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. Matthew

    I'm not sure what Pres. Clinton is talking about. As I understand it, the remaining primaries would be counted. The folks in the remaining primary states would cast their votes. The question is, after the 10 or so remaining primaries, the suggestion was to have a pre-convention convention so that a final decision could be made. The so-called super-delegates who decide at that time who they are voting for. After this process, a candidate would be idenfitied as the nominee. This way, all would be decided pre-November. This would give the moninee a couple of months to battle one-on-one against McCain ...

    March 26, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  2. Lou

    Or we could put some respect back into politics so voters won't be turned off and may just want to participate. Whats wrong with sticking to the issues for once? Might actually learn what a candidate stands for.

    March 26, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  3. JS

    Yes!!!!! This is the kind of BACKBONE the democrats need in the White House – not someone who can't even stand up to his racist, anti american preacher!

    Barack can't win the general election and everyone know's it. The sad thing is that Nancy Pelosi and friends would rather throw the election than stand up and do wha'ts right.

    If we knew about Baracks poor judgement a few months ago, he would have never won so many states! Us Democrats aren't crazy, we would have never voted for him if we knew that kind of people he surrounds himself with!


    March 26, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. BRING IT ON!!

    You think we are going to accept this, two of the biggest states not having their votes counted? This party does not belong to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, Howard Dean is a disaster for this party, they have done this and they will live with whatever happens because of it. But mark my words, if they want a fight, we are ready to have one.

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

    Fine let's take off the gloves and open up everything! I'm all for a good fight, granted I prefer it be about the issues, but since Billy-boy brought it up, the media should stop treating Hillary with kid-gloves and really lay into her...I mean they certainly have for Barack!

    So let's reexamine why you were impeached, let's look at all the scandals you and your wife have been involved in (Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, Cattle Futures trading, your Ukranine deal, Clinton v. Paul, Clinton v. Jones, etc)! Let's be open and start this "clipping" fest!

    Why won't you release your tax returns? How about your library donations? Why can't your wife list the millions in pork barrel projects she's received? For that matter Chelsea should be able to answer questions from supporters of her mom, no matter how tasteless. Let's question why Hillary has to lie about her experience to feel good about it. Let's talk to your pastor (do you have one?) and analyze words from his sermons. Let's figure out why supporters of the Clintons must feel the need to lie about Obama.

    If you want a fight and want to bloody the candidates even further let's go! May the best man/woman win...I'm certainly confident that HE will!

    March 26, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  6. Independent

    I give Hillary credit for being ambitious. I actually liked her until her true nature began to show. I can see her having no problem letting Bill pull the strings in the White House and taking the credit for it. Its been the trend of her career thus far.

    Would you like still vote Hillary if Bill had divorced her and not supported her candidacy?

    I wouldn't....

    March 26, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. Veronica

    I think that what Bill means is that a Hillary supporter who goes “off message” should not need to resign, but an Obama supporter who goes “off message” should. That is why James Carville calling Richardson a “Judas” on the record is totally fine, but Samantha Power calling Hillary a “monster” off the record is not.

    March 26, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. Darth Vadik, CA

    Yes Bill I agree with you, but even in football there are rules, and if you break them you get penalized.

    March 26, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. reinfranchised

    Amen, amen, amen. I was incredulous this morning when I heard that Hillary Clinton is being criticized now for discrediting Obama and thereby injuring the party. First of all, the truth is the truth and this stuff about his church should have come out a lonnnnnng time ago. Secondly, why isn't somebody complaining about the things his campaign says about HER???

    Please let Florida and Michigan vote. We cannot hand it back over to the irresponsible Republicans!

    March 26, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  10. woogie

    There is no legal right to vote in the primaries people. It is a party election and is subject to the rules of the party.

    If the party says your delegates don't seat if you hold your primary early then they don't seat. Those are the party rules.

    Why is this so difficult for people to understand?

    I withdraw that question, since this is the same bunch that didn't know what the electoral college college was eight years ago.

    March 26, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  11. Nick

    DNC is a joke. They messed it up and they don't have guts to redo the elections in Florida, and Michigan.
    Who cares if Obama doesn't want to do it. His credibility is over. He is done ... He should start a new job as a pastor in his church...

    March 26, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  12. Cherie, Des Moines, IA

    Oh yes, I forgot...I DO NOT want to be told by Bill Clinton (of all people) to "saddle up" anything...didn't he get in trouble for that? Ick.

    March 26, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  13. Betty McNeil

    I love Bill Cllinton... He is the best... I think he is right ...Why should Hillary get out and make it easy for Obama... I think Obama had a lot of nerve even running... He has only been in the Senate since 2006... He hasn't paid his dues yet.... He had plenty of time to run, he is only 46. He has become a spoiler in this Presidential Race... He has divided the Democratic Party and made many people so angry that if Hillary doesn't get in... Many Democrats will vote for McCain

    Go Hillary....

