Bill Clinton Blasts Student’s DOMA Challenge

Bill Clinton could give hot head John McCain a run for his money!

The former president gets a little snap happy with Smith College journalist Lily Lamboy when their conversation turns to the Defense of Marriage Act, which “Bubba” signed in 1996. That law effectively protects states from other states’ marriage laws, ie: a Massachusetts marriage does not have to be honored in Utah, an example that comes up numerous times in this heated exchange.

We have to give Lamboy credit, because girl’s got balls. She started the conversation by quoting singer Melissa Etheridge, who last year accused the Clintons of “throwing the gays under the bus” with regard to DOMA, which many gays consider to be an impediment to equality. Clinton doesn’t agree and justifies his actions by putting them in context. Lamboy, bless her, then presses him on his beliefs, but he’s quick to remind her that it’s Hillary who matters. It’s downhill from there:

BC: Let me ask you this: do you believe there will be more or fewer efforts to ban gay marriage constitutionally around the country if a Massachusetts marriage has to be sanctified in Utah?

LL: I –

BC: Yes or no. Answer the question. We live in the real world here.

LL: Sir, I understand. It’s a political backlash.

BC: No, not a political backlash. As a substantive backlash: the lives of gay people. Will there be more or fewer gay couples free of harassment if the law is that every gay couple in America could go to Massachusetts, get married and it would then had it recognized in Utah?

LL: But when is that going to change if you’re not going to set a firm stance.

BC: So you don’t care what the practical implications are?

It’s at about this point that Lamboy broke down in tears. Psych, she handled herself like a pro.

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  • Adrian

    Jeeze, Bill made a great point.

    I’m happier the way things are, anything
    to avoid a constitutional amendment.

    There article above was poorly written,
    but I guess biases does that.

  • CitizenGeek

    I think Bill made a good point, actually. It would make it impossibly difficult for liberal states to legislate for gay marriage if conservative states have to recognise whatever the liberal states decide.

  • CitizenGeek

    I think Queerty is being unfair to the Clintons – neither of them created DOMA or ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ as a way to discriminate against gays, but rather to facilitate progress.

  • Ron

    Queerty is being unfair to the Clintons? That is complete and utter bullshit! Whereas I totally give credit where it is due… Bill has done more for GLBT Americans than any other U.S President, true! However, that doesnt excuse his condescending and demanding tone of asking the girl to answer his question and his complete avoidance of the girls question in regards to how does he feel about same sex marriage in 2008 spoke volumes. If he really felt “that is for Hillary to answer” than he should shut the fuck up and answer NO more questions about anything in regards to Hillary’s campaign. Kuddos to the young interviewer for not answering the question. She is not a former President who can influence people nor is her spouse running for president.

  • dave

    Queerty is definitely not being unfair to President Clinton-although he may be trying to re-write history by claiming that DOMA was an attempt to avoid a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage-in truth it was a campaign-year attempt to ward off attacks from cultural conservatives (hence the reason many Clinton adds that year cited his commitment to ‘family values’).
    President Clinton did do more for gays than other presidents (though thats a pretty low bar to pass), but he did so when it was politically popular; he appointed many gay officials and mentions this to the gay community, but he signed DADT to avoid loosing his popularity in the Congress and signed DOMA to win re-election. Plain and simple.

  • akaison

    He can explain 1996, but not 2004 when he suggested to Kerry that he throw us under the bus with the state based anti marriages efforts set up the GOP. Being ignorant, and gay must be true bliss. I will vote for either Democratic nominee over Mr. 100 Years War, but I won’t do so with blinders on as to who they are.

  • Robert

    While Bill is a former president with influential opinions, he is a candidate’s spouse. As such, his views on particular issues should not be the focus during this campaign period. I would not expect a journalist to ask Michelle Obama’s opinion on any particular issue. And, though courageous and necessary, Elizabeth Edward’s support for gay marriage during her husband’s campaign hurt him politically because it drew attention to his less than stellar opinion. If your wife can’t convince you to support human rights, what’s the chance that your positions will change if your president? Nil.

    All this being said, the girl was obviously trying to trap him into making an awkward, campaign-destructive response. There was no way for him to answer the “What is your opinion in 2008?”

