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Posted by BEN BEAUMONT – This Wednesday, Movies in the Park will show Sylvester Stalone’s 1976 classic boxing film Rocky at the Riverfest Amphitheater. Moviegoers are encouraged to bring a picnic and enjoy a movie under the stars. The film starts at sundown. Click here for more.
Posted by BEN BEAUMONT – In a time of unpredictable weather in Arkansas, we at the Clinton School rely on Carol Allen’s daily weather reports for accurate weather information. To sign up for Allen’s reports, email email@example.com. She provides the best weather information in the state.
Posted by BEN BEAUMONT – Some Arkansans tell U.S. News & World Report’s Washington Whispers column that they expect President Clinton to spend more time in Little Rock now that his wife is no longer campaigning for the presidency. That would include more time at his presidential library and the Clinton School of Public Service:
Arkansas Friends of Bill who know Bubba best expect Bill Clinton to return home more often now that the missus is out of the presidential race. Clinton always gets rock star attention when he returns home, and that means something now that Sen. Barack Obama is in the national spotlight. FOBs tell us they expect Clinton to help local Democrats and make good on promises to teach more classes at his school of public service next to his William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum.
Q&A with DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD –
Q. Now that it’s Barack Obama vs. John McCain, who do you think will win?
A. Don’t ask me. I’m the one who predicted a few months ago it would be Hillary Clinton vs. Rudy Giuliani. In 1992, I told Bill Clinton he didn’t have a chance winning the presidency.
Q. Do you think disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters will ultimately vote for Obama?
A. Yes, most will — just as I believe most disgruntled Repubicans will ultimately opt for McCain. The stakes are too important for both sides. Once the wounds of disappointment and defeat begin to heal for Hillary supporters, all one has to say is three words: “Supreme Court appointments.” For many women who supported Hillary, the Supreme Court during the period 2009-2013 will be particularly important.
Q. Do you believe the media was more critical of Clinton than of Obama?
A. I don’t know. I didn’t review all the coverage. But I don’t think the media can be blamed for Hillary’s defeat. It was Obama’s use of technology, his wins in the caucuses, and his strong support among African Americans and young people that provided him the victory margin.
Q. Will Obama pick Clinton as vice president?
A. I don’t know that one either. There’s a compelling case (18 million primary votes) for him to do so. She certainly ended the campaign in a position of strength.
Q. Has the “Clinton Brand” been hurt?
A. Not over the long haul. The “Clinton Brand” has survived a lot tougher challenges and 18 million Americans are enthused about it.
Q. What about John McCain?
A. Keep your eye on Michigan. If he can win there and he’s currently ahead according to the polls I’ve seen, Ohio becomes a must-win for Obama. If Michigan is indeed the battleground, Mitt Romney’s vice presidential chances probably go up.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – The new facilities at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on top of Petit Jean Mountain (about an hour from Little Rock) received rave reviews from those attending last week’s meeting of the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. A part of the University of Arkansas System, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute has an ambitious goal of becoming a nationally recognized think tank. In the meantime, the facilities, including a new 30-room President’s Lodge named in honor of UofA President Dr. Alan Sugg, make for an inviting overnight or weekend getaway as well as a first class retreat site with excellent meeting space. A photo gallery detailing the life and work of Governor Winthrop Rockefeller, a nice restaurant, and an attractive gift shop add to the amenities. Depending on the length of your stay, activities available on the mountain include hiking to the waterfall, visiting the Museum of Automobiles and enjoying Petit Jean State Park and Tanyard Springs. Best of all, the views are spectacular.
This summer three documentary films followed by discussion with directors, film makers and others are planned at the Institute. They include: “Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections” on June 27; “Spilled Milk: Our Milk, Our Farmers, Our Arkansas” on July 25; and “Who Killed the Electric Car” on August 29. For more information contact Joe Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org and check out the other programming and events on the website www.uawri.org.
Posted by BEN BEAUMONT – We at the Clinton School are big supporters of Movies in the Park, the outdoor film series at the Riverfest Amphitheater in downtown Little Rock which kicked off its 2008 season last night with a screening of E.T. Word is in that a record opening-night crowd of 1,100 was on hand. Congrats to Movies in the Park on the record. Click here for upcoming films.
Movie goers enjoy a drive-in theater atmosphere at Movies in the Park.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – I’ve known Hillary Clinton for more than 30 years. I have and will always have the highest regard for her. We worked on education issues; we served together on the Arkansas Children’s Hospital board; our daughters played on the same softball team; and I had the privilege of chairing the Clinton Foundation during the planning, construction and opening of the Clinton Presidential Library. She is an incredible person and would make an outstanding president. With the highest percentage of the 54 primaries, Arkansas supported her overwhelmingly. Depending on which states are included in the count, she may have actually won the overall popular vote.
