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. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    The Clintons are so dirty. I wonder where Rove learned all of his tricks. Let's get on with this election and stop allowing the Clintons to deprive the voters of a decent, dignified election.

    January 17, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  2. tlo

    I would hardly call that "lashing out." And I wouldn't describe that as Clinton "raising his voice."

    I'm an Obama supporter, but I find it insulting that any time a politician (especially the Clintons, lately) get passionate about a subject, they're accused of lashing out, of having a meltdown, or of reacting disproportionately.

    There's enough drama to be found in the disagreements among the nominees. CNN shouldn't turn the tone of a run for President into Hilton/Spears-esque tabloid jounalism.

    January 17, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  3. pgg

    I watched this video just now. Bill did not raises his voice one bit. I'm hanging on to the election in every way, but I am really so sick and tired of journalists in the media creating and fabricating that which isn't. You are all becoming or have been ridiculous, only I wasn't as aware previously, as I wasn't much into politics.

    Bill Clinton was annoyed at this reporter...but his voice was not raised a bit.

    January 17, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. kathe Oakland Ca

    What a picture. Mayor of Oakland shown with old Bill – I guess that is to make us folks in Oakland for Clinton – Give me a Break. Americans are so smart, you cannot do a photo opt and expect us to believe you are real.
    Do you really think Bill has done any civil rights activities during the beginnings of MLK, marching, the sit ins, riots, etc. I had never heard of Bill before he ran for President I am a product of the "real civil rights efforts, I was hosed, I was bitten, pushed, etc. I never saw or heard of Bill Clinton being involved.
    I have relatives in Arkansas and they were and still, in some places in Arkansas, are treating african americans with "slave" mentality. So please Bill just because you like the blues and Aretha Frankin – that does not make you or Hillary a champion of black folks or any folks OK. So America let us not be fooled by all this "talk" that is all it is go for what you know as fact not what is being presented and presented by CNN

    January 17, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. KR

    Good for you, Bill. Stick to your integrity and thank you for being protective of your wife. Whether she is running for President or not, the truth is always best.

    January 17, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Jenny

    I will never vote for Hillary Clinton, but what Bill Clinton is saying is true. It's an unfair advantage for the union. Votes are being taken away from districts and being consolidated in a special privileged group that is NOT a district. It also consoliates control of the caucus votes, and there has been reports of the Culinary Worker's Union leadership in the state using tactics of intimidation to force workers to threaten their ability to actually caucus if they do not commit to Obama. That is a violation of the law and is anti-American. It's allowing a union to control a vote, and to have the power and privacy to steal the rights of individuals

    Consider this, would you like to have your boss or a manager standing over your shoulder monitering who you vote for? Because the workers are feeling afraid of the union attacking their right to work if they do not vote as the union wants them to. I am not anti-union either, I belong to a union. This whole thing is a fraud and should be stopped. The NEA is right to sue, I think the American people should collectively bring a lawsuit to invalidate the results of such a primary if it was tainted as it is clearly being, because it impacts all our rights and the vote.

    I was leaning to voting for Obama, but will never vote for him now. I had my questions based on his record, but this clinches it for me. I'm voting for Edwards now.

    January 17, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. Weez

    Every time CNN gives Bill Clinton 10 paragraphs to spout his opinions, you should also give Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Edwards an equal amount of space to voice theirs. I would much prefer to hear from honest, moral spouses...not someone who wagged his finger at me as he lied, then lied again under oath. It's beyond me why anyone would care what Bill Clinton says in his increasingly desperate attempt to spend eight more years in the White House.

    January 17, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    This further proves that you can't ask these people a simple question without this perjured, disbarred ADMITTED LIAR pointing his fat little finger at you.

    You are not allowed to ask the King and "Queen" any questions.

    Did Mrs. Edwards or Mrs. Obama do or say anthing today or this week?

    This serial adulterer deserves no more FREE PRESS than any of the other candidates spouses, but this also shows that she could not get elected dog catcher without his help or name.

    And "arun", Chris Wallace asked him a valid question and "Slick wily" overreacted, but that's what these "people" do when asked anything other than a planted or softball question.

    They get accusatory, but that's what trash does.

    I respect Obama and his classy wife more everyday.

    January 17, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. Chaunda,IN

    This article is boring and inflammory. If something like this was wrote about Obama's wife, E.C., you would be going through the roof. Seriously.

    January 17, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Karen

    Has Bill privately asked God (and received) forgiveness. I believe there's some story in that Bible about two guys praying; one on display for everyone and the other very privately. I think the guy in back was heard first!

    You are right. I am not privy to Clinton's requests for forgiveness. I guess I don't think he has changed his ways and therefore hasn't truly been remorseful.

    January 17, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. Ryan Indianapolis

    Isnt it amazing Bill Clinton can act like this with no class and say what he wants and the left calls Bush every name in the book and defends Clinton????? THE LEFT ARE COWARDS AND HYPOCRITS.....