    Had he said: “Yes, let’s take a stand”

    The Right would be galvanized and gay marriage would become a wedge issue yet again in the General, especially if Hillary is the nominee. But, Hillary would most likely lose the nomination because controversial stands during a campaign season always hurt a candidate. Indeed, campaign season is hardly the time to open up a discourse on serious matters: gay marriage, race relations, etc. Nothing can be accomplished because campaigns are essentially beauty contests, and the media control discussion, interpretation and representation.

    Had he said: “No, we’re not taking a stand.”

    The LGBT community would jump the Clinton ship and rush to Obama in reaction. Hillary would probably lose the nomination. If she didn’t, there’d still be a bunch of resentment and hostility towards her.

    It was a lose-lose situation, and I think the girl knew that. Perhaps a calmer response was in order, but I can imagine how he must feel about having the LGBT community claim we were thrown under the bus when clearly, the situation is not ideal but it’s not as dire as it could be. Repealing a constitutional amendment (that would have passed in the 90s) is much harder than dealing with DOMA and DADT.

  • Mary Lou Dobbs

    Can we chat about the thousands of bills that Obama got passed to help out the LGBTQ community?

    The Donnie McClurkin Pray the Gay Away ACT!

    The Rev Wright Amendment which promotes the fact that my friends that died of AIDS did so for black people.

    The Helen Keller Cop Out Act, where he can sit in a bigoted church for 20 years and hear only positive things, yet it is us that needs to learn a lesson.

    Major buyers remorse going on in my neck of the woods……

    Buyers beware…..

  • Ron

    Bitch aka Mary Lou…please FOCUS on the topic at hand for a change leave Obama out of this one. Obama has nothing to do with Bill’s pea size balls and God forbid taking a stand on an issue. I actually like Hillary and support her but your unnecessary, unfounded reasons and negative focus on Obama is partly why Hillary is LOOOOSING!

    Hell, even Al Gore has given a concrete answer on how he feels about the gay marriage issue in this present day of 2008. I’d have a bit more respect even if Bill had just said I still feel the same way I did back when I signed DOMA into law. The more and more this man speaks during Hillary’s campaign the more he is doing a disservice to his legacy. Hillary needs to put a muzzle on him because he has NOT helped her at all.

  • Jaroslaw

    Ron – while I really feel what you are saying, I think you need to re-read what Robert said. Many many candidates have taken firm stands over the years and gotten NOWHERE. Why – the public, in politics as well as many areas of life – says they believe one thing and votes another way. Wendy’s burger chain did a survey, everybody wanted to eat healthier, Wendy’s trotted out the whole grain bun and NOBODY bought it!

  • Alec

    Oh please screw Bill Clinton. The man single-handedly destroyed the Democratic Party in the 90s, spent all of his political capital on NAFTA (of all things), expanding the federal death penalty…and the Brady Bill. In 1996, when he was up for reelection, he decided to kick gays DOMA), the poor (welfare “reform”) and the First Amendment (communications “decency” act). Oh, and he consolidated media power (Telecom “Reform” Act). He also took the opportunity to introduce extraordinary rendition, push bin Laden into Afghanistan without securing an international coalition to dismantle the Taliban and give the puritans in this country a sex scandal that undermines any “family values” bullshit he ran on in his anti-gay 1996 campaign. And, in 2004, he suggests that Senator Kerry (one of the few senators with the balls to vote no on DOMA) support the most bigoted anti-gay state constitutional amendments (which can be undone only with a great deal of difficulty) to win a general election.

    This man has the audacity to be offended everytime someone suggests that his legacy is not as perfect as he wants it to be. Somehow the Clintons only seem to care about blacks when its voting season or gays when they need to raise money. The 1990s: an era of lost opportunities. As Wes Boyd might say, no sweat Bill, don’t get in a huff over your legacy. But us, we’ll just move on.

