Last night’s PBS NewsHour featured an interview with former Pres. Bill Clinton about, among other things (like the Missus running for president), the Clinton Global Initiative.
From the newscast’s transcript:
JUDY WOODRUFF: So the Clinton Global Initiative, this is your ninth year, is that right? The theme this year is mobilizing for impact.
Most people, I think, in this country look at the incredible poverty that exists around the world, developing countries. What do you see? How do you measure that progress has been made?
BILL CLINTON: I will give you an example. That’s the best way to answer it, from our own foundation.
In Malawi, we have got this anchor farm, about 400 acres. We teach people the best farming techniques. We buy for the farmers cheaper seeds, cheaper fertilizer, cheaper insecticide. We take their crops to market for free. We store them properly so they can wait until they can get a high price.
And we’re talking about women on an acre of land farming with a hoe. I met with — I was down there planning with this woman farming with a hoe an acre — 21,000 of them, first year, average increase in income, 567 percent. Average increase in outcome, they’re producing two-and-a-half times as much food on the same piece of land.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, finally, to those Americans who are listening to you right now, President Clinton, and they’re saying, this is all well and good, but we have got a lot of problems in this country — this is a question you get all the time.
What do you say to Americans who say, why don’t you focus more energy on what is going on right here?
BILL CLINTON: That’s why I have a meeting of this Global Initiative just for the American economy every year.
And we’re going to Denver this year. And I try to identify specific things that we can do to try to grow the economy and that companies can do. I try to find things that are working, and then spread it in other parts of the country. That could be done now and quickly.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So your focus is everywhere?
BILL CLINTON: Yes, but I’m — I really do care about the American economy.
It’s just that I have to be very disciplined in what is likely to have a positive impact. We can talk until the cows come home. I’m interested in doing something.
JUDY WOODRUFF: President Bill Clinton, thank you for talking with us on the NewsHour.
BILL CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you.
The hardguessing staff believes the second thank you was for not asking about this twelve-page takeout by Alec MacGillis on the Clinton Global Initiative in the current issue of The New Republic.
From MSNBC’s First Read:
And the Band played on: The New Republic has a different look at the Clintons — about top Bill Clinton aide Doug Band. “Inside the realm known as Clintonland, he is the subject of considerable angst. There are those who worry about the overlap between his work for the Clinton Global Initiative— which he conceived and helped run for six years—and his energetic efforts to expand Teneo’s client base. And there are those who worry about how some of the messier aspects of the charity’s operations could create trouble for Hillary Clinton, who has made the family foundation her base as she contemplates a presidential run. But the real cause for these anxieties runs deeper. At its heart, the unease with Band reflects an unease with the phenomenon of post-presidential Clintonism itself.” Doug Band’s known as the keeper of the Clinton grudges, and it was inevitable he would be the focus of a tough piece at some point.
But not a tough interview on the NewsHour.
As my nephew Dan used to say, how come not?