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)
  1. Georgia

    Media has played into people's emotions, changed the minds of viewers and have manipulated the thoughts and directions of the Democratic votes. It is a shame that people can be convinced to vote for another party through the persuasion of the media. I say cut off all media outlets, allow voters to vote fairly and stop running the election through media. Hey, proven fact that NH didn't allow the media to change their votes.

    January 17, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Question...

    Why would someone vote for something they didn't understand..... ahhh that's because that's what they do that in Congress...duh.

    First – why is the reporter asking Bill Clinton that question, he's not running for anything.
    Second – why is Bill Clinton answering that question, he's not running for anything.

    The candidate is Hillary Clinton, last time I checked.

    January 17, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |

    Please NEVADA REMEMBER THIS IS FROM THE PRESIDENT THAT TRIED TO DEFINE WHAT "IS" IS !! I have watched, over the years, as this valley politically divided its latino culture. However, let me speak to the latinos. Apparently they didnt stay in their history classes and apparently many of their friends and family members did not either. Farm Workers Union! If it was not for this union forming for latinos back in the day, many latinos of the western US would be picking produce for 1$ an hour and would never be allowed to work construction at the fair wages they received during the last decades. Wake up politicos. Do your homework, check the history, the Obama organization goes authentically back to this country's original farm workers that rose to fight oppression and exclusion for latinos. As a direct result of the sacrifices those farm workers and organizers, many latino politicos have thus benefited. However, here we are, years later, and we have one candidate who has worked from the bottom up, walked the streets for children and unions, and continues to spread the message of unity and harmony as a people and a single country of united states. May I remind you latinos, Mexico has NEVER accomplished this which is the primary reason you came and live in the US . And now that you have come here and have made money and have supported your families, you finally decide to go against the unions? The very same unions who fought for your parents rights back in history? Are you locos? Tienen enfermas? Ruben(POLITICO BACKING CLINTON), good luck with your career, you would be making chips and guacamole if it wasn't for Cesar Chavez and those farm workers. Not sure how you wake up in the morning and look at yourself. I sure hope the latinos dont forget that no matter how much they hang out with a white lady, it doesnt change their skin. Without education, the 'status quo' will always see you as an illegal "aliens" and the only way to earn respect is going to be by uniting against a familiar opponent, dressed in expensive clothes, selling the past 25 years as her resume for success and accomplishment, and promising exactly what to you as latinos? Mas del mismo!!! Por favor, hablan con sus abuelos. Ellos saben y recuerden el movemiento de Chavez. Donde esta su respeto para nos historia? Puro chips and guacamole, cual personas latinos lo usan comida cuando estan hablando para sus derechos? Locos, puros locos. Ya! Ya! Ya! No hay pedo. Cuando viene el 19, vamos a ver donde esta el corazon del los latinos politicos. En uno vestida o con nostros? Tu sabes y solamente tu!!! Para nos hijos, U N I T E !

    OBAMA 08!

    January 17, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. Concerned Voter

    President Clinton was right, its been going on all over the media accusing the Clintons of filing the lawsuit when its totally untrue.

    It is also UNFAIR for other voters in Nevada when its 50 to 1 for them while Culinay union members are 5 to 1. Fair is fair.

    I can understand the outrage of President Clinton, they've been accused of so many things printed all over the media that are untrue. We know now the race issue was brought by Obama supporters and campaigners; but the media blamed Senator Clinton.

    The media must stop making their own spin, they must learn to report things as is, an informative news not a tabloid.

    As an independent voter leaning towards Obama, I've change my mind when I read this news from another newspaper. I was quite appalled by this, if Obama himself didn't say anything about this issue, it tells me something loud and clear; he's ready to break any rules or ignore any rules provided he's the beneficiary. There are rules and regulations to be followed for primary election, if they can't be followed, then we as a society that makes our own rules as we go.

    I don't blame the teachers union in filing a lawsuit against Culinary Union. RULES ARE RULES, they MUST be FOLLOWED TO THE LETTER.

    January 17, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Rex

    ahh yes, typical Clinton fashion. Man, I hate those crooks.

    January 17, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. Scott, Ft Lauderdale, fl

    Move on Bill. Had the culinary union endorsed Hillary this would not be an issue. This is sour grapes at best. The people are moving from your camp, now establishment Senators are backing Obama. Change is coming, and change is not a campaign slogan Hillary just adapted. It is a new style, a fresh breathe. That fresh breathe would be a nice break from your revolving door white house ... Bush, Clinton, Bush Clinton ... Can this please end.

    January 17, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. Ron, TX

    I find that the more heated and angry a denial is, the more likely it is that the accusation is actually true.

    January 17, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. Navigation

    It is not about you Bill, it is about Obama vs. Hillary. I would not see anything good about you with Obama around.
    He definately has my vote!

    January 17, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. David, Dallas Tx

    Republicans have a history of suppressing Democratic voters. One only has to look at the history of discarded votes, scrubbed voter lists, misdirection, ballot designs and complaints of intimidation in Florida and Ohio in past elections.