  • Daniel

    DOMA also denies federal equality in addition to purporting to let states ignore other state marriage laws. It creates taxation without equality. Equal protection under law is the heart of democracy. Most U.S. states and the federal government could not even sustain democracy for one and a half centuries (the 14th amendment of equal protection under law was added to the U.S. Constitution until 1868 when it was finally ratified). The Founders originally said back in 1776 that the USA was never going to last anyway. That a majority would bring it down through tyranny. As far as presidents go, Bill Clinton signed the DOMA bill to get re-elected in 1996. He used gay people as a scapegoat the same way George W Bush did a few years later, taking a page from the same political handbook – i.e. when in doubt distract voters by attacking a minority. Hitler did the same thing. All three are politicians who mass-violated other people’s human rights. That is ultimately their legacy. That is what they will all be remembered for because gay people will still remember centuries after all their other deeds as politicians are long forgotten.

  • Mr C

    Dear Ms Mary Lou Dobbs

    When you’re WHITE, GAY, and PREJUDICE Obama will forever come out of your mouth. It’s sad. But as a Black Gay Male. I hope none of these damn bills ever get passed. Even in the DAMN LGBTQ community
    people still have their biased bones and still want to play “SUPERIOR” and think that WHITE gays are “The Cream of the Crop” so to speak. a divided GAY COMMUNITY SIMPLY AMAZING!

    Be superior when you’re getting your ass beat and the cops brush it off as nothing and you have no help and it may be a BLACK LGBTQ individual that may need to come to your aid. TISK, TISK, TISK!

    Continue to be that way Ms Mary Lou…Which embarrassing Lou Dobbs who should be HORRIFIED you’re using his name as your moniker.


  • CitizenGeek

    People can dislike Obama and not be racist. Mary Lou never said anything that even suggested racism …

  • Jesse

    Check out this link.
    Bill Clinton ran pro “family values” anti-gay ads on christian radio to get re-elected after courting the gay dollars and the gay vote.
    Hillary and Bill are in the same bus. It’s just her turn to drive. You will be thrown under it.

  • Jeff

    I disagree with Bill Clinton’s position on this, but this headline is dumb. He did not “blast” the student’s challenge, and he didn’t look like a hothead. There’s no need to use cliched verbs like “blast” in blog post headlines. This isn’t CNN.

    And thanks very much to Jesse for that DailyKos link.

  • Charlotte

    FYI, Hillary Clinton was key in passing Gay Marriage in Massachusetts by having her campaign manager, Terry McAuliffe, quietly calling legislators to sway their votes. Obama did nothing….Marriage is a basic civil right that should be attainable by all Americans if they choose. For the truth about gay marriage check out our trailer. Produced to educate & defuse the controversy it has a way of opening closed minds & provides some sanity on the issue:

  • todd

    The Clinton’s are starting to appear calcified as irrelevant 1990s throw backs. Their policies don’t seem so helpful and cutting edge today. I’d rather remember them fondly than have to roll my eyes every time they open their mouths. Their time has loooong passed.

    GORE-OBAMA 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Laurie

    O.K. Bill – what if states still decided whether slavery was allowed? What if it were still left up to the states to allow or not allow interracial marriage – would that be right? Courts ruled that discrimination is wrong – so now slavery is federally illegal and interracial marriage is federally allowed.

    You’re not protecting gays and lesbians with the Defense of Marriage Act – you’re allowing a group of people to be discriminated against by not giving same-sex couples the 1,138 FEDERAL rights, benefits, and protections that come with legal marriage.

    Bigoted attitudes will prevail state to state until politicians like you and the federal government recognize that same-sex couples are deserving of the same protections and support that heterosexual couples so automatically receive through federally sanctioned legal marriage.

  • Jason

    Enough of the Clintons already.

  • M Shane

    You’re right all the way (11) Alex: Bill Clinton was the best example of a right wing Democrate to come along yet, and did ,in effect destroy everything that the party was about. He was pro Corporatization (inc. privatization of government), pro NAFTA,
    anti welfare, anti gay. (Anyone who claims that “Don’t Ask ,Don’t Tell” was well intended is delusional: all it says is that if you lie about yourself well enough , you’ll get by” that just applifies prejudice.) Maybe that’s why the country has completely lost it’s bearings.
    He was just a rhetorical, abusive jerk to that interviewer.Screw him!