    January 17, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. pgg

    By the way...after this Bush/Chaney administration, Hillary looks like God's father.....please, enough with how bad our nominees are....there will never ever ever be one perfect president of these United States. The president is much of who he or she surrounds him or herself, in the cabinet, etc. No president chosen will ever topple the congress, so why smear every single nominee out there, Republican OR Democrat. Any elected president will give his or her very best.....ans we will all have to settle on just that. The US cannot get much worse than it is, unless we head into a full depression or end up in a nuclear war with Iran some day.

    January 17, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. Michael

    I don't see what the problem is with former President Bill Clinton because when you stop and think about it he is completely right.

    January 17, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    Bill Clinton is merely standing up for what is right. I agree with him 100% on this issue. The news media, however, will not report the facts. It's as if the facts don't matter.

    Al Gore was correct when he said the reporting of the news changed dramatically when it became "for profit". What a sad state we are in when we cannot trust the news media to be one of our biggest checks on government. Instead, we can count on the news media to bring us emotionally charged stories that have nothing to do with current issues being debated in the halls of Congress.

    So much for a free press. It is now bought and paid for, too.

    January 17, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Rob

    Clinton's teachers' union filing a lawsuit against their own democratic party?

    Trying to restrict minorities from voting?

    That's what's unconstitutional. Shame on you Senator Clinton

    January 17, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Jason Means

    Is this really news? Bill Clinton whining about yet another issue were he believes this is a personal attack on his "good" character. Give me a break. Instead of answering the question in a civil manner, he's got to lash out and take it as a blow to the Clinton's good name. Sounds a lot like Mitt Romney if you ask me.

    January 17, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. Andy, Waltham MA

    Hillary Clinton this... Bill Clinton that... all day, everyday! Sickening! Enough with the Bush's and the Clinton's... CNN and other news outlets are contributing to killing democracy in this country.

    January 17, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. amber

    Instead of focusing on getting the Republicans OUT, which should be any sensible person in the United States goal at this point, and discussing the issues and presenting those to the American people, the politicians are acting like, what else POLY TIC ians. They all need to snap out of it and ban together. They can intellectually and politically debate their differences of opinion and educate the American people about who they are as candidates and encourage us to vote for them, but arguing about whether or not people should be able to vote at the casino or not is CRAZY and distracting. To be perfectly honest, if eitehr Obama, Edwards or Clinton wins, it would be 30000% better then the ameoba we have now, and ANY Republican that could follow.

    Instead of moving the polling places to the casinos, why don't they just leave the voting poles open longer or I am sure the Governor or Mayor or someone could authorize a one time 24 hour campaign. Say you have from 7:00 am to 7:00 am to cast your vote. I mean we are talking about Vegas. It is not like any of them are going to end their shift at the casinos and go home and go to sleep. ( I have been there many times, no one sleeps, beds in hotels are useless) It is every citizens right to vote if they are registered, so if the culinary workers have to work during the regular voting hours and are unable to go to a voting booth, then if they have 24 hours to vote, or if they leave the poles open a few more hours into the night, they will end their shift at some time and be able to vote at the normal polling place. RIGHT?

    GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Alberto

    The world finally saw the real Bill Clinton. The man who has the best relations with the Bushs. The man who calls Obama revolution a fairytale. The man who lures black votes by lying to the minorities. The man who is he biggest liar and manipulator. The man who brought moral disgrace to US Presidency.
    To hell with the Clintons!

    January 17, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. Mark

    These Clintons are slimey.

    January 17, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. Victor

    When the ex president said , " I had nothing to do with that lawsuit." I would have responded, right, and you also said, "I did not have sex with that woman." While I am not a registered Republican , I consider myself a moderate centrist, I do not trust either of the Clintons.

    January 17, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. Jr., California

    I will say it again folks. In the Las Vegas debate, Hillary cited her 35 years of experience 6 times! I counted.

    All I want is for her to detail her 35 years of experience.

    This means something because, 1) she said it. 2) she claims that Obama has no experience.

    January 17, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  23. Alex

    This is race against who and who?

    January 17, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. rac

    Does anyone moderate these comments? Why is the shouting rant in all caps by EC,Houston, Texas permitted? As the Clinton-haters have mouthed off, I will counter their rants with a thank you to President Bill Clinton, and President-to-be Hillary Rodham Clinton. Thank you for giving your all to this country. And, when unfairness and trickery take place, yes, I want to see you condemn it. If the Culinary workers of Nevada decide that state's caucus results, then all Nevadans will be cheated and denied their state's voice.

    January 17, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  25. Terry

    All my life I voted Democratic closing my eyes. After what I saw in New Hampshire, I can never vote for the Democrats. That is if Obama is not going to be the nod for the party.

    January 17, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 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