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. JAM

    I am an undecided Independent, but I think Bill Clinton is right, "Shame on you." . From what I have seen lately when Obama and his people say "jump" the media asks, "How high?"

    We may be "just viewers" to you in the media, but we are intelligent individuals who can judge when an organization is being biased. Both CNN and MSNBC have been biased in favor of Obama from the very beginning. You are no better than FNC.

    January 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    Sometime it's be quit. Is Bill Clinton running for Prezzzident. Hit Dog will hollow Bill Clinton's recent remarks "He said the comments were meant to "suppresses the vote, demoralize voters, and distort the record, lashed out at Yellin and visibly upset. Bill Clinton live for this. Let it go Bill

    January 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Stephani

    I don't blame Bill one bit. GO BILL!!!! If a Reporter is not going to do their job like they are supppose to and try to help one candidate or party over the other in their questioning then they don't need to be in that position. I can't actually believe that there are AMERICANS that want someone in the position of our President that is named Obama. It just doesn't make any sense to me. As long as Obama isn't our next president I almost don't care who is, because they are all the same. You didn't see our country in the awful state that it is in when Bill was our president.

    January 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. Chad

    Lets be honest here, President Clinton has a point. Lets let elections be about the issues and not the silly "He said, she said" reporting. CNN and the rest of the media know that "issues" don't get readers and viewers though. Controversy and political missteps do. Where many may skip the article titled "Hillary and Obama: Where they stand on the economy." Few will skip over "former President lashes out at reporter"

    January 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Steve, Texas

    CNN = Fox X 2!

    January 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. Gloria Rowan

    Mr. Clinton is right, this is not helping the people of South Carolina it is utter nonsense . Ask questions that are of concern to the people. Reporting used to be believable not today.

    January 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. Scott, Royal Oak, MI


    After yelling at the female CNN reporter, Clinton winked and said "sooo you come here often?"

    January 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Jen, Altamira

    Well said Bill! Give it to 'em!

    January 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. leftdcin72

    The Clintons are not Democrats, they are Clintonites. They run for themselves, big planes, speaking fees and the big house. They are a complete waste of time.

    January 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. wlgriffi

    Awaiting "moderation"???? LOL!!!!

    January 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Glazed, Detroit metro

    At last!!!!!!!!!!!. CNN had this coming. From the days of Iowa primary, into NH, most of the left media has been trying to get this to be a race issue in the DC race. Now you guys got egg (at least) on your face. For the prominent media having betrayed the people on the Iraq debate, now you guys are starting this low-ball debate. SHAME ON YOU.

    January 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. James D.

    Bill's hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    January 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Boogie Los Angeles CA

    Obama's wife uses the race card like mad in her stumps...I guess she didn't get the memo that Barack doesn't practice these kinds of politics.
    So, it's ok, to attack Bill for good cop bad cop...but, not Michelle?

    January 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Billy Mitchell

    and he was right, CNN, shame on you!

    January 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Jeff, Des Moines, IA

    Bill & Hillary Clinton are the consummate lawyer politicians. When they get caught twisting words they immediately try to turn the issue into something else. "Bush, Clinton, Bush and another 8 years of Clinton" will never sell to any informed voter who truly wants genuine change. Too bad Clintons can dish it out ...but can't take any criticism.

    January 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. Anderson Imes

    While I am not privvy to the facts on which Clinton makes accusations of dirty politics in Nevada, I will say that I agree with his last point.

    As an American citizen I really don't care about bickering between rivals. I'd like the candidates stance on issues, but the only thing I see in the highlight reels is the squabbles. I do believe the press doesn't give most Americans who don't watch the debates or read the candidates' websites any information on their stance on the issues. All you get is the latest inflammatory soundbite.

    Whether or not Clinton said this as a political move or out of genuine concern for Americans doesn't make it any less true.

    January 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. Cha

    Bill's comments so true. CNN reports are covering silly, superficial elements of the campaign that do not mean a lot to people in South Carolina and the rest of the country. Why don't you cover the candidates' differences of opinion in health care, Iraq, housing forclosures, and other bread-and-butter issues? Remain grounded and relevant, CNN folks. Practice good journalism.

    January 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Sven

    apple – what does that mean? He is looking for a cow and a cigar???

    January 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. m. campion

    If Clinton is back to white house the American people will end up with 20 year shared between two families: Bush and Clinton. What does it look like? Dinasty? what type of democracy is this?

    dinasty = a line of hereditary rulers of a country

    January 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. Trannon

    All of you are wrong, as usual.

    Bill is right.

    Stop allowing the media to toss flowers at Obama!

    Bill tells it like it is here, he's not mad. He's RIGHT and all of you know it, too.

    Go cry on your Obama wagon.

    January 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Eddie


    January 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. Caleb

    I used to be anti-Hillary but they are getting hammered by the press. It's like the press thinks they have to protect their baby boy.
    What Bill has done in the past is not relevant right now. The news media is supposed to be unbiased and they have not been. Every channel you turn to he is crying about the same thing over and over. Obama can't handle this minor heat, he definitely can't handle the world leaders!! He won't be able to reign in Krazy Kim on North Korea.
    As for the e-mail he's crying about; that has been circulating for years! It was forst sent to me in 2004-05. There is still one going around about Hillary and social security, just got it last week, and she's not crying about it.
    Watch Dan Abrams on MSNBC. He has been fact checking and keeping score. Neither of them are innocent.

    January 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. Andy

    For the dignity of the office of presidency, I think the former president Clinton should stay out of the race. PERIOD

    January 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Bill, Melbourne, FL

    How this man sleeps at night (or at MLK memorial services) is beyond me. HE and HIS PEOPLE deliberately distort Obama's comments and, even after having their version of said comments debunked, continue to spread them to try and fool those voters he's so concerned about with regard to CNN's coverage. He's concerned that CNN is covering the fight and not the issues? Give me a break. That is the new strategy for the Clinton campaign. Obama is getting way too popular when he's allowed to stay on his message and speak honestly to the people, all the while taking support away from Hillary because he personifies the difference between the genuine and the canned, between the honest and the calculating, between being full of fresh ideas and the intelligence to execute them and being an entrenched member of the establishment with sufficient moral bankruptcy to literally say and do anything to get your way.

    He speaks as though he's surprised that someone would call him out on the very dirty tactics that he's known to use. He, is just pissed off that they actually have to try to win the nomination, instead of everyone just standing back and handing it to them.

    And yes, my use of the plural pronoun is deliberate.

    "Well, sometimes I can't tell who I'm running against."

    January 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. jezz

    when the CNN become TMZ

    January 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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