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. Steve

    Bill is absolutely correct. The press are trying to CREATE the news instead of REPORT the news. It is absolutely shameful. Bill was awesome in pointing out how the press are a bunch of foolish sheep, waited to be herded by the loudest screamer. This press report is so appalling, its enough to make you want to stop watching CNN altogether.

    January 23, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. christina

    though i don't have a preference for either candidate, it does seem that CNN is biased. i go to the website everyday, and most of their articles show Obama in a positive light and Clintons in a negative one. even the title of this article has the undertones of Clinton= bad, whether he was provoked or not.

    January 23, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. Good Sergeant

    Bill is right. "Shame on them!" Journalists are suppose to report the news, not be part of a ploy that is only meant to distort the truth for folks who aren't educated enough to see through the gaff. She should report on the news-news that the American people deserve to recieve without bias and without hidden agendas.

    And for those of you who throw out your personal digs...try getting performance-based and with empirical data; rather than displaying your ignorance and errors of logic based on ridicule and disgust. Try reading a book for a change.

    Right on Bill!

    January 23, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Kansas Democrat

    To say that CNN is biased for Obama is LUDICROUS!!

    All the news media did was point out the obvious lies that Billary has told!!!

    January 23, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. Delia

    Frankly I'm sick of Obama's "Whining" about anything and everything. If he can't take the heat he needs to get out of the kitchen. How can someone who whines about being double teamed in what EVERYONE knew what was going to be one of the HARDEST HITTING election years say he's READY to be President when he can't the politics during the primaries?

    He wants to whine about the Clintons but rebuffs any mention of his antics in the Illinois legislature and his "questionable" pals.

    Everyone needs to grow up, put on their adult underwear and get on with life.

    Can we do a write in VOTE??????????

    January 23, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Wufpakmom, Illinois

    Why is it that no one has ever questioned Sen. Clinton on what SHE was doing while Bill was "not inhaling?"

    Bill is still flitting about, playing hit man for Hillary. When we people begin to realize that this man is the leader of the Democratic party and his endorsement of ANY candidate – even one he happens to be married to – is completely inappropriate.

    He got called out for distorting Sen. Obama's Reagan remarks, and rightly so. Get over it, Bill. Better yet – get out of the race. Your time is over!

    January 23, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Tom in MA

    I think all these Hillary and Bill haters are either Republicans or the type of Dem who voted for Dubya. Never saw such a rabid bunch.

    January 23, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. Carol B., Maryland

    He needs to calm down. Anyhow, sometimes sneaky, gutless smear tactics in campaigns, etc.., need to be reciprocated. Instigators don't always cease and desist, just like hypocrisy. It's getting a little tiring watching everyone's mock shock.

    January 23, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Jason - Los Angeles

    Just shows you the true nature of the press. The reporter got her 15 minutes, now go back to hiding until you are needed to stir things up again for no reason.

    Bill handled it perfectly.

    January 23, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. Craig in Palm Springs

    It's quite obvious that the media, particularly msnbc, hates the Clintons. Obama is the temporary media darling. Bill Cinton is the greatest! He is no doubt the best president America has had since Roosevelt! Obama will not get the nomination; Sen. Clinton will and she can easily beat any of the lackluster Republicans!

    January 23, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  11. Rob

    You need to tell the story straight. I expected to see him yelling and swearing. His voice was kept even the whole time, and he did not appear angry at all. He was quite polite and simply stated why he disagreed. The discussion was civil.

    This headline is completely inappropriate and inaccurate.

    January 23, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  12. Maria Davis

    I agree with Van Buren, they want the presidency at any cost! It's just about them and no one else. I don't believe they care anything about the people or anything else, they just want to be in the White House again. How can people not see that?

    January 23, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. PGB

    Mr Clinton stated his case eloquently. He didn't sound "upset". He didn't go ranting and raving. Mr Clinton is right. Shame on the media for bringing up the race card every time! Move on to important issues!

    January 23, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  14. tracey

    Barack put this spin in motion. Barack can't deal with His real issues and record (not that he has much of a record). Obama needed to create this anger in Black people towards the Clintons to get the focus off of Himself. All Barack can do is give good speeches and "false hope".

