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. Rain

    I'm in the military, and the quagmire is actually the result of increasing terrorism of the 90's. Finally, somone with leadership decided it was time that we can't live ina world like that. Guess what, no attackes here since 9/11? Coincidence? Don't think so.

    Attacks (Quagmires) In the 1990's:
    American Embassy x 2
    World Trade Center (1993)
    USS Cole
    The Rise Of Al Queada
    etc. etc.

    What did clinton do? Absolutely nothing but sit back and have affairs with women when the country needed him most. Wonder how Hillary feels being fourths?

    January 17, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Tbest

    I bet he wouldn't complain about the ease of voting for the workers if their Union was supporting Hillary. He's become a bit ridiculous. Hopefully an Obama victory will happen and take the Clinton's out of the public light for a while.

    January 17, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. tom

    I guess it depends on what the definition of is....is.

    January 17, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. Tom, Scottsdale AZ

    This is the behavior we can expect with a Clinton Presidency. Unbelievable arrogance. Please think this through before you vote.

    January 17, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. Jesse

    I agree with the other two comments here. I don't think that we should be concentrating as much on the Clintons. Let them sink into oblivian. Why don't we concentrate our time and effort on those candidates that could actually lead the country. While I don't agree with Obama on all of the issues, I do know that he would make a MUCH better president than Hillary.

    January 17, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. Native

    It's a fact, Hillary will not and CANNOT win this war without Bill. People who vote for her either 1) just want to see a woman for president and will do anything it takes with no regards as to how capable she is to lead (I have nothing against a woman president, but Hillary!??!) or 2) They think they're voting Bill back into office.

    Talk about the blind leading the blind. Quite fooling yourselves folks.

    January 17, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. matchu

    Boohoo....next article please...

    January 17, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Shelly-Ohio

    The reporter was right to ask about this, although Bill may be right tha the Clintons had nothing to do with it.

    You can argue the validity of the lawsuit, but the TIMING is suspicious.

    All involved, including the teachers union, agreed to this caucus set-up almost a full year ago and had full knowledge of it. AND the teachers are the ones who pushed for the caucus to be on a Saturday so that more of them could participate.

    The fact that they filed this lawsuit 8 days before the caucus and immidiately following the culinary union endorsement of Obama is VERY suspicious.

    If they thought this was really about giving an unfair amount of leverage to casino workers...

    1 – Why did the teachers agree to it in the first place?
    2 – Why didn't they file the lawsuit months ago when the decision was first made to set up these at-large caucus locations?

    I haven't seen anybody who is defending the lawsuit as credible answer those questions.

    And the possibility of voter supression IS news worthy, especially in light of the 2000/2004 election cycles...

    January 17, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Internationalstudent

    So can Clinton tell us why a casino vote is five times a regular vote? .....this is insanity!

    January 17, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    Oh, cry me a river, HRC camp! You know Obama will beat you in Nevada!

    January 17, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. Jeff


    Hillary suggested there be a contest to name the role Bill might play in her administration. How about "Scolder-in-Chief", or "Trash-talker-in-Chief"? In his years, we had her ranting about a "Vast right-wing conspiracy" and lashing out at his critics. So now, they just want to trade roles? And this is the "experience" we are supposed to hope for? I for one do not wish to "experience" this kind of polarizing, defensive, divisive behavior any longer. I'll vote for ANYONE but this couple again.


    January 17, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  12. roger ny, ny

    Obama mafia is at work in this case.

    January 17, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. Shiva

    E.C of Houston – Texas – its the other way round... see other ticker comments... we should ask how much is the opposition paying CNN to show anti-Clinton news all the time... yes, CNN is biased, but the other way round...

    January 17, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  14. Jason

    The dispute between this reporter was later revealed just to be hype for the upcoming "Clinton vs. everyone that wants some" heavyweight title bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas immediately following the Nevada caucus.