  • amvanman

    This is why I would I am not voting period for the first time in my life. They all throw us under the bus and none take a positive, solid, stance on Gay people. Blacks did not accept these “compromises” in the 60’sso why should we? I have said it before, keep giving the country to the Republicans, let them run it the ground. Then, when things get painful enough maybe America will awaken. In the meantime, all my Gay brothers and sisters, bring your riches and yourself to Canada, theres light up here.

  • Leland Frances

    Earth to all: Bill Clinton STILL not on ballot. Nevertheless, from this point forward I’ll be happy to blame the little Missus for everything her husband says if you agree that:

    – it was candidate Obama who blamed the US for 9/11 and whites for trying to kill all blacks with AIDS not his former pastor and hero Jeremiah Wright.

    – it was candidate Barack Obama who said this was the first time in his entire life he’s been proud to be an American not Mrs. Barack Obama.

    – it was candidate Obama who said that gays are trying to kill the country’s children not his campaign’s gospel concert star Donnie McClurkin.

    – it was candidate Obama who said that being gay is an “evil sickness” and not his other “spiritual advisor” the Rev. James Meeks.

    – it was candidate Obama who voted against the gay rights bill in Illinois and not his pal Meeks.

    – it was candidate Obama who called Sen. Clinton a monster and not his former foreign policy guru Samantha Power.

    – it was candidate Obama who said that he has no intention of keeping his promises about withdrawals from Iraq and not Samantha Power.

    – it was candidate Obama who called Sen. Clinton a sleazy liar and frustrated thief of White House treasures and not former Obama gay advisor Maxim Thorne.

    – it was candidate Obama who lied when he said he passed the gay rights bill in Illinois and lied when he said he passed another bill regulating the nuclear industry and Obama who used dirty political tactics to prevent anyone from running against him for the Illinois senate Dem nomination and Obama who lied when he said he would serve out his first Senate term before running for President and Obama who lied when he said he is a law professor at the U of Chicago and not just a lecturer and tells two different stories about what his first name means and lied when he said he was conceived in a fit of his parents passion over the Selma March four yeas before the March happened rather than….er, wait, all that was Obama. Sorry.

  • M Shane

    amvanman, I’m afraid that the terror and bloodshed you’re talking about is somthing that you get to be involved in. I don’t think you have any idea as to what the will happen if the gov’t cracks down;

    Leland: I just don’t know about you! mercy girl have another drink, you’ve spun yourself into an incoherant frenzy.

  • Charley

    I never liked him after he pardoned the crook Mark Rich. Probably got a big dollar kick back with a numbered account in Switzerland, where Rich was living. The Clinton’s left office several million dollars in debt, now they are worth 30 or 40 million..That is alot of speaking engagements at 50 K a pop.

  • M Shane

    sorry amvanman: wanted to say that the consequences of things falling apart is not something that you want to be involved in.
    Our beloved Bush stealthfully attached
    rider to his 1400pg Defense Authorization Act which gave the president the power to declare martial law and to employ the armed forces, overridding anyone in order to restore publis order and suppress any disorder. These are the powers of a dictator to use any form of violence he deems necessary to get his way. Keep in mind that the U.S. has more of it’s adult population currently in prison than any country in the world . Bush has legalized spying, torture and ,obviously, murder. he has suspended Habeus corpus. There are potentially no civil rights. and you won’t be able to move to canada or down the block for that matter, since he can quarantine you.

    There is still some hope with Obama.

  • Charley

    You have to have over $800,000.00 to invest in order to become a citizen of Canada if you are self employed, otherwise, they say get lost. That is alot for LGBT’s to come up with in this country or any other country..

  • Bill Perdue

    Forget all about his support for the union busting NAFTA, his last minute pardons of scores of millionaires and coke dealers, the Iraqi children murdered by his embargo on food and medicines and the fact that his deregulation bills are a primary cause of the deepening financial crisis. Bill Clinton attempt to ‘explain’ his signature on DOMA while ‘forgetting’ that he bragged about it in ads broadcast on religious-bigot stations is Slick Willie at his sleaziest.

