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. Bruce B.

    Did he answer the question? Did he inhale? He didn't inhale, nor did he answer the question. The question was I believe was pertaining to his alleged remarks, instead he gets that holy then thou attitude of how dare you ask me that question. Bill can't handle the heat. Barack will be the next Democratic nominee. All you Bill lovers out there take a look a few years back when Bill was campaigning for Democratic congresspersons and senators, most of them if not all LOST. Hillary, sweetie, he is killing ya. You could better without him, in more ways then one.

    January 23, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  2. Nancy, Dallas TX

    Bill Clinton is totally correct – CNN and many other media outlets seem determined to take this election away from the people. It is indisputable that the media's focus is on the cat fights rather than the issues. It is a disservice to voters, an insult to our intelligence and a waste of our time. CNN et al have their agenda and it is NOT in sync with the voting public's. For a little more intelligent reporting try MSN.

    I am thankful and relieved that Bill Clinton is calling out Obama on his vague preach-y claims. If Obama can't handle Bill well, he doesn't have a prayer against the Republican Swiftboaters.

    January 23, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. Independent in MI

    CNN has very lazy reporters. How about investingating where the candidates stand on the ISSUES instead of this "National Inquirer" type reporting? If you want to endorse Obama, then just do it. Please do not bash the Clintons to get better ratings or promote your candidate.

    January 23, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  4. stillwhite

    Weak.When the Media prints everything Michelle say's that is inflammatory,then I'll believe your tripe.Can anyone say"Obama is Allah"yhree times without puking?If you don't think every good ol' boy out there will vote against this Judas,wait until November.Good Luck!!

    January 23, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. Pat G Wright

    President Clinton, stand by your woman. Do not be floored by those who would want the first woman President to quit. If the Senator cannot stand the heat, hey leave the Kitchen. I read a piece in the NY Times by Bob Herbert that speaks of the delapidated conditions of some S. Carolina schools in the black areas. Where are the voices and work of the current State representatives and the people of SC? why are you not fighting for the American dream?
    There is only one person who can help make that change and that's only if you elect a woman. Woman know how to lead, we do that every day...so go President Hilary Clinton.


    January 23, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  6. raghu

    looks like Clintons are running against Obama & CNN . here.

    January 23, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. Tim, Seattle

    Dee said: : "I hate CNN for MANY reasons,

    So you decided to view CNN, read the story and comment here anyway? Wow.....now thats sowingCNN a thing or 2 😉

    January 23, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  8. Voter

    Bill and Hillary are the worst role models in America. They are both corrupt, dishonorable, and untrustworthy.

    How about we hear the reporter's side of it? Just because she/he asks you a question that you don't like does not make that reporter un-American. They're asking you the question, Bill, because WE, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, WANT TO KNOW THE ANSWER. How dare you suppress the truth? Why should we trust your wife to tell the truth and be honorable when you were nothing but the opposite for 8 years? You LIED to us Bill, and we will never forget that. So don't tell us what you think we want to hear. You listen to the reporters–they'll TELL you what we want to hear.

    January 23, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  9. Mike T

    Looks like somebody needs a nap.

    January 23, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  10. Adrian, NYC, NY

    I lost all respect I ever had for him.

    January 23, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  11. Rafi, NY NY

    Richardson is not: running for president anymore.

    January 23, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  12. RHubbs Baton Rouge, LA

    First, Bill Clinton did not appear to be upset over this, but was quite calm and composed throughout his answer. Secondly, his answer was thorough and he expressed his sincere disappointment at the CNN reporter's goading and trying for a sensational issue that really doesn't exist except in the minds of the media. I applaud his response as rational and right on point.

    January 23, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  13. Charles

    CNN's coverage on the Democrats field is clearly pro-Obama. Nothing wrong with that, just to set the record straight.

    January 23, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  14. citizen_c

    Sounds like a lot of two-faced double talk meant to further obfuscate this campaign. He claims to care about the voters and the issues, but the last thing I've heard out of anyone's mouth in the Clinton campaign is talk of the issues. This comming from a president who was impeeched, found guilty of perjury, and perminately disbarred.

    January 23, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  15. nathan

    I am not an american. I think Romney and Mc Cain seem be fit enough to become president of USA. Clinton is average. But obama is wrose! He is inexperienced & he may fumble more than Bush when it comes to international relations.

    January 23, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. david

    The clintons are scum that will resort to anything to get back in the whitehouse. Bill will even pretend to like hillary. Maybe she will have him as a running mate. I wonder why they are attacking Obama so much and trying to act like they are african americans. It is the most ridicuous display I have ever seen and the fact that there are a number of americans out there who can't see through the BS is a great concern. It would appear that we are turning into the land of the unbelievably stupid.

    January 23, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  17. Jennie

    Poor Hillary! Her husbands behavior is going to cost her the election. He needs to be muzzled and locked in a room.
    actually, what we all need to remember is SHE is running and NOT HIM!!

    January 23, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  18. Peterson

    Got Bill?


    January 23, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  19. Al in wpg

    Don't let CNN tell you what's important to you, that's Bill Clinton's job.

    January 23, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. betty kearns

    i watched jessica yellin ask president clinton about his fued with barack obama. i did not see him get angry i saw him give his opinion that the news keeps this going and i agree with him.

    January 23, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  21. Aidyn

    Bill Clinton is totally right about this one!

    January 23, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  22. Ron, Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Bill Clinton is right. The news media just takes the same old story and beats it to death. The media has not exmained Sen. Obama as clearly and extensively as they have Sen. Clinton nor given him the critical cross examination (hence, the "fairytale" that President Clinton described and what has resulted in a lot of what the public is hearing.) Obama does not give depth to his policies or his positions and when challenged, he whines. Sen. Clinton is absolutely right; you can't have a debate with him 'cause he calls fowl play. The media is indeed weak - just as they have been weak throughout the Bush term in office .

    January 23, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  23. JMV

    Give me a break. The more Bill keeps at it (campaigning) the less Hillary has at winning. Keep it up Bill!

    January 23, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  24. Tim, Seattle

    Shirley said: "Democratic Black Caucus saying that if Bill doesn't stop and Obama doesn't get the nomination, they will withhold their votes."

    Um...actually I am a dem and if Hillary is the nominee, I wont vote for her. Sorry, its even worse than you think. We want a unifier not more conflict.

    And there you go again playing the 'age card'. Yes Obama is 47. Bill Clinton was 46 when he was running for office and JFK was 43..so what is your point, exactly?

    January 23, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. Gary

    Does CNN really think that the American people are stupid? Bill Clinton said exactly what CNN was going to talk about tonight and after watching three straight hours of CNN tonight, he was right. Not one segment about what the voters of South Carolina asked about. If Hillary Clinton is campaigning in New Jersey as CNN reported, then why not cover what she is saying? She is the one running for President. Did Barach say anything today? One would not know it via CNN coverage. CNN keeps saying that this is the news, but the Bill Clinton segment and the "race" issue is not that only political news today. One would not know it from the coverage today and CNN thinks we won't notice? Maybe it is time I tune in to channel that has a wider range of coverage.

    January 23, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 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