    January 17, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. Diane

    I find it amazing that a larger story about this lawsuit is not on all the major news and given more than just a passing comment. This is huge. I can't believe that the media and the American people are ignorant enough to believe that if Hillary had received the Union endorsement that this lawsuit would have been brought forward. This is the kind of stuff we can't deal with for another four years. The Clintons bring controversion and division, even if I did vote for him twice – I would never vote for Hillary because of what it put our nation through as a whole. I agree wtih Tim, can we get a good article that finally corrects Obama's record about the Iraq War and how he did not support it in 2004. I continue to see that parroted by all the major "news" (sic) men and women.

    January 17, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Ron

    I'm sorry but I'm so glad Mr. Clinton isn't running for anything.

    I absolutely love it when somebody thinks they are being smart and ask him a question forgetting he no longer is a 'politician' where politician means sucking up to anybody with a camera and a microphone.

    Now if the commenters above whant more coverage for their candidates (BTW I won't vote for Hillary in SC) show them this video and tell them this is how to handle idiots trying to sell advertising on their TV stations.

    January 17, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. rob10001

    The Clinton's have become even sicker with their sick obsession with gaining power at any cost. I have lost all respect for both of them now. Now they are trying to stop minority voters from getting to the polls, on Martin Luther King's holiday yet. Amazing! Did the voting rights act mean nothing to them? They are not Democrats they are the worst of politicians. Will they stop at nothing to seize power!

    January 17, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. Jose Card - Independent

    Had Bill followed the U.S. government office ethics for former presidents, he would not have got himself into this mess of his own creation.

    Bill is not a regular Joe. He is a former president of the United States of America, which he is trying very hard to throw it all away as he intends to appear as the president for the third and fourth term.

    Ron Paul supports no taxes on service tips such as restaurant workers.
    Ron Paul supports legalization of prostitution.
    Why does Bill treat the culinary workers only one fifth as important as teachers?

    I am a teacher myself, but we are no better as a person or worker.
    Teachers' Unions are the strongest union in the country with lots of rotten apples.

    Is Hillary for change? She thinks she knows it all and she knows what's best for you. She will stall our democracy and the spread of global democracy for countries like Russia, Pakistan, Venezuela and Burma.

    There should be laws against Bill's outrageous behavior as a former president.
    A Constitution Amendment to limit terms for a couple is needed. Our forefathers did not expect women's voting rights and independence in the 1700's.
    If you let a couple stay in the White House for too long, they think they own it and the furniture inside, and worse, you.

    January 17, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Linda~n~Wisconsin

    President Clinton has over an 80% positive rating within the democrates. He was a great president and he will make a great first husband in the White House. I am glad someone puts the media in their place. Personally, I am sick and tired of the stupid comments made about the Clintons in the media, by the pundits and people on these blogs.

    There are so many angery and hateful remarks. I have to wonder if people really think that they are getting some where with these remarks. Personally, I think that the person writing them needs to get a life and quit putting others down to make themselves feel better.

    In the end, Hillary will get the votes from Michigan, and the nomination. Obama will be her vice president and we can all be pleased.

    January 17, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. Ginny CA

    I understand Bill's frustration and anger about having so much blamed on him and Hillary. Much of the finger pointing at the Clintons about this lawsuit have come from the Obama campaign. The Clintons had nothing to do with the lawsuit. Enough is enough! The press needs to be fair and balanced with all of the candidates.

    January 17, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. John

    Clinton is right on the mark. You in the media create controversy at every turn. Most of us have little to no respect for the media anymore. You invent news these days and CNN is a leader in fake news about fake issues.

    January 17, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. DJ, new york, ny

    Bill did it right, as the rerporter wanted to make wave or create news.

    A stupid question deserve a rude answer.

    January 17, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. K., VA

    For someone who had "nothing to do with the lawsuit", he sure is defensive.

    January 17, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. Rico

    Well done Bill at least you have some b-lls!
    I hear Barack Obama wants to bring everyone together then why did he do the opposite last week with playing the race card.
    Please comment on that CNN.

    January 17, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. David

    You call that a 'lashing'? Guess the news reporters have a daily quota of harassing the Clinton's so they come up with this. Lou Dobbs is the only person on CNN worth watching. Christ – these news reporters are shameful.

    January 17, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31