    Bigots didn’t raise the idea of DOMA as a constitutional amendment until Bush2’s first term. Anyone who says otherwise, including Bill or Hillary Clinton or one of their shills, will have to prove it – there is NO record of an amendment being proposed until years later. Clinton is a bold but not particularly skillful liar – he didn’t inhale, didn’t have sex with Monica and didn’t really support DOMA. His rewrite of DOMA history was repeated when he claimed that Kerry lost in 2004 because he refused to take Clintons advice and support state DOMA’s. According to NEWSWEEK Magazine “President Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act when he was in the White House, advised Kerry in a phone call early in the campaign to find a way to support the state bans.”

    The events leading up to the 1996 Congressional and Presidential elections explain his support for DOMA. Under his leadership the Democrats backed anti-worker bills like NAFTA, decimated welfare and health care, and deregulated corporate predators. But there was a price to pay for throwing working people under the bus – they lost their decade’s long control of Congress. Clintons own election was by no means assured so he did what Democrats invariably do when challenged; he jumped to the right to ‘broaden’ his appeal and went after the bigot vote. (It’s just what Hillary’s campaign manager Barney did by trashing ENDA and the hate crimes bill.) According to TIME Magazine “By the time Clinton arrived in Chicago for his party’s convention in August, nothing that hinted at liberalism was left hanging on him. When the President, who had begun his term advocating the rights of gays in the military, came around to supporting the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred federal recognition for gay and lesbian unions, Dole was wide-eyed. “Is there anything we’re for that he won’t jump on?” Dole asked. The answer, essentially, was nothing…”

    What we do know with absolute certainty is that Clinton, in a bid to be reelected in 1996 boasted about his bigotry in signing DOMA. The AP ran a story on October 17, just three weeks before the 1996 which said “After angry complaints from gay-rights advocates, the Clinton campaign on Wednesday replaced an ad running on religious radio stations that boasted of the president’s signature on a bill banning gay marriages….The Clinton spot also touted his signing of the Defense of Marriage Act, in spite of earlier White House complaints that the Republicans’ use of the issue amounted to “gay baiting.” Clinton’s ads were so bigoted and so scandalous that even his lapdogs in the HRC felt compelled to let out a yap or two.

  • Leland Frances

    Sorry, Charley, to spoil your demonology exercise with actual facts but like most drunk on Hillary Haterade, you only have part of the facts:

    “For Clinton, New Wealth In Speeches
    Fees in 6 Years Total Nearly $40 Million
    Washington Post
    Friday, February 23, 2007

    Former president Bill Clinton, who came to the White House with modest means and left deeply in debt, has collected nearly $40 million in speaking fees over the past six years, according to interviews and financial disclosure statements filed by his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

    Last year, one of his most lucrative since he left the presidency, Clinton earned $9 million to $10 million on the lecture circuit. He averaged almost a speech a day — 352 for the year — BUT ONLY ABOUT 20 PERCENT WERE FOR PERSONAL INCOME. The others were given for no fee or for donations to the William J. Clinton Foundation, the nonprofit group he founded to pursue causes such as the fight against AIDS.

    His paid speeches included $150,000 appearances before landlord groups, biotechnology firms and food distributors, as well as speeches in England, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia that together netted him more than $1.6 million. On one particularly good day in Canada, Clinton made $475,000 for two speeches, more than double his annual salary as president. ..

    Indeed, the Clintons — who left the White House with an estimated $12 million in legal debts rung up during the Whitewater, campaign fundraising and Monica S. Lewinsky investigations — are worth an estimated $10 million to $50 million, according to Hillary Clinton’s most recent disclosure form. That is attributable primarily to the speaking fees and to the seven-figure book deals that both Clintons signed shortly after leaving the White House.

    Over the past two decades, speaking for money, especially to foreign audiences, has become a common way for ex-presidents to find financial security. Ronald Reagan raised eyebrows collecting $2 million in Japan shortly after he left office in 1989. And George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter have both traveled extensively to lecture for pay.

    The elder Bush, who was wealthy before he became president, had an active speaking schedule after he left the White House, and as recently as 2004 he was reported to have been paid between $125,000 and $150,000 for a series of speeches in China. He has also held seats on corporate boards. But much of his activity remains private because he is under no obligation to disclose it.

