Video: Bill Clinton gets red-faced with CNN reporter

All she does is ask for Clinton to react to something that well-known Democrat operative Dick Harpoolian said. Of course, what Harpoolian said wasn’t exactly nice: He said that the Clinton campaign is injecting race into the campaign.

And with that, we get another shade of red in the face of Bill Clinton.

In an interview with CNN’s Jessica Yellin, Dick Harpootlian, a former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party and a supporter of Barack Obama, said some of Bill Clinton’s recent remarks on the campaign trail were appeals based on race and gender. He said the comments were meant to “suppresses the vote, demoralize voters, and distort the record,” and said they were “reminiscent of Lee Atwater.”

Clinton sharply disputed the charge, and lashed out at Yellin for raising the question.

“You live for this. This hurts the people of South Carolina,” he said. “Because the people of South Carolina come to these meetings and ask questions about what they care about. And what they care about is not what’s going to be in the news coverage tonight, because you don’t care about it.

The thing about this is, while what Clinton says is such transparent nonsense that even Jon Stewart mocks it, and while Clinton’s long-time critics see right through it, it does work with an awful lot of people. People want to see someone get riled up, even if it’s fake emotion, in defending themselves. It’s instinctive — people tend to take the side of someone who appears to be defending themselves from a scurrilous charge. Lots of viewers won’t hear the facts, they’ll just see the reaction and assume that Clinton must be right because he’s so darn emphatic. Never mind that he’s known for lying through his teeth, emphatically.