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. Geno

    Yeah, those "Clinton years" were BRUTAL.

    A raging economy, no deficits, a surplus, no unemployment, no wars, no 4,000 dead Americans, no 30,000 wounded Americans, not 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians, America revered throughout the world...why would ANYONE want to return to that kind of America??

    I'll take a President getting head over what we've had for the past 7 years any day of the week.

    January 23, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Joe

    Like the Clintons care what people really want.
    I think the disgrace Clinton brought on the office of the President is awful. I thinks it more awful that anyone wants to hear what he has to say about the "truth" after his administration.

    January 23, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  3. lee

    We are really handing the election over to the republicans by allowing this type of mudslinging to go on!!!! Both parties need to stop the mudslinging before no democrat has a chance of winning

    January 23, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. ACE, Denver

    The more Bill Clinton talks, the more he reminds me of the ranting old man that all of the family members hate to bring down from the attic. I really used to admire that man. How sad...

    January 23, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. The Truth Hurts

    It's because of Bill Clinton that the Democrats lost the White House in 2000. Al No one wanted him to campaign on their behalf.

    So now he's making up for lost time. This is his chance to reclaim the White House. And, he will stop at NOTHING, people.

    Howard Dean, as head of the DMC, you can put a stop to this ridiculous behavior. It's time to have a one-on-one with the leaders of this campaign. It's unbecoming of the Democratic party.

    January 23, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. David, Newport OR

    If Clinton gets the nomination, I will vote Republican and I have voted Democrat my entire life. She will only force the division that exists in Washington further apart. We need compromise. We need someone who can pull America together, not push us apart. I fear she will be no different from GW except she will be from the other side of the eisle. Don't believe me? Read these responses. There is no middle ground.

    January 23, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Kate

    Steve of Sacramento is right on about people's short memories. I was actually planning to vote for Hillary until Bill stepped up to her defense...and the more I see of him the more I remember how he disrespected women in the workplace while in a position of power. Somehow, having Hillary/Bill in the office doesn't seem a step forward for women after all...thanks for reminding me of the true Clinton nature three days before the election!!!

    January 23, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. sam

    Desperation can be acted out in a positive or a negative way. Too bad the Clintons are choosing the very low road. That is what is hurting the citizens of SC. They deserve as many honorable Democratic candidates as possible. There is no honor here.

    January 23, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  9. justpaul

    So Bill is blaming the media again? For what, reporting what he and another Democrat say about each other? I guess it's another "vast [left-wing] conspiracy"?

    Bill would never utter complaints like this if the media was reporting on stupid things Michelle Obama said. And Bill wouldn't be out there saying these things if Hillary hadn't sent him to do so. This is getting to the point where it's starting to make Carter look like a statesman.

    January 23, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. James

    Bill Clinton does not sound like presidential. I don't understand why people like the Clintons so much?? Bill had been lying under his sex scandel and had been dividing this country. We need someone to stand up to this kind of Washington politics and get change!!

    January 23, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. Jim, American in Paris

    Bill Clinton said exactly what needed to be said!

    Thank God someone has the courage to stand up to these kind of people who are dividing the Democratic Party and certainly helping the Republicans for November!

    Don't let Barak Obama get away with stealing this election!

    The Clintons, both, put the Democratic Party back on the map and it's not finished!!


    January 23, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Democrat in NY

    Bill...You are loosing it. Please take care of your health if not Hillary is going to cry, weep, brood. I cant take that anymore.

    January 23, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Cha

    CNN should scrap the "political ticker" segment all together. The news coverage are similar to the tabloids we read that appear as "truth" to tickle the minds of Hillary and Obama supporters. Actually, all we get are rag news and distorted facts. The facts are tinkered, trampled, and twisted. Day after day, we get news similar to Hollywood. News are sensationalized. Remember, political figures like Hillary, Obama, and Edwards need to be heard on substantial issues, not treated like Hollywood rags or icons.

