March 27th, 2008
09:00 AM ET
12 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. Veronica

    Excellent – the Clinton philosophy is elucidated: Politics is a contact sport.

    I guess there is no room for values, morals, ideas, leadership, vision, consensus, collaboration, etc.

    Frankly, I will not vote for a contentious candidate.

    March 26, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. John Halverson

    all the Clintons care about is the Clintons. If Hillary was ahead Bill's tone and speak would be completely different. Since she is behind it is anything goes, unless Obama's camp says something then Hillary comes out saying that she can't believe that someone that preaches hope could ever say anything negative. The Clintons are ALL hypocrites including their "dotting" daughter. The response to the question yesterday was ridiculous! she is campaigning for her mother therefore she is fair game for ANY questions that could be asked of the candidate. Like HER father said basically if she can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen or if you can't answer the tough questions don't go out on the campaign trail. BY the way how is asking if Hillary's reputation was damaged not "any of your business" her response is completely out of context.
    The biggest problem of all is that the Clintons think that there is a double standard for them, have Americans really forgotten what the Clintons are like?????????

    March 26, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. Sylvia

    Mr. Clinton, why are you so angry? Like Mr. Bill Richardson said, the Clintons think they have a sense of entitlement to the Whitehouse. You look like a fool. GO OBAMA!

    March 26, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. Truye

    "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."

    So does that mean Hillary stops playing the "poor me, the media is being rough on me because I am a girl" card? Or that every time the Obama camp says something not completely glowing of her then her supporters need to shut it as well?

    I am just saying what is good for the goose should be good for the gander and if you say something about taking hits then it should apply to both politicians.

    March 26, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  5. R. Winston , PA

    . . .Bill, even the best race horse knows when its over.

    Obama 08.

    March 26, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. Andre

    Send that redneck home. His day is done.

    March 26, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  7. KLM

    Goodness!!!! Can't he understand that it's his wife that's supposed to be running. That has been my biggest issue. He's too much in the scene. Hillary wants to include all the "experience" she claims from his administration and then refer to everything as "the clintons". It's Hillary that's running. Not him. I can't see her for him therefore I can't vote for her. He overshadows her.

    March 26, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  8. Terry

    Why are people expecting Hillary to bow out when neither of the candidates will have the numbers to win the nomination? Just because Obama is currently ahead, it doesn't mean he earns anything over Clinton. Just a reminder, he has not reached the magic number. Let the remaining states cast their votes.

    March 26, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  9. Gretta

    Both clintons bring out the worst in America.
    Imagine what they can accomplish (negatively) getting back in the white house ...
    The good, the truth, the right candidate will prevail as the DEM nominee and it won't be a woman, thank goodness.
    The American people don't need another liar holding office, the highest office in the nation.
    Hillary Rodham Clinton has created so much new karma for herself during this campaign, how much more can her female body withstand?

    March 26, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. Hayden

    Go Bill!

    Obama had things go too smooth for him during most of the campaign and as soon as he hit a rough patch...he nearly took a fall face first.

    If he can't handle it....he shouldn't even be running.

    March 26, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Mark

    Would Bill be saying this if his wife was ahead in total delegates and popular vote? I doubt it. I also remember his wife's campaign whining about comments made by the Obama camp screaming for people to resign and Hillary herself wagging her finger at Obama in front of the cameras.

    It's not fun being second and finishing second in a primary and it's something the Clinton's aren't accustomed to. I think they better get used to the idea of being 2nd means you lose.

    March 26, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. jeff

    Also, Obama is an upstart and he knows his place, so he has not gone after Hillary as aggressively as he could, because he respects the party. So don't say he doesn't have the stones, because you're just insulting his intelligence and his respect for the party that has made him who he is. The Clintons obviously have no respect for anything.

    March 26, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  13. duke

    when you are behind you will do anything to get back on top is the wrong think for the country. we should come together hillary has lost enough is enough take vp role and unite dems. lets get bushism out of white house

    March 26, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  14. Kim

    Under the Bill rules of war. Little Chelsea better buck up and take it when a college kid asks her about Daddy and his sleazy affairs.

