Saturday, September 23, 2006

Fox News Sunday, Interview With President Bill Clinton

WALLACE: In a recent issue of the New Yorker you say you’re sixty years old and you’re worried about how many lives you can save…Is that what drives you in your effort to help?

CLINTON: Yes. That sounds sort of morbid. The tone in which I said was almost whimsical and humorous. This is what I love to do it’s what I think I should do. I’ve had a wonderful. I got to be president. I’ve lived the life of my dreams. I dodged a bullet with that health thing. I think I owe it to my fellow countrymen and people around the world to help save lives and help people see the future. But as it happens I love it. I feel it’s a great gift. I feel it’s a rewarding way to spend my life.

WALLACE: Someone asked you …he asked you if you could do more good as a former president than as a president and you said only if I live a long time.

CLINTON: Yea that’s true.

WALLACE: how do you compare the powers of being in office and what you can do out of office?

CLINTON: When you’re president you can operate on broader scope. You can simultaneously work to stop the genocide in Kosovo, bring peace to the middle east, pass a budget that gives millions of kids a chance to have after school programs… So in other words you’ve got a lot of different moving parts and you can move them all at once.
But you’re also more at the mercy of events. That is 43 did not run for President to deal with the events of 9/11 but once it happened it wasn’t as if he had an option. Once I looked at the economic data after I won the election, I realized I would have to work harder to reduce the deficit and therefore have less money in my first year to invest in things I wanted to invest in.

WALLACE: So what is it that you can do as a former president.

CLINTON: So what you can do as a former president, you don’t have as wide a range of powers so you have to concentrate on fewer things. But you are less at the mercy of …events. If I say look we’re going to work on economic empowerment of poor people, on fighting aids and other diseases, on trying to bridge the religious and political differences between people and on trying to avoid the worst calamities of climate change and try to revitalize the economy in the process, I can actually do that. Because tomorrow when I get up and there’s a bad headline in the papers, it’s President Bush’s responsibility and not mine. That’s the joy of being a former potus. And it is true that if you live long enough and have discipline in the way you do it — like this CGI — you might be able to effect as many lives as you did when president.


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