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. brenda

    Do you really think Obama should just waltz into the white house? Hillary has to go up against him and the punditswho seem to hate to admit a women has the right to run for president.

    January 23, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  2. Andrew

    Supporting your wife is one thing.

    Spewing vile rhetoric and trying to divide this country to gain a win for your wife is horrible.

    The Clinton campaign needs to stop sending Bill out to attack an opposing candidate just so they can win the primaries.

    January 23, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. Theresa Duncan

    Wow. After reading these comments, it certainly appears that a lot of disgruntled republicans and Obama followers out there are scared to death. Bill and Hillary Clinton are the best two things that happened to Washington since John F Kennedy. Everyone knows Hillary will be our first woman president. Maybe you can't stand it right now, but you better get used to it, because you will most likely have 8 years of it. Enjoy!!! Thank God that there are still people Like Hillary and Bill that care about common people and who are in a position to represent us.

    January 23, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  4. PaKid

    Ed from PA January 23, 2008 4:41 pm ET

    It will be yet another awful four years of Hillary gets in… Do you know how many businesses are in her pockets?

    And do you seriously want Bill Clinton as First Gentleman?

    Anyone is an improvement than the two dictators that are in there now. Like baseball, like Bush ran his Rangers well, How many times in the playoffs?, I propose this, A TRADE! BUSH & CHENEY to Russia for Putnin. That would be a BIG Improvement than these two goofs.

    January 23, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. Don

    In SC today I recieved 3 more attack mailings from the Obama camp. I got two last week. He is no differant and Bill is right. Why isn't this being reported.

    January 23, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. Jeff

    If the Clintons keep this up, and Hillary gets the nomination, Democrats like me will sit out the general election, rather than endure another eight years of the Clinton
    gang in the White House.

    Bill's first term was a total disaster, health care bungled and the Republican take over of Congress. His second term was a different kind of disaster due to his lies and disrespect for the office of President. His pardons were a national disgrace.


    January 23, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  7. tc

    I just think CNN is biased against Bill. Or rather biased against Hillary. Go, Bill, Go. Never let them put you down.

    January 23, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. Vote-Respbly08

    I wonder why Michelle dosen't come out more to endorce her hubby Obama
    Has she nothing to say??? I guess Nevada scared her off..
    People who endorce Obama have got to be crazy! Obama speaks in a voice that others have not been able to speak about..Oh so true..Speak NO ACTIONS.

    TALK NO ACTION!!! sorry day we believe that again. Isn;t this what the young
    Bush did? and what do we have to show for believing...
    2.people loosing their jobs
    3.people loosing their homes
    4 and Economy short of a Recession
    and oh so much more.
    Wonderful speaches, inspiering speaches , with no action we do not need.
    What has Obama a Jr. Senator with no experience has to offer? Articulation
    of BS.

    January 23, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  9. Shari Loe

    ina: You go, girl.

    MARY: To take your lack of logic – why would we ever vote for a Christian after the Oklahoma City bombing? Muslims believe in God, too, and many died on 9/11 and most abhor it and those who live here are as good Americans as you (and certainly better ones that Tim McVeigh).

    January 23, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  10. SuJay

    Bill and Hillary together are deliberately playing the race card. Bill Clinton now says that electing Obama would "lower the bar on the presidency." What!!!! This from a man who used his position to take advantage of a young woman. How can any reasonable American want this man back in the White house??? Not me! Go Obama!

    January 23, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  11. Don Fooks


    January 23, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. Vancouver-Truth

    By the way, I wonder if you will create a show about these blogs. Many of the pov's here are more unhappy with CNN than they are the candidates!
    I'm watching and waiting.....

    January 23, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. Annie

    When I read this story it was a sideline article, now it took over Heath Ledger's spot on the main page...wow...either CNN is looking for payback over Bill's criticism or we are really over the hollywood drama...hmmm.

    January 23, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  14. Geri

    I wrote a pretty good comment but it didnt get posted...could it be I said something bad about Obama and CNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 23, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  15. brian

    Upset? That was upset? What would you call it if he ever raised his voice and became really mad? A Madman? He answered a question and told the reporter that they should concentrate on other things beside him. He's campaigning how is it his fault or his wifes if the media follow him around. Have them follow Michelle around instead.

    January 23, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  16. Maria

    Lets face it the Clinton's, yes Bill and Hillary (possibly Chelsea) would scratch, claw, and bite to get to the top. They would probably even kill if they could get away with it. Voters of the United States stop buying into the deceit.

    January 23, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  17. Bob

    Is Obama going to distance himself from his supporters remarks? I doubt it and doubt the media will call him on it either.

    January 23, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  18. Karen

    I am much more interested in what Bill Clinton has to say than than the spin that the "talking heads" put on things–the "talking heads" are out of control–they have a lot a lot of hours to fill on those cable stations–

    January 23, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  19. MARIA

    i expect cnn to be neutral. if you show negative for the clinton, then show the negative of the obamas side by side.

    January 23, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  20. willowood

    I would say that two terms as President for each of these families is enough. It is fair to say that Bill Clinton, by miring us in political scandal gave us the Bush era. The Republicans loved shutting the government down for two years with impeachment proceedings and Ken Starr. But who gave them food for fodder-Bill Clinto-because as he said "I could". ENOUGH, please step aside and let Senator Obama win or loose on his own merits. This is Bill and Hilary at their double worst... Santa Rosa, CA.

    January 23, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  21. Andrea

    Bill Clinton had his opportunity to serve this country and chose to spend his time as President seducing and sexually entertaining very young woman in our Oval Office. He is beyond arrogant to think the American people believe a word he says. Hillary Clinton is the candidate running for the nomination and Mr. Clinton would better serve her by "sitting there and looking pretty" at this point.

    January 23, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  22. dee


    Zogby new poll have Obama with19 point lead.

    the more hear Bill and Hill

    The more Hill's lead is shrinking across the country

    Change is comming

    Hill would be fine with Obama, if Hill was running away with it.

    January 23, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  23. formerclintonian

    I was an enthusiastic supporter of the Clintons for years and defended them year after year through every scandal. I now have decided to become an active Obama supporter. He is showing himself to be far less devisive and his intelligence and eloquence combined give me hope. I must say it breaks my heart to see what the Clintons are doing to this party. They are trying to win this election by ruining a fellow Senator. This may cause those thousands of dedicated supporters of Obama to refuse to vote for Hillary in the general election. They need party unity to win the general election but that is in danger if these supporters become so angry and cynical that they vote for no one....worse if they become so angry they vote for the Republican candidate (McCain) out of spite.

    January 23, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  24. gbreite, Baton Rouge LA

    Clinton's comments were dead on. We don't care about race, gender, or responses to bruised egos–we care about the issues that influence our lives and threaten our futures. CNN's muck-rakking journalists need to take a moment for a little soul searching.

    January 23, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. john

    does anyone see that the clinton's are dirtbags? i wish those two would crawl back under the the rock they came from!!

    January 23, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
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