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)


    January 18, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  2. Ripper

    When will someone tell Bill that he is irrevelant now? I guess he doesnt have anyone to rape or molest so he's out there running his mouth instead.

    And reporters need to learn that they aren't immune to anger or attack when they open thier mouth and spew inciting comments instead of "reporting" the news. To many of these so called journalists want to be the story instead of just reporting the news.

    January 18, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  3. Andrew, NY, NY

    Unfair.....but NOT if Hillary got the endorsement of the Culinary Union. These two are so shallow. I just love seeing both of them lose their cool because of Obama's unexpected success. Go Obama!!!!

    January 18, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  4. Bob

    Watching this interview I had flash backs of " I did not have sexual relations with that woman" The guy is allways lying

    January 18, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. From The North

    Well, although as a Canadian, I do not have a vote, I was one of those people who really believed that Hillary and Bill had a mandate for bringing positive change to America.

    However, after non-intentionally coming across the Peter Paul vs Clinton Scandal on the WWW my belief has changed. I don't know how much credability one can give to WWW reports. But, I would hope that no one would be so callous as to put a fraudulent copy of the Affadavit Filed by Peter Paul against the Clintons on the Web. I knew absolutely nothing about this case. And to say I was shocked by this article is an understatement.

    It most certainly changed my view of Hillary and Bill. And it does not give me any pleasure to make that comment.

    January 18, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. carol

    Dan Abrams is the only Commentator that is paying attention and challenging the rest of the Media with all of their "directed" comments and questions – an inaccurate snippet of every situation regarding the Clinton's.

    CNN you need to stop cheating the American people and present a fair and balanced presentation to the public or get off of the air.

    January 18, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. Ray

    Is this the voice Mrs. Clinton found? A term and one-third in a Senate seat in a state she never previously lived in and she NOW finds her voice in little New Hampshire? Perhaps she should have moved there to become their senator.

    Is Bill her real voice? Is Mrs. Clinton ready to head the government? Has she ever even managed an office? A department? I realize she has an extensive law career but how much legislation will she be passing as the President? Perhaps she should return to the practice of law. I fear her practice in the White House will ground this nation to a halt.

    January 18, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  8. Mart from Chicago

    to mark wilkes barre pa, do you know how many delegates are in Nevada? 33 in which only 25, if i correctly read from a website, is on the line in this jan 19th caucus, the rest are the superdelegates. so if your info is correct, 6 out of 25 is chosen by these "at large" precincts of casinos, then thats more than 5 times. btw, I did not say I know 100% about this facts in regards to Nevada caucus, all i am sayin is people should read and find out what is the real news out there, rather than bashing Bill without the knowledge of it... If you read previous comments, u'll see how ignorant people are, especially the Clinton's haters, they speak without knowing the fact... And another point i made was CNN should be reporting how this caucus thing worked, rather than attacking Bill and quoting what he said to make him sound stupid for thinking a vote can count 5 times!!... And by reading tickers and the news on CNN, I dont think unbias reports exist at all... And if its the truth, I would like to hear it...

    January 18, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Norris

    wow, chill out Bill. you're starting to show just how bad you want back in at Pennsylvania Ave. like Roland martin pointed out, it's funny how the teachers union did not have a lawsuit until the Culinary union endorsed Obama. and the Clintons don't like it if it doesn't favor them. get real. let the casino workers cast votes.

    January 18, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |

    It's so very simple... Do the math...

    50% of the country right now would not vote for Hillary Clinton,
    under any circumstances.

    Hill and Bill have successfully split the Democratic Party right
    down the middle over their playing the race card. Do they really
    think a majority of black voters are going to support them after
    they've destroyed Barack's chances?

    Hillary's nomination will be the best thing that ever happened to
    the GOP. It will without any doubt whatsoever guarantee a
    Republican win in November.

    Just do the math...

    Jim Whittaker
    Hemet, California

    January 18, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  11. Charles Douglas Lemay

    Everytime Bill Clinton opens his lying mouth, it only reminds people
    about everything so utterly dishonest and distasteful about his eight
    years as president. Are these two actually so stupid that they think the
    American people are going to allow them back in the White House for
    another eight years of scandals and divisive politics of personal
    destruction? Wake up Democrats! You're about to nominate another
    John Kerry in a skirt (whoops, pantssuit), and you see how well THAT
    turned out.

    January 18, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. Bewildered Voter

    Will Bill keep mum when Hillary is attacked as president??? For better or worse, electing Hillary is a 2 for 1 deal.