However, at this juncture that is moot. Congressman Rahm Emanuel said it well: “It depends how the loser loses whether the winner wins in November,” and he’s right. As an example, one of the reasons Senator Mark Pryor had a meteoric rise in Arkansas politics (no Republican opposition for a second Senate term) was the class he showed and the respect he earned in accepting defeat after a tough loss to Attorney General Winston Bryant several years ago. Since that time, Pryor has been unbeatable.
Contrary to the opinion of some others whom I respect, Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination because he made wise strategic decisions in two areas (1) technology and (2) better understanding the party rules, the complicated delegate selection process and competing in both caucuses and primaries. Senator Clinton’s vote to support the war in Iraq (though I thought at the time she was right) first opened the door for Senator Obama. But he had the prevailing primary message — change — and based on his organizational and oratorical skills, he proved to be an effective messenger. As Senator Clinton told me in 1991 while we sitting at the ballpark watching our daughters play softball, what the Democratic Party needed to win was the right message and the right messenger. Whether Senator Obama’s change is stronger than Senator Clinton’s experience in the November election remains to be seen. Many Obama supporters say yes. Many Clinton supporters say no. Only time will tell.
I sympathize with those women who are disappointed, hurt and even angry. After all, many women (including my 110-year-old grandmother) have waited lifetimes for the opportunity to elect and experience a woman president. They thought 2008 was their time and their year. Quite frankly, I did too. Unfortunately, in politics no one has the market on times and years. Though sexism probably did play a part (as did and as will racism) the real factor is not what Senator Clinton didn’t do, or Bill Clinton’s role, or media bias; it’s what Senator Obama did. He won at the grassroots and in the trenches. His victory is historic – -particularly for those of us who grew up in the segregated South. Like John Kennedy in 1960, Eugene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy in 1968 and Bill Clinton in 1992, he also energized a new generation. Additionally, when someone can raise $55 million in one month, $45 million of it online and without hosting a single fundraiser, you have to acknowledge the strength. And when it comes to communicating, Senator Obama’s the best we’ve seen since President Ronald Reagan and may in fact be better. He’s also showing maturity beyond his years.
Interestingly, many younger women are actively supporting Senator Obama. As others have noted before about this campaign, youth and change at times trumped gender. The real test, however, will be in November whether mothers, aunts, grandmothers and their friends can be influenced by others. I asked my grandmother if she would vote for Senator Obama and, though he’s not her first choice, she said yes.
Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen in a luncheon at the Clinton School before a recent speech here said he liked and respected all three of the frontrunners (Senators McCain, Clinton and Obama). Secretary Cohen served in President Clinton’s cabinet and was the best man at John McCain’s wedding. So he speaks with some authority. But he said — based on his travels around the globe — that the world’s choice in 2008 is Senator Obama. Why? Because a large percentage of the world’s population is not Caucasian. There’s certainly been very little reporting or emphasis on this particular point, but perhaps there will be in the months ahead. We’ll soon see Senator Obama traveling internationally. Pay attention to the crowds he draws and the response he receives because world reaction may well influence American reaction. Not too long ago, 75,000 people turning out for Senator Obama at a rally in Oregon certainly created a national buzz. His crowd of 32,000 (17,000 inside and 15,000 outside) Tuesday night in St. Paul wasn’t shabby either.
It is entirely too early to determine a November winner. We don’t know who the vice presidential candidates will be; we don’t know what will be happening with the war, the economy, gas prices, food prices, international relations, health care, social issues and other matters. We do know Senator McCain is by far the strongest candidate the Republicans could nominate in a year where Republicans face potentially big losses in the Congress; a time when a large number of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction and when President George W. Bush’s approval ratings are in the tank. But Senator McCain is a war hero and a maverick with experience. Even his critics acknowledge years of fierce independence. We also know the Republican National Committee is far ahead of the Democratic National Committee in raising money. Senator McCain should sweep the South with possible challenges in North Carolina and Virginia. If Senator Clinton is on the ticket, add Arkansas to the Southern states in play. Senator McCain has a good chance in Michigan where Democrats have been winning. But Senator Obama will strongly contest Iowa, Colorado, Ohio, Nevada and New Mexico where Republicans have won in the past. Current polls are projecting a very close Electoral College vote. Let’s see what they say after the conventions in late August and early September.
