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. lbr, jersey city, nj


    January 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  2. abdirazak ali

    Go Bill. CNN and Chris Mathew from NBC news are not neutral. they always side with Obamo. i do not know what they upto. i hope there is no gender factor, hate femail because they (CNN and NBC) have a lot female workers. but no in higher position.
    Hillary is the best presdident

    January 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. John Y., Charlottesville, VA

    Right on Bill, keep it up! More redfaced tirades pleeze. Remind us all what to expect if you are reelected in November!

    January 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. brende


    January 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Steve, Sacramento, CA

    As a Republican supporter, I had already resigned myself to a Democratic president in 2008. Basically, it is their's to loose. But you know what? – They may just be able to loose it if this BS contiunes. Keep it up Bill. People's memories are short and many have forgotten your horrendous performance in the White House. But if you keep reminding America of your true colors, the Republicans will win again!!

    January 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. Freedom of Speech

    Bill is right! CNN needs to stop provoking voters and readers into anger. It's clear that CNN wants Obama to win. What ever happened to the issues of the United States, the Economy, Healthcare? Instead, CNN reports garbage on fights between the canadites.

    CNN, you are only hurting yourself in the end. When it is all said and done, we will be back to blame CNN for false numbers, and false reporting.

    January 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. rm

    I didn't get the sense that it was an attack against the reporter per se. But more an attack against the media. . . Keep pounding away Ms. Yellin!!!! Don't be bashful about putting him on the spot. You weren't out of line....And if I may ad, I might very well be voting for Hilary anyway. ....

    January 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. tom

    Bill is upset because, his family deserves the white house again.

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. John, Pittsburgh

    I have such a hard time believing anything he says now.

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. Joe

    I can't believe people are in disagreement with Bill on this.

    His point is simple. The media spins things left and right and it's getting out of control.

    His point is simple. Without the media's influence, we don't have discussions, and debates on racism, or call people out based on "He said/she said"

    His point is simple. People want to talk about the economy, the war, immigration, health care, education, etc. Not lies and spins.

    That's all that we are getting out of the media and this election process. They don't care about the issues, they just care about tabloid junk. I am really starting to hate CNN and the media in general.

    This is going to become a repeat of prior elections where no one cares because not only do we have candidates that can't stop fighting one another, we have a media that is feeding into it and is actually the CAUSE of the fighting.

    So here we go again, another pointless election thanks to the media spinning left and right.

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. Dave McDougal

    Clinton are right. CNN and the majority of the news media continues to continue on the race issue..............They are not reporting the facts. Yes, there is a race issue and that is White canidate verus a half breed.........

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. D. Alberstadt

    Bill Clinton has every right to be upset with anyone who compares Bill to Lee Atwater. Atwater was more than just a hachet man he was skilled in dirty tricks. Atwater would say and do anything to win. Just before he died Atwater confessed that he had a lot to be sorry for. Unfortunately he torpedoed the political process in order to get what he wanted. A lot of good people and good ideas were trampled.

    There is absolutely no way Bill Clinton can be compared to Lee Atwater.

    Perhaps the CNN reporter should go back to Journalism school, at least apologize to the Clintons.

    By the way when does the media ever apologize?

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Lorenz, Queens, NY

    Cry me a river....

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Jennie

    What he said sounds pretty accurate to me. I'm surprised it took this long for someone to say it.

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. JimS

    Keep speaking the truth, Bill. All us Democrats are listening. The only ones upset and thinking you're going overboard are Wolf and Fred Hiatt and Tweety Matthews. We hear you in spite of all their concern trolling.
    Wolf's deeply troubled take was particularly amusing.

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. MC

    In review of this and prior campaigns, it seems to me that spouses have traditional campaigned for thier husbands. Should it not be the same when the candidate is a woman. Calm down Clinton haters, they are not going away.

    Go Hillary! Go Bill!

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Marco

    Bill Clinton is STILL very popular,...this cannot be denied. he is very knowledgeable and intelligent.

    But he is acting out because of how close the race is between Hillary and Obama ,...but this is no excuse for him behaving this way and he deserves ALL the criticisim that is thrown at him for this one.

    MUCH WORSE or much more stupid questions have been asked to political figures during elections, ones that should get us all annoyed.

    This is not one, and could have been handeled much more intelligently and maturely.

    Learn from this Bill.

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. NextPresident

    If the people care about what is going on then why does he continually attack and distort. Bill is a loser and he needs to go. He does not like it when the shoe is on the other foot. So now he wants to get mad when someone asked him the hard questions. WHO IS RUNNING BILL OR HILLARY? Enough of these slimebuckets. Too bad Bill, Norman HSU was sentenced to 3 years in jail and what happened to that *850,000 campaign money? Let's ask him that question.

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. Jim

    Watching the report by Yellin on Bill Clinton showed no highly charged comment by the former prez. He was questioned and clearly and calmly pointed out how he thought the reporter was "dredging up" stuff from the Obama camp to push him with. He pointed out no one in the meeting asked him to respond to Obama but in front of the camera the reporter did. Now who is keeping things stoked here, looks like CNN to me. And for once, maybe Jack will do it, someone on your network should point out how tame this election really is. And maybe someone there could point out that everyone plays politics and go after each other...its not just the Clintons. Let it happen and how about you just report and not create news that isn't. Thank you

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Byron

    How is he upset he's just stating facts. CNN really needs to grow up wheneven Bill Clinton refutes some charge he's characterized as upset or distraught
    cmon cnn grow up

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Ken

    Somebody forgot to take their meds today...

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. Sheldon

    Do you idots know who Lee Atwater is? Why are you still atacking Bill- You must be nazi-republicans or total retards!

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. Mirta

    How can you headline this as BC getting "upset"??? He was calm, clear and logical in his explanation, plus, he was right!

    The media is keeping the racial fires burning. I can just hear it now if Obama wins this Sat. What a great victory because of the support of the black voters! So, when Hillary wins on Super Tuesday are you going to say what a great victory due to the support of white voters?

    How many times prior to this campaign have you ever heard that either Hillary or Bill Clinton were accused of being racist? NEVER! This is fueled via the Obama campaign (the man who referred to AA Monday night as "Brothers").

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Howard H.

    Somehow this must all tie back to the Scientologists.

    Just kidding- call back the mother ship!

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. Brad

    they're all playing a game people .... get it. obama-maniacs .... you're guys playing the game too? hello. what happened to .... "something different" from the obama camp. and, if you think the clinton's are tough .... wait for the general election. better to learn the game now and have a strategy for when the real fire comes. the republicans WILL NOT GIVE UP THE WHITE HOUSE with out a flight, and if mccain is the nominee - there will be a fight. breath deep – this is only the beginning.

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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