    Now the Clinton camp is trying to suppress Democratic voters as well.

    Why in the world would we NOT want to help people vote? Isn't this America? If they're concerned that casinos are being unfairly advantaged, why not advocate that EVERYONE working on Saturday should be provided opportunities to caucus?

    Answer: because Hillary's supporters are big-corporation types, and they all have Saturday off, so don't need any help.

    The Clinton's don't care about equal rights; they're more than happy to suppress the vote of laborers in order to achieve victory.

    Just like Republicans.

    January 17, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. joe

    I agree with you EC houston. The clinton news network is beyond bias and its getting ridiculous.There really is no difference between the clinton news network and fox news.

    January 17, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. Teacher

    Am I the only person who thinks only VERIFIABLE AMERICAN CITIZENS should be allowed to vote?

    January 17, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. Emilia Jones

    If this article is true, then I support the suit, because it would be unfair for the causes to hold in these casinos just so that their employees can find it easier to caucus.

    If that is the case, then I demand that a pooling station be installed in my home so I can just wake up in the morning and vote before going to work.

    Fair is fair, and if this law suit is dismissed, and Obama wins, I will not count his win as anything, because it would be seen as rigged.

    By the way, I am undecided voter.


    January 17, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. Jenny Beagle

    It is indeed disturbing that CNN continues to provide air time to such a well documented hate monger, coniving womenizer and liar like Bill Clinton. Who's running for the democratic nomination anyway? Can we get some real news!!!!!

    It is embarassing and almost feels as though CNN continues to introduce a rapist into everyone womens home by the continual press coverage that this slime ball gets.


    January 17, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Keri-Texas

    What? OK so I read the article and it sounded bad, really bad. Then I watched the clip, how very anticlimactic. I saw nothing wrong with that clip. In fact I agree with at least part of what Bill was trying to get across. I want the media to start asking the candidates about the issues...not about the fight. I want to know where they stand on important issues that will affect my family. I do not want to see another article about who said what about him and who said what about her. Tell me what they said about the war in Iraq, about the economy, about the off shoring of our middle class jobs, about reforming or completely overhauling the insurance industry, about regaining America's respect abroad. Puulleeeze stop reporting on this election like a 2 bit celebrity rag, act like a respected news organization.

    January 17, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. John

    I love it! It's hard to get the truth out there, but it happens sometime. Oh, by the way Alex and Rebecca, it's President Bill Clinton, not Bill Clinton, or have you forgotten how to properly refer to a former President? And E.C. of Houston, we Americans just love it when people like you make so much sense!

    January 17, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. Andrew

    If this is all Bill did, it's pretty lame that it's news.

    January 17, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. David Holub

    C'mon CNN. "Bill Clinton goes off on reporter." "Bill Clinton lashes out."
    Must everything be sensationalized? Reading these headlines I expected something tense and heated, swear words perhaps. What I saw was Bill Clinton taking issue with a reporter's question in a slightly pointed tone.
    Do you think we won't read the story or watch the video unless you make it seem like a earth-shattering story?
    Let the news speak for itself and stop fanning the flames of divisive politics.

    January 17, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. Derek

    God, is Clinton the only Democrat with some cajones? Kudos to Bill!

    January 17, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Recommend

    Clinton has nothing to do with it? Maybe if he would have stopped Bin Laden when he had the chance, and he did have the chance, then there would have been no war, the issues across the globe would have been friendlier, and the economy would be stronger. Oh he had something to do with it alright.

    January 17, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. HomoSapien

    I wonder if the Clintons would be saying the same thing if the Culinary Workers' Union had endorsed Hillary instead of Obama?

    I think not!

    January 17, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. Dan, NJ

    Gotta love the fire from Bubba.

    This lawsuit certainly is news though. Everyone involved got together and agreed on the rules for the caucus. At this time HRC and supporters beleived they would get the Culinary Workers' Union endorsement. Two days after the endorsement went to Obama, the suit is filed, including by HRC supporting teachers' union.

    The suit is obviously politically motivated with the intentions of hurting Obama and helping Clinton. Dirty politics on the HRC side. Bill should be addressing the issues and concerns of those workers, not trying to silence their voices.

    January 17, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  22. joe





    CAN WE





    January 17, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. Robert

    I love how he says over and over their votes will be worth five times as much. Maybe because those caucuses will be five times larger than the ones outside Vegas?

    January 17, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. Marlene

    ...we didn't have anything to do with this lawsuit! . . . and remember, i did not have sex with "that woman"!

    of course, if the culinary workers had supported the clintons there wouldn't be a lawsuit . . . please somebody tell me we are not looking at more dysfunctional clinton white house years. i'm beginning to have bad dreams.

    clintons, just keep showing your true colors. edwards, get out of the way. go obama.

    January 17, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. SM, Michigan

    There are stories about all the candidates here. If you don't want to read anything about the Clintons, you are free to make that choice.
    I would actually rather be reading about Bob Wexler and his path toward impeaching Cheney. But I bet this never sees the light of day, because anytime I post on impeachment, it is deleted.

    January 17, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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