March 27th, 2008
09:00 AM ET
13 years ago

Bill Clinton: 'Let's just saddle up and have an argument'


Bill Clinton said Wednesday his family doesn't like to quit. (AP Photo)

(CNN) - Bill Clinton took aim at critics of his wife Hillary Clinton Wednesday, adding that “if a politician doesn't wanna get beat up, he shouldn't run for office.”

"If a politician doesn't wanna get beat up, he shouldn't run for office,” the former president said in Parkersburg, West Virginia. “If a football player doesn't want to get tackled or want the risk of an occasional clip he shouldn't put the pads on."

“Clipping” is an illegal football maneuver where an offensive player blocks a defensive player from behind, or below the waist.

Clinton added that the recent rough tone of the campaign didn’t trouble him. "I don't give a riff about all this name-calling that's going on. They've been going on ever since Iowa. I've heard them say all these things about her,” he said. “Apparently it's okay to say bad things about a girl."

He added that the advisers on both campaigns who’d been forced to resign because of controversial comments should have stayed put.

"I don't think any of these people oughta be asked to resign. All these guys that say bad things about any other campaign, they say, 'Should they resign?' My answer is no; they're repeating party line. They oughta stay right where they are,” he said. “Let's just saddle up and have an argument. What's the matter with that? That's what America's about, right?"

"All this moaning and groaning - none of these politicians are gonna have anything like the tough time half the people in this audience have already had for the last seven years. This is about you. Don't you let anybody take this election away from you."

West Virginia votes May 13. Clinton complained today that the “glitterati” wanted to end the campaign before the state’s voters had a chance to weigh in because his wife had momentum. "In spite of the best efforts of a lot of the elites in the media and other places it looks like we are gonna have an opportunity for everybody to vote in this primary, and I think your vote should be counted, don't you?

“I know Hillary's gaining on them when they say, 'Oh, let's shut this down now; we don't want to be divided. Let's just disenfranchise several of the million people who could vote.

Wouldn't you like to vote and have your votes counted? Wouldn't you like to have a voice in this election? Don't you think that your vote should count as much as the people who voted in Iowa first? Yeah, well so does Hillary."

Related: Watch Bill Clinton discuss why Hillary won't quit

- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Bill Clinton
soundoff (410 Responses)
  1. Former Clinton Supporter Houston TX

    You people are idiots, the fight is over but Bill just don't want to admit it. My nephew lives in FL, as he states at NO TIME was Clinton in the state trying to have the state reps to not go against the DNC rules

    Since she thought this would be hers she sat on her hands, she SAID NOTHING and DID NOTHING so don't cry now.

    March 26, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  2. Delta Dave

    "It's all right to say bad things about a girl"?????????? So now Hillary Clinton was not only dodging sniper bullets, she has discovered the Fountain of Youth. C'mon Bill, you know that old boot is capable of holding her own against anyone, yourself included.
    I don't disagree with going to the end with the voting, but he has to recognize that having won more states, more votes and having more delegates is actually a sign of being ahead!! Stubborness, I can admire – pigheadedness is another thing.
    As for saddling up and having a fight, I think that has been happening all along, unless I have missed something.

    March 26, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  3. Jen, Gainesville

    We should always keep things in perspective. What are important here? The country (people), the Party, and then the individual who wants to be president.

    By damaging the Party in order to have their 5% of chance to be in the White House, the Clintons are doing anything right now. Please read Dowd's article "Hillary or Nobody."

    What the Party leaders will do to stop the party succide is the real, and final test for the Democratic party. Otherwise, the Party will die.

    March 26, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  4. OMG

    HAHAHAHA! Are you kidding? You all think Bill, the man who said "that depends on what your definiition of is is" when being questioned about Lewinsky....Jebus, this is someone you guys support and admire? C'mon now, I don't think Obama is a pillar of honesty, but compared to the Clintons, it's a no-brainer. Supporting Billary is not good for the Democratic party or the country.

    March 26, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  5. Fi

    “Apparently it's okay to say bad things about a girl."

    WHAT? As a "girl" I'm incredibly offended by this comment. First of all, Hillary Clinton is a woman, not a girl. Second, Clinton should expect to be treated like any other candidate in a tough race – she's going to get asked hard questions, people are going to question her and things are going to get negative. That's the way it works – as Bill Clinton said: “if a politician doesn't wanna get beat up, he shouldn't run for office.” Well, if a politician doesn't wanna get beat up, SHE shouldn't run for office, either.

    March 26, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  6. BL-NYC

    Bill Clinton is amazing!!!
    People... We can not forget how much good he did for our Nation... he was an amazing President and his wife has in fact taken a beating and all the while, her head has been up, she has never backed down and honestly, that is what we need in office...
    I want her strength representing myself and my family to the rest of the World...
    She is ready and she can help us repair what is damaged!!!

    March 26, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  7. Please Think

    I don't understand all the fuss here. It is nearly impossible for Hillary to overcome the delegate lead and the total popular vote by the time June comes around. Obama will lead in both, however slim or large that margin may be. So why is it such a big deal for the superdelegates to step in and make Obama the DNC candidate?

    Would it satisfy more people if this inevitable intervention occurs at the convention? After we smash and smear each other past the point of electability?

    It is so frustrating to see proclaimed Democrats bickering over candidates who are so similar on the issues. "if BARACK/HILLARY win the nomination, I'm voting for McCain!" WHAT?!

    Come on people! Do we want more of the same? PLEASE THINK!

    March 26, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  8. Mike, Kalamazoo, MI

    “If a football player doesn't want to get tackled or want the risk of an occasional clip he shouldn't put the pads on."

