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. TX Democrat

    Like it or not people – a Democrat is most likely to be our next President after the 8 years the Republicans have spent ruining this country! I want someone who has experience and I want a woman to finally break the gender barrier! Why NOT Hilary? Bill may not have great morals but he did wonders for our economy, the environment AND when he left office we had a balanced budget with NO deficit. How many trillions has Bush incurred? I've lost count!

    January 23, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  2. John Harvey

    I like how Bill deflected the criticisms and then made three attacks on the Obama camp. It was also very nice of those media people who are out to get him to talk for so long and say everything he had to say.

    Bill and Hillary don't have bad policies. They have bad and underhanded methods.

    January 23, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. Coby

    The people who say Obama is crying, are pathetic because thats what Bill does anytime they ask him why he's playing dirty. Hillary, her tears were authentic. LOL. Obama hasn't shed a tear. Clinton supporters why do you agree with these snakes & fakes?

    January 23, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  4. Debbie

    Who is running Hillary or Bill ??????????????
    Ohhhhhh no it is Bill ?????????
    Do we really want that again????

    January 23, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  5. Bill C

    I agree with President Bill Clinton. News reporters are more interested in sensationalism and exciting the public, than in factual reporting on the issues for which the public needs information on the presidential candidates.

    What are the critical and imortant issues for the US and the ability of the political party and their candidate to run the country? focus on that!!

    January 23, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  6. Daniel A. Greenbaum

    CNN was more visibly upset than the former President. Clinton is right that the Press
    is more interested in conflict than facts and it has been the Media, not the Clintons nor Obama
    who hasreally egged on the seeming battle.

    January 23, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. Sherry

    You lead with "Bill Clinton gets upset with CNN reporter".
    He was not upset nor angry, but he did set you straight. It is becoming obvious that not only does Hillary have to take on the opposing candidates, she has to take on the media also. It is a good thing she has her husband to help her, it kind of levels the playing field.

    If the news media really wanted to help the American voters decide who the best candidate is, they could do a timeline that states exactly what has been said and what it happened, starting back at the beginning and moving forward to the present.

    January 23, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. Deb

    I am a Democrat, and Bill and Hillary Clinton's behavior in this race has solidified my decision to vote for Barak Obama. In fact, I will vote for a Republican in the general election if Hillary is the Dem's candidate. The Clintons are despicable. Bill Clinton is not running for office. I have no problem with him campaigning for his wife, but he is completely out of line.

    January 23, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. josh

    How can you believe Bill on anything after he lied to the whole country. I am sure he likes the idea of going to the white house and flirting with girls there. No wonder he is taking this election personal.

    January 23, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  10. Liz

    How about this? Let's not care about what Bill says anymore because: A, he's no longer president, and B, this is not his campaign, but in fact his wife's, who deserves her own, untarnished spotlight. Bill, I love ya man, but just shut up and let the woman handle it!

    January 23, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  11. gilda

    His Majesty the Baby strikes again! Aren't we all, collectively, at least a wee bit weary of this self-righteous, self-serving, patronizing blowhard? Where are the defenders of free speech when this overgrown Mama's boy gets his $25 boxers in a bunch because members of the press are doing their jobs?

    I was starting to miss Bill just the tiniest amount after nearly eight years of Dubya, but after a few months of his campaigning for Hillary, I am ready for him to retire again . . . and stay away this time. A little of Bill Clinton has always gone a long, long way.

    January 23, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. Jeff Farro

    ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!! Whether you are Democrat or Republican you have to admit that Bill speaks the TRUTH. The media makes things more confusing for the public & unfortunately when someone is accused of something in this country they are already viewed as guilty. Get your facts then report the truth.

    The MEDIA needs to strive for responsible journalism. Not ratings!

    January 23, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  13. deann

    The media shows not too fair to Mr. Clinton, what is wrong for him by telling people the truth and the fact about Obama records.

    January 23, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  14. Tracy

    President Clinton, need to really step back or take it down a couple of notches. He is losing my respect.

