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. OOB

    It is clear CNN reporters are in Love with Obama. Everything he or his campaign says is taken as the truth, why does CNN not ask Obama to state his true position since he said the Clintons are lying about his position,. Every criticism of Obama is likened to an evil plot either by him or his backers. When you run for office; people take critical look at you present and past positions.

    Did he vote present even for bills he sponsored? Voting present for a bill he sponsored is nothing but cowardice, if you cannot vote for your bill, then I wonder who will vote for such bill. If you do not believe in a position, why propose to make a law of it.

    January 23, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  2. Gabriel Powers

    Bill is a has been and much more so now. So is Hillary. Should not be allowed to fool us twice. We endured their hateful approaches for years. Enough is enough.

    January 23, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  3. Concerned

    I am tired of the Clinton politics. For some one who voted for Bill, I am truly disappointed. I think that there are many other candidates out there for him to choose to pick on. But he chooses the one candidate that can unite America the most effectively. Four years of Hillary will be four more years of Washington politics. Nothing getting done because of loyalty to the special interest groups. People wake-up and see the Clinton's had their turn – just like the Bush's. Romney, Edwards, Obama, Huckabee – just not Hillary.

    January 23, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  4. pH

    Why are we voting for "the Clintons", isn't it just Hillary running ???

    January 23, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  5. Rich

    Jessica, you GO GIRL! Don't let Bill bully you! Beneath that "aw shucks" veneer is one of the shrewdest, take-no-prisoners politicians ever elected to any office. Stare him down and keep up the good work!

    January 23, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  6. Mike

    I think Clinton and Obama should focus on todays pressing issues, instead of bickering about each others campaigns.This kind of behavior is just going to turn people off. Edwards is the only one who stays on top of the issues , so he has my vote.

    January 23, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  7. Sally

    Obama moans that "I'm having to run against Bill AND Hillary" remember the old days when Bob Dole moaned that it was "hard to get coverage by news media because all Bill Clinton has to do is walk out and wave and he gets coverage" stop moaning and talk about the issues. You are applying for a job, stop complaining about the other applicants and tell us who you are! We (you remember us – we the PEOPLE) are perfectly capible of reviewing the applications and making a decision for ourselves!

    January 23, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  8. True_Blue

    To all true Democrats:

    Do not Vote for Hillary in the general election if sh wins the primary. She has disgraced herself and our party through this shameful primary. Send a message this general election and cast your vote for anyone else but Hillary.

    January 23, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  9. judy brown

    I am in shock after reading most of the comments . Doesn"t anyone read the facts before they sound off? Everyone has the right to vote for who they want , just like Bill Clinton has the right to stand up for his wife. If you all could understand how your petty ,trailer trash little comments makes your candiate look. CNN and every other news cast has applied a higher standard for Hillary than any other candiate. It is time for the news agenices to go back to unbias news reporting because there are appartantly some people out there who are not mentally capable of doing it for theirselves.

    January 23, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  10. D

    Given the choice between someone who screws around with everyone under the sun and someone who wants to kill everyone under the sun isn't for us (so they have to be against us), I will choose the one that screws around...

    For those of you who aren't very bright, Clinton screws around and Bush kills...

    January 23, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  11. pat

    bill clinton was so right on what he said,i am getting so sick of all this crap being said and most of it is against the clintons on cnn,i really thought in the beginning that if hillary lost i would be able to vote for obama but with all this race issue stuff being said on cnn&msnbc & obama supporters i am changing my mind,how anybody could claim the clintons are raceist when they have done so much for the black people is beyond belief,this is one white american that is fed up,if hillary or edwards dont get the nommination,i will be voting rep.dont you think this is what the rep want to have obama the canidate they will rip him apart ,if he cant answer questions now what will he do when he gets in dabates with with them.lets get over the mud slinging and have the media and canidates talk about what the american people really want,the ecomony,jobs comming back to the usa,ending the war,immigration,and pride in our country again.you can say what you want about pres. clinton he left office with a huge surplus&we all lived a lot better than we do now.he would listen to the people and also he was loved by a lot of people,he was a hundred times better than the bull-headed jerk that is sitting in the white house now.go hillary if obama can have opra,al shapton&jessie jackson you can have bill

    January 23, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  12. Michigan voter

    I don't agree with any of the political gameship that has been going on with the 2008 presidential primaries. ALL media networks are stealing the presidential election process away from the people on both sides – Republican and Democrat. They hype some candidates and not others, publish articles negative to some and not to others. Most people do not have time to follow every detail of the ongoing battle, so they look to the media for a balanced presentation, but what do they get? Entertainment, competitive nonsense and deception -
    "We now have a government of the media, by the media and for the media.

    January 23, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  13. Patty, somewhere

    Well, once again the man is asked a pointed question about someone criticizing his character and I can't believe that CNN is pushing this as Bill is angry. That was the calmest politest response I could have imagined. He did not raise his voice, he never appeared angry, he laughed several times, and for CNN and what I just watched Jessica and Soledad O'Brien say on the air just after 8:00 pm was DISGUSTING!! A complete twist of words and meaning and showing the media once again, and I have written to CNN many times about their bias, is trying to spin this into another outburst from Clinton to spin this week's theme of is 'Is big bad Bill a detriment to his wife's campaign?". No!! He is not and since when will CNN start printing some unbiased facts about the Clintons and stop acting as if the Obama campaign is the second coming and walks on water! Now maybe you should be telling us what actually went on that meeting and what the SC voters care about rather than this manufactured spin and another attack where not warranted.

