Bill Clinton Compares Obama and McCain on Environment

Former President Bill Clinton is in Aspen at the Ideas Festival. Today he's playing golf, but he spoke yesterday to a crowd of 700.

Via Troy Hooper, Editor of the Aspen Daily News, in the Denver Post:

It's well-documented that Clinton is no angel either but he remains a rock star of the Democratic Party and was the headliner at the festival, hosted by the Aspen Institute.

He filled the Greenwald Pavilion with more than 700 high-powered attendees who greeted him with an extended standing ovation. Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, was seated next to Gen. Colin Powell front and center.

Much of Clinton's remarks centered on the Africa election in Zimbabwe, calling for Robert Mugabe either to step down or "form a power-sharing arrangement with his chief opponent."

He didn't mention Hillary or the Democratic nomination for President, but he had this to say about John McCain and Barack Obama on environmental policy: [More...]

While Clinton spoke at length about the contest in Zimbabwe, only once did he bring up his own country's pending presidential election. Without mentioning either one of them by name, he pointed out that both Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain advocate pro-environmental platforms.

"Both of our candidates have positions that guarantee that there will be a price set for carbon and we'll start to do something about climate change," he said.

Surprising? Not really. He wasn't there to discuss the election but humanitarian issues. As Aspen Daily News reporter Andrew Travers writes:

Addressing a panoply of world issues from climate change and alternative energy to food security and AIDS yesterday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, the former president argued that creatively rethinking and reorganizing current global problem-solving methods would vastly improve civilization.

Clinton’s remarks, void of applause-lines or partisan rhetoric, seemed to mark a return to the humanitarian mission that has driven his post-presidency, after spending much of this year on Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Clinton did not address the Obama-McCain presidential match-up, his former first lady’s unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination, or his reported reconciliation with Sen. Barack Obama last week.

Side notes on his visit: He ate at Matsuhisa (Nobu in some parts of the country) and Campo di Fiore...both execellent choices in my view...and walked along the Main St. mall. Aspen has always had a crush on Clinton. As Hooper writes:

And while Clinton has said he loves Aspen, the town doesn't hide its affection for him. His Secret Service detail often allows passersby to greet him with handshakes, hugs and an occasional photograph.Voters in Pitkin County showed him overwhelming support during his back-to-back presidential election triumphs in the 1990s.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Was there ever any media (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by blogtopus on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 02:36:36 PM EST
    man-crush for Bill? I can't think of a more deserving candidate, heh.

    No...just proganda machine (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Aqua Blue on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:14:42 PM EST
    alive and well.   The right is afraid of Bill Clinton....Rhodes Scholar, brilliant politician, loves people and is loved by many.

    The hate machine is pure propaganda...they know full well what they do...and are told to do it by their owners and controllers.   You know...the ultra-rich who work quietly behind the scenes.


    Bush's base (5.00 / 6) (#16)
    by RalphB on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:37:04 PM EST
    You know...the ultra-rich who work quietly behind the scenes.

    and probably Obama's as well.  The same reason we have only one political party with 2 names.


    The RIGHT? (5.00 / 4) (#32)
    by BernieO on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 07:16:10 AM EST
    It is not only the right that hates Bill Clinton. Most in the mainstream media have always despised him. He did not even get the usual honeymoon when first elected. He was constantly derided as a wonk, a hayseed, "Bubba", etc. (I heard the supposedly respectful Tim Russert call him this just a few weeks ago.)When he worked across the aisle he was criticized for triangulating rather than praised for being bipartisan.
    The Whitewater mess was promoted primarily by the NYTimes and Washington Post. Because these papers are viewed as credible the rest of the media relied on their reports rather than doing their own investigating.  The original story came from David Hale, a corrupt con man who had gotten caught embezzling a couple of million from the government so made up stuff to bargain with. When his claims were investigated by Jay Stephens for the RTC and by special counsel Robert Fiske (both respected Republicans) and were found to be groudless, the media either did not report this or buried the story in the back pages. When Hillary complained about this they mocked her.
    Imagine how different things would have been if the media had bothered to do their jobs. Unfortunately they were having so much fun trashing Clinton that they could not be bothered. This treatment carried over to Gore, giving us the disastrous Bush presidency.
    As Bob Somerby continually points out (at dailyhowler.com)Democratic leaders allow this kind of thing to be done to their candidates all the time. Until we all wake up to the fact that it is the so-called liberal media that is our worst enemy, the Democratic Party will continue to be ineffective.

    It's good to see that life goes on... (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by EL seattle on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 02:37:53 PM EST
    ...in the middle of a campaign.  Not everything that goes on has to be direct campaign event, or turned into one by a barely relevant but cleverly-injected side comment.  I'd like to find out more about the other events at this conference.

