Seeing Hillary suspend her campaign today and eloquently endorse Obama reminded me that I never got around to telling you about talking to Bill Clinton.
Clinton’s people set up a telephone interview for the day of the Kentucky Primary, less than a week after I almost-but-not-really met the former president.
The staffer told me I had five minutes on the air with Bill, and she would call my cell to let me know when time was up. But as soon as Clinton began to speak the schedule went out the window.
Clinton was charming, funny, persuasive. Everything you would expect. And did I mention long-winded?
His answer to my first question took six minutes. Right after the second question, my cell phone rang. Time was up.
Before he paused long enough for me to cut in another six minutes passed.
When he took a breath, I said, “Mr. President, I know your time with us is over. I want to thank you for coming on the show.”
“Wait!” he said. “I haven’t told you why Hillary is the candidate for Kentucky.”
And he told me for four more minutes. My five minute interview went almost fifteen.
It was probably the biggest “get” of my career, and I would have been excited had it been Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush or the current occupant of the White House.
Which brings me back to this afternoon, and Hillary’s speech. While watching it I was struck with a feeling – and I think I can be objective enough to say that this feeling was non-partisan and non-political, for that matter.
Here was a woman who had garnered roughly half the votes and delegates in her party, and she was endorsing a black man who stands a very good chance of being elected to the highest office in the land.
That feeling I had was pride in our people and our country.
Yeah, it will pass and I will soon be back to my good ol’ cynical self.
But for now it’s nice.