January 23rd, 2008
09:00 PM ET
9 years ago

Bill Clinton gets upset with CNN reporter


Bill Clinton got visibly upset with CNN's Jessica Yellin Wednesday.

(CNN) - Bill Clinton became visibly upset Wednesday over comments by a prominent South Carolina Democrat that compared the former president's actions on the trail to those of infamous Republican strategist Lee Atwater.

In an interview with CNN's Jessica Yellin, Dick Harpootlian, a former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party and a supporter of Barack Obama, said some of Bill Clinton's recent remarks on the campaign trail were appeals based on race and gender. He said the comments were meant to "suppresses the vote, demoralize voters, and distort the record," and said they were "reminiscent of Lee Atwater."

Clinton sharply disputed the charge, and lashed out at Yellin for raising the question.

"You live for this. This hurts the people of South Carolina," he said. "Because the people of South Carolina come to these meetings and ask questions about what they care about. And what they care about is not what's going to be in the news coverage tonight, because you don't care about it.

"What you care about is this. And the Obama people know that. So they just spin you up on this and you happily go along. I mean, the people don't care about this," he added. "They never ask about it. And you are determined to take this election away from them. And that's not right. That is not right. This election ought to belong to those people who are out here asking questions about their lives."

soundoff (1,260 Responses)
  1. Susan in Texas

    Bill Clinton: go home! No one wants to see you anymore! And, by the way, were your pardons for sale? Why hasn't anyone asked him about that?

    January 23, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. JAB

    You tell them Bill – way to go!!!!

    January 23, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Matt

    Isn't this the "Fun" part Bill?

    January 23, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Bil's right, CNN needs to do a reality check on their reporters. Who do they work for? Obama or CNN?

    January 23, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  5. Cissy

    I just knew it was about time for him to come out again....lol, he is soooo entertaining.

    January 23, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. Karon

    Let it go Bill......
    Bill needs to realize that he is no longer President.
    I thought so highly of him but now I'm losing respect for him each day....sad.

    January 23, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. Anon

    Bill Clinton acts like he cares about "the voters", "the people out here", and "you are going to take that away fron them." Bill Clinton doesn't care about anybody except himself, and whether he can getthe White House back – and frankly, we're all sick of his act.

    January 23, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. grant

    Someone's trying to take away Bill's election?...How pathetic

    January 23, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. Samuel ATL

    Bill is certainly Hillary's loose cannon. Granted, he is an extremely intelligent man (witness his knowledge of the Vegas union situation) but I wonder if his skin has too gotten sensitive over the years.

    Being too prickly and too combative too often kinda takes away the elder statesman gravitas that you would expect an ex-President to maintain.

    Watch out Bill! The media sharks are trying to provoke you!

    January 23, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. marty

    Did I just read that Bill Clinton accuses the media of being "spun by Obama?" Wow – that's all I can say. Slick Willie has been quite the spin doctor himself. So isn't that the pot calling the kettle black? This guy is a laugh a minute.

    January 23, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. Steve

    Can't wait to see what Bill cooks up the day before the SC primaries!

    January 23, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Mark Cary, NC

    Ummm...that is not Bill Clinton being upset. That is him calling you out and making the reporter look like a fool for buying into smear tactics from the rival camp.

    January 23, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. martin curavuer

    I think he's joined Britney!! THIS will be in the White House??

    January 23, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. Chris

    Clinton is clearly upset because no news agency believes him or his wife. One news agency published all the lies the Clintons have been tell others about Obama. Everyone can see past the lies that the Clintons are spreading. Bill should stay out of this as he is clearly misleading a lot of people using his former President title.

    January 23, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. grant

    Someone is trying to take away Bill's election?...How pathetic

    January 23, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. Kathy

    Why don't you take your own advice Bill & SHUT UP! It's obvious all you care about is getting YOUR butt back into the White House.

    January 23, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. Ryan, Los Angeles California

    I love Bill Clinton...I really do.

    But he lost me way back when he said that Obama's anti-war stance was a "fairytale." I started out supporting Hillary, but she and Bill are really dividing the Democrats. The last debate was no different – each of them cherry-pick phrases from Obama and blow them up in a false and negative context.

    If Bill would stop mis-stating Obama's positions and start championing his wife's positions, he wouldn't be subject to these follow up questions.

    I just don't see the hope and message of unification coming from the Clinton camp. It has become sad.

    January 23, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  18. Dan Hill

    Oh go back to sleep, Bill! Oh wait, there isn't another Martin Luther King Jr. event to attend . . . how about a revered ex-President's funeral? Nope. Guess nap time will have to wait.

    January 23, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. MB

    Bill's right. CNN and every other major news organization out there has been race baiting and distorting quotes for weeks now, just so they can add more headlines to their sites.

    January 23, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  20. DJ, Philadelphia

    At this point, I believe that Obama is finished after Super Tuesday.
    It is over and the prominent African American politicos have themselves to blame along with the incompetence of the Obama campaign heads.

    January 23, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  21. Greg in OH

    Ed,Ellenville,New York,

    You mean the Clinton News Network?

    January 23, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  22. The Count

    Is it possible that all this bickering will wear on the electorate, and open a door for Senator Edwards?

    January 23, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. Andy, New York, New York

    Let's be honest! Bill Clinton has been dubbed America's first Black President and, together with his wife, have been lauded by Blacks on every strata as being there for Blacks.

    Then last year, Barack Obama, a Black Senator decided he wanted to run for President. He was the first and only Black from either party to do so.

    One week later, after constantly denying or LYING that she had White House ambitions, Hillary Clinton jumped into the race. And the rest is now history in the making.

    But what history has to record is that despite the perception among Blacks of the Clintons being pro-Black, their treatment of Obama is sending a strong message to Blacks: WE ONLY USED YOU TO GET OUR WAY!

    Just look at how the Clintons have turned this Democratic campaign into a race-based issue, so that Blacks can rally to Obama and whites can rally to Hillary. This is a deliberate strategy and it disproves the belief that the Clintons are really pro-Black!

    If they were truly pro-Black, then instead of running against Obama and even playing the race card to make sure he loses, they would have rallyed around him. But no, the Clintons have a long held agreement that each of them will take turns at the Presidency, and it is now her turn, so Obama has to be crushed and Blacks have to be pilloried in the process.

    I urge you readers to read any article written by Dick Morris recently on the Clinton's strategy. Morris was Bill's advisor and strategist, so when he said right after New Hampshire that the Clintons will play the race card against Obama and the campaign will get ugly, he knew exactly what he was talking about!

    January 23, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  24. Linda Pacifica

    CNN goes Negative against the Clintons.

    January 23, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. therealist

    Evidently Bill thinks that former heads of SC are not part of the people of South Carolina that should be asking questons..

    January 23, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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