    January 23, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  15. gyates

    why doesn't bill find a nice hobby...maybe he and bush senior should continue their humanitarian efforts around the world...

    January 23, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  16. wordslinger

    You can't blame the guy. He's had to forego and be on his best behavior (you know what I mean) since the increased scrutiny of the campaign.

    January 23, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. Richie, PR

    This is very simple to understand. Obama represent a good competition for Hillary and Bill did not expected this a few months ago. Now Bill and Hillary are using all their resources to destroy Obama's reputation. I hope the american people can see this. I believe that if Hillary wins, she will need Obama as her vicepresident candidate. She can not win without the Afroamerican vote. If the Clintons continue with this dirty tactics, they will loose the Afroamerican support.

    January 23, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. JT

    Pres. Clinton is absolutely right. CNN has for too long been more about process than facts.

    Any time both sides in an argument throw out comments, accusations, etc... CNN just repeats them, it never takes the time to figure out which side is supported by facts.

    January 23, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. PSbro

    Amen Mr. President. The media should hang their head in shame. I don't care who you support, the media doesn't have a right to get between the people & the candidate.
    This is probably the most important election in a long time & the media keeps wanting to take it down to a food fight. I could not care less what some guy in SC thinks about Clinton. I do care about healthcare, the economy & Iraq & other issues. Ask questions about those & leave the other stuff out of it.

    January 23, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  20. Dave

    CNN's coverage of news is more like Access New Hollywood. Speaking of which I'll never come to this site again or watch CNN.

    January 23, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. dmw

    You all are bad sports. Obama is not ready to be President. The fact that Bill and Hillary point that out is a good thing. The media has been for Obama from the beginning, but, you all are not being realistic if you expected Hillary and her supporters to just stand by and take it. When Michelle and Oprah were stomping for Obama everyone was so awe struck. This is the real world. Get use to it.

    All of you stop being cry babies. This is the political process.

    January 23, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. John A

    Obama is still smarting over the "slum landlord" connection.
    Why doesn't Oprah speak up before it's too late?????

    January 23, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. Heidi

    While I did not see the interview myself, I do know that over the course of these campaigns that CNN and others seem to be purposely trying to drum up the tabloid side of things. I don't blame Pres. Clinton for being upset. Any spouse, former President or not, should defend their significant other if they can.

    Hillary has taken a beating in this campaign and so has he. Every time he comes out to campaign the media has a field day. I love when he speaks. He's an authority on several subjects, and frankly a few people could learn a thing or two from him.

    It's time you guys back off the people helping the candidates run. It's so sad that you are so bored with the candidates that you cannot seem to find any real story on them.

    I am a big fan of CNN. I watch and I read daily. However, I am a little tired of reading about "what this campaign person said" or "that person said." Lets hear it from the candidates. Leave the spouses alone. These campaigns are harder on them than the candidates themselves because they are forced into positions that make it impossible for them to look supportive without getting defensive.

    Time to grow up CNN...stay out of the gutter...it's beneath you. Try not to cause any more mudslinging than is already going on. Bill Clinton did his time in the Limelight and while he is probably happy to campaign for his wife..I am sure he doesn't appreciate being compared to people like Lee Atwater. I am sorry CNN, but you've got it wrong. He's doing his job as one f the campaigners for his wife. Yes, Mudslinging is part of the campaign, but the media is not the one supposed to be throwing it!!!!! Grow up folks..you are not FOX....your standards should be higher than this.

    January 23, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. Randy k Rannow

    Bill Clinton is absolute correct. We the people do not care about news reporting making-up news, but rather providing coverage of what is important to we the people, or what people care about. The news industry appears determined to take the election away for the people, and that is not right. Elections belong to those asking the important questions, questions that impact American's lives, their life-style.

    January 23, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. Fo

    I really wish that both Clinton's and Obama's so-called supporters would just SHUT UP with the mudslinging and attacks already. This serves nobody, except perhaps Edwards, who's looking better every day.

    If Bill Clinton wants to tell me why Hillary is the best candidate, that's fine. If Obama's supporters want to tell me why he's the best candidate, great. But this "he said/she said" nonsense has GOT TO STOP. It's making two great candidates look like a couple of idiots.

    January 23, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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