    Mark K. Updegrove, author of a book on the activities of former presidents, said Clinton remains a huge draw even six years after leaving the White House. “One thing makes President Clinton slightly different from his predecessors,” Updegrove said. “Not only has he carried the prestige of the presidency, but he maintains the mystique of celebrity.”

    Two-thirds of the former president’s speaking money has come from foreign sources. Outside the United States, clients are willing to pay more to hear him speak, Clinton is able to conduct his charitable work on AIDS, and he can avoid upstaging his wife on the American political scene, associates say.

    The nearly $40 million total is based on Hillary Clinton’s annual ethics report to Congress, which showed that her husband made more than $30 million from speeches from 2001 to 2005. Under Senate ethics rules, she does not have to disclose 2006 fees until mid-May, and the estimate for that year’s totals is based on interviews with speech organizers, who confirmed an additional $9 million to $10 million in fees.

    Beyond the millions he has earned personally, the former president has given dozens more speeches that result in payments to the William J. Clinton Foundation, his nonprofit charity in New York. His associates say those have yielded millions to help cover the $60 million annual budget the foundation spends to fund his charitable work on AIDS and world hunger.

    Last June, for example, Clinton booked a speech in Denver before the National Apartment Association, the industry group for landlords, which earned him $150,000.

    When his office heard that funds were lagging for a nearby memorial to victims of the Columbine High School massacre, he volunteered to be the keynote speaker at the groundbreaking ceremony — at no charge — and instantly boosted fundraising. On the dais that day, when told the project was still short of its goal, he pledged $50,000 that could be matched by a local company.

    Likewise, in February 2006, Clinton headed to Asia for charitable work to help tsunami and AIDS victims. At the last minute, the State Department asked him to squeeze in a visit to Pakistan, helping ease tensions among Muslims angered by political cartoons they considered insulting.

    Clinton receives thousands of speaking requests a year and accepts a few hundred.”

  • Charley

    Thanks for the details. That answers my curiosity about their bank accounts. Candidates get to keep their campaign funds that are not used. Like John Edwards. He has a little cottage industry going, just being a candidate.

  • M Shane

    Relivant to the topic, I t seems that Clintons response was not only cruel but devious and intended only to throw the weight of responding truthfully off of him. He is siupposed to be an “elder statesman” elder stateman don’t answer young womem with rhetorical attempts at evasion, which was ment only to force her to condone his actions, rather than answering her question like a gentleman. His behavior was cruel and chauvanistic. Mostly it was devisive.
    He bowed to every whim of the Republicans.

    I was not suprized at your report that he was on the front live of the post tsunami sell out in Sri Lanka: What khappened is that the tourest industry was provoked by the U.S. to run all of the fisherman(most of the Economy off of the beaches which were publicly owned. A good situation for all. Only the U.S offered them 10million dollars to restructure things so that Hotels could be built all along the long beach fronts, leaving the peopleto starve. The land was privatized at our insistence and Hotels etc. built. Great going Bill !

    His more abundantly atrocious scam on Gay people was DADT, which he and Hillary have justified with a weak and dumb “Ah jus didn’t know wha would happen”: Chist Bill told us to lie and not be discovered: how stupid ! That the worst scenariowithout a bill; A president telling peopleto lie about who they are!

  • Sharon

    This gal handled herself really well. Clinton tried to make it all about her and her opinions. No, Bubba, YOU needed to be straight-forward and answer the woman’s questions with answers, not questions. He is like a childish idiot when he is asked a hard question.

  • Bill Perdue

    Sharon – she reminds of William Slaster (spelling?) the high school student who ripped into McCain a few months back about same sex marriage and the war.

    At the time lots of Democrats posted their admiratiion and support for his gutsy attack on McCains obnoxious views but when Billary Clinton spouts the same garbage (support of the war and pigheaded opposition to same sex marriage) some of the same people leap to their defense.

    If there were a soap opera about the Democrats it’d be called “As the Stomach Turns.”

  • DailyPUMA


    and there it is, the Move On Dot org reference, isn’t that special. Using a group that was created because of the persecution that Bill Clinton went through over a consensual, legal act, to help Obama beat Hillary Clinton, is about as low as it gets.

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