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. Kerry

    CNN reporter reports? Bill Clinton upset. I watched and viewed from one end to the other end of this. To make such a comment that Bill Clinton was upset is
    irresponsible. I seen no such emotion. What I see was man telling the media
    the need to quit inventing the news thats not there. Simple as that.

    January 23, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  2. Seam, Philly, Pa

    Bill is using Hillary as a way to get back in charge of this country. Why are people voting for this man, I mean this woman? Or is it both?

    January 23, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  3. Kerry

    YOUR comment is awaiting moderation WHY?

    January 23, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  4. Jimmy, Oklahoma Feb. 5th




    January 23, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  5. Helen

    Keep going Bill put them in their place. Hillary has my vote.

    January 23, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  6. J

    The Clintons are experienced career politicians. When Hillary lost the caucus in Iowa, the Clintons decided that they would use every available tactic to try to win the Democratic nomination. The issue of race was knowingly injected into the campaign by Hillary Clinton with her ambiguous comment about Martin Luther King, Jr. The Clintons knew that Hillary would lose some black votes, but they cynically calculated that they would gain even more white votes by making race a focal point. Yes, unfortunately race is still an issue in America. And the Clintons made sure that it would be an issue in this campaign. It is also unfair that Barack Obama has to run against both Bill and Hillary Clinton. Bill Clinton was the last sitting president in the Democratic Party. What Bill Clinton says as a former President of the United States certainly holds more weight in people's minds than what Michelle Obama or Elizabeth Edwards can say on behalf of their spouses. It is patently unfair that the other Democratic candidates have to run against the former President Bill Clinton in campaigning against his wife. This sets a terrible precedent. George H.W. Bush did not campaign to this extent for his son George W. Bush even when John McCain won the New Hampshire primary in 2000. Unfortunately for the Clintons, "the ends justify the means." Perhaps, CNN is highlighting what is happening on the ground in South Carolina because they have a first-hand view of what the Clintons are doing. Let us hope that the Clintons and their cynicism are not the nominees of the Democratic Party. I say the Clintons because it looks more and more like Bill is running the show.

    January 23, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  7. Sam

    It's difficult to dislike Obama. He's such a nice young man with a such a nice young message.

    But with Political TICKLERs like these, it's not difficult to dislike his bed fellow CNN.


    January 23, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  8. Kerry

    Smear campaign: Obama needs to know EMAIL is not impossible to track. Not hard to trace. Unless its coming from his own campaign. I bet.

    January 23, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  9. Jack ny, ny

    CNN= Corrupted News Channel

    January 23, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  10. Marlene

    Quite honestly, I wonder how many of these pro-Bill and anti-CNN comments are coming directly from the back room boys of the Clinton campaign? Notice, they seem to be bunched and saying the same things. The pro-Obama and anti-Bill comments seem much more original and individual.

    Nice try, Clintonites. Most people aren't as naive and stupid as you'd like to think. We've had 8+ years of it, we know the lies and manipulations very well and we're sick of them. Billary are like dysfunctional robots who are driven to win at all costs.

    The South Carolina primary had better run smoothly with no interference, or I'll bet there will be hell to pay. The taped phone messages smearing Obama before the voting in Nevada were detestable. If Hillary can't win by running a clean campaign – on her own – she doesn't deserve to win.

    January 23, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  11. Alice

    Bush's legacy will be that he will be last white male President our country ever had for a good long while – for good reason – the man has been the greatest disaster we ever had – the Civil War pales in comparison to what W has managed to do in eight short years.......!

