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. Jason

    Bill Clinton got in trouble because he couldn't control himself in the White House...now he can't control himself on the campaign trail.

    January 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. California Lady

    DJ in Philadelphia – What the heck are you talking about, The African American politicos have themselves to thank for the problems in Obamas campaign.
    Have you been sleeping during all of this or what. Let's get real hear. all you have to do is listen to Hilary and Bill and you can see what their game is.
    Give me a break. What a fairy tale Billary is.

    January 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  3. Daniel

    I like how Bill's response to comments about HIS actions are to make accusations about the ones making the observations.

    "Bill, I see you're wearing brown shoes."
    "That's just what Obama's people want you to think! Your slander hurts the people!"
    "... Bill, your shoes really ARE brown."
    "Obama doesn't care about the people!"
    "What does this have to do with your shoes?"

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

    The MSM hasn't had a decent comment about Hillary for years. They are a group of grossly incompetent journalists who apparently weren't invited to the parties during Bill's administration and think they are owed something now. That any democrat would put up with characterizing Bill Clinton as Lee Atwater shows just how weak and silly these Democrats are. This journalist is pathetic and so is CNN and shame on any Democrat who does not defend our President against these false and unwarrented accusations! We will lose when we eat our own.

    January 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. Benjamin Halpren

    President Clinton is right. Ever since New Hampshire CNN and MSNBC have been shamlessly on Obama's side. The Obama campaign routinely plays the race card. It started when they misinterpreted words by both Clinton's as having racial implications and trotted our surrogates like Congressman Jessie Jackson Jr. to cry racism. And you carried this misinterpretation over and over again in your reporting. CNN has been part of this process, especially personified by Ms. Yellin. Maybe she can show me the evidence that Senator Obama can bring people together. Only in his mind, not his actions.

    January 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. Kevin


    January 23, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. George Yu

    Should we, American People, allow the monopoly of the White House? Sounds like we can not find better president other than Bush and Clinton? Come on! It is the 21st century, not the era of emperors.

    January 23, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Jim

    How misleading is the title!!!Cnn should be ashamed.That reporter was speechless after Bill's brillant answer.He didn't look upset at all.Bill you are the best ever.

    January 23, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  9. Ozzy

    News Flash! Bill Clinton gets Mad at CNN Reporter

    What total BS on CNN's part. Bill did not act mad at all. He was pointed in his response and made the CNN reporter look like a fool. So, CNN uses this News line to attempt to slam Bill ? He was right about one thing ..."shame on you CNN".

    January 23, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Franc

    I'm so disenchanted with Obama, I would now rather vote for any other candidate. He refutes, but does not support, any allegations against him. Hillary Clinton tried to keep the debates and the rhetoric on the high road from the very beginning. After countless attacks, Obama left her no choice but to defend herself. Now he accuses her of running a negative campaign. Sensing his waning support, his speeches now sound like a preacher on a pulpit. That may work in South Carolina but it will hurt him the long run. He, not Hillary is playing the race card. When I first heard him speak at the Democratic Convention, I was so impressed. That’s when nothing was at stake. Where did that Obama go? Wouldn’t we all like to know who’s responsible for the emails accusing him of being Muslim? It could be from Republicans or even Obama supporters. He’s relentlessly playing up the issue, playing the martyr. Why can’t he take the high road and say he is a Christian, not a Muslim and leave it at that, instead of constantly playing it up in the press and insulting all Muslims in the process. There are good and bad people in every religion. President Clinton has it right when he states the press is more than willing to spin anything that comes out of the Obama camp. The press is like a pack of wolves. They should be reporting truthful news and not making it.

    January 23, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. From San Antonio


    January 23, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. ScanDroid

    Good for you, Bill!

    Keep on speaking the truth about this race-baiting....it is indeed pathetic.

    January 23, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. Anon

    "upset"? we've seen him upset – that wasn't it. another biased, inflammatory, inaccurate headline bashing a clinton, unfortunately quite common for fox, ooops, cnn.

    January 23, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. Katheirne

    Go Bill!

    About time some one gives them the check they have been needing. I want to hear about issues and not mudslinging. I think Obama just can't handle have his record questioned and the media wants to keep the fight going.

    I would love to see a Clinton in the WH again!

    January 23, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. Susan

    Bill is correct indeed...as before the media is creating this mess concerning race and gender and has fueled the battling within the Democratic party...it will be so sad to see the election won by the Republicans because yet again the media has manipulated the news and distracted the country from what the real issues are...It is apparent that Obama and his campaign group need to keep the mud slinging afloat seem they do not have any real plans to address the major issues in this country.

    Hillary and Bill both care about this country, as they have demonstrated time and time again. Additionally, winning is important for Hillary because she is probably, of any of the Dem candidates, the only one that will and can make a difference in this country. Go for Hill and Bill, you got my vote, don't give up despite the behavior of the media that could care less about what happens to this country.

    January 23, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. Carrie

    I agree that you the media share in the responsibility in keeping this going instead of focusing on issues of importance to the American people. Shine the light on yourself and stop pushing your agendas to make money for your companies at the expense of the American people. Some of news stories you and other organizations have emphasized have been silly and outrageous and takes us away from the dialogue we need to have on difficult challenges our nation is facing now.

    January 23, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. Yuk

    He's absolutely correct and look at the childish title cnn gave to this story. How about "Bill Clinton Challenges CNN on Substance".

    January 23, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. colene from new york

    "This is so typical of the Bill and Hillary show… (1) They make derogatory comments about people "on the record" (2) Others denounce their derogatory comments, (3) Bill/Hill accuse the other camp of "stirring the pot".

    Bill – YOU are the one who stirred the pot. YOU are the one who's making sleazy comments about others. YOU are the one who needs to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your words and actions.

    It is this lack of responsibility, this "Teflon" attitude that really, really makes me negative on Bill/Hillary and is the reason why I'll vote for any other Democratic candidate long before I'll vote for either/both of them."

    And if you will say anything to get into office, you will say anything to get into war.

    Haven't we had enough deception?

    WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!!!!!

    January 23, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. Pam

    Hillary is the female version of Dick Cheney. No thank you....Go Obama!!

    January 23, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. RobbyLove

    The most dangerous place in the world is between Bill Clinton and a television camera. You'd better move because you're liable to get trampled!

    January 23, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. Doug

    I've always liked Bill, but this increasing petulance is most unbecoming and, at least to me, not helpful to his wife's campaign. I wish CNN and the media would remind voters that he isn't on the ballot and Senator Clinton needs to evaluated on HER strengths.

    January 23, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. pam , s.c.

    bill clinton is not running for a third term. he needs to shut up and get out of our state . he's spinning and turning this around on the reporter and cnn. CLINTON SUPPORTERS ARE IGNORANT...

    January 23, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  23. Mike D

    how about this for a headline - "Yellin' at Yellin!" Keep it coming bubba

    January 23, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. Bob Smith

    Keep up the good work Hillary when Bill was President every thing was going good.

    January 23, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. R

    I don't care if Bill Clinton punched a reporter in the face, which they'd probably love, news co's arent happy unless blood is spilling or someone is "taking the gloves off".. Hiliary and Bill Clinton will fix this freaking tanking economy! the republicans already have proved time and time again what they want and WILL do to screw up this country.. and the first thing we should do is give the republicans R vs. W and watch how they run away like their hair is on fire! they would never dare touch such a wedge issue.. end of story. Obama is a great guy, and in a few years im sure he'd make a great president, but we need someone that can will and HAS fixed things.

    January 23, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 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 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51