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. JD, WI

    Jessica Yellin was the mouthpiece for Obama in Iowa.

    January 23, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Barbie

    How long is Mr. Clinton tactics are going to be allowed as a former President before the question is raised whether or not, media will call him on some of his FALSE statements. That's a great news story during this campaign.

    January 23, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. aware

    Good for you Bill! 🙂

    I am so tired of Obama!!!!!!!!! 🙁

    I will be happy when this is over, and he is out of sight. CNN please let Americans decide for themselves. I don't watch TV anymore because of all the spin and the ridiculous choice of topics. CNN and especially MSNBC are in danger of becoming the gossip rags of our culture.

    January 23, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  4. The Segashuator

    Bill Clinton did not look "visibly upset" to me. He looked amused. if I had not looked at the video and had relied only on the text account, I would have been misled. Maybe the CNN reporter was upset because Clinton dared to lecture her about what she should be covering (the issue that affect people's lives), and not the "he said, she said" stuff that the traditional media lives for.

    January 23, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. Shelva Davis

    I think Bill Clinton is getting too involved in his wife's campaigh. They are playing dirty. He is not running for office, or is he running for a third term?

    January 23, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. Eric

    Bill Clinton needs to get his wife elected... He has many new friends that are willing to pay top dollar for a Pardon...

    Can our nation survive another 4 years of slash and burn politics?

    January 23, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. JA Cook

    Hillary, your dog Billary is loose again!

    Bill only likes the spin he creates.

    January 23, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. John Benjamin

    Ex-President Clinton should be ashamed. He is definitely using the nasty, divisive Lee Atwater/Karl Rove tactics against a fellow democrat. The public is sick of these despicable attacks. I've never voted for a Republican for President, but if this continues and Hillary is the Democratic nominee, I'll vote Republican. And I think the Bush administration is the worst in history.

    January 23, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. AJ, IL

    Slick Willy at it again. Now Bill's trying to take the Obama high road after so many criticisms from leaders in the Democratic Party (i.e. Kennedy, Daschle, Clyburn, Kerry and so forth) about his recent behavior on the campaign trail.

    I wish a reporter or audience member would say "Happy 10th Anniversary President Clinton!" and then watch Bill's response.

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

    Thats right Bill you tell em. CNN is "Clinton National Network" Let Obama buy his own station.

    January 23, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  11. Mick

    I think Bill protest too much!

    January 23, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  12. b doug

    I am already getting sick and tired of the Clinton's. Now I remember why the country elected a Republican President and 2 Houses of congress after this bunch.

    Clinton's - Been there, done that!!

    January 23, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. neo

    How does Bill know what the people care about? Maybe we do care what Bill is doing. I'd like Bill to take the High Road in politics for once.

    January 23, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Lana

    News people like to make news. Bill's right! Reporters tend to spin everything. Let the candidates focus on the issues that people want to hear about. Quit encouraging the mud slinging!

    January 23, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. wow

    Wow. Why are white people always so angry?

    January 23, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. bill pike

    wonder who bill will be doing if hillary gets into the white house.

    January 23, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  17. Leslie

    PLEASE America...Not another 4 years of SEX, LIES and BILLARYGATE!!!

    January 23, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. Amy, Kazoo

    actually, he has a point. The media is out to keep the tensions between candidates up, not stick to the issues. It's what sells.

    January 23, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    It appears that his majesty–doesn't appreciate the comparisons between himself and rabble-rousing campaign managers/strategits of days gone buy.

    If the shoe fits you must admit!!!

    Another fine example of what he, Hillary, and Obama are digressing to.

    Again, I've got a daily prayer and candle burning that Democrats will wake up soon to suppot John Edwards. He isn't deceptive, derisive, or divisive–like certain candidates I'm too ashamed to admit I am aligned with by party.

    January 23, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. jean Mattson

    Oh, the people don't care? Well, this person in NJ does. There was a time when I felt it was wrong to impeach Clinton even if I did not approve of what he had done. In the last few years he seemed to have redeemed himself by his good deeds around the world. But now everytime he opens his mouth he disgraces himself . Maybe we are not being fair to Atwater. He, at least, was hired to carry out his dirty work.

    January 23, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. RJ, SV, AZ

    Why can't those reporters show some cojones to Bill and say "Hey, don't tell me what my position is and then berate me for this fantasy you've created. Just answer the question or move along."

    January 23, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. Parlan

    Bill Clinton can say anything including egregious lies because he has gotten away with it for decades. America has enabled this cynical liar and no we are paying the price.

    January 23, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Vincent, Tamaqua, Pa

    simply amazing...

    good job BILL!

    Hillary 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 23, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  24. bill pike

    wonder what bill's activity schedule will be if hillary gets into the white house.

    January 23, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  25. AS

    Then Hillary comes out of left field (and I mean Left), shedding tears and complaining that CNN is mean to girls, and that we women have to show CNN a thing or two about how Girl POwER! GO GIRL Blah Blah Blah Blah.

    Maybe we can convince Christiane Amanpour to run. She's got a flak jacket in *her* wardrobe.

    January 23, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
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