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. Robert in Atlanta

    CNN does appear to go very negative on Hillary Clinton every chance they get. At first I tried to downplay it but if you look and pay attention to their telecast, especially that Wolf Blitzer, its like every day they try and find some negative story to put out there about Hilliary's campaign. As far as I'm concerned CNN is starting to become just as bad, if not worse, that the Fox News Network. Please someone, anyone fire Wolf Blitzer!!

    January 23, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  2. bannon

    I think CNN should be changed to BHN (Barack Hussein Network). I used to watch lot of CNN but now i hate it. Please give a brake to Clintons. Man they ask Legitimate questions CNN projects as Angry Bill when Mr. Barack Hussein Obama says some stupid thing its sweet and correct. If clintons question his record that means thay are attacking him but if Obama does the same he is asking the question. common guys be grown up and give them a brake. We need good President in this rough ecnomy not a rookie after .... bush

    January 23, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  3. CNN has Obama's back

    CNN when will you start paying attention to the people that post on The Ticker and go back to being the news organization that you used to be? What is this hate you have for the Clintons, and what has Obama done to deserve untouchable status with you? You have lost all credibility!

    January 23, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  4. GG

    All of you criticizing CNN – check out the URL that you're using.

    Usually if someone doesn't like something – they don't use it. By posting messages on their website, you've clearly conveyed to CNN that you like them enough to visit their website and post a message. The counter doesn't read the messages, it just counts the hits.

    January 23, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  5. AJ, IL

    Stop the madness...everybody knows that CNN = Clinton News Network.

    January 23, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  6. stunned GA

    Headline should read 'Puppetmaster's Strings Visible'. Hillary could never claim to be the First Woman President. Her best hope is another puppet president. After learning the definition of 'is', he seems to be working hard to get around that quirky little third term rule. That might not be so bad if he wasn't such a lousy president the first two terms. If I hear him imply African-Americans and women OWE the Clintons another vote, I may be ill. We do not OWE him or her ANYTHING! Accusing him of being like Atwater is actually reality-lite. The Clintons make Atwater look like a minnow in the ocean.

    January 23, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  7. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    (1) Obama says that the Clintons are distorting his war record. However, he had ample opportunity to rebut her on Monday night's debate. He didn't because he couldn't. He keeps throwing around charges of distortion etc., but I never hear how, specifically, they are mischaracterizing his record.

    (2) Bill Clinton couldn't be any calmer, more soft-spoken, or well-reasoned in this response. If this is him "getting upset," he ought to do it every day of the week. The media, including CNN, is now well into its story-line of Bill Clinton, ranter. But no objective person could find his response to that WAY over the top question aggressive or angry.

    (3) Sen. Obama can keep whining about the Clintons, but the American people are smarter than that. They will believe their own eyes and ears. If he keeps trying to smear the Clintons while pretending that they are smearing him, his South Carolina victory will be pyrrhic indeed.

    January 23, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  8. lowdown media

    Hey CNN how about doing a story on the fact that all your reporting lately has been anti-Clinton and pro Obama? That would make a great story! Why does a news network give an unofficial but very clear wink to one canidate, while dragging another through the dirt? I believe that would draw alot of viewers, perhaps if you came out with the truth as to why you are trying to convince the Democratic voters to vote for Obama, it could actually win a pulizter prize.

    January 23, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  9. Lynn, Austin, TX

    We all know that Obama doesn't have a record [a record of going with the flow that is]- that's why he's running, because he is not happy with what he has seen with prior politics. Hillary is a liar. Oh my, I was so wanting her to run for president against Condi Rice and I was going to support her, but Hillary kept saying I'm not interested in running for president over and over again. The only reason why she stayed with Bill after he cheated on her and publicly shamed her [and our country with his lying self – "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"] was because SHE knew all along what her plan was and she knew she would need his support and big mouth to campaign for her. Sadly now, I have lost so much respect for the both of them that I would not even want them to represent me as President, first lady, first spouse – whatever, no third term for the Clinton dynasty. Time for some fresh ideas, and just maybe someone who doesn't have ALL of that negative experience/baggage as a politician. As for Obama, he was PRESENT wasn't he? Brittany Spears doesn't even show up for her meetings.......oops, she showed up today.

    January 23, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  10. Beefeater, Houston TX

    What if Bush sr had done the same for Bush jr during primaries – unimaginable. Just goes to show what a slug this guy Clinton really is.

    January 23, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  11. Arun Murthy

    Both Obama and Clintons talk about political values and integrity. Is this what they were talking about? hmm..... has gotten me thinking.GOP folks would be loving this!

    Go Bloomberg Go!