    It's well-documented that Clinton is no angel (5.00 / 7) (#4)
    by koshembos on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 02:54:06 PM EST
    This an the opening sentence we see. What the hell does it mean? Does the reporter know any angels to tell us about?

    The need to start in a mean way when talking about Clinton appears in be in the DNA of all media members. I wonder whether before hiring, potential employers test journalist for a matching DNA?

    it means that the author, (5.00 / 6) (#8)
    by cpinva on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:09:25 PM EST
    What the hell does it mean?

    with no basis in fact, just felt compelled to throw out the standard MSM line, vis a vis pres. clinton.

    it had nothing to do with the actual story, and frankly, was incredibly stupid of him. that's what happens, when the bottom 5% get hired.


    In context not too snarky a comment (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by gram cracker on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:33:58 PM EST
    "We don't have a lot of options. The first thing we have to do is condemn (Mugabe) in no uncertain terms and say he ought to go," said Clinton, suggesting that Zimbabwe's vice president assume power before adding with a wry smile, "he's no angel, but no one is in politics."

    It's well-documented that Clinton is no angel either but he remains a rock star of the Democratic Party and was the headliner at the festival, hosted by the Aspen Institute.


    he remains a rock star (none / 0) (#29)
    by weltec2 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 02:44:54 AM EST
    When Clinton came to Tokyo a few years ago, since I was a board member of one of the sponsoring organizations, I was given a seat right in the middle of the first row -- between the former Japanese ambassador to the US and the President of Sophia University (a local Jesuit university) -- about ten feet from the stage. I sat through Clinton's interview with my copy of My Life in my lap, hoping to have him sign it.

    But after the interview people mobbed the stage. Where was security when you needed them? I wasn't able to get him to sign it. I was sorry about that but it was really okay. Clinton was like a rock star even for the Japanese. The place was packed and there was an energy there that was unmistakable. Japanese politicians do not awaken that much enthusiasm among their own people.


    The angels are.... (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by Maria Garcia on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:36:27 PM EST
    ...anyone but Bill. That's about it as far as the media is concerned.

    Gosh (none / 0) (#27)
    by tek on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 07:59:52 PM EST
    and I thought he WAS an angel.

    It is really sad that the O campaign (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by hairspray on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:00:16 PM EST
    had to jump on the angry left anti- BC (he didn't do enough for us) bandwagon in this election, tearing down everything Clinton.   Most of the country loved Bill and what he did for the nation and they were willing to have Hillary at the helm.  But the Daschles, Bradlees and the rest of the Stevensonian wing wouldn't have it.  He didn't have it  easy, but the hard left hated him as much as the conniving Republicans did. Now the residue of bad feeling continue and it isn't helping Barack at all.  "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."

    I wouldn't call (5.00 / 6) (#17)
    by oldpro on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:45:44 PM EST
    Daschle and Bradley "hard left' tho...would you?  There was (and is) more than one reason for CDS (Clinton Derangement Syndrome).

    Envy, for one.  VERY unattractive.


    They would probably like to be "left" (none / 0) (#18)
    by RalphB on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:51:29 PM EST
    but can't, because they had to sell out to the highest bidder, over and over.

    Had to? (5.00 / 6) (#20)
    by oldpro on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 05:04:13 PM EST
    Nah...chose to.

    It's a choice, Ralph.  Always.  Always.  Just as with Reid and Pelosi.

    No one held a gun to their heads.  Daschle and Bradley had remarkable skills and gifts but their personal flaws and greed and envy destroyed their chances.  It turned out, there was no 'there' there.

    Now they're hitching their wagons to another star...one they hope to control and manage for their own purposes.  If Obama wins, keep an eye on those two.


    Had to, was a bad choice of words (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by RalphB on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 05:45:56 PM EST
    Obviously, it was their own free choice.  I agree about Daschle and the whole crew.  I would add Kennedy because he's got a huge machine of people who are former aides, etc that he wants in high government positions.  That wouldn't have happened if Hillary was elected but now...

    Well (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Steve M on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:01:03 PM EST
    Although there's plenty of room between Obama and McCain on the environment, it seems like smart strategy to declare victory on whatever issues we can.  The environment is one of the issues where Republicans seem most likely to move to the center for electoral purposes, might as well get some substantive mileage out of it.

    I was reading yesterday... (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Grace on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:16:53 PM EST
    There is one Environmental Senate bill that started out in 2003 as a McCain-Leiberman bill.  It failed to pass in the Senate several times.  The last time it was introduced, it had a new name and was a "McCain-Leiberman-Obama" bill.  (It had something to do with Global Warming but I can't remember what...  Though I thnk "cap and trade" was part of it.)