    March 26, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. Z. Steepleton , PA

    Bill, . . .Hillary is not behaving like a thoroughbred, but instead, she's as
    stubborn as a mule!

    Obama 08.

    March 26, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. ben

    Obama's campaign would love to discuss the issues. The problem is when Hillary tried to debate the issues, she lost miserably. Now she has to revert to underhanded tactics to try to win the nomination. Luckily though, that hasn't worked either. She's lost, and can't win.

    March 26, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. fred

    You go Bill!!!

    All Obama and his followers can do is cry!!!

    Hillary 08!!!

    March 26, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. Former Clinton Supporter

    Yet another sad statement by a campaign that will do anything to win even if that means further demeaning the political process and helping the Republican Party win the presidency; a great show of narcissistic behavior.

    March 26, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  18. matt

    this has to be the most uneducated thread of respones i've ever read on a comment section. Just because the Clintons and their supporters live in the Gutter doesnt mean the rest of the democrats need to. Grow up, and learn to be disagreable as an adult

    March 26, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. Tyler in Raleigh

    So Bill Clinton says its okay to throw the occasional clip? Is kneecapping an opponent okay as well as long as its only "occasional"??

    Where do we draw the line? Its NOT okay to ask your daughter questions or to ask Hillary why she "misspeaks" about NAFTA, Bosnia, "experience", her name or Iraq.

    You can't have it both ways. Either we can sling mud and take shots at our opponents and its fair game, or you need to be nice. Before you sanction illegal activities such as clipping, remember you can not play innocent when someone clips you back.

    If you want to speak about disenfranchised voters, speak to those your wife wants pledged delegates to betray.

    March 26, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  20. Generation XYer

    So, if Hillary gets the nomination, will she really be able to get ANYTHING done? Dems have razor thin majority in both Houses and a non-filibuster proof majority in the Senate and an overwhelming majority of those states that the Clinton's said were not important (i.e., the caucus states and states Obama won) are holding elections for Senators. There is a 100% chance that she will not be a rising tide that'll lift all ships with all that yelling, politicing and baggage. So, she'll win the nomination, beat gramps, but ensure that the Repubs will merely filibuster everything and then she'll yell some more and McConnell will filibuster some more. And nothing will get done. So, yeah, it's worth it! Remember it's easier to trap a bee with sugar than with salt.

    March 26, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  21. Mark

    Who created the race card to begin with? You all act like black people mad the "race card" up because we had nothing else to do. GET REAL!



    OBAMA 08

    March 26, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  22. actxent

    How many of you after living with your parents for 20 years did or agreed with everything they said? Did you not become your own person? You hypocrites.

    March 26, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. Mischelle from Illinois

    Bill Clinton is ABSOLUTELY correct. The REAL reason that voters are turning out to vote in primaries all over this country is that they NOW feel that their votes are RELEVENT, instead of just two states making an early decission and expecting the rest of the 48+ to RUBBER STAMP the decission. This is a REAL RACE and it will not be over, despite the begging and pleading of the supporters of OBAMA and CNN pundants, UNTIL ALL THE VOTERS (Including FL & MI) have been heard and counted.

    Mr. Obama will NOT BE a legitimate candidate if the results of FL and MI are not included. IF the popular vote were counted but no delegates were awarded , there would be a TRUE account of the WILL of the People, and Hillary Clinton would be ahead!!!

    I am really sick of his whining about it not being a fair contest, he CHOSE to remove his own namefrom MI, AND he ran TV ADS (VERY MUCH AGAINST THE RULES) in Florida. I think that he needs to be sanctioned at the convention for breaking those rules. He knew better. WHAT a PUTZ!

    It is really GREAT that the race continues, AMERICANS need to be involved and a 50 state result – keep it going until all of the states have voted – is EXACTLY WHAT WE NEED!

    March 26, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. Brendose, Oceanside CA

    Wow! How he likes turn his words to distract from the real situation! Didn't he recently say the opposite? You guys are being unfair to Hillary!! Blah blah blah. Why does Bill have to stand up for Hillary anyways? Can't she do it herself? Or is he afraid she will get caught up in a LIE!

    When people attack like this, blaming is an act of desperation. And the Clintons are watching this race slip away....This is her last chance at being the president. After this, she'll be too old.

    Bill needs to get back into the White House to go play hanky panky with the interns!

    March 26, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. John

    How shocking, Bill Clinton casting his wife as the victim AGAIN.

    March 26, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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