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. jsb

    Still can't figure out why Bill's scandals are off limits for discussion. They are a true concern if he's in the Whitehouse again. The man is a scandal magnet and I, for one, would like to keep drama out of the white house.
    While I realize that it was a little over the top to ask the question of Chelsea, she is a surrogate of the campaign and should be able to field any questions out there and be ready for anything that they throw out there. The Clinton's are public figures, therefore these things ARE our business.

    March 26, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. kathleen

    Please, CNN. I have never complained once about your headline
    stories but is Chelsea running for President.??A one day story
    would be enough, not to drag this on. This is ridiculous.This is
    NOT a story.


    March 26, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  3. John

    Chelsea would have been far more effective had she cried or told the story about that time she dodged sniper bullets with her mother in Bosnia.

    March 26, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. JennyM

    It was a very fair question. Her parents cost the taxpayers a lot of money investigating this fiasco.

    Chelsey is 28 she is not 12. If she is going to respond this way then she should not be campaigning. Contact sport that is what it is .

    March 26, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. Jaye

    Unfortunately, if Billary does get the nomination, you'd better believe there are going to be a lot of Lewinsky question & swipes. Just a consequence of Daddy's shameful "Catting Around" while in the White House. Republicans are going to have a field day trying to humuliate the whole family. Here's another thing – if you're going to put Chelsea out on the stomp, then questions should not be off limits to her. She is now a grown woman, no longer the little girl in the White House – although she sounds and acts like Violet from The Incredibles Movie.

    March 26, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. V. Sheldon

    Why should Chelsea be astonished that this question was asked of her? She is after all playing the role of her mothers surrogate. I am afraid that Mummy is playing with matches, and you, young lady, are bound to get burned. I think that, given the game that Mummy and Daddy are playing out, it is a perfectly legitamate question. If she does not like it, she needs to either stop making these appearances, or get Mummy to stop playing with political fire.

    March 26, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. thomas

    jeez...touchy...i thought politicians lives were there for analysis...if they want us to trust them, answer the questions...that situation affected us all...our president got caught doing something immoral...he violated the trsut of his wife and his country...and we are supposed to contue blindly trusting them...i have a bridge for sale, anyone interested?

    March 26, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. bonnie

    Hmm. It really is our business given that Hillary is a public person . how can we vote for someone that lies and has a man that cheats and a rude daughter is this the family we want to run our country, wake up america

    March 26, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. Glenn

    This shouldn't really be a story. It was a good question from an inquiring mind, and a wonderful answer given by a daughter who does not owe anyone an answer to that question.

    -Glenn, an Obama supporter

    March 26, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Ceit

    It is no one's business. GOOD FOR Chelsea! Why should she talk about Lewinsky it's some thing that happened many years ago when she was a child. What ever happened it does show that Hillary stayed with Bill and they repaired what ever damage they had in their marriage. What ever happened between them is up to them.

    March 26, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. josh

    good going chelsea

    March 26, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. Hillary Supporter

    To all of you Hillary Supporters, please continue to show your support by not voting for Senator Obama should he win the Primary. We can wait another 4 years before we put someone in office who we can trust and does not have the history of Obama. It's questions like these that provide no substance to the debate.

    March 26, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. MKO

    Well I think its a fair question and as an Obama supporter, the Clintons are doing everything right now to try and sabbotage his campaign (with the Minister situation, etc) so if Chelsea wants to help her moms campaign she better get thicker skin!

    March 26, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. Jojo

    I think that was the wrong answer by Chelsa. Because the scandal involved the taxpayers money. If doesn't like answering those questions, she should go back to her day job. It is 100% our business because its creditability of the candidate. Do we want a president that will back stab the party, the people, and the nation. What kind of sign that sends out to people around the world. I don't support any of the candidates in this election because none of them are good enough.

    March 26, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. Joseph

    I think it is the reverse. Chelsea was surprised with Lewinsky question.

    March 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. JennyM

    Hillary Clinton showed no mercy on all the women Bill has had ummm "relationships" with starting in Arkansas. She had them followed, ruined THEIR lives as opposed to just leaving the lying jerk.

    March 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. WH

    My butt he's surprised. He just didn't get the over the top reaction he was looking for to use against her so the new story is that he meant no harm. Definately an Obama supporter doing the only thing they know how to do........stir the pot.......until it backfires, then throw out the race card.

    March 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. NELSON Colorado Springs, Co

    It nothing for Chelsea to say, If any question to ask should be ask to Sen Clinton But no need for that now

    March 26, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. jp/michigan

    The media can ask the question, and they should respect the answer they recieved! They are drudging up very personal part of the Clinton family and the one person who was hurt the most was Chelsea. Ask and questioning Obama about his pastor was totally different, Mr. Obama knew how he was and chose to stay with him and kept him hidden as long as he could , same for Rezko!

    March 26, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  20. JR, Columbus, Ohio

    'My mother's credibility is none of your business.'

    Uh, OK Chelsea. Apparently neither are her tax returns, which she promised in the Cleveland debate would have been available a month ago!

    March 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. Frank B

    Hillary is NOT strong at all. The only reason that woman stayed with Bill is not out of love and because she is a devoted wife. She realized that she would never become the next demoncratic candidate with out Bill. It appears that that's the only reason why she stayed devoted to Bill. What woman would stay with a man who cheated on her many times – even when she was in the same building unless she had her own agenda. "Chickens coming home to roost"

    March 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. A

    You run for president everyone in your family and the their history gets put under scrutiny. We all know that. How is this question not anyone's business? I'd love to hear Hillary respond to this question like this during a debate.

    March 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  23. Tim

    I don't know why I'm surprised by the generally unsurprising reaction of people from both sides of the political spectrum on this thread. Chelsea had exactly the right reaction to the question from this college newspaper nerd. I don't even like Mrs. Clinton, or Mr. Obama, for that matter, but Hillary's reaction to her husband's ridiculous behavior is simply not relevant to her ability to run the country. Sure, you can make the argument that it is relevant, but your argument will be mired in the muck of affairs of the heart. Running the country is not an affair of the heart. I sure hope Hillary isn't our next president, but how she deals with her marriage is her own business, and her daughter is not the point person on that, no matter how large a part she plays in the campaign. Now, if this Strange character had asked some hard questions on Whitewater or health care, OK! Fact is (or seems to be), he was trying to make the Clintons look good by dredging up Bill's infidelity! What a hoot.

    March 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  24. Benny

    Folks ,

    How does this hurt her credibility?

    This happens everyday in america and it was a fmaily matter that had to go public.

    It only show how stroing she really is.

    It is not a weakness it is a strength.

    The question was out of line and more then likley wasan BO supporter.

    any way ....

    March 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  25. Blayze Kohime

    I was tired of this scandal thing when it started during Bill's presidency, and I'm certainly fed up with hearing it now. Its every bit as stupid to try and use this against Hilary as it is to use what Obama's ~former~ pastor said against him.

    March 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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