Bill Clinton, who's now been an ex-president longer than he was president, is subject of an extensive profile (accompanied on the web by photo above) by Peter Baker for the coming edition of the NY Times Magazine. Baker hits a Peruvian craft shop with the former president, describes a hand that trembles a bit late in the day (after-effect of too many autographs, article says), reports trouble reaching the secretary of state by telephone and quotes a number of Arkies in describing the seemingly happy globe-trotting life Clinton pursues.
Most amazing revelation: Clinton has befriended Chris Ruddy, the conservative "journalist" who cooked up Vince Foster murder conspiracies during the Clinton craziness. But it's part of a familiar pattern of Clinton overcoming enemies and his own temper.
Clinton’s relationship with the younger Bush evolved over the years. “President Bush the latter didn’t like me very much, because I defeated his father, and it was obvious to me when he came to the White House when I was president and he was governor of Texas,” Clinton recalled. “Jeb was a better actor.” The bad blood increased when Clinton left the White House and stories emerged about W’s being removed from computer keyboards and so forth, much of which proved to be exaggerated or untrue. The Bush crew bitterly complained that the Clinton team did little to help them; Clinton was bitter at the whisper campaign trashing him. “I had a talk with him about it one day, a real frank talk, because they were being rough,” Clinton told me. “I told him that I understood how he felt, and it didn’t bother me. I liked the fact that he loved his father and that I felt a great affection for his father, too. But I said: ‘I’ll tell you what, I’ll make you a deal. If you ever need me to do something for you and I can do it consistent with my conscience, I’ll do it.’ ”
Bush took him up on the offer by asking Clinton to work with his father on relief efforts after the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. “We just developed a relationship,” Clinton said.
How about Ken Starr? “Well,” he said, then paused. “That’s another kettle of fish.”