Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Bill Clinton in Game Change

If you haven't already read "Game Change," you must. It is, among other things, hysterical. It is also deeply informative about the behind-the-scenes gossip of the 2008 campaign. This tidbit about the flawed but lovable Bill Clinton in the run-up to Super Tuesday stands out:

"Some days (after the Ted Kennedy endorsement) Bill received a phone call from George W. Bush. The current and former Presidents spoke more often than almost anyone knew; from time to time, when 43 was bored, he would call 42 to chew the fat. In this case, Bush, tucked away at Camp David, had a more distinctive objective. He wanted to reassure his predecessor that he didn't think Clinton was a racist.

"The irony of the situation tickled Bush, but he also felt sympathy for Bill. Hey, buddy, Bush said, I know you're under attack; you just got to keep your chin up. Clinton thanked Bush -- then treated him to a 15-minute tirade about the injustices that had befallen him and the sources of his suffering.

"Bush was the highest-ranking personage serenaded with this rant. But few people who spoke to Clinton that February (or for months thereafter didn't have a version of it. His daily conference calls with the campaign took on a Groundhog Day quality: morning after morning, the same litany of woe, same wails about his persecution. On more than one call, Clinton became so overwrought that he broke down in tears. How extreme was the infatuation with Obama? 'I'll tell you,' Bill said, 'They just want to cream in their jeans over this guy.'"

The former President always had a way with words (Averted Gaze).

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