    Anyway, if McCain and Obama can sponsor Environmental bills together, I think they must be pretty close on some issues.  


    The right have collapsed... (4.75 / 4) (#7)
    by Salo on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:09:09 PM EST
    ...on environmental policy.  It's one of the biggest political events of the century.

    Although it's good to have skeptics around on the issues it's one of the big surprises to see them fold on the issue.


    Yup (none / 0) (#12)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:50:38 PM EST
    you are correct, it is one of the biggest political events of the century.  

    More like he lumped them together, (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Joan in VA on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 03:23:22 PM EST
    rather than comparing. Glad he didn't get sidetracked into the prez race.

    Hatred of the Clintons has nothing to do (5.00 / 6) (#15)
    by WillBFair on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:33:02 PM EST
    with dna. The commercial interests that control the media have always attacked our best leaders. They prefer dingbats and weaklings that are easy to control. Bill slipped past them once, which was more than enough, and the smear job started before he even took office.

    All pundits and reporters were given strict orders to trash the Clintons. Most of the sneering has been name calling and childish insults. Unfortunately, a large percent of the public is stupid enough to have taken it seriously.

    At this late date, the insults are unconcious, on the part of reporters and the public. And that won't change because commercial media doesn't allow room in the public square for people with brains or integrity.



    Bill and Hill.... (5.00 / 6) (#19)
    by oldpro on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 04:55:19 PM EST
    That's the great thing about the Clintons...it's not all about them...not everything is personal.

    Ideas.  Policy.  Problemsolving.  That is what moves them, motivates their politics.  So obvious in every way at the end of this disaster of a primary season.  

    I wonder how many others could handle it as well as they have?  Not many, I'll bet.

    McCain the Pro Environment Offshore Oil Driller (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by john horse on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 06:22:25 PM EST
    (Clinton) pointed out that both Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain advocate pro-environmental platforms.

    Many of us in Florida don't consider McCain's recent flip flop on offshore oil drilling off the coast of Florida pro environment.  

    Part of the reason given by McCain, as he explained in a speech before an audience of oil executives, was that there was no "signicant spillage from the battered rigs off the coast of New Orleans and Houston" as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Look, either there was 595 different oil spills or there wasn't as McCain alleges.  Either 9 million gallons, "comparable with the Exxon Valdez's 10.8 million gallons" was spilled or it wasn't as McCain alleges.  

    This isn't a difference of opinion but a difference over facts.  Facts, unlike opinions, can be verified.  And the facts don't support the opinion that McCain is pro environmental

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Steve M on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 06:37:54 PM EST
    I think the actual quote from Clinton supplies the context that the reporter's paraphrase lacks.

    Good point (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by john horse on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 07:16:45 PM EST
    Good point Steve.  It was the reporter that said that Clinton was claiming that Obama and McCain had pro environment platforms.  This was different than what Clinton acutally said.  
    "Both of our candidates have positions that guarantee that there will be a price set for carbon and we'll start to do something about climate change,"

    On other environmental issues, such as offshore oil drilling, McCain is not pro environment.

    A good reporter would not mischaracterized what Clinton said and would not have been so sloppy in blurring the difference between Obama and McCain on the environment.


    What's a good source for stats on oil spillage? (none / 0) (#24)
    by EL seattle on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 06:39:28 PM EST
    I have a feeling that this is going to be an active issue over the next few months, and it would be good to know of the best sources for spin-free data.

    My Source (none / 0) (#26)
    by john horse on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 07:28:05 PM EST
    My source for my information was think progress.  He has links throughout the post from such sources as msnbc and the Houston Chronicle. I'm sure there are a lot more sources out there.  If you find them please share the links.

    You should (none / 0) (#30)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:22:30 AM EST
    use primary resources since Think Progress would not be a objective source.

    have you (none / 0) (#31)
    by weltec2 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 06:12:35 AM EST
    checked out Think Progress and their links to links? You might want to do that.

    ...and walked along the Main St. mall (none / 0) (#28)
    by Blowback on Sun Jul 06, 2008 at 09:11:15 PM EST
    There is no Main Street mall in Aspen. Hyman Ave mall or Cooper Street mall are both great for a stroll.

    Clinton on McCain? (none / 0) (#33)
    by Asp on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 08:08:08 AM EST
    Jeff Goldberg heard a gratuitous swipe at McCain in Clinton's tribute to Mandela's spiritual victory over his captors:

    "Every living soul on this planet has some highly-justified anger. Everyone. If you know anybody who was a P.O.W. for any time, they can be going on for years and all of a sudden something will happen that will trigger all those bad memories.

    Clinton has told his story about how Mandela rose above his anger and hatred after 27 years of captivity over and over. Three instances from 1998-2000 are here. Of course, the reference to flashbacking POWs is new.