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. KRichard

    If Slick Willy and Hillary win the Democratic nomination with this kind of divisive, deceitful nonsense, it won't be worth having. The RNC Chairman is talking about a poll that shows that 65% of the American people believe that these two will do or say anything in order to win. They're proving it in South Carolina.

    January 24, 2008 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  2. MB, Louisiana

    Upset? Seriously I didn't see him as upset. I see him telling it like it is to a reporter who wanted to stir the pot some more.

    And I see CNN and the other news outlets as the cause for the divisive tenor of this whole primary . You are obvisouly an Obama supporter and most of your reports are slanted to show him in the best possible light, while portraying everything that Hillary says as being bad or dishonest. I see some of your headline sound bites in the replies to some of the messages posted in the blog section. It does give me pause to wonder if you are really doing this to further divide the party to make sure that a Republican wins in November.

    So CNN, don't be whining about Bill taking you to the woodshed. Someone needs to do it and I think he was right on the money.

    January 24, 2008 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  3. John

    I would say that CNN has become the National Enquirer of journalism, making up stories when they could not find them in order to boost sales, but that would be an insult to the Enquirer. After seeing the caption "The Wrath of Clinton" on CNN I went to CNN.com to see what all the fuss was about. I watched the video of a patient and reasonable Bill Clinton dealing with an overbearing cub reporter spouting off an inflammatory question. In my opinion this type of story should be relegated to the pages of The Weekly World News next to the stories of Bat Boy.
    Oh wait, they went out of business by teasing the public with hysterical stories which were more fiction than fact. Is CNN running headfirst down this path?

    January 24, 2008 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  4. Alistar

    Bill Clinton was the most famous President that Amerika had, so shut up pleas and pay tribute to the man who did most of all Presdient's befor hem for USA, but for the world to. You just dont know to respect the best ever President that USA had tha's all.

    I say thank you Mr.President and God blas you. I'm leaveing in Europ and i'm not amerikan, but a can make a diference for great peapel's like Bill Clinton is.

    January 24, 2008 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  5. Jerry

    Go Bill the master, poor reporters – can't up this man, 8 MORE years Yea!!!
    repeal the 24th Admendment and have 16 more years of this Dynamic Duo!
    Go HilBill Go!!!

    January 24, 2008 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  6. Pagpag

    If the Bill Clinton's criticisms are throwing Obama off message, the Republicans will have a field day with him.

    January 24, 2008 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  7. Susan

    Hillary Clinton is a liar and a fraud and her husband is a skank. No 3rd term for Bill Clinton and for the quote of the day from Hillary Clinton advising campaign workers in Nevada:

    "It's not illegal unless they tell you so." Hillary Rodham Clinton


    January 24, 2008 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  8. Stephen, NJ

    Is that the same finger Bill pointed when he declared he didn't have sex with that woman?

    January 24, 2008 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  9. ALex

    It's funny! I have learnt to look at the big pictures, not to interprete things on the surface. It is a plot of the Clintons + the Media. The whole media support Hillary, but they are the Clintons to lash them out so that people don't understand the game.

    I got it CNN, Fox News and so forth. Since when they were for Obama? If the Obama camp let them trapped by this strategy, their business! But ordinary folk like me understand the game.

    January 24, 2008 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  10. Steve (Cary, NC)

    According to Hillary, she has eight years' co-presidential experience. Now she (they) wants another four (to eight) years. Why isn't more attention being paid to the issue of an American dynasty in the making? Is that what Democrats really want?

    January 24, 2008 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  11. Rus, Whitburn

    I left a comment when there were zero, and now with 345 comments listed, mine is nowhere to be seen. CNN – what's up with that?

    Original comment:

    I voted for Bill Clinton twice, but now I'm very disappointed. His comments are disingenuous to the nines, and his objective is clearly to win at all cost. But the cost will be great – both to the party and his reputation. Bill, time to go home.

    January 24, 2008 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  12. Ben, Cleveland, OH

    Sherry in Kentucky: I agree, Bill could have kept walking. When he said he really didn't care, the fact that he droned on and on suggests he, once again, lied. As far as acting like Bush and Rove, some of us always thought they acted like them. The Clintons have always engaged in shady, dirty politics. Look what the Clinton machine did to those woman that dared expose him.

    January 24, 2008 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  13. Ray Spixola

    Shut your pie hole Bill....WE had enough of the Clinton's already.
    Back with the Hilbillys in Arkansas with you.

    January 24, 2008 07:31 am at 7:31 am |

    If you stupid people really believe that the Clintons can run this country, well you can have it and I will go back to live overseas. They are in this for thenselves and only themselves. There is no change here and the women I have talked to want her gone. These ladies have a brain and are quick to notice how she can change on a dime to what you want to hear. If you look at her plans, we will be paying higher taxes and so called health plan will only go up in price as we go from year to year. There are so many holes in her plans and they might look good on paper, but you know what you can do with that paper. Why do we need reporters to ask the questions or even pick out the questions to be asked. Please people wake up and take back America. Kick them all out in november and then we will all have change.

    January 24, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  15. Fibber McGee

    Jeez, where's Molly, or I should say, Hillary? Sex, Lies; now where's the videotape?

    January 24, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  16. Pickles, Monaca, PA

    This kind of sniping is going to put a Republican in the White House. If it's McCain or any of the other Republican warmongers, you can count on more war. Get ready for a draft, young people. The military will need a lot of warm bodies if we are going to take on Iran and God knows who's next. Hurray for the Great Amerikan Empire!

    January 24, 2008 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  17. TH

    Who is really running for president? Bill or Hillary? If you are strong and can run the country – as you say Hillary – set your husband in a corner and make him stay there and fight your own battles! And you might want to give him a cigar – it will keep him happy!!

    January 24, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  18. Zurich

    Way to go Bill! Jessica Yellin should not have asked that question, there are other much more important that she could have asked. She wasted your and our time. We are SOLIDLY behind you and Hillary.

    January 24, 2008 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  19. rick

    As an independent I have notice that CNN and the media is not been fair to the Clintons. As I recalled in the debate Obama attacked first and used negative ads against Hillary. It seems that everyone is afraid to talk about Obama. If he gets elected not even Saturday night live, or any comedians wil be able to make fun of Obama, because it will always backfire.

    January 24, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  20. Tom Conlan

    President Clinton's points were on target. The CNN reporter and tactical coverage approach from CNN news editors "play" the tit for tat game between spokespersons from the respective campaign staffs.

    I have just changed my opening "CNN.com" browser.

    Get with the news and cover what is important....he said she said is NOT.

    January 24, 2008 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  21. jack

    every comment of Bill Clinton will make Sen. Obama look the better choice of the two most likely to overpower the Clinton mob. will America ever get back the items stolen from air force one and the white house,when they left the last time.

    January 24, 2008 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  22. Ripper

    I can't understand why Hillary doesn't buy Bill some hookers and tell him to disappear until after the election? His mouth is going to ruin her chance at taking over the world!

    January 24, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |


    January 24, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  24. charlotte

    Obama man, if Obama wins Oprah should have her own key the key to the Lincoln bedroom.

    January 24, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  25. Steve Berger

    I've lost the last of any respect for Bill Clinton. Instead of acting in a statesman like fashion, which is to be expected of an ex-President regarding political candidates in their own party, he whines about ANY denigration of Hillary's choices/decisions.

    A message to Bill Clinton from an Independent voter: you've just confirmed why we independents no longer want either another Bush or another Clinton in the White House–It's NOT a given. WE the people decide who goes there. This
    confirms for me who I will NOT vote for.

    January 24, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
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