January 23rd, 2008
09:00 PM ET
10 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. Anon

    It is so fascinating to see a former President getting down in the trenches like common folks to help his wife out. Gore and Kerry did not use you but you are showing them how to win an election. You go Bill!!!!! This is what the people of South Carolina wants to see.

    The Media is just a gosspi tabloid. Tehy need to get back to real journalism.

    If Hillary Lose, I hope John Edwards wins.

    January 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. Kenzo S

    As we could only expect from the master..... an absolutely materful display of twisting of fact, corn-pone ah shucks folksiness, semantic gamesmanship, and smiley faced lying.

    The one and only Master. This must be a fairy tale after all!

    January 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. TMV

    Listen to his words, people. Not the media spin or the talking heads' soundbites. And speak for yourself, Anon. Two Clintons in the White House would improve your life - ALL of our lives - whether you deserve it or not!

    January 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. Rhonda

    I'm sick of hearing Bill and Hillary all the time putting down Obama, they started this thing wanting to play the race card and I'm tired of hearing poor me. I used to like Mr. Clinton, but this is getting ridiculous. Have they forgot what he put this country through when he was in the white house. All the lies he told the american people and his wife.We don't need this anymore and we sure don't need them to say things about other people running for office, when they say things that Obama didn't really say it in the way they try to present anyway. I don't know about anyone else but I'm getting tired of hearing it. If we elected people on there ability to tell the truth as seen in the past, we could get rid of alot of our candidates.

    January 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. demwit

    Q: How do you know when a Clinton is lying?
    A: There's a wagging finger in your face.

    January 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Ed from PA

    The majority of Americans want to see the Clinton reality show return to the White House. Especially since the writers have been on strike, we have been devoid of much entertainment as of late, and so the Clinton's popularity has risen.

    January 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. Ann

    Bill Clinton is right. Media has ' a crush' on Obama, God knows why... because any person with some common sense does not. Go for the 'beef'.. not for intrigues that Obama supporters will tell you to keep their favourite in the race.

    Bill is right, what matters for Americans is not how we get to tears and excitement because somebody is preaching 'unity' without having any idea how to get there. Unity will come when Americans will not live in poverty losing their homes and jobs. Nobody will even care about ideology and politics if economic prosperity is given back to Americans. Obama has no way to get the country there.. because all he knows is to yell propagandistic slogans. Yeah, lets govern together...

    January 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Jeremiah Grant, Phoenix AZ

    Two Words: Term Limits

    Bill, go home! We've already had enough interns scandalized for one lifetime

    January 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. Dave NY NY

    Kudos to Bill – that's all I'm going to say...

    January 23, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. L. Maimets

    I am not a democrat, but BC really artculates what is wrong with our media. Media is not informing, it is provoking and generating nothing but confusion.

    January 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Maxi

    When he is right, he is right. Like him or not, he was correct.

    January 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. Lea

    I watched President Clinton's response to reporter Yellin and I DID NOT SEE OR HEAR AN ANGRY PERSON. Does President Clinton have to whisper his answer or perhaps that would be showing anger too. I am so disappointed in CNN and especially Wolf who we always saw as an impartial, fair minded reporter/host.

    What does it take for journalists to report the issues that are important to the American people instead of emotional issues such as race, gender etc.?

    January 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Renee

    Does anyone know where I can procure a bumpersticker that says, "Anybody but Hilary for President"? I cannot get past her tearful "Some people think politics is a game" speech. They all know it's a game and Hilary (and BIll) are champion gamers!

    January 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. Who's Whining Now??

    Bill Clinton is behaving like a two year old who isn't getting his own way. Obama is standing up to him and proving he won't take any of the Republican attacks when they come. The leaders of the Democratic Party are trying to rein him in.

    Now he is deflecting the blame to the news media who are investigating the Clinton claims about Obama and finding they are incorrect. Obama is also, rightfully so as Clinton is campaigning on his record as President, is pointing to the poor decisions he made. Bush is bad but the mess we are in is not a result of just the past seven years.

    This is not the type of leadership that will win over the rest of the world.

    January 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. brende

    Statesman? Former president of America? he should be in Sweden fixing up the global economy instead of trying to fix Obama.

    January 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. BaselinePunk

    Anybody else get the feeling Bill will wind up being Hillary's V.P.?

    January 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. NKilf

    So interesting the dynamic in play here: Methinks the gentleman protesteth too much–it is not uncommon for someone (Clintons) to attack someone else for the very things they themselves are doing. Talk about Masters of Spin! They have out-Roved Karl Rove. Is this something to be proud of???

    In the past I stood up for Bill Clinton in his bygone era of shame, but no longer. Their tactics may be smart politics, but it is such a turn off. If THEY get the nomination, it's ABC for me–Anybody But Clinton. Methodology counts!

    January 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. Concerned Citizen

    I agree with Mr Clinton. It is a shame that CNN is only concerned about sensationalist news and topics only to sell more advertising. It's more of a shame that the citizens of the United States support your sensationalist news which I find to not be news at all but maybe a notch above tabloid. PLEASE REPORT WHAT AMERICANS ARE TRULY CONCERNED WITH, NOT SPIN OR GOSSIP!!!

    January 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  19. Joe Paterno

    P – A – T – H – E – T – I – C. We are all so sick and tired of the Clintons. Please go away.

    January 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. Woz - Los Gatos, CA

    This guy is becoming a modern day Billy Carter.

    January 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. Soldarith

    He is absolutely right here. There really is absolutely no room or reason why the media is harping on this race/gender thing – Give it a break. Race and gender are NOT the issues at stake here. Our presidential candidates are not debating race or gender issues, they are debating what the American people feel are critical concerns: The war, the economy, national security, rights of Americans, etc. Get off the drama train and focus on the CORE and CRITICAL issues that Americans are concerned about.

    January 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. clairbloom

    Shame on you, CNN for distorting what took place in this video. Bill Clinton is right, all you want is to feed the ratings of the network. Never mind what the people want.

    Thank God, there are still Americans who can think for themselves and don't fall into your slimey trap.

    January 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  23. JimS

    OK then I'll just say:
    Keep speaking the truth, Bill. All us Democrats are listening.
    I guess comments critical of the media won't be allowed so I'll leave it at that.

    January 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Allen

    I'm a voter Bill, and I'll tell you what I care about. I care about an unhinged and unstable ex-President going off in emotional hystrionics while in the White House. Go home.

    January 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. Karen SC

    Well Said Bill! Thank you!

    January 23, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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