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. Joy

    Hillary is the right candidate to lead this nation.
    The Obama comments are not right. The media is supporting Obama...which is not Right.

    January 24, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  2. 4 Hillary

    For people who want to hear candidates talking about issue, they should ask CNN and media to refocus on what they report. Bill and Hillary are travelling in states to promote their policy and positions, and to answer questions. Media are not interested and do care for that.

    January 24, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. agron


    Endorsements: In Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell endorsed Hillary, becoming the 10th Governor to join the campaign. In California, Rep. Joe Baca became the latest Member of Congress to endorse, bringing Hillary's total to 84... In South Carolina, former NFL wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson endorsed Hillary and joined Chelsea to launch "Our Voice, Our Future," a two-week tour to encourage young voters to support Hillary and make their voices heard.

    Nationwide Momentum: In Arizona, a new Arizona State University/Channel Eight poll has Hillary up by 21 points over Sen. Obama (45-24). In New Jersey, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows Hillary up by 17 points over Sen. Obama (49-32). Nationwide, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has Hillary leading Sen. Obama by nine points (42 to 33).

    January 24, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Let's be honest folks, Hillary has the ultimate trump card – Bill Clinton, a very popular, smart and seasoned politician by her side. And the others can't match that.

    Want proof?

    How about a debate between Bill Clinton and Oprah? After all, it's alright for "The World's Smartest Woman" to stump for Obama with her public image, right?

    January 24, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  5. srindi

    The Media is making Tuff for Clinton..
    No idea why they are doing like this

    January 24, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. Mike

    funny how when the proverbial shoe is on the other foot ...
    a foul is called .... as a "straight democratic" voter for years ...
    If Billery is the dems nomination .. my 1 presidential vote
    will be for McCain ... all others democratic ... and I wonder
    how the Dems party will feel with 4 or 8 more years with
    the ownership handed to the republican party.

    A vote for Barack is a vote you can "believe in" ... Obama2008!

    January 24, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  7. Djalo

    If the american's know what is good for them they should go for obama. The united state is fast falling down in the face of the rest of the world and i strongly believe obama will make the united state to rise again. The american's should realize that the time of big names and race in the us politics is no more. Can somebody tell me who obama is running against Bill or Hillary clinton or the Clinton's?

    January 24, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. Nayan

    If Hillary wins the nomination with all their dirty politics, then I will vote for the Republican candidate. Obama unites people, Hillary divides them.

    January 24, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. Pandersson

    CNN, it's true, you don't provide objective reporting. I've watched this since Iowa and you have a favourite among the Democrat candidates and and it's not Hillary.
    /Not a Hillary-fan

    January 24, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  10. Phil Memphis, TN

    upset? that was the most calm and measured response one can expect. Whatever you think of him, he is calling it like it is. The voters keep asking about the war, the economy etc. The reporters keep running back and forth trying to play up the race angle. I mea c'mon, when one of the questions to Obama in the debate is "do you think Bill Clinton was the first Black President?" You tell me what CNN is trying to do?

    January 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  11. Ed, NC

    I will definitely vote Republican if Hillary wins the nomination.

    January 24, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. Judy Kilgore

    Bill Clinton is absolutely right! Barack Obama whines and the media comes running to his rescue. President Clinton speaks the truth to a mindless reporter and the media, especially CNN, makes a big deal out of it, as though he had said something outrageous. The general public is sick of the media pleading Obama's case for him and they are sick of more attention being paid to race and gender instead of the issues. Of course it's a bit difficult for them to focus on the issues when their superstar is so weak on all of them. So they focus on everything else as a distraction.

    Having said that, let me say that race is playing a much bigger role in Senator Obama's campaign than gender is in Senator Clinton's. So many black people have come right out and said they will vote for Obama because he is one of their own or because they have never had a black president. The same blacks who used to praise the Clintons are now critical of them and claiming the Clintons made racist remarks when they know that is nonsense. It gave some of them an excuse to drop their loyalty to the Clintons and vote for Obama, What is so infuriationg about that, too, is that Obama has done nothing for his people that I am aware of, while the Clintons have done a lot. Pathetic.

