NBC Lauds Bill Clinton, Statesman with 'Landmark Soda Agreement'

May 5th, 2006 1:30 PM

While President Bush battles the international Islamic jihad, and the networks warn almost daily that his approval ratings are terrible, President Clinton draws coos and congrats for solving the really big issues -- like making sure your kids can't destroy their lives by purchasing a Cherry Coke at school.

On Wednesday, CNN was hyping live coverage of the Miniature-Issues President taking on school soft-drink policies. By Thursday, MRC's Geoff Dickens informed me that NBC was so impressed by his life-saving prowess as ex-president that they were wondering if it outclassed his presidency. Perish the thought:

Ann Curry: "And former President Clinton is speaking out about his mission to end childhood obesity and the plan to eliminate sugary soft drinks from schools. He spoke to NBC's science correspondent Robert Bazell."

Robert Bazell: "Bill Clinton's foundation hammered out the agreement with the beverage industry. He says it is the first step in his major campaign to fight childhood obesity."

[On-Screen Graphic: "Fighting Childhood Obesity, Landmark Soda Agreement".]

Bill Clinton: "I see the consequences among young adults with exploding rates of diabetes and other complications. And if we don't turn this around this group of young people in the public schools could be the first generation of Americans to live shorter lives than their parents."

Bazell: "Under the agreement, which is backed by consumer groups, soda pop will be eliminated from schools and portions will be limited for juice and milk over the next several years. Consumer groups have long argued that sugared drinks are a major factor in childhood obesity and Clinton says the industry took a big risk. Isn't this a sort of admission that they are part of the problem?"

Clinton: "They may have admitted it but the point is they're the first industry group up to bat to do something about it."

Bazell: "Clinton says he decided to work on HIV/AIDS while he was still president but decided to take on obesity while he was recovering from heart surgery. If you could make a significant difference for obesity in America and a significant difference for HIV in the world would that be a legacy beyond what you accomplished as president?"

Clinton: "Oh it would be in addition to it. Would it be greater? I don't necessarily think so. I think, you know when, we did a lot of good for a lot of people in the world when I was president and a lot of good for Americans but it, it would make a difference."

Bazell: "Robert Bazell, NBC News, New York."

By this measure, when the Bush administration captures or kills an al-Qaeda terrorist, would NBC give him credit for many lives not shortened by future terrorist attacks, just as cutting off the school soda will apparently impair future heart attacks?