    That is, if Clinton and Obama ever stop bickering long enough to realize that their greatest strength would be to band together

    GROW UP HILLARY AND BARACK! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    OK, Hillary – you have my vote and NOTHING will change that

    Barack, I think you'd be a GREAT Vice President for the next eight years

    And I think that eight years from now, you'll be a GREAT President

    I think you need a little growing time

    Right now, you cry too much, and you're too defensive

    Eight years from now

    I think you'll impress the HELL out of me

    January 23, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  12. Kevin, Ca

    Both Bill & Hillary Clinton are number one on the republican enemies list. The failed impeachment and numerous investigations on Clinton are two of many obvious examples. During the Clinton’s years, both tobacco & gun industry which do more harm than benefit the public also hate Clinton’s. Big health insurance and pharmaceutical companies also fear of Clinton’s for one more presidency. Most of big media networks also hate Clinton’s. In fact, there is no such thing as so-called mistaking in polling, especially with ALL polls predicted Obama to win in New Hampshire. Media networks have continually slamming on Hillary; they desperately want Obama to be nominated so later on lose to a Republican in the general election.

    I tell you why they all want another Republican to win. Simply all big bosses who are billionaires, have invested so much in Iraq, medical care industries ( a 17-trillions dollars pie), oil, gun businesses ..etc…. They all have made lots of money during the last 7 years, haven’t they? Top Republicans like Bush, Karl Rove, and Newt Gingrich all predicted and praised Hillary will win the election as a first step of creating CONFUSION among democrats & independent voters, also polls from the media have consistently shown Obama would have more chance than Hillary to beat a Republican nominee…. As another similar tactic of creating confusion ( note that causing fear tactic does no longer work)… their ultimate purpose is to take away votes from Hillary. The more big companies and special interest groups hate Clinton’s, the more I want to vote for Hillary…very simple as that!

    Unlike democrats who think they’re very smart with ideas, republican voters are calmer, smarter, and tend to stick together as a religious group. They’re very loyal to their party which explains why they won the last two elections.

    Bill Clinton has been admired by many world leaders as well as by people in many countries around the world. Bill brought down the deficit, and created a huge surplus…some say that I might have to pay more tax if Hillary was elected, so be it! b/c someone got to clean up the mess Bush has created, anyway. Some say a Republican would be fitter to deal with terrorism??… Hillary is smart and tough enough to deal with terrorism as well.

    Personally I hate to see the image of an angry woman as I have watched Hillary on many debates. It doesn’t look good but it somewhat shows that she a fighter. On the other hand, Obama always looks nice, seems to be honest, a great speaker… but I doubt that all these would help to make him a good president.
    The problem with Obama is he's unrealistic, and perhaps so ambitious that he himself thought that he could be the first black president after his first win in Iowa. I think he’s more of a day dreamer who's been used by big corporations and republican gangs. Instead of staying within a clean fight so people could later remember him as one of the great black candidates, Obama decided to get into dirty politics, thus, divides the democratic party when stirring up the issues of race and faith. I tell you why he did it.

    Since Obama got nervous that black people in SC might vote for Clinton who has been titled as a black president, his campaign intentionally misinterpreted Bill’s ‘fairy tale’ quote as racism against black. It was a big mistake, and an unnecessary move from Obama campaign because most of black people in SC will eventually vote for him anyway for 2 main reasons 1) Obama is one of them, 2) Obama won Iowa and the election is considered close.

    Now the factor of race unfortunately had entered the competition… that Obama had asked for it, he would be regret very much when most of White, Hispanic, and Asian Americans around the country will vote against him. After the SC primary win, Obama will of course change the tactic again ..but people would not be so fooled by this. It’s so hypocrite and insulting when he once claimed to be a uniter.

    January 23, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  13. Jack ny, ny

    CNN = Corrupted News Network

    January 23, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  14. Ann Aloha Independent Thinker,PA

    Spin Spin Spin
    Email is old let it die!!!
    Race is not the issue let it die!!!
    Gender has no place in this election or any election let it die!!!
    Media Spin Media Spin Media Spin

    If AC 360 and CNN wants to "Keep Them Honest" 360 and CNN needs to be honest too...Keep the debates focussed on the issues that are truly important and stop spining the reports to sensationalize Senator Obama.
    Poor Edwards and Clinton...

    January 23, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  15. Anthony

    Bill Clinton, the consummate vitcim. Hillary really has first-hand experience with guys who don't take responsibility for their actions and are hard to talk to; similiar to what she accused Barack of. I believe that guy is STILL trying to find out the definition of "is" is.

