Bill Clinton and Stephen Colbert address social justice in CGI U closing plenary session
In a closed Clinton Global Initiative University session Saturday afternoon, Comedy Central personality Stephen Colbert interviewed former President Bill Clinton before both fielded questions from the audience.
While details on the interview portion of the event cannot be released until it airs on Comedy Central Monday at 10:30 p.m. CDT, Twitter exploded during the show when @PrezBillyJeff posted his first-ever tweet using the account made for him by Colbert.
The account with profile “I am President William Jefferson Billy Jeff Rodham Clinton. Stephen Colbert is my BFF.” gained just fewer than 300 followers Saturday before gaining thousands more within the next day. As of Sunday night, it had only tweeted once: “Just spent amazing time with Colbert! Is he sane? He is cool! #cgiu.”
The interview was followed with a 20-minute Q-and-A session during which the former president and the syndicated personality fielded student questions about how to get people involved in issues that are largely ignored.
Following a lighthearted student request for Clinton to join the student’s CGI U band as the saxophonist, another student delegate asked Clinton how to get people invested in topics typically considered taboo, such as sex slavery.
“Well, I think you have to talk about it,” Clinton said. “Most people don’t know how much sexual slavery there still is in the world today, but I think we have to get people who do know and who are more serious about it…to talk more about it.”
Another attendee asked whether Clinton would choose two more terms as president over 16 more global initiative conferences.
“I would rather keep doing what I’m doing because I think that America will have some very good choices for president, and I think, except in unusual circumstances, that is a good thing,” Clinton said.
“That wouldn’t cover me,” he added.
While he noted that people living longer would be a valid reason to consider allowing presidents multiple two-term stints in office, he said that wouldn’t be for him—but not because he doesn’t consider himself qualified.
“I would personally rather keep on doing what I’m doing for as long as I can possibly do it because I think I have learned how to do it, and I’m not sure anyone else would be doing this—whereas I’m quite sure there will always be a lot of talented people who are dying to be president of the United States,” Clinton said.
While most of the questions were directed at Clinton, one attendee asked Colbert what his personal commitment to action would be if he were a delegate. Apparently referencing a discussion point from earlier in the show, the attendee said Colbert’s commitment could not be to abolish ATM fees.
“I have a very Dickensian view of charity: widows and starving children,” Colbert said. “I don’t know how to apply technology to that—but people who have no one to care for them. There are so many people, whether it’s sexual slavery, whether it’s—there are people who are abandoned. Abandoned people, individuals.”
“It would be something with child poverty or availability of food around the world,” he said.