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. Goldee

    Let's get on with the presidential campaign! President Clinton has as much right to defend his wife as Michelle Obama and Evelyn Edwards do to defend their husbands. AND I might add, a heck of a lot more experience. He was not Governor of Arkansas for 12 yrs. because he stole votes, the majority of the people liked him and he must have been doing something right!

    Talk about Impeachment! If you want to talk about his actions in the Whitehouse, let's go back to John F. Kennedy and he and his brother's womanizing, others who, probably most of them did the same or maybe even worse things. They just didn't get caught. Some of our Senators/Representatives/Presidents fathered illegitimate children, etc., etc. If anyone should be impeached,it should be our illustrious George W. and Dick Cheney. Bush will go down in history as the worst president ever! He has and is ruining this country and causing us to be hated by most of the world.

    We may not like certain things about any of candidates but they are, like us, not perfect but there are some who are obviously more experienced to lead this country and the people as a whole better realize who that is.

    January 24, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  2. Terry

    Clinton didn't look angry in this video but remember headlines sell. Clinton looked confident in the video. Obama looked very angry and off his game on Monday evening. He may have prepared and rehearsed what he was going to say but you also have to be able to think on your feet. Obama rambled a bit and didn't clearly answer questions. He acted like a spoiled brat when he didn't get his way. In spite of all of that, I understand he did make a connection with the audience because he is likeable. Its very interesting that 2 different stories are emerging out of Nevada. Clinton has specific examples of voter intimidation which were pointed out to the press. There was at least one Nevada paper that wrote about it. At the same time, Obama's campaign has sent a letter requesting an investigation. It should be very interesting as it unfolds. Of course the workers in Nevada that belong to the union are scared of retaliation so the investigation may obtain accurate and complete information.

    January 24, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  3. swede

    Bill knows the Media better than anyone. THEY get ugly and try to get you angry for a better story. You told the truth Bill. If only Obama would quit whinning and doing the first attack this wouldn't be happening. You were the UNITER and Obama is the divider.

    January 24, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  4. charles

    Obama should not get carried away by the antics of the Bills.He should stay focus on his campaign and ignore all distraction.
    Politics really is a dirty game or how on earthe will Mr & Mrs will want to run affairs of a country.

    January 24, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  5. Kenny

    I'm an undecided voter....but for the life of me I just don't understand how anyone could support another 4-8 years of divisive Clinton politics. Aren't we all tired of that? We've had it for the past 8 years with Bush, we don't need it anymore with the Clintons. Seriously Clinton voters, THINK ABOUT THAT!!! Do you really want to nominate someone who will be no different than Bush when it comes to getting things done and rallying the country together?!?

    January 24, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  6. Nestor, FL

    In response to David's comments, politics IS about power. If Obama thinks this is a bed of roses, he's so wrong, and that is why we cannot have a president that is STILL not prepared for the task. He may be in the future, but not now. As someone mentioned recently in another blog "if you think this is nasty fighting, wait to see what's fighting with the republicans!".

    Unfortunately the politics of hope ALONE are not enough to drive a primary candidate to the general election. It is a very nice thought but in these convoluted times, we need guts and power. I'm sorry David and all the rests that may believe I am a cynical but this is what we inherited and we need Hillary to move this forward and in a different direction.

    January 24, 2008 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  7. GLC

    I'm sorry. The Civil Rights generation and the Democrats have broken this black man's heart. I no longer care who becomes president. For me there are no heroes left. There are only my dreams, in fact that is all there ever was. I honestly I do not think I have enough faith to believe again. The people can do as they please. I will do what I must. You know it is possible to disagree with someone without trying to destroy them.

    January 24, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  8. shirley walsborn

    Earlier today when Jessica Yellin was intervieing Bill Clinton, she seemed offended, why when you ask these questions, did she think he was supposed
    to stand there and agree with her. He has every right to defend himself, which i
    admire that he does not roll over for the press. Later I heard her comment
    she went back over to her Obama source and she seemed quite spitful in her
    comments about Mr. Clinton. Grow up Jessica and try to be fair in your
    reporting, I for one am real tired of having the press telling me how to think.

    January 24, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  9. Mark, Minneapolis, MN

    BRILLIANT, absolutely brilliant! The old dog is back back back and we are loving it. Bill Clinton, may you live forever and keep on telling it like it is. We love you.

    January 24, 2008 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  10. Armen

    I am really, really upset with CNN and all the news media trying to pump up this rhetoric of "he said", "She said", Enough alraeady!!!
    Let people hear about real issues, like war in Iraq for example, dwindling economy, broken healthcare.
    I absolutely agree with Bill, and you people witing in this post don't even understand what is going on.

    January 24, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  11. Angelina

    Can someone just tell me who is running here: Bill or Hill or Billary?

