March 26th, 2008
01:25 PM ET
11 years ago

Lewinsky questioner surprised with Chelsea's response

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The student who questioned Chelsea Clinton on the Monica Lewinsky scandal said he meant no harm."](CNN) - The college student who appeared to upset Chelsea Clinton with a question on the Monica Lewinsky scandal said Wednesday he was merely giving the former first daughter an opportunity to show how strong her mother is.

Evan Strange, a Butler University student, told CBS he is a supporter of Hillary Clinton, and meant no harm with his question about the infamous White House scandal.

"Surprisingly, I am a supporter of Hillary, I love Hillary. But when I talk to my friends, one of their constant questions to me is, 'What makes her such a strong leader?', and they always bring up that scandal," Strange said in an appearance on the CBS Early Show.

"It’s not something I asked to cause trouble, it was to show those people what makes Hillary so strong, and was an opportunity for Chelsea to show all the doubters how strong Hillary is," he added.

At an event on Butler's campus Tuesday afternoon, Strange asked if the scandal had damaged Hillary Clinton's reputation. (Watch Chelsea's reaction)

Chelsea Clinton appeared taken aback by the question, saying, "Wow, you're the first person actually that's ever asked me that question in the, I don't know maybe, 70 college campuses I've now been to, and I do not think that is any of your business."

The crowd immediately cheered loudly at Chelsea's response, but Strange said Wednesday he was surprised with the answer.

"I can see where she'd get a little defensive because of the question, and just hearing Lewinsky over and over again I can see why she'd react that way, but I would liked to have heard her say something about her record, or something like that, instead of just dismissing the question," he said.

Though she has faced the glare of public life since she was a girl, Chelsea Clinton has contended with renewed press coverage after taking on a more prominent role in her mother's campaign earlier this year.

The Monica Lewinsky scandal made a brief return to the news last week, when newly-released White House schedules indicated Hillary Clinton was likely in the White House during at least 6 reported instances of encounters between her husband and the former White House intern.

Related: Evan Strange says he was shocked by Chelsea's reponse

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Chelsea Clinton • Hillary Clinton
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Rose - Baltimore, MD

    I don't care what every one on this blog thinks about her answere but there was a better way of going about answering that question, without appearing to be arrogant. Chelsea struck me last evening as an arrogant person, just like her mom when she answer the question to reporters about her Bosnia lie. This is a family of arrogant people who believe that the US presidency is their heritage.

    March 26, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  2. April

    Although I agree that the Bill/Monica of the past should be dropped, it's not like he asked her "How did you feel about dear old Dad cheating on Mommy?" He asked her if a scandal had impacted the reputation of a candidate, a reasonable question.

    What a great country, when to bring up a scandal is to do such a grievious injustice to those who represent it.

    March 26, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. maxwellinformed

    to Trev – If this were a "Pro Obama" universe then Hillary would drop out and support Barack instead of McCan't.

    March 26, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Eleni

    I am canadian and I really don't care who is going to win but I dont understand you. I am watching cnn . The supporters of Obama are full of hate for clinton . Chelsea did very well. You ask Hillary, not the daugther, you don't have any values anymore. You leave the important issues and you go to the stupidities. As a canadian, I'll be more worried if my candidate was following for 20 years a church like the one of Obama. Racisme is not an issue in our countries anymore, but Patriotisme is important for a leader. Bush, mayby is stupid, but I think he did a big mistake because he loves his country, and he wanted to protect it.

    March 26, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. nate

    Chelsea – ANYTHING that reflects upon the integrity of a presidential candidate is absolutely the business of the American people. We are taking about one of the most powerful positions in the world. Your family's "personal affairs" do matter to the voters that will or will not put your mother in office. The Lewinsky scandal is very much one of the reasons I do not want the Clintons back in the White House. I don't think your family has the integrity required.

    Dallas, TX

    March 26, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Marie

    Well Miss Chelsea,

    You are either in the game or you're not and you are obviously not in the game!

    When you go from state to state promoting your mother and are asked questions you don't like then you just have to answer them little girl oh your almost 30 now right. keep up the good work half the country hates your mother and won't vote for her anyway. What a spoiled brat! Every questioned asked about her father and mother is important and you can be in the game or not it's up to you; in the end it just hurts her mother.

    March 26, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  7. x4faith

    I ask ALL of you HILLARY supporters. If Hillery had such experience during President Clintons term, why didn't she keep the torch burning? Why did she run senator?

    Honestly, I really don't understand why you all are fussing about this. Doesn't that, in itself say it all?

    Faith: Mobile, AL

    March 26, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Dick / NH

    Sorry, Chelsea,
    If you are out there, stomping for Mom, you ought to be willing to discuss important questions voters have about your mother's character and toughness....your mother seems to think it's perfectly ok to chastise Barack for every imaginable (and sometimes unimaginable) your mother's surrogate, you should be able to handle legitimate questions from voters....stop hiding, or stop your tour....if all you can do is answer the easy questions, it's time to go home!!

