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. truth

    Bill Clinton is absolutely correct. CNN and some other news media are treating Obama as a saint. He and his people are playing the RACE card, and the media love to play along. And the media turn around said this race is about RACE! It all starts from Obama himself.

    January 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Kevin

    I submitted a comment where is it??????

    January 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Will Gainesville, FL

    bill clinton makes me nauseous.

    January 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. Bill, Melbourne, FL

    subtle. s-u-b-t-l-e.

    if you're going to be condescending, at least do so at a 5th grade level or above.

    January 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. California

    Wow, this madness just won't stop. He keeps going and going. He refuses to act like a former president. Is he trying to ruin his reputation? It is truly unprecedent. I liked this man. I didn't think he was perfect, none of us are. But I thought he was an ok prez. Now, wow, whatever respect I had for him and his wife is gone. He's just a cheap political operative. They just lost my vote. I'm now voting for authenticity, honesty, transparency and judgment. .

    January 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. Jake Grubman, Wheeling, IL

    I didn't think that the question was a bad one, I just think CNN is wrong in calling it an attack, saying Clinton "got upset." He actually answered the question calmly and (according to his skewed view of Obama's campaign) thoughtfully. I don't agree with Clinton, but I think it was a good question, an expected answer, and a bad title from CNN.com.

    On a side note, Bill needs to stop this. I am so tired of the Clintons being able to run two-on-one here. Obama is running a strong campaign and continues to be honest with voters while the Clintons play this good cop bad cop stuff. What voters need to realize is that a vote for Hillary is a vote for Bill's third term. And it's going to be the same garbage politics that we've seen for the last decade.

    January 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Greg, Houston TX

    The Clintons are such pathetic, hypocritical losers. Why anyone would support them or vote for them is beyond me. Does anyone honestly think they are "colorblind"? Does anyone honestly think they would be above using race to divide if it meant they might win? Come on, people. They're the Clintons and they're politicians. Need I say more?

    January 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. tinman

    Hate all you want, but voting present does not qualify as a true vote. Last I checked, Bill left us with a surplus, now we have a mountain of debt and we are in recession. Hmmm...Let a Clinton repair the United States...again...

    January 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. Sara Celinda Bartra

    I think Bill Clinton is right. The media is focusing on nonsense instead of focusing on the issues. Please do not follow into that!!! Focus on issues that are important for this country and how this election is going to affect us. Bill Clinton have the right to support his wife, like Obama's wife if supporting her husband or Elisabeth Edwards is supporting her husband. The fact that he is well articulated and former president does not mean that they are doing something wrong.
    Sara B. Florida

    January 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Mike, Fort Washington, MD

    Billary is at it again. Looking for sympathy!! Bill is enjoying this because when he was impeach, his credibility went way down. Now he wants the spotlight. Bill, you sound like a crooked salesman that will say anything to make the sell.

    January 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Stan

    we love you bill, you will be a good first gentleman

    January 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. JB T F ID

    The republicans are loving this BS. The more the democrats are fighting, the better they look.

    January 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. Another Steve

    Talk about spin. What's the matter Bill? You can dish this stuff out, but can't take it.

    January 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. John Demmler

    This campaign is more about Bill Clinton than anything I've ever seen. Between this and YouTube clips of Bill Clinton falling asleep at a MLK service, one would think that he was running for a third term or something.

    January 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. AS

    Another scary thing...

    I have to carefully read any stories about Clinton, to see exactly *which* one the interviewer is talking to, by reading clues like "himself"....otherwise I can't tell who's saying what anymore either.

    January 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Tom

    Bill's absolutely right. Lets see how the Obama camp spins this.

    January 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Lance Click

    We have had enough of the Clinton's. They think they own this country. Go away Bill. You were a sorry Governor in Arkansas. You were a sorry President. You could not even keep you pants zipped up. Your Fake, Your Wife is Fake. Go Away!

    January 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. cnn is stupid

    good old biased inflammatory cnn ... still waiting for the "anger" in the headline.

    January 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Tim, Cincinnati, OH

    Bill Clinton needs to follow the example of another former President, George H. W. Bush, who kept far away from the cameras and microphones when his son ran for president. Clinton can't help himself–he craves the spotlight as much as he craves power.

    January 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. mel

    I think HRC wants to ge the white house then divorce Bill.

    January 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. sairam, DC

    I am a long term democrat and have strongly supported Bill Clinton in his elections. I am greatly distressed by his conduct now – he has lowered the dignity of an Emeritus President of this country. His aggressive partisan actions – in sharp contrast to those of his dignified predecessors Jimmy Carter and Goerge Bush Sr – make him look coarse and boorish and brings our nation another notch down.

    I am not prepared to support Hillary for several reasons – her claims of 35 years of executive experience as as valid as that of a cardiologist's spouse of 25 years claiming cardiovascular skills or a General's spouse claiming martial strategic skills. She is bellicose and aggressive and hardly a comforting change from the current 'know-it-all'. Further, this country was built on the aspirations of its founding fathers who broke away from dynastic power – and it will be be a shame for it to turn back the clock a couple of centuries to get Bush/Clinton/Bush 2/Clinton 2/.... and so on.

    If, God forbid, the democratic party choose her, I will have to break away from the party and vote for any acceptable alternative to Hillary. I am sure there are hundreds of thousands of others who feel the same way. The guaranteed way for the Democratic Party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is to nomimate HRC.

    January 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. Lillie

    CNN doesn’t have the sharpest tacks for interviews, granted, but I thought Bill was supposed to be a smart guy. Don’t screw up the Dems chance with this junk. It’s Yale vs. Harvard. A bulldog is a fighting machine that can’t see beyond it’s stubby nose.

    January 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Vince Rinehart

    Again the corporate media (CNN and the like) are trying to push Obama down our throats by attacking the Clintons. Funny that their were no stories about Obama's racist remarks on Monday night. If Hillary or Edwards had said those sterotypical things they would have been run out of town by the media and the NAACP.
    This is just what the Republicans want! They are scared of Hillary. Obama will be easy for them to buy or walk all over. Come on Democrats...if you hate what has happened to our country in the last 7 years...do NOT vote for Obama. Hillary is by far the strongest and best chance for change in this country.

    January 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Maddog, Charlotte NC

    Bill, this is all a smoke screen...all you and Hillary care about is winning at any cost

    I voted for you twice but will not vote for Hillary. You two are shameless.

    January 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. Ed from PA

    It will be yet another awful four years of Hillary gets in... Do you know how many businesses are in her pockets?

    And do you seriously want Bill Clinton as First Gentleman?!

    January 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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