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

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

ALT TEXT

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. Steve

    So, Bill, would that mean that Chelsea should just shrug off the questions about you and Monica? After all, though she is not campaigning for herself, she is putting herself out there, and as you said “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."

    March 26, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. Jack Mpls

    I agree Clinton's comments are spot on. If you can't handle the battle I say go home and Hillary certainly let's the world know she is tough and doesn't go on vacation during an election.

    March 26, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. April in Texas

    Well I would say dont lie or embelish the truth about sniper fire unless you want to be called on it either. Before the mudslinging I would have voted for Hillary had she won the nomination but she has lost that and going backwards in my opinion. I will continue to support Obama until the bitter end.

    Obama 08

    March 26, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. Earl

    How can we end the election when NOBODY has the required number of delegates and there are still primaries to be held?!

    That is just a ridiculous argument and, frankly, I think it is deceitful in the fact that it is attempting to disenfrnchise voters.

    Its not like Obama is way out ahead or even proved he can win a big state. I know for myself, I want a candidate that is strong with the traditional base of the Democratic Party because it is an energized base that will outnumber the Republicans, along with independents sick of the war and failed ecomonic policies of Republiucans that will carry the Democratic nominee to victory in November.

    IMO, that candidate is clearly Hillary.

    March 26, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. Sara

    Always pointing that finger when he speaks. Condescending man.

    March 26, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. James

    This is outright damage to the Democratic party. The Clintons do not care if they damage the party or not. Though it is obvious that Hillary will not have enough delegates to persuade superdelegates to support her. Why all of this cat fight?

    March 26, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. Sarah, Upstate NY

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

    Is he trying to imply it -isn't-?

    So much for her election being a grand leap forward for feminism.

    March 26, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. Shane

    “if a politician doesn't wanna get beat up, he shouldn't run for office.”

    The same rule should apply to those who campaign for a candidate, you and your daughter included, Mr. President. Your daughter's artful dodge of the question regarding one of your numerous indiscretions is another why I can't stand your family. You talk out of both sides of your mouth.

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

    See, now you've gone and contradicted yourself again, Bill. Which is it? Do politicians need to be tough, or should they take it easy on a girl?

    March 26, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  9. 4Obama

    Alright! Way to go Bill! Hillary IS vetted, just look at her experience under fire!!! Psssht, please.

    March 26, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. Gene

    Go away cheater, go away liar.
    Obama 08...

    March 26, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  11. MC

    Guarantee Bill wouldn't be voicing this opinion if the roles were reversed. He would be out there saying that Obama should drop out. This is typical Clinton politics. They'll do anything to win even if they have no shot. Watch, this a prelude to more mud slinging on behalf of the Clinton campaign.

    Bill should just go away. His sexual misconduct was the sole reason that the country has had to endure 8 years of Bush. Now, he wants a chance at a third term. No thanks.

    March 26, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. Wayne

    There is no "Back Down" for Bill or Hillary. And Thank God for that! Keep fighting the forces of bigotry Bill. You and Hillary are the true American heroes!

    March 26, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. Wendy, Missouri

    Former President Clinton is exactly right. Those people shouldn't have been asked to resign because we have seen worst things said on TV and by the opposing sides from all the nominees.
    But with Obama and Clinton still in the race...I wonder if this might divide the party and end with Clinton or Obama running with or without the parties approval by dividing the ticket. We will see in August how things go down in Denver.

    March 26, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. Oris Buckner

    I hope that I am not understanding Bill Clinton incorrectly, but it seems that he does not care what type of damage this ongoing debacle will cause to the Party. Also is he trying to instill fear/anger in the voter as if they are are not cared about or their votes are not important?

    Also what momentum is he alluding to? I guess the way you look at things determine was you see.

    March 26, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  15. Joyce

    Bills comment "If a politician doesn't wanna get beat up, he shouldn't run for office,” should include supporters of these politicans then? Because then it's open season on Chelsa for being snippy when asked the Monica question ,and Chelsas reply was 'none of your business' hmmmmm EXCUSE ME,Chelsas Mom & Dad were in OUR WHITE HOUSE when the incident happened ,AMERICANS payed their rent,bills and fed them ,so IT IS OUR BUSINESS.Sure hope Chelsa can take the tough beatings in the sport of political mud throwing....

    March 26, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  16. Neutral

    Well said President Clinton. I couldn't agree with you more. Obama have already succeeded disenfranchising voters for Michigan and Florida. We can't allow him to do this to our fellow Americans who have yet to cast their vote this primary.

    I still don't know who to vote for, one thing for sure, I'd vote for a dog for President over Obama.

    March 26, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. S.G.A

    Wow! Here I thought it was about doing what is best for the country. I did not realize this was JUST about winning.

    March 26, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. Sylvia

    Mr. Clinton sounds like he is running for President himself. Why can't Hillary speak for herself. Mr. Clinton need to stay the hell out of his wife campaign. I guess she can't handle the heat and stress of her own negative tactics and her husband steps in. GO OBAMA!!!

    March 26, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  19. jessie

    I am definitely with you on this one, Bill! You've been a great President and I totally respect you and your words. You've done a great job as our President and given us a healthy economy with surpluses. I remember those were good times! I am now voting for Hillary because I know with her eight years as a Senator and her years as the First Lady, she will be ready on day one and be one of the greatest presidents as well.

    March 26, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  20. Paulette

    Clinton is the masterful politician that always shines through in speech. The issue this time is that politics seem to be taking on a different hue. The youth in this country are turning politics around for a different game plan Mr. President. The youth in this country are tired of playing politics as usual with the same results. It might not have occurred to you yet, but the people of this great nation are tired of old mud and slush politics because it has not been of benefit to us. Politicians get richer and we still struggle. The people in WV can tell you loud and clear about that struggle. The lies, promises, glut of values and unethical people in public office may be seeing their last days as old line politicians.

    March 26, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  21. Kevin, MN

    Yeah, but the problem is that both candidates are exactly the same on all the issues......so this whole campaign comes down to a bunch of nonsense that is dividing the party. Honestly, when you have the Clinton campaign come out and say stuff like "the caucuses disproportionately favor upper-income voters who, don't really need a president but feel like they need a change."......... how do you expect to unite the party for November???? Minnesota votes for Obama, so apparently we are a bunch of over-educated boutique latte-sipping Democrats.....so we don’t really count? We're too smart to know who to vote for? I'm pretty sure every time a Minnesota national guardsman comes home from Iraq in a box, his family isn't thinking "we don't need a president"

    March 26, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. Jay

    I Heart Bill!!!

    They see her gaining ground and they want to hold her back. Its OK, because she is a women. NO ITS NOT!

    Obama – America doesn't want you! Go AWAY!!!

    March 26, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. Helen

    Bill is right. Never quit. We won't let you go till you fight to the end. You will win. Go Hillary.

    March 26, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  24. Mark

    How PATHETIC is this dude???????????

    March 26, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. Super Delegates Would Do Well to Stay Out Till It's Over

    Thats right Bill!!!! I don't want to hear anymore about who is ahead in this race unless we are going to give Hillary the votes she earned in Florida and Michigan. She has won the most popular vote and the most delegates. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can shove it if they don't like it.

    March 26, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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