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. OBAMA MAMA Twin Cities, MN

    Have anyone of these people who are whining about the media thought about the possibility that they don't like the Clintons and seem to support Obama because they are right!?! Think about it for a minute, journalists are the most jaded people I have ever met and to see them this floaty and sparkley eyed about a CANDIDATE leads me to believe that they have seen something that they have never seen before, A POLITICION WORTH VOTING FOR. Could it be that after 8 years of covering the Clinton circus and 8 more years of the Bush banana republic they could see something in Obama they haven't seen in politics, INTEGRITY!! Tired of dirty politics? Well, apparently so is the "media".
    In all honesty I didn't see "Bill Gone Wild" either. However, his acting like a condescending 2 year old temper-tantrum that he has been displaying a lot recently WAS on the tape. With the finger waving in her face and the fake concern for the rights of voters, and the jabs at the other campaigns while "answering the question" and the last childish "shame on you" comment....Billary needs their butt handed to them. I don't care who you vote for just as long as you're smart enough to see through the slimey Clintons and vote for someone else!!! They will cut anyones throat (including that of the Dem party) to get what they want.

    Obama 08

    January 23, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  2. Ray

    True-Bule? True Red!! Get Lost!

    January 23, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  3. pastor sunday idahor

    let us face the facts, Obama is politically inmature to be the president of the most powerful nation under heaven. let him show his worth in the senate before he can be trusted to lead the world! to be honest, i got to hear about him just two years ago

    January 23, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  4. Lesley

    I think that the nature of political campaigns brings out both the best and the worst in people. Every politician's personal and political history must and will be scrutinized: how they voted, who gave them money, when they changed their minds on issues, what they tried to conceal from the public or the press, how they react to attacks on their records, their character etc. etc...Throughout history, the press has often been more interested in the foibles of the politicians, rather than their solutions to issues. There will always be hack reporters who avoid real investigative journalism and take the easy way out. Sometimes policies and issues aren't nearly as entertaining as who said what about who, and how cleverly it was done. However, the press is what we have, and the truth will out through stories here and there. It is up to the American public to wade through the muck, read about the candidates and judge their positions on the issues that will affect them. The public will determine who is best suited to lead based on the information provided and the trial by fire that is a political campaign.

    January 23, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  5. Yellow-Dog Democrat

    We have 8 good years under Clinton. No wonder the Republicans have won the last 8 years with all the back biting among the weak kneed democrats. Lets get on with the issues and quit fighting among ourselves.

    January 23, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  6. Anony Mouse

    Someone's trying to take away "Bill's" election?? Blah Blah, I don't like Bill, etc., wahwah..

    HEY! He didn't say it was his election. He's got a good point.

    Go Bill! You've got free speech just like they do. Thanks for not being afraid to speak your mind.

    January 23, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  7. steve michael

    Boo-hoo Obama.

    If you can't handle a little heat, you can't handle being President.

    Hillary 2008!

    January 23, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  8. David

    Bill Clinton needs to stop being a jerk. I know he's a candidate's husband, but as a former president, he should have the gumption to sit it out until after the primaries. If Barack Obama wins the nomination, Clinton, being the hypocrite that he is, will then act like Obama is the best thing since Franklin Roosevelt and think we're too dumb to notice his about face.

    January 23, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  9. Common Man

    Guaranteed: Hillary gets the nomination, Republicans win the election....I mean can you really imagine that woman in charge. Picture her behind closed dors smilling like the freakin devil. Bill just can't stand to live anywhere but the white house. I used to be down with him, always knew he did much good for this country but come on. He needs to stop playing bad cop while his wife cries...CRIES to a bunch of folks about how hard it is. Bet other leaders of the world are praying for her to win. Not a Bush fan AT ALL but they are going to go from losing faith in us to trying to push us around with that woman in charge. NO WAY!

    January 23, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  10. Apollo 13

    Way to go, Bill!

    You suck, CNN. You trivialize the campaign by hyping B.S. rather than focusing on the issues viewers care about. I hope Bill tears you a new one every chance you give him. Good job at being an entertainment outlet, CNN, running neck and neck with Faux News for that distinction. I rarely watch your coverage anymore... it's gotten to be a joke.

    I will vote for who wins the Democratic nomination. Period. You want four more years of Republican war without end and further economic malaise? Can't fix stupid in some voters I suppose. We got Bush somehow, eh?

    January 23, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  11. Phyllis

    Clinton should follow President 41's fine example of being an elder statesman, former President, and family member of a presidential candidate who knew enough to let he family member run his own race. He is making me vote for ABC–Anyone But Clinton OR a Republican.

    Let Hillary run on her own! Back off and let's see HER and not Bill.

    January 23, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  12. Angelina

    EX presidente can not let it go of power. I just hope that all of us, and Senator Obama let it go of him and his negativity, his old shadow and his old political tricks _ the Billary goal appears now to suck us all into this negative stuff and get us off from the real issues............. We want change, we need to be united, we need to go back to the good old ideals this country has been build upon on.