    January 23, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. keith, washington dc

    Bill Clinton seems to love being back on the campaign trail until he's confronted like the candidate he's acting like he is.

    January 23, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  16. Janet

    Bill just keeps on running his mouth and wagging his finger and the media just keeps eating it up. He needs to shut his mouth and let Hillary speak for herself, and the media needs to stop sucking up to him. After all she's running not him. Concentrate on what she's saying and stop printing every meaningless thing he says! What's going to happen IF (and I make that a VERY STRONG IF) Hillary gets elected? Bill will just run off at the mouth anytime he feels like it and the press will print it regardless? Hillary better rein him in now or she's gonna have to pay for it, either by losing the nomination or by having to clean up after him once she gets it.

    January 23, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. Veronica

    Bill Clinton has turned into Karl Rove! Bill and Hillary have become so nasty, that I can't stand them! Obama's fighting both of them, just who is running for president anyway Bill or Hillary? Don't matter, if Obama loose, I'm voting for Jack Cafferty!

    January 23, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  18. Veronica from Albuquerque

    CNN, yet again you show your bias towards Obama. I have started watching MSNBC more because at least they state the facts not put their own spin on everything the Clintons say or do. I liked Obama at first but with your constant bias in his favor I will not vote for him if he was the only one running. Try to be fair and start hiring people that are truthful. Shame on CNN yet again, the Clintons are not evil people but your reporters should take a good look at themselves.

    January 23, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  19. Bill Auman

    Bill Clinton is right. I am a Republican but I have seen the news media more interested in "being the news" than "reporting the news" for both parties. The news media has been going down hill faster than home prices lately. It's a good thing I have TiVo, I got through a 30 minute news broadcast in six minutes, after it got off on the wrong foot, the other day. Sponsors, I did not see any of your ads.

    January 23, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. Mark

    The media, including CNN has been making stories out of nothing. We don't care about all this race and gender stuff. Can't we concentrate on the issues that effect us? CNN claims to have the best Political Team. If they do, then why aren't they asking more hard hitting questions about what is effecting the people? Like most comments, this probably won't make it to the message board. Thanks CNN.

    January 23, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. Tired of South Carolina

    If I were the Clintons, I would ignore the black vote in South Carolina. Let whatever percentage the black vote is go to Obama, the Teflon candidate. The Clintons should continue to work for the Hispanics, Senior Citizens, Women and etc. South Carolina just isn't worth all of this. Commentators rightfully believe that the loss Humphrey and Carter experienced was due to the apathy of the black vote. Well maybe so, but times have changed. We now have a much more diverse population in this country; it’s not only the black vote that matters or counts and I’m beginning to think it is.

    January 23, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  22. John

    What is the problem with the media today? PLEASE, CNN point out where he gets upset, because I watched the whole video and he's very calm, very Presidential actually, throughout. When did he "lash" out?

    This ranks up with ABCnews' caption that Obama was "testy" with their reporter.

    The media is going way, way beyond the truth in their coverage of this year's campaign. Maybe if the viewers, who'd actually like to hear about differences on the candidates' positions on Health Care, the Iraq War, how to help the Economy, and other real issues start calling your sponsors you'll finally "get it".

    January 23, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. frank Leet

    I'm disappointed in you CNN. You are the network that I turn to for the "Fair and Balanced" account of what happens in the world each day. I watched this video and am "upset" at the way you interpret and promote Bill Clinton's response to Jessica Yellin's questions in this interview. He gave no indication that he was angry, upset, or that he was chastising the reporter. She asked questions that are irrelevant to this undecided voter and she received a thorough and honest response from the former President. He is absolutely right in saying that you are trying to spin this into something that the election is just not about.

    Shame on you!!!

    January 23, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  24. James

    The Clintons are finally proving to democrats that this partnership has been nothing but a way to get and maintain power, at ANY cost, especially the truth.

    January 23, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  25. Bobbie

    Sorry Jessica ...... but he was right . You had so many questions / we have so many for sure/ .

    January 23, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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