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Bill Clinton Quotes

28 Dec 2004

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Bill Clinton, America’s first baby boomer president, opened his library Thursday with a rock ’n’ roll gala that hailed the $165 million glass-and-steel museum as “a gift to the future by a man who always believed in the future.”

Leading with My Heart (by Clinton's Mother)
The Arrogance of Power (read around 1966)
The Guardian
Down and Out in Paris and London - George Orwell
Madame Bovery - Flubert (received at age 28)
Red Star Over China
The Unfinished Odyssey of Robert Kennedy

On the twenty-eighth, I gave a farewell party at Univ for my friends: fellows from the
college I’d played rugby and shared meals with; Douglas and the other porters; my scout,
Archie; the Warden and Mrs. Williams; George Cawkwell; and an assortment of
American, Indian, Caribbean, and South African students I’d gotten to know. I just
wanted to thank them for being a big part of my year. My friends gave me a number of
going-away gifts: a walking stick, an English wool hat, and a paperback copy of
Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, which I still have.

I told him (Colonel Homes) Frank
Aller (a China scholar), whom I identified only as my roommate, was “one of the bravest, best men I know.
His country (China) needs men like him more than they know. That he is considered a criminal is
an obscenity.” Then I admitted I had considered being a resister myself, and accepted the
draft “in spite of my beliefs for one reason: to maintain my political viability within the
system.” I also admitted that I had asked to be accepted in the ROTC program because it
was the only way I could “possibly, but not positively, avoid both Vietnam and

Much has been made of that brief encounter and its impact on my life. My mother said
she knew when I came home that I was determined to go into politics, and after I became
the Democratic nominee in 1992, the film was widely pointed to as the beginning of my
presidential aspirations. I*m not sure about that. I have a copy of the speech I gave to the
American Legion in Hot Springs after I came home, and in it I didn*t make too much of
the handshake. I thought at the time I wanted to become a senator, but deep down I
probably felt as Abraham Lincoln did when he wrote as a young man, ※I will study and
get ready, and perhaps my chance will come.§

I made friends with a boy who collected strange creatures, and once he invited me over to
see his snake. He said it was in the closet. Then he opened the closet door, shoved me
into the darkness, slammed the door shut, and told me I was in the dark alone with the
snake. I wasn*t, thank goodness, but I was sure scared to death. I learned that what seems
funny to the strong can be cruel and humiliating to the weak.