    January 23, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  16. Sherry in Kentucky

    I am so angry with the Clintons because of their mud slinging! Just sick! I used to really like Bill, but I don't anymore. They are acting like Bush and Rove!

    January 23, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  17. Bimmer

    Stop Crying Hillary people. He could have just kept walking, but could not resist turning around and running his mouth. Hey if you don't like what CNN is writing, why do you keep coming to this site? You guys are fans of CNN, just mad that they are fair and are not falling for tricks to give the Clintons good free press. CNN you should have had Hillary respond because she is the Hothead.

    January 23, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  18. Ike Kay

    Way to go Bill, you are fighting for what you believe in and I support you all the way. No one deserves the amount of crap the media (especially CNN, & MSNBC) continues to throw at Hillary. I started out supporting Obama but the media has changed all of that thanks to their lack of objectivity.

    January 23, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  19. chad atlanta

    Out with the old in with the new GO OBAMA !!!!!!!!!!!

    January 23, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  20. Onari

    CNN, the appropriate headline for this comment by Bill shouldbe ," Bill Challenges CNN to Report the Issues that matters to South Carolina's"...CNN You Suck..just to call a dog a bad name you hang the bone on his neck.

    Please stop this spinning and creating unnecessary tension...CNN use to be known as objective News reporting media, but for the past several months you opinionated individuals like Lou Dobb and Jeff Cafferty who I don't know whether they live in the moon or earth....I thought journalist are meant to report the news why the people make up their mind.

    When did CNN join opinionated media like BIll O'reilly's FOX news.

    Frankly Anderson Cooper and Wolf are doing a fairly good job.

    January 23, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  21. Sharon

    I always believed the Clintons...till now...Hillary started the crap in the debate. We don't need a President like that she's acting like Bush. Bill needs to back off and stay in the background he's not the candidate...or is HE? Senator Obama is going to make a great President. Finally someone we can be proud to vote for. Hillary you are a disgrace to all women, I have no respect for you and your lies. Talk about the issues. BTW I'm a 50 year old white female. Race and gender should not make any difference at all.

    January 23, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  22. Goldie of Florida

    As we listen to CNN, many of us are astounded at the lack of impartiality. You have been biased against Hillary from the beginning. Soledad and Jessica you forget Barack was the firt one to get nasty with his comment about Wallmart.You two are perfect examplesof how the media spins inaccurate statements about the Clintons.You must be too young to understand how good Americans had it with President Clinton . Do youknow that most women do not earn what you do. Do you realize how long it took women to get the right to vote?.Black men were given the right to vote a half century before any woman.The media does not take the gender barrier nearly as serious as the race barrier. Look at how many times Hillary has been attacked in the media compared to all the other candidates! It is time for women to unite behind a smart,experienced woman, not because she is a woman, but because she will be a great president.!

    January 23, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  23. NYC, New Yorker, NY

    For all those people that say Barack Hussein Obama is a saint . Well he is not.Obama people blocked Stephen Colbert from running S.C. for President. and you guys accuse HRC from disinfrachinsing ppl for Obama in nevada.
    Wake Up. Obama is just another poltitican

    January 23, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  24. Oliver

    Bill Clinton is panicking because if his wife loses, he has to hear her grief for years to come. Obama is refreshing to watch....very exciting. Even though i don't agree with his positions on some major issues, as a Republican, I would support Obama any day of the week before the divisive, irritating Hillary Clinton.

    January 23, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  25. Give it a rest CNN

    Congratulations CNN welcome to the same level as FOX News! You are now proving yourself to be the most one sided news organization in history. Let us decide who we want to vote for. Quit cramming Obama down our throats, by protraying him as the second coming of Christ. My 13 year old son wants to know if you have an alter to Obama backstage? You have lost yet another of the no doubt tens or hundreds of thousands of viewers, since you started in your efferts to circumvent the election. Tell me what is all this Clinton bashing really going to do to help your ratings?

    January 23, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
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