    I am not surprised of all what they are pulling out, they will do anything to get to power .............it is showing.

    Senator Obama, we need you in office now more than ever............

    January 23, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  13. Kate

    I'm an independent and frankly I'm very discouraged by the media's coverage. Though we all bear part of the responsibility because we are still watching and reading their coverage. I call the media the 3rd horseman of the apocalypse, horses 1 and 2 being the Republican and Democratic parties. I have begun to wonder if the whole system is so corrupted as to be beyond redemption. We are, after all, the longest running experiment in democracy in history. As I read the nasty comments posted here I can't help but think that the American people are ripping out the heart of this country with their own hands. Bitter, divisive and hateful diatribes directed at anyone who doesn't think like they do, are a symptom of the partisan politics that have brought us to the place we are today.

    I will never vote for Hillary Clinton because, to me, she represents more of the same. She will fight the "evil" Republicans instead creating consensus.
    I truly believe that we need someone in the White House that wants to work with both sides, to fairly represent the people they are elected to serve, not be stooges for party politics as usual.

    At this point I'm undecided about who I will ultimately vote for, but it won't be someone who can not ever be a uniting force, and like it or not, Hillary will not unite this country.

    If things continue on the path they are on now, we won't have to worry about terrorist destroying America, we will have done it to ourselves.

    January 23, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  14. Holt Hexler

    President Clinton was right!

    January 23, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  15. d t

    To think the Clinton Clan or Obama can do anything for the "average Joe" only shows the INABILITY of one to think for themselves.These people are self serving EGOmaniacs that should put out to pasture.Our country is neck deep now & either one of these will help guarantee we drown in our on stupidity !

    January 23, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  16. Rahul

    It is begining to look like CNN is becoming like other networks (Fox to name one) and trying to ask anything or do anything for a story. The headline in the front page said " Bill Clinton gets angry at CNN reporter". Did not look like he was that upset at the reporter as much as upset over the allegations. CNN reporters need to start showing some ethical standards. CNN is becoming a tebloid news organization and this is not a compliment.
    The news in the CNN are sounding more and more like Obama sided than Edwards or Clinton. The democratic party will figure out who is the best candidate for the party. CNN just need to cover stories imparitially, equal to all candidates.

    January 23, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  17. Ann

    Right On Bill!

    January 23, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  18. WW - New York

    Hillary basically stated that Bill wasn't in the debate, so why do we see him more than her? I'll tell you why, because if she's elected he will run the country.. So would that mean Bill will be the first black president and first woman president?

    Obama Pres. .... Edwards .. VP..!

    January 23, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  19. Mark B

    Bill Clinton could be right or wrong it all just depends on what your definition or "is" is. Speaking of depends I bet when he gets this fired up his get a little moist.

    January 23, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  20. Daniel

    I'm sick and tired of turning my TV every day just to listen for two words. "RACE AND GENDER" or "BLACK AND WHITE.
    I think is the reporters that keep pumping this up. Why can't we focus on the issues that affecting our nation.

    To Bill Clinton, If you really want to return to the white house, Why can't to just put your name on the ballot ticket so all know you're on the race for the white.
    Let Hillary do the talking, Mr.

    January 23, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  21. kathy

    Lets be serious for a minute here . If that was your wife running for President of the United States , reguardless of what position you held. You WOUD defend her at any cost. I have alot of respect for Bill for doing that. Remember put yourself in his place would you allow anyone to say things about ANYONE in your family.

    January 23, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  22. Jimmy, Oklahoma Feb. 5th

    He sounded good to me. I am glad he stands up to the media. That is why they do not like him, because he stands up to them. The Clinton's do stand up for people. Senator Clinton started her fight for health care in 1993, now 15 years later she is still trying to get people insurance. And I will say that what I see is Obama does alot of dodging the facts. Why not just answer them rather then crying wolf. The Clintons are picking on me. Prety immature.

    Senator Hillary Clinton for President 2008

    Way to go President Bill Clinton. TELL IT LIKE IT IS. CNN and the other media should know that Americans are smart enough to know what is going on. Barack Obama and Jim Clyburn made this about RACE. This alone hurt AMERICA. The deffintion of a DIVIDER.

    GO "HILLARY" 2008

    January 23, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  23. NYC, New Yorker, NY

    True Blue,

    Admitted that you are True Red ,
    Dems will stick together. Peoople that don't will want another GWB in office.

    January 23, 2008 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  24. Mary Ann Vigilanti

    Bill Clinton has lived his whole life in politics. He is a veteran who has been on both sides – winning and losing. I think he tells it like it is. This is "raw politics" not a tea party. Obama is fair game, plain and simple. If he can't take the heat, then get out of the race. Personally, I don't think he is Presidential material and his whine "they're picking on me" proves it.

    January 23, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  25. SS

    Not a voter – but I heard and I agree with Mr. Clinton – it is sensationalism rather than what people really care about. And I do not think he was upset – he called it as he sees it.

    January 23, 2008 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
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