    If a football player clips another player, the one who did the clipping still gets penalized. How are people speaking against Hillary saying that Latinos won't support an African American, or that Obama is not qualified to be Commander in Chief, any different from a referee penalizing a football player who clips another player?

    Also, if the Clintons were really worried about not "disenfranchising" voters, they wouldn't be urging superdelegates to swing the election, or promoting the idea that pledged delegates can switch signs at the election.

    March 26, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  9. Ev-VA

    To Former Obama Supporter: You just played the RACE CARD YOURSELF>>>>>DUH!

    Bill Clinton is right "if you don't wanna get beat up you shouldn't run for office" It's seems like Obama got beat beat up pretty bad last week in the news regarding his former pastor's sermons, however he took those punches gracefully and forcefully and is still going strong! OBAMA 08.

    Now Hillary is caught LYING HER BUTT OFF ABOUT BOSNIA and she has the unmittigated gaul to try and downplay it saying she "Misspoke"
    She lied and got caught and now she has her daughter Chelsea lying for her. What a politician and mother she is!

    The people are clearly speaking WE WANT OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT NOT HILLARY or BILL whichever one is runining for president

    OBAMA 08

    March 26, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Jiddy

    Bill is a LOSER, he and her wife should bow out and restore any remaining dignity that exist in them with the american people. They should not use their selfish motive to destroy the democratic party. Hillary's experience would be best use as a Senator and not a president where She can afford not to release her tax documents. Alternatively, I will suggest she consider joining the marines where her expertise of evading snipers will be fully useful.

    March 26, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |

    HILLARY 08
    NO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 26, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. Not drinking koolaid

    I can see the clintonistas are out in force here. Sadly so many Americans buy into this zombie delusion of Bill as their personal crystal amulet. However, Baractopus is no walk in the park either, they will both burn the constitution.

    March 26, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  13. derrick

    CNN if you like post this, if you like don't.

    Hilary singed the documents agreeing to the fact Florida and Michian won't count.

    Just imagine what she would do with treaties the United States is signatory to?

    Or what would she say if China or Russia disowns all treaties they are signatory to?

    And most importantly, what would she do with her campaign promises if she can't keep to a contract she signed?

    March 26, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. Jacob S

    The problem with waiting for what is at this point an inevitable conclusion (Obama significantly ahead in pledged and popular votes whether or not MI and FL count) until the convention is that it leaves all of two months or so for the nominee(Obama) to unite the party against McCain. Currently the party is fractured, but add 5 months to that and it's even worse.

    By all means wait this out, but if Obama loses in Nov. because of this you have only yourselves to blame. In fact, I'm wondering if this might be Clinton's ultimate strategy. Hamstring Obama through comments lauding McCain and by splitting Democratic support so that even if he is nominated he loses, allowing her to run again in 2012. When she does that, she can claim with a straight face that her electability is greater and many will believe her, forgetting that her needless lengthening of the primaries and hamstringing of Obama was what brought him down.

    March 26, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  15. H


    March 26, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  16. Cam

    I love/hate it when he talks.... he will def bring her scores down... eveytime he talks it reminds us how we DON'T want him back in the whitehouse..... and he needs to tell his wife that she is the one complaining..

    March 26, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  17. Justin, Grand Junction, CO

    We're not fooled by the "Former Obama Supporter" and "True Blue Democrat"

    If you have to put that in instead of your name... it's gotta be a lie

    "Former Hillary Supporter"

    March 26, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  18. AY - toronto

    The democratic party should let all options to play out up to or even at the convention. This is "real" democracy. You can't stop the clock whenever you want ... when you are winning. Let both candidates play out to the end. Even if this is not a typical primary, don't be afraid to let it happen. There is always the 1st time in eveything. Let the primary continues ... let Florida and Michigan vote!

    March 26, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  19. Tim

    Bill Clinton damaged the Democratic Party and Al Gore's chance of winning when he had his affair with Monica and LIED about it. Now he is damaging the Democratic party once again with his ingenious play on words. From him bring out the Race card in S.Carolina(Jesse Jackson) to bringing up the Gender card (Picking on a Girl) in this story. Hillary is not a women scorn, it is Bill Clinton who is scorn and unleashing all his political know-how to damage the party and get his wife elected. At any cost. At any cost.

    March 26, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  20. meggy

    well said from a very intelligent man...and go white people,support hillary.

    March 26, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  21. Julius - Canada

    what about restarting the voting process now that Hillary has the momentum? They wanna get everyone's vote even that of Obama pledged delegates.!!! Go Billary GO!
    Revotes in every state until Hillary can win, no to DNC rules!

    March 26, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. Terry

    Bill, just shut up...we are tired of your mouth running. Your time as the President is over...get over it.

    March 26, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  23. Jim from CA

    Thank you, Mr. President. If you can't take the heat, get out of the way. Mr. Obama has surrounded himself with a bunch of losers; Kerry, Richardson, etc. He will surely lose big time come November if were to be the nominee. I am very grateful for being an American and have people like the Clintons to have as my fellow party members. I am tired of losing and I want to win. Fortunately we have a winner and that is Senator Clinton. Thank you.

    March 26, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  24. tewabu

    I think Bill is runing for president. He wants to stay in the white house for life like African presidents!!!!

    March 26, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  25. KW

    Hey, we're all enjoying the entertainment factor. The curtains are just now being pulled back so we can take a look at the credentials and measure the character of the candidates. We'll be watching to see who is clipping and who is not as we choose a brilliant and forthright individual worthy to be our leader. In American, good sportsmanship and playing by the rules counts, not gaming the process.

    March 26, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
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