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. my comment

    Mr. Clinton was not lashing out, he was just great answering the question. He is just
    great person, leader. People can learn from him a lot.

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

    I think it's great watching all the Clinton rats jump ship onto Obama's. Haaa The Clintons were gods to you dems for years and now all of a sudden another left winger comes along and he's the god. Fickle, fickle, fickle. Vote Republican!

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

    Obama is going to win S. Carolina by double digits. What is it with the new poll that says it's less?

    January 23, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  4. B. Riley Hanson

    He didn't look too upset to me; maybe tired, but not upset.

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

    I love when the media is more important than the voters. Thank God for the media, because otherwise I wouldn't know how to think. Lemme go read about Britney Spears so I can learn how not to live my life.

    Thanks media, you're a life saver!

    January 23, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. Joe G, Washington, DC

    CNN, you best back off my boy Bill before I open up a can of whoop-a##!

    January 23, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. Chris, Washington, D.C.

    I can't say I really blame Bill for getting irritated by the question. But his ensuing rant wasn't really connected to the accusation at all. It was just kind of a general complaint against the media. It wouldn't have really bugged me if he didn't use the rant to attempt to bash Obama's campaign again for no good reason.

    January 23, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. Van Buren

    The amount of support that President Clinton is giving Hillary Clinton during this debate is without historical equal. Think about it. This election is about the opportunity for the Clinton family to once again take the Whitehouse. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    January 23, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. alexandria

    For a president I once admired, all respect is lost! Anything for power is the most pathethic thing in the world. And the idea that Hilary can't campaign for herself without the reminder of who are spouse is, is even more pathethc. And the people that see a vote for Hilary is a 2-for-1 Clinton deal are lazy people that refuse to educate themselves on the issues of what the other candidates stand for.

    January 23, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. Katy, TX

    Good for Bill! I hope Hillary is elected, and the Clintons save America from the aftermath of Bush's reign over last 8 yrs.

    January 23, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. PaKid

    Todays media just should let the people decide. They are the ones responsible for telling the story, only bits and pieces. The reporters would turn against their parents if it would mean getting a raise or advancement.

    January 23, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. rod

    Your lead on this story is mis-leading as hell. Bill Clinton was asked a question and he answered it truthfully. Print or play the entire conversation between your reporter and Bill Clinton and let the voters interpret what was said. The media should be focusing on the issues in the campaign and not on what the spin doctors are saying to attack the candidates.

    January 23, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. Obama-man

    Bill . . . if you play nicer, maybe Barack will let you and Hillary spend a night or two in the Lincoln Bedroom. Oh, wait, that was only reserved for Clinton contributors back in the 90's. I forgot.

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

    As a lifelong BillClinton fan,I have lost respect for him. Bill Clinton will never be thought of again for his legacy in office. If he continues, he will be remembered for the Swiftboating Bulldog that he is being these days. Go home Bill! We need to move forward not backwards. CHANGE is what we need, and you dont represent that.

    January 23, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. Denise P Quinton

    I truly agree that all CNN reporters have not handled Hilary Clinton with any sort of respect and are total biased. They seem to always want to air the dirt, do they not understand that well informed voters do not like or respect those tactics.
    In the long run, I have decided I can no longer even believe anything I hear on CNN, they are out of control.
    The future will prove that Hilary Clinton will survive super Tuesday, and Obama is just a junior senator playing the race card and does not deserve to lead our country, now or ever!

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

    Oh and dont let us forget perjury and obstruction of justice?? Dont forget!! Never forget!!

    January 23, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    You know...I've got such contempt for his hijinks–if he ever waved that finger in my face like he did the reporter-I'd bite the hell out of it.

    His actions so far–have been nearly as demeaning to himself and fellow Democrats–as getting caught being serviced by interns in the oval office.

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

    He actually right people, whether you are for Obama, Clinton or Edwards. The press only wants news that creates controversy and they will spin the speeches of all three candidates to get the type of reactions I am reading on this subject. Think about it , the more we feed into the spin, the more Blogs and quick meaningless articles we get from the press. They (the media) are the real threat to our voting freedoms because they report what they feel is news and they do it in such a subjective manner. ... Now moderate that. ...

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

    President Clinton has his democratic right to voice his opinion and support his wife in her campaign. However, President Clinton needs to set a boundary regarding his involvement in Senator Clinton's campaign. At first blush, are we voting to re-elect President Clinton or Senator Clinton? Or, perhaps, this is a package deal?

    In my opinion, President Clinton needs to step back and let Senator Clinton take on Senator Obama and Senator Edwards and let the best candidate move forward.

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

    Finally! Bill Clinton is absolutely right. All the media, especially talking head central known
    as CNN, cares about is dust and fluff to feel 24 hours a day. They are determined to make mud and fling it.
    Why aren't you guys reporting the issues and what voters care about? Not sexy enough?
    Go Bill.

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

    CNN is a reliable neo-con enabler and is nothing more than a conduit for RNC "TALKING POINTS", Wolf Blitzer's posing as an "objective" reporter is the biggest hoax of the media. Bill Clinton did NOT engage in Atwater tactics and CNN riding this is typical CNN obfuscation. BTW,O'bama did smooch the Reaganites in a pander with his praise of the Reagan agenda. As for the attack on the O'bama positions by the Clinton campaign remember ,"If you can't stand the heat,stay out of the kitchen.".

    January 23, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. judesuper

    Yeah, right Bill, all you care about is getting back into the White House. You just hate it when the truth gets, don't you. And Bill PLEASE shut up!! I agree with Dick Harpootlian and not you. Granted you did have good economic times. However, what could have been one of the best administrations of our time was turned into a smut war. That was entirely your fault, no one else. I for one do not want to go through that again. Besides could Hill run without her last name being Clinton? No way. We shouldn’t vote for Hill because we will be stuck with Bill. For his 3rd term no less.

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

    Bill Clinton lied to his wife and us. He continued the Republican agenda in the 90’s and made his wife Vice President.
    I’m sick of Bush’s and Clinton’s. I wish folks would check the record and tell me what they did for anyone I the 90’s.
    BTW – The comment about Bill being the 1st Black Prez was because the Republicans treated him as if he were Black – not because he did anything at all for Blacks. Check on his confederate flag stance. Wake up people.

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

    I'm truly going to enjoy watching the Republicans take down Billary.

    January 23, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. Billy Mitchell

    President Clinton hit the nail on the head. Media outlets, CNN inculded (which shames me), spend more time throwing out headlines like "Bill Clinton get's upset with CNN reporter" and then has the nerve to even post the video. The majority of the video clip is of Clinton setting the record straight, very little of it had anything to do with calling the CNN reporter on her ignorance. All the issues that are important to this country and she goes with rhetoric and mudslinging... pathetic. But... then again, it gets the ratings, doesn't it?

    January 23, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 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