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. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Not a politically important; but, the response was a little terse. Even though I support Obama, and I am angry how her mother has RE-INTRODUCED the Wright issue, I really do not think that the Monica thing has anything to do with THIS campaign. Suprise Hillary folks ....we Obama people are not as negative as you folks are !!! I do believe that the "none of your business" is a little negative toward an audience that would be considered supporters. Sort of nasty................a more Diplomatic response was in order. She certainly has been asked about this MANY times over the last 8 plus years. She is representing NOT ONLY HILLARY BUT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY when she is out campaigning. Courtesy is always important.

    March 26, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. Michelle D. Atlanta, GA

    Way to go Chelsea. Spoken like a true politician. It was rude and awkward for the question to be asked in the first place and she did a fine job in fielding it.

    March 26, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. Maurice, NC

    I'm not a Hillary supporter in any way, but I feel like the question was out of line. That is a question that Hillary, and only Hillary, should be asked. If she is asked, I do feel it is her responsibility to answer the question.

    March 26, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. JayJay

    A Statement on Wright from the Clinton's Presidential Pastor


    The Reverend Jeremiah Wright is an outstanding church leader whom I have heard speak a number of times. He has served for decades as a profound voice for justice and inclusion in our society. He has been a vocal critic of the racism, sexism and homophobia which still tarnish the American dream. To evaluate his dynamic ministry on the basis of two or three sound bites does a grave injustice to Dr. Wright, the members of his congregation, and the African-American church which has been the spiritual refuge of a people that has suffered from discrimination, disadvantage, and violence. Dr. Wright, a member of an integrated denomination, has been an agent of racial reconciliation while proclaiming perceptions and truths uncomfortable for some white people to hear. Those of us who are white Americans would do well to listen carefully to Dr. Wright rather than to use a few of his quotes to polarize. This is a critical time in America's history as we seek to repent of our racism. No matter which candidates prevail, let us use this time to listen again to one another and not to distort one another's truth.
    Dean J. Snyder, Senior Minister
    Foundry United Methodist Church
    March 19, 2008

    March 26, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. Sharon

    I'm sorry, but even though he may have had good intentions, the question was in poor taste. Whenever I see a reporter bring this issue up, or bother to research her records to see where she was at the time, I can't help but wonder about the reporter's motivations. Is this news, or gossip? To me, it says more about the people (and network) bringing it up than the Clintons.

    March 26, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  6. True Independent, MD

    I am sad to say that I sense the same arrogance in Chelsea as in her parents. It is extremely rude to tell a supporter off in public.

    You really cannot have it both ways. We need to get over the fact that Chelsea is no longer that 12 year old peaking out of the Oval office window. She has clearly put herself out there in the political world and is therefore fair game.

    The voters have a right to have their questions answered. The Lewinsky issue was not personal. It devastated our country.

    March 26, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. Austin, Texas

    Good for Chelsea and she's right, it was none of his business. It's a very private family matter. Coming from someone who has experienced infidelity and has stayed with my husband, it does make a woman stronger in alot of ways. This young man should ask his mother if his father has ever cheated on her, I can bet he has and I can bet he'll feel that its a private family matter too.

    March 26, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. mayahh

    she responded beautifully, her parents flaws are not her baggage to carry, she is entitled to honor and respect, why should the parents deeds affect her, she is outstanding and mild mannered. I applaud her, keep up the good work Chelsea. Be Proud to be the daughter of an American President. You were chosen as that.

    March 26, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. Enough Already

    Good for you, Chelsea! Mr. Strange, since when did the actions of a philandering husband determine the electability or lack thereof of his/her spouse? Surely, you are not saying that 1) Senator Clinton is responsible for her husbands alleged affairs or worse 2) Her presence in the White House shows support or knowledge of the affair with Ms. Lewinsky or worst 3) Senator Clinton has lost all credibility because she may have stayed with her husband out of a sense of obligation to her wedding vows of for better or for worse?
    I do not claim that Senator Clinton may not have had her own motives for sticking with her husband. BUT, I do think that there are certain lines that should not be crossed and posing this question to Chelsea was one of them. By all means, pose it to the Senator herself.

    March 26, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. Lostfigs

    Evan is my hero! Even though he was misunderstood, the is still a strong supporter. Thanks Evan; I understand what you tried to do. Just think of it this way, at least you got more coverage for Hillary!?

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

    come on Chelsea, you decided to go and campaign for your mom and the best thing was just to answer the question. ooops "its non of your business was just rude"

    March 26, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. Jerry Wiles

    I agree totally with Chelsea's response. The question is not relevant to to the campaign and should never have been asked. In fact, being the father of four in there middle twenties I would have told them it was a stupid question to ask.

    March 26, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  13. m


    March 26, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  14. enomisa

    That Hillary is strong and has repeatedly risen above controversy and personal pain and difficulty is self-evident. We all know that. Her endurance and strengths are legend.

    Thus, no legitimate reason for that question.

    March 26, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. Orlando

    I felt this was a golden opportunity for Chelsea to boost her mother's record, her strength and how the family has been strengthen from this tragic situation.

    March 26, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. HillaryLieHillaryLieHillaryLie

    Chelsea Clinton is not any better than her mother. Here is why
    1. She new when her mother was lying about bosnia trip she was there with her.
    2. Both her and her monther new when bill was in trouble for having affair with Monika, but tried to cover him up.

    It is very sad her mother is not a good role model, she have no choice but be like her mother.

    March 26, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  17. betsy

    I t became a part of the news again, when Obama people referred to the "blue dress" in comments they made about Clinton, not only about irrelevant information about where Hillary Clinton was doing during that time period.

    March 26, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  18. Sheila

    The question was in bad taste.. Who want's to visit that 3 ring circus again anyway? Is this real news?

    March 26, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Chelsea refused to take questions at those 70 college campuses she visited so that's a lie. The Clinton's are experienced liars and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

    March 26, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  20. Seth

    I need someone to explain to me how "staying by your man" when his has completely and utterly disrepescted you both privately and publicly shows that you are "strong."

    In the circles that I travel in, we have another word for that, "sad."

    The way Hillary handled that situation isn't exactly what I would want to teach my daughter or sister. And it certainly isn't they way I would expect my wife to react if I was in our home office engaging in extramarital activities with a young employee.

    I think her response is yet another indication of her poor judgement.

    March 26, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. Georgia girl

    As a Democrat I'm sad to see that even Chelsea is divisive. Democrats want a candidate they can see as being up front about everything. Chelsea made an immature statement, and it's sad to see her mother considers a man's religion as fair game, but her husband's impeachment scandal as something to keep quiet about.

    March 26, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. Ron

    Questioner showed his lack of maturity in asking the question. And it is irrevelant to what is happening today. The answer Chelsea gave was actually TOO kind. Also do you really think a Hillary supporter would bring up such a difficult time in Hillary's life?? I don't think so??

    March 26, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. Mark Webb

    She is worse than her mother. What is she doing there isf she cannot even answer questions????

    March 26, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  24. Wilberto Jimenez, Monmot, MD

    More non-substance comments from a non-substance campaign member.

    Cue the Hillary apologists and people who say Chelsea shouldn't have to answer tough questions because they think she's still a little girl who should be protected.

    Hillary's smart, and the best candidate for the Democrats, but she (and Chelsea) need to start answering these questions. It's not as though the McCain and the GOP will forget to ask.

    March 26, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  25. TM

    I think he was sincere in his question however, would he had asked that question prior to Lewinsky being put back in the media recently?

    March 26, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
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