Democrats. Might as well be submitting comments on TASS in the USSR...

    January 18, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  13. C Martin

    Go Bill, Americans loved you....and your wife. Everything you guys did for America...the booming economy the accidental bombing on a asprin plant in Africa, not taking out Bin Laden, the sex scandal, near impeachment, oh another sex scandal, lying under oath, lying about doing drugs, sex scandal again, watergate scandal, all the pardons, another sex scandal, illegal campaign financing, apologizing to America about the sex scandal, all the great things you did for African Americans.( which I cannot name specific thing) and a balanced budget.

    He was Awesome...too bad we might be only getting his wife this time...she might be much better????

    Hillary 08??????? lol

    January 18, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  14. Hope LV,NV

    Hey all my campaign fanatics. Again I live and Work in Las vegas, the big deal is that 10 months ago the state and national democratic party with representaion from the unions voted on createing caucuses at large in an effort to support the shift workes on the strip, yes there are a lot of people(tons of my family) who will be at work and will miss the caucus but the reason the party voted for at large sites is because there is a strong concentration(200,000+) of voters on the strip.
    This would not have even been an issue had complaints been filed months ago as opposed to 2 days after a big union endorsed Sen. Obama . Can't you still vote for who you want to even if you are union or will Tony Soprano come after you with a bat if you do?
    This is so sad that this even has to addressed but Sen. Obama is Christian( no offense to any Muslims) But if all you history buffs recall JFk had similar religious issues while runnung for president. people were worried that the Pope would be running the country because he was catholic. And people still talk bout his for being a great leader. Even good ol Bill had issues Remember he was just a Gov. when he ran. How much exeperience did he have as Gov.?

    January 18, 2008 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  15. Hope LV,NV

    you can see the whole video on you tube for those that are interested.
    And also since i'm still on my soapbox 🙂 I think race in this election has always been on the minds of Americans on a subconcious level.
    P.S. during the debates HRc made an statement that suggested that terrorists may feel more inclined to test Sen. Obama if he were to become pres. due to his Newness/inexperience, but wouldn't they be more inclined to test her since she would be new and a woman? just food for thought.
    Shout out to JE for working hard despite a virtual media snub.

    January 18, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  16. swede


    January 18, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  17. swede

    This reminds me of Bush's people rigging the voting machines. WIN FAIR OR DO NOT TRY TO BE MY PRESIDENT!

    January 18, 2008 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  18. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.

    The battle royal commences and my money is on that guy from the south side !

    It will be a battle between a straight shooter and a fooler !

    We the people have awakened and we won't fall for Bill's pillow talk any more.!

    I think that this works out great for Obama counter punching Bill Clinton for three reasons:

    1. Obama can counter back hard on Bill and not look like a bully.

    2. Bill doing the street fighting diminishes Hillary.

    3. As smart and shrewd as Billy thinks he is – he is no match for Obama's
    intelligence, integrity and superior charisma which drives Bill Clinton
    up a wall !

    You just keep that mouth a flapp'in billy – it's a great show !

    January 18, 2008 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  19. James Brown ( Independent )

    MSN and News Week have both looked into Clinton and Obama's experience. It's not even close , Obama has more time in elected office , and a track record of pulling people together..........he has the ability to unite people.

    Clinton has a history of pulverization , and the experience she tries to claim , is the same as the White House pastry chef. She is considered a Washington insider , and that means "NOTHING CHANGES" , because SHE IS PART OF THE PROBLEM.

    OBAMA 08

    January 18, 2008 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  20. mark wilkes barre pa

    Keri-texas ,,, How is it you have come to feel the current president is a bumbling idiot ? the media is a two way street,, to feel the president is wrong on issues or has wasted great opportunities in his two terms is legit and rational oppinion,, " bumbling idiot is media and partisan driven,,,,,,,,I would most certainly care what the CEO of the corporation I have invested my future in was at the very least discreet after hours or worse, on the clock, and hope they were smarter then being involved in scandelous behavior. AS to this story,, Las vegas HAS checks and balances already in place that states the casino caucusers can pull no more than 6 of the delegates . If that is correct than this is just another useless "story"

    January 18, 2008 04:55 am at 4:55 am |
  21. mark wilkes barre pa

    Mart from chicago,,, the information I posted about las vegas casino caucusers can only have or pull six delegates to go to convention ?,,, came directly off a news channel,, kind of puts a hole in your arguement Marty,, who's the un-informed one in this story and who is behind this trickery ? During presidential election time I feel strongly that the media owes the people they serve honest open and un-bias reporting,, that would be the message I would like to send to ALL news networks, even if the truth hurt,,, DO you think that will happen ?

    January 18, 2008 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
  22. GauharJK

    On the democrat side, Barack Obama is a good choice...

    On the Republican side, it is, the one and only, Ron Paul... 😀

    January 18, 2008 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  23. Wilhemina

    Treborjant1975 where have you been???...Parents, wives, children of the four thousand killed in Iraq, and the wounded who are daily suffering through paper work have not forgotten, how they trusted Hillary when she encouraged and voted for the war, then when the lies were revealed she back peddled, and blamed everyone for her handwritting. Let's focus on the issue's the Clinton's beat Obama 20:1 when it comes to negatives.

    Rodger Clinton Jr. Bill's brother. When Bill was Governor of Arkansas, Roger was arrested for cocaine possession in 1984 and served a year in federal prison.[2] Subsequently, his brother granted him a pardon amongst the list of pardons issued on January 19, 2001.

    However, Roger continued to court legal trouble. On February 17, 2001, he was arrested and charged with two counts of drunken driving and one for disturbing the peace. In a deal that spared him jail time, Roger Clinton pleaded guilty to a non-alcohol-related charge of reckless driving. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    January 18, 2008 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  24. cyrille


    Why will the teachers Union which is backing BILLARY CLINTON send in a lawsuit against another union backing Obama. Please don´t forget that the Rules were fixed by the National Democratic Party last year on march 2006..and both Sides ( Obama and Clinton) had agreed and cosigned the agreement.

    But the Clinton didn´t take Obama candidacy seriously at the beginning.They thought it was a done deal and never expected the culinary union and service union to end up endorsing Obama.So now THEY ARE IN GREAT PANIC.

    I wish they play by the rules...that´s all we want and let the american ppeople choose the best.


    January 18, 2008 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  25. cyrille


    U see,their negative campaign and constant criticism of Obama has brought people to be even more curious about him. I didn´t know Obama at the beginning of this race until Clinton stated calling his name everytime she had a rally.

    So i became curious!! there must be something about this guy if people ( BILLARY CLINTON) hate him that much.I visited his website,read about his biography,check the link,,know the fact,,

    and now i know why.

    ,, First they ignore you,
    then they ridicule you
    then they fight you
    then you win,,

    OBAMA 2008

    January 18, 2008 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
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