Last night, I got to talk to and briefly hang with former President of the United States Bill Clinton (along with 400 other folks) who temporarily paused his “rejuvenation tour” for beleaguered Democratic Party friends in Congress and the Senate. Clinton was at DC’s Ritz Carlton to keynote along with former British first lady and Matrix Chambers legal firm legend Cherie Blair, chair and founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, a fundraising gala for a surprisingly successful NGO that works with young children and women in Palestine.
The NGO is the Tomorrow’s Youth Organization — which is incorporated in Virginia but does its most important work in Nablus, Palestine.
Clinton told me that in North Carolina yesterday, they just put out a small, short notice flyer for a rally and 10,000 people showed up — he emphasized again, “10,000 people.” He said people are eager, hungry, to hear what we can do in DC to make Washington about them.
The Washington Post this morning makes a similar point about the crowds hungry for something — and Bill Clinton’s ability to connect with them.
Bill Clinton, like usual, owned the room last night. He met anyone who would meet him, took pictures galore, but his comments — which I hope to post later — were the kind of thing one used to hear from President Obama but now has doubts about the new President’s ability to deliver.
Clinton though is believed. Gallup has him now listed as the single most popular politician in the United States. As Terry McAuliffe, the master of ceremonies for the TYO Dinner, said — Clinton is probably today the most popular politician globally.
One shouldn’t be surprised given that the Clinton Global Initiative claims to have now raised more than $63 billion for global causes.
I’ll be posting more on Bill Clinton and the themes of last night’s dinner later — but I wanted to pay quick tribute to Clinton for taking the time he did to directly address the paralyzed mess in Israel-Palestine relations and for his comments about women empowerment.
His most poignant comments came as he reflected on various of the many men who have received the Nobel Peace Prize — noting that a couple of women had as well — but went on to see that these men had mostly been able to rise above themselves, their own biases and world views and to reach out in more selfless ways in the hope of achieving balance, peace, and better order of things. Clinton said women all over the world did that every day to hold things together in their worlds.
I hope I can get a tape of his comments up later.
— Steve Clemons