    March 26, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |

    So illegal activity is ok Bill?

    March 26, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  16. Tiffany

    What a putz. We have a president with 'backbone' and who we'd like to have a beer with, look where that got us! Calling names and making false accusations does nothing to bring people in to the process and better our party!
    Nobody wants to disenfranchise voters but Hillary, now she says pledged delegates aren't really 'pledged'. So why have millions voted if the pledged delegates didn't have to pay attention to the vote?

    This is getting down right SILLY!

    March 26, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  17. Veronica

    I take this to mean we have thrown the kitchen sink and it didn’t do the trick, so standby for the bathtub and everything else in the trailer.

    March 26, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. Nova

    AGREE! I wish you could run again! I know a lot of people around the world still loves and respect you. Until candidates have 2025 delegates the process must go on.

    March 26, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. David FL

    Lets have a argument that you are loosing and you are stopping your own party leader in the nomination , that you cannot catch because you don't have Michigan and Florida in play no more, and lets blame obama for that. but if the superdelagates overturn the same will of the 39 other states that choose Obama ... your not going to tell me that that is not disenfranchising the voters
    i guess HRC is really is seeing celestial clouds and angels lol..

    March 26, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  20. sore loser

    Thats how I sound when Im losing and the clock is running out

    March 26, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. Cherie, Des Moines, IA

    Democracy First writes: " the process continues according to party rules"

    Really. Since when has the Clinton campaign followed party rules??? They agreed to DNC rule that FL & MI would not count...oops, changed their mind. They sent a staff person to stand over the shoulder of our convention secretary and wrote down the name of every pledged delegate from my county convention in Iowa on March 15th...for what? Am I going to get a Christmas card from Clinton when I'm an Edwards delegate? Hold on....before you have a snappy little reply...they wrote down all the Obama delegates as well. They lie constantly (Bosnian sniper fire anyone) and will do ANYTHING to win and in the process all Democrats lose. How sad that anyone could support the likes of her.

    March 26, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  22. Kevin

    I agree, the fight should go on... even if Clintons advisor's admit she only as a 5-10% chance of getting the nomination... keep going is what I say... and keep getting deeper into the gutter... this is about you Hillary.... don't give up girl (even though you're a woman and I wish people would realize that and stop using such a belittling term.)

    For those of you who think Obama isn't tough enough... Well, here he is at the end of March... standing toe-to-toe with the toughest tag-team in modern day politics and though it's not over, he's ahead on points according to the judges. He looks pretty tough to me.

    My money is that he'll be standing ahead at the end. However, I also believe (sadly) that the tag-team will have so damaged him that we'll end up getting four more years of McBush.

    March 26, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. Veronica

    “Saddle up”?
    I’m not even going to take the bait on that one Billy.

    But I will say – I disagree. That is not what America is about Mr. Clinton. Maybe that’s what it used to be about in your day. But the sun has set on that cowboy – a new day is dawning for America.

    A day when politicians spend more brain power on solving problems and bringing people together, rather than acting like children and trying to best each another with punchlines, soundbites and cliches.

    I would expect better from a Rhodes Scholar

    March 26, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Manuel TX

    Go Bill!

    Just say no to the "Glitterati". Let the process run its course.

    No vote should be suppressed!


    March 26, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. Dan

    "say bad things about a girl"? Is that how Bill wants his wife viewed? I guess that it's OK then, conversely, for a girl to say bad things ...cuz she sure says a lot of them.

    "Wouldn't you like to vote and have your votes counted?" ...well, yes! Apparently Bill is not quite in tune with the rest of Hillary's campaign who are now saying that it's OK for them to try to get the pledged delegates (who are supposed to represent how we voted) to change sides and vote how they wish.

    By the way, regarding delegates who switch at the convention, according to the DNC rules, if a candidate suspects that any of their pledged delegates will switch sides during the convention then they are allowed to bar that delegate from voting for any candidate. ...but I'm sure that Hillary will find a way to change that rule too.

    March 26, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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