    January 18, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Tim

    How can Obama supporters support the inequality in voting thats going on in Las Vegas. All voters in NV should have the same equal chance to vote. Bill Clinton have a reason to be mad. Others should be just as mad. Obama took this one right out of the Bush playbook. Is this the kind of president we want? Another I can do what I want to because I am president.

    January 18, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. elliott

    Ha ha ha ha...that Slick is tooooo much! Ha ha ha ha

    January 18, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    The below is exactly what the reporter asked him, it was a simple question, it was not accusatory, a simple question:

    During a campaign stop for his wife in Oakland a day earlier, Clinton became visibly annoyed when KGO-TV reporter Mark Mathews asked him whether Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign "should take a stronger stand against a union's lawsuit to keep casino workers from caucusing at special precincts in Nevada".

    That is it, a SIMPLE question and "bad cop Bill" needs to go into "Chris Wallace is a bum mode" to ratchet up what is left of the base.

    When Romney had an issue with a reporter that reporter was COMBATIVE and wanted an argument and thus warranted a heated response.

    Simple as ABC.

    January 18, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. LS

    Bill says " I....I .....I did not have anything to do with this..." sounds to me like he's the one running for president. And of course if we think that they the Clintons will be not be rulling if they win then we decieve ourselves. Unless of course Hillary and Bill do want to break up their marriage, else they will have to share some of that power. For them this is what will be, and i believe the real intention of Hillary's bid, to reign over America.......

    ...Vote wisely America........Obama08

    January 18, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  17. Mike

    Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

    January 18, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  18. Censored, in Clearwater, FL

    Don't say anything negative about Bubba or Hillary or else your opinion will end up in "Your comment is awaiting moderation." limbo

    January 18, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  19. From The North

    I find it difficult to believe anything these two say. There is so much negative publicity on the both of them.

    January 19, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  20. mark wilkes barre pa

    Marty ,, I did not mean to imply that YOU were un in-formed or up to trickery,, MY comment and feelings were to Bill clinton's arguement and then to point out the hole in your arguement. I should have reversed the sentences and my point would have been made clearer. I stand by what I said about the six delagates,, and add "AT BEST" through trickery againts the clintons, thats the best they can do, is that better ? As to your comment on news bias,, No-one should get there total source of info from one direction. I was simplt stateing that I did hear a news channel explain the process in las vegas, even if it was spotty and a little confusing. At least they attempted to explain for once. The media COULD be so helpful, useful, and important at election time, BUT, it seems to me by what ever channel you happen to turn on whether it be tv, radio newspapers or website, you only ever get one side of a story explained in detail The media could do so much better and be so much more respected if the reporter carrying the story would either state his or her leaning oppinion up front or be equal to both sides of an explanation and stay out of the buissness of leading people to a oppinion on any subject

    January 19, 2008 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  21. jj, honolulu

    What exactly is the "awaiting moderation" about? I know what moderation means, but I am seeing my post on MY screen. Does that mean that what I post is only available to be seen on my screen until a decision is made to the contrary?

    January 19, 2008 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  22. Lilia

    Everyone...they all Play politics and what has happened in Nevada shows that Mr. Obama is not lily white.

    I would like to see any husband, who has, of course, any respect for his wife and mother of his child, stand by and allow his spouse to be dragged through the mudd the way Mrs. Clinton is constantly dragged through the mud by the AMERICAN press (sorry folks, most of the world LOVES her). I don't know, maybe most American husbands would just let that happen. It seems that way, anyway, by all the incoherent comments I read all over the place regarding this particular incident.
    Now, he (Clinton) was approached with the question... It was not as if he yanked the mic out of the "journalist's" hand and told him off.

    Get a grip you all...Mrs. Clinton is a tough politician...but Obama is no saint either and that will all come out when the Republicans get a hold of him.

    McCain or Romney will win. No doubt about it and the US Democrats will be left pondering: "we had three amazing candidates and we blew it..."

    You have no idea what a mistake you are making but the Press is making sure you make it.

    January 19, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  23. mark wilkes barre pa

    Hey marty ?,,,, did you see the results in las vegas ? so much for Bills theory, and how about those accusations of voter intimidation againts Hillary ?

    January 20, 2008 06:06 am at 6:06 am |
  24. Jaye Lee

    I've always loved Bill Clinton. But, not right now. I really feel that he is going to do us in. This is our year, Democrats should be proud of their candidats and their position. Mr. Clinton please stop. You are hurting the party.

    January 21, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
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