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. Fred

    Bill – you are joke – no one believes your lies anymore. Just go away.

    January 23, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Micah

    Bill Clinton is saying the very things Barack Obama OUGHT to say.

    Obama OUGHT to say that the Clintons' attack machine is INSULTING to Americans, that their underhanded promotion of character-destruction is BELOW THE DIGNITY of the electorate.

    Instead, Bill Clinton being the 'experienced' politician he is, is co-opting a message that he and his wife contradict every day on the campaign trail.

    And what's sick about it is that it's probably working. Come on Barack, I believe in you, would you for once be straightforward and absolutely furious about this?

    It's one thing to point out that their facts are wrong, as you do very well, but it's another to flat-out say that their tactics, their approach, their mission, their campaign is just WRONG AND UGLY. That's what you need to state unequivocally.

    Put it out there!!! Americans are waiting for somebody to stand up to this sort of insult.

    January 23, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. Clintonistas

    Oh Bill, you are so magnanimous. The election belongs to the people. Can you pour it on a little thicker? Does anybody really buy this bs?

    I did not have sexual relations with that woman. Enough said. Your integrity was gone long ago.

    January 23, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. wes

    The coverage by CNN has been grossly pro Obama. It seems that the attacks by Obama's camp have been more vitriolic and personal. It's OK for Obama to attack but unfair for anyone else. Obama is as much of a politician as Clinton and engages in all the same tricks. Let the candidates discuss and debate and don't tell people for whom to vote or make up issues.

    January 23, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Kevin

    I voted for Bill Clinton twice, but his recent actions have made me lose all respect for him. The Clintons play the diritiest politics around, and it is truly sad to see a former U.S. President act and say such disgraceful things.

    January 23, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Adam Nguyen Glendale, Arizona

    Former President Clinton was totally right. Talk about the issues. I hate talking personally.

    January 23, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. WendyOne

    You mean he finally woke from his Monday nap!! Go back to sleep Bill, it's the only time anyone can believe you.

    January 23, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Gordo

    I just watched the whole piece. You know he is right. People want to hear about real issues.

    January 23, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. John

    O my, Billary are good! What can I say. (S)He twist words and comes back denying..Good strategy!

    January 23, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. PaKid

    Todays media doesn't report the news, they are that smart. They just want to point out the negatives of their opponents. Bill fell asleep the other day, let me ask CNN, FOXNews, and the rest, Clinton is taking medication for his previous Heart Surgery, do they report the meds make a person drousy? No, they are TOO biased and just want to pick on certain individuals. What the heck, CNN was started by Ted Turner, who was married to Jane Fonda, "Hanoi Jane". Need I say anymore.

    January 23, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. Chris

    I voted for Bill Clinton and now I want him to just go away. He seems like he is always in someone's face lately. This is play straight out of Lee Atwater's playbook...maybe he is secretly working with Karl Rove...Leave Obama alone!

    January 23, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. MB Nekog

    Here's a challenge, CNN... there's only 7 posts currently. Let's see if you post MY comment THIS time.

    As usual, the headlines CNN uses are designed to perpetuate a stereotype of the Clintons. That they are loose with their lips, angry, and upset. I watched Bill Clinton's sound bite and did not notice him lose his temper or change his tone of voice once. He was calm, collected and approached the question with much ease and articulation. His comments are worth looking into. I find it most disturbing that CNN refuses to look into the corruption of the Obama campaign. From supressing latino votes, to his affairs with corrupt political supporters in Chicago, to his lack of details and/or explanation for why the claims the Clintons are making are untrue. All he says over and over is that "the Clintons are saying things that are untrue... the Clintons are saying things that distort my record." Have you ever noticed that HE NEVER OFFERS AN ALTERNATIVE VIEW? He doesn't explain himself or provide the details, he just says they are lying. Well, if they're lying.... PROVE IT OBAMA!

    January 23, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Scott in Asheville, NC

    I agree with Bill Clinton. The issues and real reasons people should vote for one person or another are being either ignored, distorted and or underreported. What is supposedly reported as election news is dissention among the candidates, he said she said activities, gossip and intentional activities by the press to forment dissatisfaction among the electorate for the entire process.
    Most people really don't care about whether the candidate is of a particular color, gender, or previous occupation. What we want is someone with a workable realistic plan, who can inspire Americans and others with promise for a better world and who can be a real leader for the common good of all.

    January 23, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Jerry

    this is so typical, the democrats are going to self destruct before the general election and be left with a weakened and bleeding candidate. the Republicans eat this up! WAKE UP people, we are causing ourselves irrepairable harm with this bickering. I find it hilarious that people are shocked that Bill is voicing his opinion and fighting for his wife. If he sits back, what would you be saying?? Get over it, he's a part of this race, as he has been a part of every democratic presidential race. If Obama ends up with the nomination, do you actually think Bill will not back him in the general election?? Lets get logical here, we have learned that the republicans will fight for the white house at any cost, lies, war, corruption, WE need to fight too! If Barack can't stand the heat that another democrat is giving him, how is he going to handle the republican onslaught that KARL ROVE is cooking up now???

    January 23, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. Holly

    This is disturbing – he says in that video that "we" fought hard and "we" won in Nevada. "We?" I think Obama was right at the debate to question who he's really campaigning against – Hillary or Bill? Both?

    January 23, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Karen

    Did anyone actually watch this? He is talking in an absolutely calm voice talking about what the media IS doing and CNN tries to spin it. It is TRUE, that the media is incessantly covering the name calling. The media absolutely can't shut up.

    I find it interesting CNN has people following the campaigns that are biased.

    January 23, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. jm

    I am not a Bill Clinton supporter at the slightest but to say Bill Clinton does not care about people is just wrong. The bottomline is Bill Clinton has helped more people in this country and around the world so please do not tell me he does not care about people.

    This is a man who took the time out of his own life to help tsunami victims as well as the people of New Orleans. I think you would have a hard time finding a person in politics who has done more for others than he has.

    January 23, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. josh

    Those 2 poor guys behind Clinton look sooo bored. there look says it all: "Oh great! Here he goes again. This is painful. No no, I mean it's really physically painful."

    January 23, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Deb

    I can't believe the DNC allows an x president shame this country like Bill clinton has , and continues to do.

    January 23, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. Monroe

    Go get em, Bill. Put her where she belongs – the gutter. Hillary's opponents are going to hell trying to pull her down with them. You're a knight by yourself and by your actions – defending what is right and proper and attacking those who know nothing but insults, innuendo, and half-truths to ply their evil trade.

    January 23, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. Don

    Before you all go off on Bill, listen to the entire thing. Bill Clinton is 100% right. Its about time someone pointed out the media's role in all of this. Matter of fact, CNN just reported Clinton's release the first attack in SC with radio ad, thats not true. I have recieved attack mailings from Obama 3 times this week in SC. If you can not report factual news, there is a problem. Bill Clinton will be raked over the coals, but he is telling the truth. You will not see the stories about Obama attacking Hillary.

    January 23, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. J Emmons



    January 23, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. Sherry

    Let's see if this gets posted.

    January 23, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. john

    So now the Democrats are finally seeing the Clintons real faces that others
    have see all these years: a pair of ruthless, power-driven bullies. Neither
    cares about keeping this campaign on a dignified level. I predict thousands
    will leave the Democratic Party because of these two.

    January 23, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. IndyRobin


    January 23, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51