Obama “Vulnerable” to Bill Clinton’s “Charms,” Talks Service for Clinton’s Annual Gathering

Sep 22, 2009 8:01pm

From Sunlen Miller –

President Obama this evening joked that he, like many, is also  “vulnerable” to former President Clinton’s “charms” which is what led him to speak at the Clinton Global Initiative in the middle of a busy week at the United National General Assembly in New York tonight. The President described the lunch that he and Clinton shared last Monday at Il Mulino when President Obama asked him to speak at his group’s annual meeting casually after asking, “Would you pass the Parmesan?” “Now, I think everyone knows what it's like when Bill Clinton asks you to make a commitment. He looks you in the eye; he feels your pain. He makes you feel like you're the only person in the room. What could I say? I was vulnerable just as all of you have been vulnerable to his charms.” The President said that he has “always appreciated” President Clinton’s “valuable advice” and ideas offered to his administration. “After a lifetime of service, he would have been forgiven had he settled for a life of quiet, a life of ease, a life of improved golf scores — my understanding is they have not improved that much since he was in office. But he chose a different path. He asked, "What can I do to keep making a difference?" And what an extraordinary difference he, working with all of you, have made.” The President said the mission of the Clinton Global Initiative reminds everyone of what individuals can do to change the world through service. “If you want to bring about change in the world, you can't just be an advocate of somebody else doing it. You can't just preach lofty goals and wait for somebody else act. You have to step up. You have to serve.” Serving people in the “disconnected corners of the world,” is especially important because, Mr. Obama says, the interconnected world can also lead to great harm. “We stand at a transformational moment in world history when our interconnected world presents us at once with great promise, but also with great peril. The very technologies that empower us to create and build also empower those who would destroy and disrupt.” The President mentioned the extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan fueling attacks on the world’s cities, reckless speculation in the financial sector contributing to a global recession, poverty in Somalia, poppy fields in Afghanistan, the flow of drugs from Colombia, and the H1N1 virus that can become a pandemic – all endangering everyone in an interconnected world. With those challenges – the President said – no nation should wall itself off from the rest of the world alone. “Today's threats demand new partnerships across sectors and across societies — creative collaborations to achieve what no one can accomplish alone. In short, we need a new spirit of global partnership. And that is exactly the spirit that guides this organization; I hope that it is the spirit that guides my administration.” -Sunlen Miller

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