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"Look how you allocate your time"

A reporter wasting a few moments with Bill Clinton

I was watching an interview with Bill Clinton by some rather stuffy English newsguy. It was great, because I got to see Clinton really rip into the fellow, after long patience.

Clinton is highly articulate, of course, and extremely polite. It was great to see him get pissed off.

The interviewer had been asking him earlier about his anger, which Clinton discusses in his book.

"You don't seem like an angry person."

Then, inevitably, the subject turned to Monica... and stayed there.

He badgered Clinton and needled him, it seemed endlessly, about the "Monica Lewinsky affair" and all the attendant politicking that swirled around it. Clinton answered his questions calmly, endlessly, excepting only those things that a gentleman wouldn't discuss.

There was a time in history when Bill Clinton should have — as KGO radioman Bernie Ward said — told everybody to "mind their own damn business." But he didn't.

Bill Clinton answered the interviewer's questions, leaving no doubt that he had been unjustly persecuted, but acting as a good sport on the bloodsport canvas of American political sparring.

It must have been ten or fifteen minutes of this, talking various aspects of the "scandal." Finally, Clinton pointed out to the fellow that he was behaving as most in the press had, and as everybody in official Republican Washington had. He'd been so busy talking about Monica and Ken Starr — what about Bosnia? I don't know what was great about Bosnia, but I do remember reading of progress in Israel and Northern Ireland. The point was the same....

And he kept at it, too. It was a beautiful thing to see, really.

"Look how you've chosen to allocate your time," Clinton said. It was a damning comment. Clinton is a famed time-organizer. It was a knockout blow, after a fierce barrage. The poor bastard interviewer shriveled up and, yes, changed the subject.

— 2 August 2004, Nijmegen The Netherlands

Bill Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States, 1993-2001