Bill Clinton: Global Initiative Has Gotten Results

27 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bill Clinton made Hillary ask Steven Spielberg to help her appear ‘warmer, likeable and less like Thatcher’NEW YORK – The Clinton Global Initiative’s blend of government and private-sector effort has helped millions of people worldwide, former President Bill Clinton said Sunday, highlighting the philanthropic network’s accomplishments at a time when his family’s charitable efforts have come under scrutiny. He reportedly got Mr Spielberg to arrange acting coaches to help improve her facial expressions and the director is said to have set up “likeability” sessions in which she made tapes of herself talking and sent them to him. IN HIS new book, Unlikeable, journalist Edward Klein unveils the lengths Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign will go to avoid the mistakes of the 2008 race — when Obama famously said, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.” In an exclusive excerpt from The New York Post, Klein reveals how Bill Clinton reached out to a famous friend for help.

The front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination was urged to seek help by her husband Bill Clinton – and he told her: ‘Let’s ask Steven for help,’ according to the book, which is called Unlikeable.The Clinton Foundation invited everyone from Pope Francis and Leonardo DiCaprio to Bill de Blasio and Janet Yellen to its showcase gathering starting Saturday in New York City, according to multiple sources familiar with the planning. The 10-year-old initiative has facilitated programs that aided more than 430 million people in 180 countries, with government, private and civil-society entities working together in 90 percent of the programs, he noted at the initiative’s annual meeting. “There are some people who don’t understand it or question whether it’s a good idea,” the Democratic former president said, but it’s gotten results. Now the challenge is to repackage you in 2016 as a strong but loveable older woman — more Golda than Maggie.” She hired an assistant to run a video camera in the den of Whitehaven, her home in the fashionable Observatory Circle neighborhood of northwest Washington, DC.

Forty-six million children have better educational opportunities, more than 110 million women and children have better access to health care, and clean drinking water is more available to over 27 million people, he said. The initiative gets corporations and governments to channel money into projects meant to solve international problems, without direct donations from its parent organization, the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Foundation officials shrugged off questions about the rejections, explaining in an email “We’re extremely pleased with the response to our invitations. The tapes were passed on to acting coaches supplied by Spielberg, whose long list of movies includes Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln and the Indiana Jones films. This year’s line-up is extremely strong.” Arianna Huffington, a past CGI participant who was asked to participate in a panel, instead opted to travel to Aspen, Colo., for an exclusive “thought leaders” conference hosted by television host Charlie Rose.

The foundation stopped raising money from foreign governments when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009 but resumed after she left the administration in 2013. However, once Hillary’s campaign got under way it became obvious that the lessons were not working – as she still could not manage to maintain eye contact with audiences. That wasn’t a value judgment on the Clinton Foundation, its work or long-term viability, said Huffington, whose media company has partnered with the foundation. “I do plan to stay involved and very much hope recent controversies will not limit the foundation’s effectiveness and the incredible work it is doing,” she emailed Thursday, as she traveled to Aspen. “I hope it will continue to be as effective because it has a lot of work to do! Still, the foundation said it was “extremely pleased” with this year’s lineup, which includes Bill Gates, Ashley Judd, Edward Norton, George Soros, Charlize Theron, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Richard Branson. And Chelsea can appeal to a whole new generation of millennial billionaires and heirs including in the Arab world.” But a handful of corporate donors have dropped their sponsorships, and sources who have recruited participants for CGI say it’s become increasingly difficult to raise money from large companies for meetings in which executives would just as likely appear on panels with Chelsea Clinton, rather than one of her parents.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko are also expected. The foundation also announced that foreign governments would no longer be allowed to sponsor events at Global Initiative meetings, which are no longer being held overseas.

Hillary Clinton had been tentatively slated to lead a panel on economic opportunity for women, documents show, but she has distanced herself from the foundation since launching her presidential campaign. One such pledge has led to financial education for more than 1.2 million poor women and youths and scholarships for more than 10,000 students in Kenya. The documents, reviewed by POLITICO, also show that the foundation had hoped to land either Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen or French economist Thomas Piketty to deliver a presentation on income inequality. Most times, after she glanced at the printout of their notes — she called them “notes from La-La Land” — she tossed them in the wastepaper basket.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were among the foreign heads of state who turned down invitations, according to sources, though they have not attended previous CGI meetings. They attribute that to politically charged suggestions that foundation donors ― and particularly foreign donors ― sought or received favors from Hillary Clinton’s state department, as well as media scrutiny of the foundation’s finances and staff. One past donor who did not re-up told POLITICO that the decision was based primarily on concerns about the effectiveness of the foundation, which were fueled by questions about its record-keeping and heavy spending on travel and administration. “Political exposure was another factor that we had to take into account more recently,” said the donor. Clinton, who said of herself at one point, ‘What a relatable laugh!’ Years of security-infused Bubble Wrap around her travels and a wealthy lifestyle have done little to pull Mrs. And CGI’s CEO Bob Harrison, in an op-ed on Fox Business this week dismissed scrutiny of dropped sponsorships as “another example of critics trying to politicize philanthropy, and the facts don’t bear out the argument.” Sponsorship revenue has actually increased from 2014, while the turnover rate has declined, he declared. “Similar to other thought-leader events such as the World Economic Forum, every year some sponsors leave, new sponsors sign on, and the overwhelming majority choose to continue their support,” he wrote, citing four new sponsors ― Apple, Cardinal Health, GlaxoSmith Kline and Xerox.

He stressed that CGI’s corporate sponsors, which pledge to invest in various global humanitarian and social welfare projects, “not only provide funding, but also apply their expertise in management, technology, manufacturing, distribution and research to help non-governmental organizations and foundations be more effective. Her voice was flat and uninflected. “I decided I had enough with the camera and the recordings and the coaches,” Hillary told a friend. “I got so angry I knocked the f- -king camera off its tripod. She started work in June and last month brought in IBM to do an exhaustive survey of employees, urging them during a staff meeting to be “brutally honest” in their assessments, said sources.

And, after a tour of the charity’s Manhattan headquarters, several employees were asked to clean up their cubicles, while dishes and Tupperware in a shared office kitchen were thrown away. When Shalala accepted the job, she told The Chronicle of Philanthropy “I love messy institutions,” clarifying “my cup of tea is very complex situations and very complex institutions and helping people to kind of think through their strategies and working their way out of issues.” The foundation has taken on an increasingly wide-range of initiatives from fights against AIDS and childhood obesity, to stopping elephant poaching in Africa. It also has not substantively expanded its ongoing fundraising to support programmatic growth — particularly given the voluntary restrictions on fundraising during the presidential campaign and any subsequent Clinton presidency.

And Shalala’s survey, which comes after high-profile organizational changes, has some officials further on edge, said the sources, who said there have been hushed conversations about how long Shalala herself intends to stick around. It was widely noted, they said, when Shalala, in her farewell letter to the University of Miami, where she had been president, concluded “I intend to return to the faculty when my leave is over. Until then, my thanks and best wishes.” A university spokeswoman downplayed Shalala’s word choice, suggesting she’s not returning anytime soon. “I don’t think it’s literally that she is on leave from the University. She doesn’t have any timetable for returning to U.M. but if she does it will be to teach a limited number of classes that wouldn’t interfere with her position here.” Kenneth P.

Vogel is chief investigative reporter at Politico and author of Big Money: 2.5 Billion Dollars, One Suspicious Vehicle, and a Pimp — on the Trail of the Ultra-Rich Hijacking American Politics (PublicAffairs).

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