Every year, when former president Bill Clinton assembles his Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, he organizes a round of interviews with the liberal media,which seem to compete to be the most deferential. This year's winner should be CNN's Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room on Tuesday.
Blitzer oozed to Clinton that his initiative was "really amazing" and asked him "Do you ever think about how many lives you may have saved?" Blitzer started by overstating a Dayo Olopade puff piece from the liberal blog The Daily Beast which suggested the Slick Williefest could "one day eclipse the older institution." But Blitzer claimed it said Clinton's gathering was "much more important" than the UN:
BLITZER: This is the sixth CGI that you've hosted. Did you see the piece in The Daily Beast saying it's really become much more important than the Annual United Nations General Assembly?
CLINTON: No, I haven't seen that.
BLITZER: I mean, it's really amazing what you've accomplished --
CLINTON: Thank you.
BLITZER: -- over these six years. What are you proudest of?
CLINTON: I think I'm more proud of the phenomena than any other specific thing. That is, I'm proud that we prove there was a hunger all over the world without regard to reason, income, religion to go to a meeting where you actually talked about the real challenges, but then you had to do something about them.
So that -- I think it's amazing now we have raised over $60 billion worth of commitments, already helped almost 300 million people in well over 170 countries because people were dying to be asked to do something and to be given enough information and enough contacts and partners to do actually do something effective. That's the thing I'm most proud of, that there's now a global network of does so that we're not just talking, we're doing.
BLITZER: Do you ever think about how many lives you may have saved?
CLINTON: All the time. I mean, you've got 75 million people doing more maternal and child health. You've got 50 million more kids getting better education. You've got 10 million more poor people who have got microcredit. You've got almost $2 billion in loans for small and medium-sized businesses that would not have been available in poor countries without it. You have projects on the street in America and elsewhere that really changed lives.
So, yes, I think about it all the time. I am very, very grateful. Twenty million more people getting clean water. You know, waterborne illnesses kill millions of people a year. So, yes, I think about it.
Later in the hour, Blitzer came back to his fanboy interview, asking how Clinton lost so much weight, and then explicitly thanking him for his liberal activism:
BLITZER: My last question, and it comes to me as a lot of my followers, as they're called on Twitter, sent me this question. They wanted me to ask you a variation of this question. How did you lose so much weight? What kind of diet are you on?
CLINTON: Well, the short answer is, I went on essentially a plant-based diet. I live on beans, legumes, vegetables, fruit. I drink a protein supplement every morning. No dairy. I drink almond milk mixed in with fruit and a protein powder. So I get the protein for the day when I start the day out....And so I thought, since I needed to lose a little weight for Chelsea's wedding, I'll become part of the experiment. I'll see if I can be one of those that have a self-clearing mechanism. We'll see.
BLITZER: I hope you're healthy for many years and get to see grandchildren for many years.
CLINTON: Me, too. That's really the big deal. You know, Hillary and I, we're happy. We love our son-in-law, and we admire him, but -- and we'd like to be around if there's grandkids. We want to be there to do our part.
BLITZER: Mr. President, good luck.
CLINTON: Thank you.
BLITZER: Thanks for what you're doing.
Blitzer asked the president quite a bit about Middle East peace, and didn't giggle when Clinton said he thought peace was "eminently doable." He also raved that Clinton was "very smart" in trying to defeat the Tea Party by trying to separate the economically anxious from the Tea Party politicians, advising Democrats hang their "weird" statements around their necks:
GLORIA BORGER: Bill Clinton is very clever. As we all know, he is a great politician. He had a great way of dealing with it without saying that there are a lot of kooky ideas from some candidates out there. He then started talking about some of those far-out ideas from some of the candidates out there.
And he was also very smart in the way he separated the funders of the Tea Party, these people who are interested in corporate special interests, the big-money folks, from the people who are actually members of the Tea Party movement, whom he said are scared and anxious. And Democrats, he said, ought to listen to them, the people, not the funders, but the people, because I think it is very clear he wanted to turn the funders into just another bunch of Republican fat cats. Very smart.
BLITZER: Very smart, indeed.