Given many factors including the strong way she finished the campaign, Senator Clinton must be given even more serious vice presidential consideration. There’s precedent for such a move. Look back to 1960 when a young Senator from Massachusetts defeated an older experienced Senator from Texas in the primary. Later, the two rivals teamed up making President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson winners. Though times were different then, that partnership didn’t develop until the convention.
President or not, vice president or not, Senator Clinton will remain a major force. She made it very clear in her remarks Tuesday night that she wasn’t going away. She solidified support from many of the millions who voted for her and who now anxiously await a signal on “where we go from here.” The speech reinforced her already powerful bargaining chip, and I assume a “where we go from here” strategy will be determined in the near term after some well earned rest.
If Senator Obama loses in November, there’s 2012 for her to consider. If he wins and she’s not vice president, there’s a career in the Senate, maybe Governor of New York, or possibly the Cabinet or the Supreme Court. Either way, one thing is certain: she will be a very formidable and important player in America’s future, and if she’s not on the ticket I hope she will spend some of her time at the Clinton School and at other educational institutions. Four decades ago at the University of Arkansas Law School she was a great teacher. Throughout this presidential campaign and though she didn’t win, she proved she still is one.
Posted by ERIC WILSON – The following is post from Clinton School student Sanford Johnson’s personal blog. He is working in Cape Town, South Africa this summer with the South African Education and Enviornmental Porject. Here he shares a few stories about his travel from Arkansas to South Africa.
I’ve been here for over a week now, so I’m a little behind on the details. With that in mind, I’d like to share some of the valuable lessons I’ve learned over the past week.
If you think having a flight cancelled is horrible, things could actually be a lot worse. Try making it to the airport, only to find out that your plane isn’t there because the airline went out of business…a month and a half ago!! That’s what happened to us in Johannesburg. The only thing worse that seeing no plane is seeing the bare wall where the airline’s logo used to be.
Nobody will ever ask me where I’m from during this entire summer. Every time I open my mouth, I might as well be singing “Proud to Be an American” by Lee Greenwood. In addition, never tell a South African “that dog won’t hunt”. It takes too long to explain.
Take three Americans, put them in the back of a taxi driving “on the other side”, and watch them fear for their lives at every right turn! It’s not as scary now, but that first full day was rough.
KFC is the Starbucks of South Africa. The KFC-per-capita rate here easily rivals a majority of states in the Southern U.S. I’m still hoping to find a Chili’s before Amanda gets here next week.
Coming to South Africa is a great way to limit the amount of news you hear about the 2008 presidential race. I’m happy to know that the Democratic nomination will be decided by the time I get back. Which brings me to the most important piece of wisdom…
Building a democracy is hard. As with many countries in the past, South Africa is learning how hard the process truly is. Building an effective democracy – one that all citizens take part in – is also very difficult to get right on the first try. The United States has been at it since 1776, and we’re still working out the kinks. South Africa has only had full democracy for a little over 10 years. While the 90s brought happiness to millions of newly-freed South Africans, these citizens are now looking to the government to address education, poverty, HIV/AIDS, and a host of other issues. I believe that major steps toward improving democracy usually come with new generations of leaders, so perhaps it will take new leaders to address these pressing issues. We’ll see how it goes.
Posted by DEAN SKIP RUTHERFORD – The Scholars Garden is the area of the Clinton Presidential Park between the Clinton School and the National Archives staff offices. The garden, which is a wireless hotspot, is a place where people can gather, relax, have lunch and work on their laptop computers.
When the Scholars Garden was first built, the “mounds” which were developed as part of the landscaping were merely for decor. However, they soon became outdoor stages and electrical outlets were added so music could be played and hot food could be served from them. Still one had to walk up and walk through what we in Arkansas call “monkey grass” to access the top of each.
We’ve informally named these mounds “Tyler Denton Mounds” after the former Clinton Foundation director of special events who now works for Bono in Washington and who was instrumental in the opening of the Clinton Center and Park. There’s Denton I, II, III and IV. President Clinton spoke at an event honoring the Clinton Center volunteers from Denton II. I also spoke there at a reception when I was named Dean of the Clinton School. Most recently, we had a spirited game of Clinton School baggo (Russ Swearingen won top prize) there. And, in a very moving and powerful ceremony last winter, names of those who had died from AIDS were read continously from Denton IV over a 24-hour period.
As you will note in the picture, stairs to each of the Tyler Denton mounds have been added making them even more accessible for use by the public, the Clinton Foundation, the National Archives and the Clinton School.
New stairs have been added to Denton I.