    January 23, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Eddie

    I'm furious at the reports that black voters are 80% for obama, when he lacks any experience, has no real public record, and is very untested. He absolutely will not win against Mccain and everyone knows that clinton has fought the republicans and won. If the african american voters vote for obama and he loses against mccain, the fingers will be pointed directly toward them

    January 23, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. NextPresident

    Why, why, why does Bill want to get back into the WHITE House so badly? Makes me wonder if they are trying to Pardon themselves for something.

    January 23, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. Gil - California

    Careful Bill, you'll give yourself a stroke.

    It is a shame that it has nothing to do with these questions taking the vote away from the South Carolina voters and that the reason you are really upset is because it will probably take the white house away from you.

    Get real, I'm paying your salary with your extensive presidential "retirement" package. I am pretty much offended that if Hillary, by the grace of Satan, gets into the White House, you would both draw full presidential retirement. Talk about a scam, and THIS is what upsets you Bill. Only the gullible still like you and you are tarnishing your rep with some of those that used to think you were something special. But the only thing special about you is that you belong in special ed.

    January 23, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. Marlene (Ontario, Canada)

    CNN's reporting is starting to resemble the style of a weekly tabloid. I don't believe I would ever vote for Bill Clinton for anything but I have to tell you I watched the video and he didn't say anything out of line. Not only that, CNN seems to be baiting candidates then exagerating the response. Its time you got back to reporting the news instead of trying to create it.

    January 23, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. Walt, Belton, TX

    Maybe it is just senility or early Alzheimers. Hillary should consider staying home and taking care of her poor old willie.................

    January 23, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  19. Tony

    No Republicans would believe Bill but are there still Democrats that trust him? I think Bill is peeing all over his reputation. When there is nothing left he would be remembered only as a lying pervert.

    January 23, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  20. robert

    For those that continue to say negative things about Bill Clinton, just please think about what you are actually saying, or rather typing. Bill Clinton has been one of the best presidents this nation has ever had. These negative feelings should go towards Bush, and the mess that he has caused this country. Going on Middle East talks, and trying to help the economy. Why wasn't he addressing these important matters earlier in his presidency? Because he doesn't care about the American people. Our standing in the world has diminshed, we're nearly in a recession, and these negative comments are allowing Bush to dodge important concerns. Stop worrying about what Bill is saying, and start worrying about what Bush is DOING. He still has months in office, months that he can use to stir another problem up with Iran. Obama supporters tend to leave negative comments about Bill, but Obama's wife has said some controversial statements herself. Do your research, and you'll find what I'm talking about. Ah, I can't wait for the first female president of the United States, and she will get there by herself with the experience she carries with her. GO HILLARY!

    January 23, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. Ben

    Give me a break.... Sometimes I feel like the press is running for office with all the garbage spin they are putting on everything. I think this is a case of the press trying to paint Clinton as a roving madman to create a story. Not because there is any true journalistic value to any of it. Please get back to journalism and stop the "politician like" articles trying to create something out of nothing. It's making hipocrits of our entire media network. People aren't stupid, you'll draw in a few but you'll ruin your ratings in the long run as people search for better outlets

    January 23, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. Becky

    as an undecided voter, I am more and more going to Hilary Clinton's way, because she has the guts to ask tough questions to Obama , since the media is afraid to ask him any because he is black. Shame on you all Media people.
    We need to elect a capable and experienced person for the White House and so far Obama seem to me to be very weak regarding International and Economic issues.

    January 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  23. Kansas Independent Moderate


    "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."


    Attacks Obama, using the "Reagen" statements as if Obama liked Reagen's ideas. Obama already explained it, and the media has already proven, TIME AND TIME AGAIN, that the CLINTONS ARE LYING!


    Bill, it is your GREED and LUST for POWER that is trying to distract from Obama's positive, uplifiting, inspiring message of change.

    January 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. Liam

    Who would be stupid enough to accept the VP spot with Bimbo Bill perpetually big footing all affairs.

    January 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. Jacob Plummer

    I'm not a fan of either Clinton, really, but CNN is really taking liberty with saying Clinton was angry or visibly irate. He was indignant and, after hearing what he had to say, if it's the truth, I can see why. Now, if it wasn't the truth, perhaps CNN should cover that? Your reporters should have thicker skins, especially if they are in the business of asking antagonizing questions.

    January 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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