    January 23, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  12. Robert in Atlanta

    In response to DEE at 758pm. As an African American male I think your comment is prime example of what is wrong within the AA community. At what point do we all take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY for ourselves and our own personal action. At what point do we stop black on black crime, drugs, crime in general and out of wedlock pregnancies? The local, state and federal government and school teachers can only do so much. At what point do individuals in our communities step up and take ownership of their individual lives and stop pointing the finger at everyone else and start point the finger at ourselves and our own mistakes in personal descision.

    January 23, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  13. lowdown media

    Funny Obama talking about running against both Clintons, seems to me that Obama and CNN look like tag team partners against Hillary Clinton!

    January 23, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  14. Pattie

    Guiliani go back to New York because you had more affairs than quaker oats.
    President Clinton calm down and mediate for awhile. Don't react or overeact to the situations. We want Hillary and Obama in office. John Edwards talks to slow and I don't think he will be able to pull it off. Ron Paul needs to go home and forget about this. Romney needs to go home. Huckelebee should be ashamed of himself for just mentioning the word God. Yes, we know your a pastor. Your running for President not the high office of the church. I really chaps me when someone immediately goes up and says yes i believe in God. Then, I wonder are you like President Bush immediately. That is not a good thought either.

    January 23, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  15. Tim

    There is a an old saying in Springfield, IL about the voting buttons for legislators ...there is a reason the yellow button is for voting "present". The green button is to vote "yes", the red button is to vote "no", and the yellow button is to vote "present".

    I'm sure Obama and his loyal zombie followers would argue that the button is actually lemon in color.

    January 23, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  16. roblo

    Can I say, Clinton fatique.. i forgot how much i disliked this man until he reminded me. GO anybody but the Clintons!!!!

    January 23, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  17. Diane, IL

    Are Bill and Hillary campaigning for the GOP?
    It almost seems that way.

    January 24, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  18. Montes

    Its kind of contradictory how he and his wife continue to attack Obama, yet when confronted about it by reporters he diffuses the question by saying that its demoralizing voters. Don't you think your attacks and bias interpretations of facts and statements is more demoralizing. Also, if asking about attacks on Obama and injecting race and gender is demoralizing, then I'm guessing the antidote is to release negative ads that take a statement out of context.

    January 24, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  19. George

    From one old president to another "There you go again"

    January 24, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  20. Marie

    Yes CNN has been very bias indeed. I'm not an American , I am Asian but even from an outsider's perspective CNN's bias towards Obama is glaring. I thought CNN is composed of professionals, journalists who represents the true essence of journalism but after watching CNN for the past months.. it is becoming a big letdown. It is starting to look like one of our stations here in my country who magnifies the bad issues so that our government would looked like the worst government ever......

    With CNN, they are trying to picture Hillary as no gooder while trying to paint Obama as someone who can restore America's glory.

    With the South Carolina debate, CNN has been painting Hillary as playing dirty politics where in fact it was Obama who started it leaves Hillary no choice but to fight back.....

    I am just wondering!!!! how come that when Hillary is being attacked and pilloried by Obama camp it's nothing to the CNN journalist but when Hillary hits back seemingly she is the reason why things are getting nasty in the campaign.

    Even from an outsider's perspective, I'm sorry to say that Obama seems inept. He is only good in delivering memorized speech, but during debates where the mettle of a truly qualified person is tested he seemed lost. In fact John Edwards performance in the past debates is much better than Obama.

    January 24, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  21. Sylvia

    I find so much of the Clinton dribble irritating at best and disgusting, slanderous at worst. However, after seeing the video shown last night on the Glen Beck show, where Bill is nodding off most miserably in church at a solemn MLK commemoration event, I realize: THAT is the campaign news I want to see - at least it makes for a good laugh! Why didn't that video get more press time?

    January 24, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  22. Yamaka

    Good CNN provided the video, where I don't see angry Bill.

    Shame on you CNN, making a big deal about nothing.

    January 24, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  23. Larry Abel

    Oh my gosh, I agree with Bill Clinton! I think I am going to be sick.

    January 24, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  24. David

    Gotta love how CNN doesn't post the entire video. They just post the snippets. Bill wasn't ranting or yelling. He made a very good point. Jessica Yellin SHOULD be ashamed of herself for that. Thank God for Lou Dobbs because he didn't have issue with Bill Clinton at all and you should have seen Jessica's face drop. She got called on her unprofessionalism and she didn't like it. Then right after Lou Dobbs there was another show where the woman anchor started knocking Bill Clinton – (again with the clips not showing the entire story) and Jessica lights up again. Didn't you learn anything from Lou? Try some honest reporting Jessica – as Bill Clinton said, 'shame on you'.

    January 24, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  25. Chad

    How in the hell can your headline be "Clinton Gets Upset" That video shows him giving a very calm, thought out response with facts and names. Still you spin it as him going out of control. How do you people sleep at night?

    As for being the message of hope and change, why are so many of the Obama supporters so angry? All of your comments seem so filled with hate. What happened to the audacity of hope? So much for being above the fray.

    January 24, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
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