    March 26, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Elizabeth

    Doesn't that young man have any sense of what is appropriate, relevent, or in good taste? Of course he was attempting to humiliate her and for him to declare his support of her mother only adds to his arrogance. He can't be that naive, can he?

    March 26, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. dennis

    Stupid question. I'm glad CC dismissed that moron.

    March 26, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. Alex H

    The guy didn't ask anything personal at all! He didn't ask details, or personal information. He asked her opinion on her mother's credibility after the Lewinsky scandal. He could have picked Whitewater too if he wanted, but I guess that would be none of his business too. Guess what, we're deciding if you should be President or not. If something that happened in the public's eye is none of our business then go be a lawyer! This is the Presidency! EVERYTHING IS OUR BUSINESS!

    March 26, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. Sally

    Well, I find it interesting when we can say that Obama's worship experience should be everyone's business. But, it is always hush hush for the Clinton's taxes, lies, and corruption. I think it is a double standard that everyone is falling into. Just as Obama's speech says there is still a lot of hidden racial issues in America. I think it is time for us to address them. What's good for the goose is definitely good for the Hill Billy's!

    March 26, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. Sharon how you moderate out Hillary supporters blogs over and over yet leave in strings of Obama supporters....JUT LOVE YOUR BIAS......

    March 26, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. Hillary 2008

    Shame on you ! CNN!

    Could you come up more valuable news? I like Chelsea.

    Pls shut up-CNN! Are you shame when you are trying to cover the dirty trick played by Mr. Obama?

    March 26, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. Neutral

    Reading post after post, I've come to the conclusion, majority of the American people are GOSSIPERS.

    Why a some of you are blaming Chelsea and Hillary for Bill's indiscretion? What's the matter with you people? Are you running around in your life with your head not attach to your body?

    If Evan Strange is a supporter of Hillary and has enough live brain cells he would not ask that stupid question. It shows Evan Strange lack any sense of decency; he was opening an OLD WOUND. Chelsea was put in the spotlight during the scandal. That young lady is very tough, toughness she inherited from her mother; GRACIOUS and STRONG.

    This reflects on Obama, this is the kind of supporters Obama has earned and gathered around him. Obnoxious, militant, nasty, vicious people. The American people will not have Obama for President, you might as well put it into your head.

    This independent voter will NOT vote for Obama, I'd vote for a dog as President over Obama.

    March 26, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. Tony from Indiana

    I would have expected better from a Butler student. How sad.

    March 26, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. rw in ct

    It is interesting how Obama plants ask personal questions of the Clintons. No amount of Lewinsky, marriage questions will ever deter intelligent people from focusing on the important "public" accomplishment of the Clintons. Obama is Janus, two faced mythical character, and, 20% of Clintonites will NEVER vote for him, as per polls.

    March 26, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Issue Voter

    Chelsea should not have to answer the question as it was worded. She was 12 at the time, and has had to deal with an affair in her parents' marriage (I have, and yes, I was asked about my parent's reputation... wrong thing to ask the child).

    However, if the question was worded differently, maybe "In light of recent news coverage about events that occurred when your father was president, how would you convince the American people that your mother is a leader: honest, has a strong record and willing to stand against our enemies?"

    Then she could have answered it and spoke about her mother's reputation.

    March 26, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. R Rogers in SC

    This is not even a good news story. Same on CNN.

    March 26, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. Ellen W.

    What in the world does something that happened years ago, that Hillary had no control over and gave her extraordinary pain and humiliation, have to do with her wonderful qualifications for President? I think it cruel and heartless for anyone to even bring it up.
    She showed her strength and good judgment by weathering thru it and in my estimation cannot be praised enough. We are certainly voting for her and yes, she deserves it for all her good works!!!!

    March 26, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  21. Sergio

    I think that is a very sensitive private family matter. Chelsea answered directly and concisely. In contrast, Jeremiah Wright "an Anti-American!" Patriotic Americans will not put up with comments like that. Deport Jeremiah Wright Dept. of Homeland Security!

    March 26, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  22. Katie

    OBAMA '08!!!!!!

    March 26, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. Karen

    Actually, the person who asked the question stated one "Good Morning American" he is a Hillary supported and he wanted to bring out the mental strenght he thought Hillary had at the time.

    March 26, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  24. @americans

    Chelsea should have answered the question instead of throwing one of Billary's supporters under the bus. Typical of the Clintons, always trying to lie and dodge a legitimate questions!

    March 26, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. Drew

    This is absolutely not a credible question. This is Hillary Clinton, not Bill Clinton. Hillary didnt have the affair, and has no reason to justify it in her campaign. I think if they want to leave Bill open to attacks, it's time we start attacking Michelle Obama, who until people voted for Barack, was NOT PROUD to call herself an American. At least the Clintons are proud Americans.

    March 26, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
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