The funniest tidbit I got was from Skip Rutherford, one of Bill Clinton’s closest friends who helped lead the Clinton library effort. He said a lot of presidents often redo their libraries after seeing what their successors did, and that folks in Little Rock are already “bracing” for a phone call from Clinton after he tours the Bush library on Thursday.
“Everybody thinks he’s going to go down to Dallas and come back and say, ‘We need this, we need to do that,’” Rutherford told me. (via Yahoo News)
Here’s the image President Barack Obama’s campaign hopes voters will remember heading into November: The man hug between Obama and former President Bill Clinton. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Why is Bill Clinton going so off-message about President Obama and the 2012 election these days? According to Politico, some “people close to Clinton” have an easy explanation: The guy is getting sooooo damn old!
Clinton, say associates, while mentally sharp, is older and a step off his political game, less attuned to the need for clarity and message-discipline during interviews. “He’s 65 years old,” said one adviser, explaining how Clinton in a CNBC interview managed to say that the economy was in recession when it is not.
“Elderly Bill Clinton No Longer in Control of the Words That Come Out of His Mouth” (via Daily Intel)
In sparkling detail, Caro shows the new president’s genius for getting to people — friends, foes and everyone in between — and how he used it to achieve his goals. We’ve all seen the iconic photos of L.B.J. leaning into a conversation, poking his thick finger into a confidant’s chest or wrapping his long arm around a shoulder. At 6 foot 4, he towered over most men, but even seated Johnson commanded from on high. Caro relates how during a conversation about civil rights, he placed Roy Wilkins and his N.A.A.C.P. entourage on one of the couches in the Oval Office, yet still towered over them as he sat up close in his rocking chair. And he didn’t need to be in the same room — he was great at manipulating, cajoling and even bullying over the phone.
He knew just how to get to you, and he was relentless in doing it.
If you were a partisan, he’d call on your patriotism; if a traditionalist, he’d make his proposal seem to be the Establishment choice. His flattery was minutely detailed, finely tuned and perfectly modulated. So was his bombast — whatever worked. L.B.J. didn’t kiss Sam Rayburn’s ring, but his lips did press against his bald head. Harry Byrd received deference and attention. When L.B.J. became president, he finally had the power to match his political skills.
He recalls the episode of a strawberry cake he made one evening. Clinton devoured half of it all by himself, and the next morning he wanted more. “No one could find the cake,” says Mesnier, who had a face-to-face with the distraught commander in chief. “Clinton was pounding on the table and shouting, ‘I want my goddamned cake.’”