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. Jen in NH

    Hillary Clinton is an incredibly strong person. She has endured unfair media coverage and constant negative personal attacks by Obama and his supporters, but she has shined throughout and remained the strongest Democratic presidential candidate. She will be an excellent President for our nation. Let's get on to the real news- and try to be fair to all candidates (including the female candidate).

    March 26, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. S.Breaze

    No child no matter his or her age should have to justify the actions of their parents....It was a personal matter that I am sure was delt with between her parents. It sickens me that Obama supporters feel that she should have had an answer..NO SHE SHOULD NOT!!! This has nothing to do with her mother running for office. Some of us can not answer for our own descretions much less our parents. To me her answer was valid and true!!!! YOU GO GIRL!!!! HILLARY 08

    March 26, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. Carlo

    Doesn't this guy realize that you don't question the Clintons, even if you are on their side? Learn your lesson from Bill RIchardson, or you'll be labeled a Judas.

    March 26, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  4. Get real

    Even though I'm not a Hillary supporter, I agree with Chelesa that is no ones business but her parents.

    A better question would have been about the lie her mother told concerning a trip that Chelsa was on....I would have asked why do you think your mother lied about the trip to Bosnia, and secondly, why would a mother take her only child and place her in harms way???

    March 26, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. Phil G. , New York

    she missed a golden opportunity to make herself and her mother appear stronger if she would've just answered the question instead of being rude to a voter. i understand its a touchy subject but it goes to show how the subject has made u stronger. Look at the Obama race speech he took a touchy subject and made himself powerful over it. The Clinton's are going to have to accept this as reality one day if they are going to be the nominee cause the republicans will have way worse questions and comments. They need to show that they can tackle these subjects as if it doesn't affect them. (Notice how i keep saying "they" as in plural) But until then i dunno if i can say that they're more electable than Obama and im a supporter. We'll see what happens.

    March 26, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. Typical White Person

    Great response, good for you Chelsea.

    March 26, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. jujub many articles does CNN have to have on this non-issue. Cheslea was right to say "none of your business."

    Let's get back to the real issues and what IS our business...release your tax returns, earmarks, Library donations...Hillary. And, stop insulting me with your diversions about Rev. Wright, who was good enough to invite to your White House, to deflect the truth about your lies about your experience.

    March 26, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  8. B

    I beg to differ with Chelsea CLinton and her response. It is the business of the American People when her father was enticing a young impressionalbe intern in the Oval Office (Paid for by the people of America through our taxes). He was working for the people. He should h ave taken his dirty activity to his HOME, not in our WHITE HOUSE.

    March 26, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  9. kathy

    Finally, someone had the guts to even bring it up. I lost respect for the woman years ago because of the way she handled Bill. I always thought she turned a blind eye to further her own agenda. Chelsea showed one thing – she's just like mom – spin a lot of words and then avoid the entire subject matter.

    March 26, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. CGF

    Of course it's our business and relevent - because of Hillary's comments about the "vast right-wing conspiracy." This goes to judgment every bit as much as questions about Obama's church go to questions about his judgment.

    March 26, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  11. Tyler, New Jersey

    And I don't see anything wrong. I agree with Chelsea's answer.

    March 26, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. ALH

    Chelsea should know by now that when you become a public figure by virture of your family or whoever, everything becomes everybody's business. If she doesn't believe it just ask persons aquainted with any president, any governor, any Mayor, any preacher, anyone in the sports arena. housewives, anybody who has any claim to fame be it positive or negative. And when you find people that constantly lie, especially Mom and Dad, then you better learn to say words like Jesus paid It all.

    March 26, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. Dee1

    She is uncivilized and full of bad manners. Ought to have used a diplomatic way to evade the question. I conclude she was not properly brought up...MUM not paying attention...playing war games in her mind !

    March 26, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. John Hurban Pa.

    How could Hillary Clinton take her daughter into a war zone unless it is self interest.

    March 26, 2008 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. NIC

    who cares

    March 26, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  16. Mo

    So much for the claims that it was an Obama supporter. Besides why would we do something like that. I mean really we get to click on the CNN Election Center and see Obama's delegate count everyday.

    March 26, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. pam

    It was a legitmate question and if Chelsea can't play ball with the big kids then she shouldn't be on the big kid's playground. She had an opportunity to tell us about her mother's character and she took the wrong way out. If the Clintons (the whole family) are going to get pissed off at the questions they don't like, perhaps they shouldn'
    t put themselves in a situation where people can ask those questions.

    March 26, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  18. Right on Day1

    It's one thing to protect their families, but if you put her out there, she should not be insulated like this. She's an untouchable surrogate. She is over 25 and a professional. It's just wrong how they are using her.

    March 26, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  19. LifeLongDemocrat

    You Obama supporters make me sick. Grow up! If this is the least thing that a politician has done we are very lucky. Obama hasn't been vetted yet so who knows what we will find out. Get back to the don't want to discuss that because you are supporting an empty suit with a very small record. Hard to criticize when there is nothing to find, right?

    March 26, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  20. Kris

    Chelsea handled the idiot with grace and dignity. What an idiot to ask her that question. Get over Monica thing, who cares. Go after the repub who are still in office after committing crimes and say their guilty. Geez.

    March 26, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  21. Texan and Proud

    I would think since that scandal happened in "People's house" it is very much our business, once again the Clinton's think they are above reproach for their shameful actions in the whitehouse; not to mention breaking the law with perjury. I do not want these ICKY people back in the whitehouse !

    March 26, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  22. tim greene

    The question was about Hillary's credibility, how is that not our business? The President's credibility is very relevant.

    March 26, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. tammie

    Chelsea is a grown woman not a child, she should have acted that way by answering the question much better. Chelsea wants to be out there therfore she needs to play the game like everyone else.
    It was a good question & should be asked by more who should press it until a proper answer is given.
    Lewinsky like it or not, is a part of political history.

    March 26, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. benji

    It isn't any of his business.

    March 26, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. Jamie

    I was surprised at her response, too. It really was a missed opportunity to expound on Senator Clinton's resiliency and strength. I'm shocked that Chelsea is out there stumping for her mom and is somehow allowed, by the press and the public, to only answer the convenient questions and avoid talking to the media AT ALL (even child-reporters.) Who else in this race is allowed that latitude? Chelsea's not a child anymore, and if she wants to put herself out there for her mother's sake, then she should do it all the way. If she doesn't have thick enough skin to answer the tough questions, then she should stay home.

    March 26, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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