If we can get some of the metrics that we're measuring things on television as part of the broadcast, that is what is going to make this unique is it does have an agenda. It's about raising a conversation around health.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I think that's one thing we ought to emphasize. What my foundation does is focus on children, but this is designed to benefit people of all ages. There's a huge amount of evidence now that you can actually reverse heart disease with diet and exercise, you can actually improve the blockage and add years to your life.
I've been thinking about this. A couple days ago I had a humbling experience playing a round of golf with Padraig Harrington, who is a marvelous guy. But, God, he looks like he could play professional football.
I asked him what his workout routine was, and he told me. We walked, the wind was blowing 40 miles an hour, and I'm walking to stand up against the wind (Inaudible).
But what it made me think of was that a lot of golf's biggest fans are older people, and they may need this as much as anybody. And as the baby boomers retire, if we're going to avoid basically bankrupting the country, people 65 and over are going to have to stay healthier.
So I think even though most of my life and foundational work experience targeting younger people, maybe the principle benefit for this in the short one could be how it changes what people 65 and over.
Q. You've become a vegan recently; is that right?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I'm pretty close. The vegan publications gave me credit for not claiming to be one. If you're a strict vegan, you have to watch what kind of oil is in your food and that kind of stuff. I travel too much. I don't do that.
But I basically don't eat meat or dairy and rarely eat fish. My daughter, who was a vegetarian most of her life, beats up on me to eat more fish every now and then. She says all the pills I take won't give me enough of what I need. But by and large, I don't eat fish either. I basically have a vegetarian life.
Q. Does that play into your interest in the initiative?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yeah, well, what happens I was doing this childhood obesity initiative before. But five years after I had my heart surgery, I had to go back and put two stints in one of my badly mangled arteries because I had a quadruple bypass, and if you do that many, you have to get veins out of your legs. But you're kept alive by this huge artery in your mammary area that's hooked up, and it normally stays fixed.
But about 25% of the people drop a vein in five years because they're weaker and thinner and they break off more. So I got a blistering email from my friend in California who works at the hospital telling me what the hospital had to say. This is a normal thing. (Inaudible) He said, yeah, that's normal because fools like you won't eat right.
He said, here's what you do ?? we've been friends for 30 years, he can say whatever he wants. And I just decided I wanted to hang around as long as I could.
We all have different ?? the difference in me and a lot of the medical advocates in my support here who give me basically the big plant?based diet advocates are Dr. Ornish and Dr. Rosenstein from the Cleveland Clinic, who at 75 years old, looks like he could start in any professional sport today, and raised two kids who are varsity athletes.
He's always writing me letters about how I've fallen off the wagon. He breaks his diet once a year with a piece of chocolate on New Year's Eve. And Campbell, father and son, Dr. Tom and Colin Campbell, wrote the China Study. But anyway, that's what I do.
But a lot of people don't have to do that because your body produces an enzyme that cholesterol (Inaudible), and we've all got a little extra, and there is no test to tell you how much extra you have. So you need to monitor it.
Not everybody needs to be on my diet, but if you have any problems and you're my age and you want to play it safe and hang around as long as you can, it seems like the smart thing to do. I'm not as crazy about food as I was when I was younger.
Q. How much better do you feel now?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Great. I have more energy as long as I do the protein stuff. You have to be really careful to find alternative proteins. What Chelsea's always telling me ?? she's a total fitness freak, my daughter is ?? better you eat fish every now and then than get too low on protein.
Q. I have a question for Mr. President and the commissioner. Larry talked last year about one of the problems with this tournament is it comes up against some events abroad that offer appearance fees and stipends for a lot of the better golfers. So, Mr. President, would you be willing to bend some arms and make some phone calls to try to get a strong field? And commissioner, what do you do to try to get the strongest field possible so that it makes the TV coverage the best it can be?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: My answer is quick. I'll do whatever Tim says will help. We've been friends a long time, and when I first met Tim I was Attorney General of Arkansas and President Carter was in office, and I learned 35 years ago that I do better just doing what he asks me to do.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Though I will say (Inaudible) we started the Presidents Cup and he hosted evenings at the White House (Inaudible). In fact, there was a band playing in the White House. I don't even know if you knew.
So the teams were there and we had to play golf the next day. It was about midnight, and the President's out there talking. And Hillary came out and she said if you want your players to play any golf in the morning, you need to get them on the bus, because if you're waiting for him to go to bed, he's not going to go to bed.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I was talking about golf.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: But look, the thing about that tournament is it has to do with golf courses and formats. But I don't know how much work we have to. I've heard a number of players that know what we're doing here, and Mike is very popular with players and the President's involvement in and of itself.