    January 23, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  14. NickNas

    raghu January 23, 2008 8:05 pm ET

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

    SEE even you BILLARY people are slipping up and saying it now. ClintonS runnning. LOL

    January 23, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  15. Bob, Delaware, OH

    It seems the race will be decided by the Obama vs Hillary battle, maybe that explains the heat. Either way the winner will be an extremely stunning shock to ALOT of white males in this country. Actually hilarious

    January 23, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  16. jeff

    Its amazing how many people are realizing how biased our media is. They just didn't realize its been going on against the conservatives for years. I guess it doesn't matter until it affects you yourself

    January 23, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  17. jg

    Bill we were tired of you 7 years ago, why don't you take up golf, and accent that at least 200 million of us have got your number...and we don't like it! go Obama!!

    January 23, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  18. Mark

    Bill is right on with his attacks. If Obama can't take the heat then he needs to drop out. What is Obama going to do if he wins the nomination, the Republicans will eat Obama up. Obama needs to stop whining and put some substance in his campaign. Hillary is beating Obama because her campaign has more substance

    January 23, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  19. lw

    The way CNN treats Hillary and Obama is obviously unfair, whenever Obama cry for helps CNN jumps up immediately. What's wrong with CNN ?

    January 23, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  20. Chris, IN

    I am so tired of the Democratic party shooting "itself in the foot" everytime we're practically handed the opportunity to take back the white house on a silver plate. We did it with John Kerry, arguably the most 'bland' and unconvincing man I know with what should have been an easy victory against Bush. Now we're doing it with Hillary Clinton and yet again offering the Republicans another 4 years of the presidency.

    What I think Clinton supporters don't realize is that outside of their camp Hillary is not well liked, in fact often times despised by Republicans, Independents, and now more and more Democrats. Her own campaign staff has even taken notice of her lack of support among independents and purposely concentrated their efforts on those states that don't allow independents to vote in the Democratic primary.

    Now we're really in trouble if McCain wins, because he's the "Obama of the Republicans" in the sense that he's willing to build a "Working Majority" and work with independents and Republicans. In fact, the Republican base don't like him because of this, yet moderate republicans and yes even moderate democrats like McCain. Now just imagine if he selected Joe Lieberman as his vice president! The democrat who was forced to run as an independent because of the DNC but is still respected by Democrats. A man who endorsed McCain.

    Now imagine Hillary and the poor guy she selects as Vice President (poor guy because Bill will dominate and be the pseudo Vice-President) trying to run again McCain and Lieberman, McCain who has the STRONG backing of independents who no longer have Obama to vote for (who he has shown to attract in Iowa and NH). You also have the 69% of Republicans shown in a recent poll who 'strongly fear Clinton' as president who are now rallying all their fellow Republicans to get to the polls to vote against Hillary.

    On TOP OF THIS you also have the Barack Obama supporters who are now completely turned off by the Clintons and the changing of Obama's Regan quotes (yes, lieing) exposed recently on Politifact, who can't support someone in the office of the president who blatantly lies. What are you left with? A staggering defeat for the democrats YET AGAIN where it should have been an easy win, just as it was in 2004.

    Clinton supporters, I respect your vigorous support and enthusiasm with which you defend your candidate, but this is about REALISTICALLY winning an election and putting a democrat in the office. Hillary, of no fault of her own (for the most part), has the ire of many Republicans, Independents and a growing number of Democrats. McCain would win (as polls on RealClearPolitics show) if he ran against Hillary in Nov. If you want to win in Nov, Obama is the only real way to go. He attracks more independents then even McCain. And if Biden, with all his foreign policy experience were his Vice President selection, he would be unstopable.

    The choice is yours – McCain or Obama. (Or hope that Republicans screw up and nominate Romney, because distrust of Romney would 'trump' Hillary's dislike – at least I'd hope so since the man changes his positions so often and lies about Lobbyist working in his campaign.)

    January 23, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  21. RevGreen

    Mena got you elected the first time Bill. the cover-up of all cover ups.

    January 23, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  22. Joseph

    Bill Clinton is a shameless liar. Nobody believes him anymore because he is flat out lying to the American public. Thanks the the reporters who have the courage to ask him hard questions. All his distortions and misinformation is clearly on the public record. We don't need a person in the White House who is willing to lie to and misinform the American public just to win an election. I can't believe I used to like Bill and Hillary Clinton. It's sad.

    January 23, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  23. Katherine

    You go Bill! Defend your wife. You two will make a great team in Washington. When you were in office, people were working, we were not in a war, people were not on a verge of losing their homes, we were not in a recession, we had no gas lines, and our FEDERAL budget was in the black, now we have a deficit. Get real, the stimulus package is a joke because the long term issues will still remain just like in 2001. $600 will not even allow a family of 4 to go to Disneyland. Vote HILLARY, 2008!

    January 23, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  24. TCG

    Just wait and see. If Hillary gets elected and gets criticized for her errors, Bill Clinton will be defending Hillary in the same way he is doing it now. That raises me two questions? Are we really going to get elected the first woman president when she can't even defend herself? And, are we going to elect a president or the Clinton Dynasty?

    Honestly folks, this does not seem right.

    January 23, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  25. Case

    How much air time are they going to give to Bill Clinton, last I checked his name was not going to be on the ballot . Hillary is off running in other states and media is not calling her on it but rather chasing down Bill... The Clinton's are running a masterful political scam and media is marching to its tune.

    Edwards should run another youtube video showing how media discusses Bill Clinton vs him, an actual candidate.

    January 23, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
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