    January 24, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  12. Jon, Los Anegeles

    I have lost all respect for Bill Clinton. He has let me down after supporting him through the 90s and Republican Impeachment. Bill and Hillary brought race into this election and that is disgusting. This is red meat for the Repubs. The guy and his wife are power-hungry. Howard Dean & Co. should note that Billary are destroying our great Democratic party.

    January 24, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  13. Becky Montgomery

    It is funny to me that Bill wants to stick to the issues, when he is the one who is stirring up the mud. Then he acts indignant, like the guilty party trying to deflect the blame. He is using the media to do his dirty work and throwing it back on them. I will vote for Obama if he is nominated; if not, whichever Republican is running. None of them are as shady and dirty as the Clintons. The Democratic party needs to do something!

    January 24, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  14. PW Va


    "What Bill has done in the past is not relevant right now. "

    ARE YOU SERIOUS??? It most CERTANLY is relevant. It speaks to his character and integrity (which he is shamefully void of as is his wife).

    Their recent comments and actions tell me one thing: NEITHER OF THEM EVEN POSSESSES THE MORALS OF AN ALLEY CAT!!!"

    January 24, 2008 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  15. eddie

    I watch the debt. I think that Hillary will be president. She can stand tough attack from republican.

    January 24, 2008 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  16. eddie

    Hillary got endorsement from PA governor today.

    January 24, 2008 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  17. Tiff

    Honestly I think that we as Americans should show some respect to a man that was our president... He might not have been perfect, who is? He was better than the one we had before him and the one we have now.. Our nation wasn't in economic ruin when he was in office.. And let's not forget that we are America where we have a right to make history.. If the first woman president happens to be the wife of a former president so what.. What sould matter to people is who is going to get anything done in DC to help our Country for everyone not just personal gain.

    You know if Bill Clinton wasn't involved with his wife's campaign then everyone would have something to say about that too. He has always been a loud voice why shoul he be silent now.

    January 24, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  18. brent

    seriously, how hard must it be for obama to campaign against two people, hill and bill, that are extremely well versed in the art of politics. whether you like obama or not, there is no question that this election is unprecedented with the fact that he has to handle a one-two punch from the clintons. its good thinking on the part of the clinton's, but i'm not pickin' up what they're puttin' down.

    January 24, 2008 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  19. Mary

    Get a life people. This man is probably smarter than all of you put together. Hillary is going to be the next president so get over it.

    January 24, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  20. JohnS

    Before and immediately, Edwards was SEEN as ANGRY, very different and ANGRY. How short minded are we as a nation?

    In NH, Hillary cried being close to losing to a "black man." Women rushed to her rescue to save the day. Now, Bill is out there daily. If Hiilary wins this nomination, can we say she did it at the backs of women and her MAN?

    Well, after all the previous and ongoing negative commercials about a "black man," are we to say that he has no RIGHT whatsoever to CLEAR his own GOOD name even if he does not get your vote?

    I guess the reasons above validate the thinking for NOT taking the "popular votes" very seriously; thanks to the ELECTORAL COLLEGE, there are tons of simply "ill-informed" people out there; the system cannot depend onthe judgments of such people. As a result, your popular votes will really count LESS, thank GOD!!!!

    January 24, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  21. Becky

    Go after them former President Clinton. If Obama can't handle the heat, maybe he shouldn't be in the kitchen. He thinks that you and the Hillary campaign have made it tough on the ole fella, well wait until the Republicans get on his bad side and start punging around his middle name of Hussein! That will be more fun than I could possibly imagine. Someone needs to clean up after the mess Bush has left and Mrs. Clinton is the only one on either side of the aisle that has the sense to do it.

    January 24, 2008 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  22. caesar

    That's right Bill, we just love running with the story. Thanks for providing more drama... nice.

    January 24, 2008 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  23. caesar

    What did Bill say to Hillary prior to the South Carolina debates?

    "Oh don't worry Hillary, you'll be all white."

    January 24, 2008 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  24. caesar

    Why is it every time we vote for a president, that I am ashamed of the person who was serving in office the term before?

    January 24, 2008 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  25. biased media hurt us all

    politics can get heated and charges fly from all sides. but it's supposed to be the candidates, not the media. then fox started their b.s. now cnn is just as bad. fox claims it's fair and balanced. cnn claims it's trusted, the best, etc. it's all just so pathetic.

    but what bothers me most is that the media are trying to take over the elections. and if the posts are any indication, they may be succeeding. just because cnn slants a story in a certain way doesn't mean it actually is that way, but some people just believe. what a shame. if obama gets the nomination because of crap fed to people by cnn and other such media outlets, with their corporate reasons for wanting that outcome, the people lose big time. but some of them won't even realize they got screwed.

    nixon had nothing on the biased media when it comes to trying to fix elections. i was delighted when he had to resign, and will be delighted if the corrupt media, including cnn, come crashing to the ground.

    of course, this will probably not be posted, like all of my other attempts to provide my opinion.

    January 24, 2008 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
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