Bill Clinton Meets Bloggers
Why would I fly to New York for a day? Because former President Bill Clinton invited a group of progressive bloggers (who happen to be Democrats) in for a 2 hour roundtable meeting at his Harlem office. It was awesome. More later, including a list of all the bloggers there (and yes, even the TL kid was there, thrilled at the opportunity.)
Bill Clinton, Peter Daou, Jeralyn Merritt
Bill Clinton and Bloggers
Criminal defense lawyers take note: He's far better on our issues than we thought while he was President, from mandatory minimums, to drug courts to restoring the right to vote to former offenders. I'm totally impressed.
More later, time to board the plane. I'll have lots more pictures up tonight as will all the bloggers there. I'll also update with a list of the bloggers.
The bloggers in attendance, in no particular order:
- Jane Hamsher and Christy Hardin Smith from Firedoglake
- McJoan from Daily Kos
- John Aravosis and Joe from AmericaBlog
- Matt Stoller and Chris Bowers from MyDD
- Bill Scherer from Liberal Oasis
- Dave from SeeingtheForest
- Steve from The Carpetbagger Report
- Jessica from Feministing
- Barbara from Mahablog
- Jeralyn Merritt from TalkLeft (and the TL Kid)
- Attending by phone: John Amato from Crooks and Liars
Also Attending: Peter Daou, Hillary Clinton's Online Communications Director and creator of the Daou Report.
Lunch was suberb -- southern chicken, fresh salad, baked sweet potato fries, sauteed spinach, corn, cornbread, and a cherry cake like dessert. Even the iced tea was wonderful. All our plates were clean at the end.
More on the politics and discussion after I unpack and push through your still stuck comments. The site move to Scoop has entered the final phase by the way, so pretty soon the comments should just sail through. I'll let you know when.
Update: After reading the comments here, I think you are all being too hard on Bill Clinton. I wish he was still President.
To answer one of you, yes, I offered him the opportunity to blog at TalkLeft -- I added that I'm sure all of us at the table would welcome guest posts from him. He said he might take us up on it.
As for those of you who seem to assume the conversation was one-way and we were just listening to spin, we bloggers did our fair share of the talking. And he listened intently and responded on point.
As to the topics discussed, we talked about the Iraq War, the alleged terrorists in overseas secret prisons, health care (he said John Kerry's plan was the best of all, including his own) and he had nothing but praise for bloggers. While many of the mainstream politicians view us as the outlaw element of political society, up to no good, President Clinton has a different view. He complimented us on our fact-checking and our ability to get the word out on a moment's notice, such as the last week's blogswarm over ABC's movie, "The Path to 9/11â³, which was written by a GOP guy and contained major inaccuracies as to what was done and not done during Clinton's terms.
We also talked about America's criminal justice system, how politicians are too afraid to do what's right, about the over-jailing of offenders, particularly those with minor drug offenses, about mandatory minimum sentences and how they haven't worked or promoted fairness. He said former offenders should regain the right to vote.
It was a heady experience, and one I will always appreciate and remember. How many of you have had the opportunity to sit down with a President for two hours, with your child, no less? In terms of access and being heard, which are primary goals of netroots and grassroots activism, it doesn't get any better than this.
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