Did Bill Clinton Ever Say 'I Feel Your Pain'?

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?

Just wondering :slight_smile: .

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.

This site:


claims to have a video of the exchange.

I don’t have RealPlayer installed, and I’m not going to install it. Someone else can check it if they want.

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.


OK, that site’s probably complete crap. It just gives a file-not-found error.

Heh. Simulpost on the file-not-found. :slight_smile:

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? :slight_smile:

Stumped? Ask Snopes.

What part of the female anatomy is pain?

You know something I don’t? I just checked Snopes, and it’s silent on this subject, as far as I can tell.

I checked snopes too. Hermann was just being snooty. I’d really like to know whether clinton said this! I was so sure he did, but now I’m not so sure.

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.

Anybody with access to LEXIS/NEXIS that could do a search of papers during the 1992 campaign period?

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.

I just re-read all three of the 1992 debates and didn’t find it in there, so perhaps it was in one of the town hall meetings.

From a New York Times article (3/28/1992):

The LexisNexis search for 1992 also turned up this from The Record of Bergen (County?) on 2/18/1992:

So Pat Buchanan’s use of “I feel your pain” pre-dates Clinton’s. The search turned up one other occurrence of the phrase in The Union Leader (Manchester, VT) on 2/5/1992 by an alderman:

It looks like Clinton did say “I feel your pain”, though he wasn’t the first. Theoretically, CNN recorded the exchange, so it might exist somewhere.

Note: My LexisNexis search was only for 1/1/1992 - 12/31/1992 and Northeast Regional Sources only.

Here it is, at long last. An actual video of the quote:


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”:


p.s. I found the actual clip by googling Bob Rafsky.

Is this how you’ve spent the last seven years?

hey, i want my name back :dubious:

oops…that may have been me…didn’t notice the date of the post