    January 24, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. littlewolfbain

    I will not vote for the Clintons or Obama. They act like small children fighting over a toy. They don't have time to worry about what is rite for the people here in the USA, they are to busy play ing the name game. Who ever we vote for needs to be someone who will be fair, and someone that will bring our jobs back. I for one am tired of the lies, and if I have too! when its time to vote, I will write in who I want as President.

    January 24, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. ella

    i'm sure no one will read my comment and i don't care...just writing for myself....my dream is that some day we as a human race evolve to be more rational and intelligent beings all across the board, myself included. there is an awful lot of chatter, gossip, hate, false idol worship, anxiety, misinformation, lack of information, half thoughts constantly filling these message boards.

    January 24, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. John ny, ny

    I am moderate republician. I can't believe I am saying this. My first choice is Hillary if not then McCain second choice.


    January 24, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. Mark R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    What's so amazing to me is that all these "supposed" democrats are saying they'll vote for McCain if Hillary wins the nomination. What is wrong with you people? Is this what Obama's campaign is teaching you? Tell you what, you go ahead and vote for another stinking republican and send our country down the tubes for another 4 to 8 years, you bunch of pathetic sore losers. Any democrat, including Mickey Mouse, is bettter than 4 more years of fascism and regression.

    January 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Ken - MN

    All Clinton – All The Time. The Clinton News Network.

    Obama/Richardson '08

    January 24, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. edsundaywinters

    Neither Clinton nor Obama can win in November. Edwards is the way to go for America.

    January 24, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. Judy Kilgore

    Why hasn't the media taken note of how downright rude and nasty the Obama supporters (or fans, rather, since they act like he's a rockstar) are? We thought Karl Rove was bad - these people put him in the shade in their accusations, abusive language, lies, and Hillary bashing. It has made me lose respect for Obama since it is obvious he can't inspire these changes he talks about in his own fans. Everything they accuse the Clintons of, they are doing, themselves. It would almost be amusing if it weren't so irritating. It shows the lack of civility that is pervading our country when so many people post comments that sound as though they are on a Jerry Springer show. Whatever happened to manners and respect for others, even though you may not agree with them?

    January 24, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. F.I.



    January 24, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. Sue

    Bill and Hillary Clinton will go to any lengths to get back to the Whitehouse. They dont realise that their dirty politics alienates people. If Obama does not win the democratic nomination then my vote will go to McCain.

    January 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  22. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Persoanl to F.I.:

    Bill Clinton was convicted of anything.

    He was impeached by the House of Representatives enabling him to be put on trial before the Senate, where was not found guilty.

    Please, do the research and don't rely on the right-wing intelligentsia to give you your speaking points.

    January 24, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. Lois

    I voted for Bill but I've lost all respect for him. He is WAY out of line attacking Obama the way he is. But... that's the Clinton way. I am a registered Dem. who will NOT vote for Hillary if she is nominated. Bill just can't keep his pants on. He'll be a distraction. The Repubicans are praying Hillary will be the nomination. May God have Mercy on our souls.

    January 24, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. marian chesham

    Tough Bill. You have to learn how to take it if you dish it out.

    January 24, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. paul

    I would like to know why CNN has moderated my comments out, isn't my opinion as valid as everyone elses? All I am saying is America is blind, and the truth is so skewed it is impossible to believe anyone. there are good candidates on both sides but the clintons are not the answer. Here it is again

    None of you get it! None of them give a lick about us, the current president blew it, and before him Clinton was having sex in the Oval Office and lying about it, and in case you haven't noticed GOOD news doesn't sell, you never hear about the positive things our troops are doing not only in Iraq but all over the world. The point is YOU CAN'T BELIEVE A WORD ANY DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN SAYS, and the Clintons have already proved they will lie cheat or steal to get what they want. They are power hungry and could care less about what we need, they all just tell us what we want to hear. And the media, I can't remember the last time I heard the truth from any of them, Believe half of what you see and half what you hear and maybe just maybe you will get enough of the truth to make a decision, but it will never come the Clintons. If you are thinking Clinton your brain is stuck on stupid.

    January 24, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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