Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The Big Dog
I had the pleasure of hosting William Jefferson Clinton at a Democratic Event in 2003. My job was simple, introduce him to the several thousand attendees. Listen to him speak for 60 minutes and then ask him questions we gathered from the folks in attendance.
President Clinton spoke without notes for the hour on economics, the two wars we were involved in and how the Bush administration had ignored all the evidence his administration had provided about what a threat Bin Ladin was to the country. He wasn't partisan. (although I wished he would have been) He was, smart, warm, personable and each of the several thousand people in that room felt he was speaking directly to them.
I wanted to ask him about his midnight meeting at the White House with Newt Gingrich the result of which led to Gringrich's resignation as Speaker, I didn't. I wanted to ask him about the rise of the phony, ludicrous religious right and why politicians feel they have to kowtow to them, I didn't. I had a lot of questions for President Clinton but I could only ask the ones on the cards. I did ask those and he answered them in detail. He remembers names, dates and he knows his history. The best thing about his talk that night was he didn't mouth political talking points.
I spent 15 minutes with him in the dressing room prior to the event, we ran through the details and in those few short minutes he made me feel like a friend and colleague.
I have an old friend from Boston who had met President Clinton in Beijing a year earlier. She is a tall, All American blond and he had spotted her at a new shopping mall in the diplomatic district of the city. Clinton, being the guy he is made a beeline for her with a 100 Chinese journalists and camera crews trailing behind him. He wanted to know what she was doing there and why, she explained she was there on business with her husband, Clinton wanted to know what he did and how long he had been doing business in China. She told him the details. That night she and her husband and his Chinese partner were having dinner. President Clinton with his entourage came into the restaurant. Clinton came over to their table and introduced himself and invited them to join his party after dinner. They smoked cigars, drank French brandy and talked about doing business in China for several hours. Bill Clinton picked her husband's brain the entire time they were together. He later introduced her husband to some Chinese business folks and he did some nice deals with them.
As I walked off the stage and back to the dressing room with President Clinton I asked him if he remembered the good looking blond he met in the Chinese shopping mall. He stopped and said "I sure do, she's from Boston." I told him she was. He said "How did you know about that?" I looked the Big Dog in the eye and said, "Because I used to sleep with her." He grinned and put both his hands on my shoulders, laughed and said, "You are a lucky man!"
President William Jefferson Clinton is one hell of a guy.