As a cliché, it is something that we will always associate with President Clinton. It sounds like something he would have said during the 1992 presidential campaign, or perhaps shortly after taking office in early 1993. And not remembering clearly myself, it is something I have wondered for the longest time now: did Bill Clinton ever really say “I feel your pain”?
Does anyone know of any speech he made, perhaps an inaugural or other famous speech, where he really says those words (or words very close to that)? Or at the very least, does anyone know of any credible source that says he ever said that?
As I recall, it was during the 1992 presidential campaign. It was either a town-hall type meeting, or an audience-participation debate. In any event, an audience member related a tale of woe, and Clinton prefaced his reply with “I feel your pain”.
Googling doesn’t seem to be much help, as it is such a Clinton cliche now that most cites that come up are Clinton-bashing sites.
I am quite confident that he did in fact say this during the 92 campaign though. I am kind of curious how close my memory is to the actual event.
Hrm. No file found. I googled “Rafsky Clinton” and actually came up with this regarding the exchange. It’s a UPI story from clarinet (remember that) from 1992. In it, he never did say “I feel your pain”. I still am quite sure he DID say it, though, but I don’t think he said to to this Rafsky guy.
Haha. I’ve been digging some more around google groups, and found this exchange in alt.fan.cecil-adams, of all places. Someone asked this same question in 1996 and nobody was able to come up with any actual cites. I’m beginning to have a bit of doubt about this myself, now. Certainly MY memory couldn’t be as faulty as everyone else’s could it?
Down around paragraph 29 in his 1993 Inaugural Address, he makes a reference to America’s pain. I am also sure I remember seeing a news clip wherein he made the “I feel your pain” comment in a campaign speech, but can’t find it.
I may be off base here but I seem to remember a saturday night live skit where Clinton was portrayed as that guy in the star trek movie that takes them to meet “god”. Only “God” was the republican party. Clinton destroys the being by saying “Come closer…I feel your pain” like the guy does in the original movie.
Interesting how different the moment is from how it is portrayed in lore. He says it in powerful rebuke of a heckler. But then he goes on to soothe things over and ends on a very compassionate note. (He handled this situation really well, I think, turned it to his advantage.)
But the legend of “I Feel Your Pain” is more typified by his “Debate Moment”, which is what comes up if you do a GougleTube search of “I Feel Your Pain”: