President Clinton Discusses Humana Challenge, Bob Hope
Interview Held Thursday In New York City
On Thursday, former President Bill Clinton, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and Humana Chairman and CEO Mike McCallister spoke to some members of the media regarding the Humana Challenge, which was formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic, in the Coachella Valley.
Instead of summarizing what was said, here is a transcript of the interview, so you can read their comments as they said them:
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, thank you all for being here. I'd like for Tim and Mike and I to just a say a few words and then we'll take questions.
I'm excited about this for a couple of reasons. First of all, I started playing golf years ago. I loved it. I have a lot of memories of the Hope tournament going over a very long period of time.
I think everyone knew there had to be some sort of reorganization in order to save it, and Tim got in touch with me and I know a fair number of golfers, and a lot of them have foundations, a lot of them are trying to do good things.
We thought this would be an opportunity to focus on the health and wellness of children, and that's a big part of what my foundation does now.
So when I was asked to be a part of it, I was excited. I was delighted that Humana wanted to come in as a sponsor, because in one of my projects, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, now 12,000 schools in America are trying to improve exercise and diet and those things. We also have tried to increase the number of young children who can have access to preventive health care to try to avoid the kind of problems that I and tons of other Americans face later in life.
And Humana was one of our first insurance partners agreeing to cover preventive trips to doctors and dietitians for these kids, and it had never been done before. Now we have a couple more kids with insurance coverage to provide that. But we're trying to push and get more people to do it. But it really pushed a lot of other insurers to look at the economics of this and see if they could do it.
So Tim and I have been friends since Jimmy Carter was president, and so we're excited about this. But as far as I know, the PGA (TOUR) has never done anything like this before. We're going to have Tuesday before the tournament begins Thursday, we're going to have a summit on the health of young people.
The PGA already does a lot of things for this, the First Tee Program, and a lot of the golfers themselves have foundation activities that are health related. So we're just trying to put it together to see if we can leverage it out and make something good happen.
READ: Bill Haas Commits to 2012 Humana Challenge
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thank you, Mr. President. From the PGA Tour perspective, first of all, the Tour has been a great admirer of what the President has done since coming out of office with the foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative. And we felt that there may be something we could do together. So we started talking about that.
And at the same time Mike McCallister, Humana's been our official health care provider since 2005. They're our insurance provider. Mike has been very vocal about asking us whether there are ways that we could use our platform to communicate with people about wellness issues, generally, and so the two conversations kind of came together and led to this partnership.
I think it is a different direction for us, because historically our tournaments are organized for charity. We do an awful lot of things to support what they do for charity. They give knowledge to an awful lot of charitable causes. But we've never really taken an opportunity to reach our fan base with messaging that asks for change or things that would impact behavioral change.
I think everybody in this room is aware that our audience, our fan base is by far the strongest fan base when it comes to decision makers, corporate leaders, public sector leaders across the country. It's also a big fan base of 140 million Americans that tuned into our program at some point this year already.
So the capability is there, and then the challenge would be how could we do this? And the foundation has worked with Mike to refashion the week and worked with our tournament organization. Larry Thiel, the chairman of Desert Charities is here, and so the week has been changed in a number of ways.
First of all, there will be a number of things that happen during the week to remember Bob Hope and keep his spirit involved in the competition going forward. The week is now four rounds of golf. Three of the rounds are played leading into a cut on the fourth day, down from five rounds. You change partners every day with a different pro, so it's a terrific Pro?Am experience.
It's designed to work together for the foundation to attract the best people in the world for the conference, and also the best players and the best amateurs around the country who believe in this cause.
Then with our television partner, Mike McCarley, and we're delighted that our partnership with him has now been extended out to 2021, the Humana commitment is for eight of those years now. We have a long runway here to see what can be done year-in and year-out to challenge the country in certain areas or educate the country in terms of what's being done on these wellness issues.
It is a departure for us, but I must say we're really excited about it. At the PGA Tour, our employees for the first time this year entered into a new program with Humana called Tour Health. They all get scanned. It's voluntary, but over 90% of our employees now have been scanned. And their scannings identify health problems.
We estimate that our company and our employees will save almost a half million dollars in the first year because of that program.
So we like Humana, but we like what they're doing even more, and Mike is passionate about this, and I'll turn it over to him to give us his perspective.
MIKE McCALLISTER: Thanks, Tim. And thanks for the kind words, Mr. President. We've enjoyed working with you. Humana has been around for a long time. We're in our fifth decade now, and some form of health care over those years. We've been a health benefits company and health insurer for the last 15 or so on a stand?alone basis.
Through all those years and through all the things we've done and our work that we do today, it's become quite clear to us that the concept of health, fitness, and well being is going to have to be at the core of changing what's happening in this country from a health care cost perspective, and from a personal health perspective.
No one has found the magic formula yet, but, ultimately, it's behavior change among people to start taking charge of their own health. It's a serious problem with kids. It's already a serious problem with adults, and we're already at the point where we're over 30%, you have the data specifically, I'm sure, of young children that are already obese or on their way to that.
Tim and I have talked over the years many times about the fact that the PGA TOUR, and golfers and that particular sport angle is unique in that this is one of the sports where the fans actually get up and walk and follow the players, and there's exercise of all sorts.
It's such a wonderful opportunity to use this platform to make the case that there is a real upside to doing these sort of activities.
So we talked off and on over the years about various opportunities. When Tim called and said I have a new idea to theme a golf tournament in conjunction with the foundation, and connect it to a very high profile health care agenda summit, if you will, I said that makes a lot of sense and really gives us a platform to launch these concepts from.
We're pleased to be a part of it. We think it's going to take a while to carry this message, and that's why we have a long?term commitment here. We think there are a lot of opportunities for us to bring health and wellness agendas to the table here.
We're doing such things as partnering with folks out in the Coachella Valley, and putting in various parks and things, inter?generational parks, to encourage people to get outside, to move, this sort of thing.
We've been involved with the Tour for a number of years with pedometer programs at various tournaments where we have people use pedometers and measure their steps. Think in terms of calories burned, carbon offset, and all those sorts of things, connecting a number of agendas. We'll be doing more than that.
We have a wonderful launch pad here, I think, and all of these relationships will be part of this, too, to take a positive message and start working on the idea of behavior modification for everyone, being a key component for the long?term health of this nation. This is a good platform from which to do that.
We've had a relationship with a number of players in the past. We're encouraged that they're actively going to be engaged here. David Toms, Davis Love, Brett Quigley, Bo Van Pelt are people that we've worked with in the past, they'll be working with us here to carry this message on.
It's a wonderful opportunity with a great platform, in an environment where I think people can really connect the dots relative to getting up, getting out, moving, taking charge of their health, measuring, getting metrics, and making it better over time. So we're really pleased to be a part of it.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about what the Tuesday event will be?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, we're putting it together now. But what we will attempt to do is to get as many people together like we do at the Clinton Global Initiative. They'll actually both tell us what they're doing, and make very specific commitments to do something else.
One thing, I wanted to wait for Tim and Mike to talk, but we're having all these fights down in Washington today about the budget. And the reason is that if you're a conservative, some of the choices that have to be made are unpalatable, and if you're a liberal, some of the choices you have to make are unpalatable. The one free choice we have is to become healthier.
If you look at what America is spending 17.5, give or take on health care, and no other major country, the Netherlands is 11.9, France is 11.8, Japan's still at 8.5. And one of the reasons Japan is at 8.5% in health care is the way they live. There are conservatively ?? that's $850 billion dollars, the difference between us and them.
At least $150 billion dollars of that $850, at least, is due to conditions related to diabetes which leads to frequency of heart attack and stroke and requires huge maintenance costs. It doesn't have anything to do with the way we finance health care or anything to do with the way we deliver health care. It's the burdens we put on the system.
So what we're going to try to do is I've been battling this for some years now, with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. What I've been amazed about is that every time you ask somebody, you don't have to call anybody a name, just ask them to help, it's amazing what happens.
People told me ?? I'll give you one example ?? we were on a fool's errand when we started this Alliance For a Healthier Generation. And I had called the soft drink people to come in here because kids were consuming an enormous percentage of daily calories from soft drinks they have at vending machines at school.
We reduced the caloric total of soft drink consumption by 88% in the schools and in over 90% of America's schools without a soft drink tax, without a law passing, without anything. Totally voluntary commitment because we got all the people involved, and from a business perspective, once everybody knew that his or her competitor was going to do the same thing, then nobody was at a competitive disadvantage. We put in flavored water. We put in smaller sizes. We put in more diet drinks. We did all kinds of stuff.
That is the kind of thing I hope will happen here. My goal on Tuesday is to get a lot of people who have done this, who know a lot more about the specifics than I do, to make specific commitments and see if we can leverage it up.
If one thing ?? this is one thing every American can do about America's budget deficit. This is one thing every American can do to make our country stronger if we change our lifestyles.
I mean, look at the difference. We're all thinking about the Japanese now because of the terrible thing they went through with the tsunami and the earthquake. One of the reasons they're going to be able to weather this is they spend about half what we do on health care. And part of it is in the system, (Inaudible) part of it is in all that, but a huge amount of it is just the way they organize their lives and live. So that's what we're going to try to get out of it Tuesday.
Q. Will there be healthy options at the food court? I mean, sports events don't generally have the healthiest foods. Can you talk about that?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Well, that right there is the kind of thing that will happen. So we're talking about it at the Humana Challenge, and it makes sense. It's stuff that we'd want to do across the Tour.
And we were talking earlier. The average player walks 650 miles on the golf course a year. They play four rounds; they practice; they play Pro?Ams. So if we can get people walking and measuring walking, then we'll transplant it and do it all around the Tour. With Mike's help, put it on television all year long.
MIKE McCALLISTER: And we can encourage the healthy choices at the snack bar. We're hoping to have a lot of fun with those kind of things and doing exactly that sort of thing. In the Bob Hope Plaza, I think we're calling it, there is going to be an area for people to do biometrics.
Just going to have an overall themed agenda. What are your numbers? How do you take care of yourself? The fact that walking 18 holes is six miles or something like that. You can connect it to the activities of the week in a very interesting way. So we're going to have fun in a lot of ways.
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.
A lot of these guys remember in 1995 when the President went and played with President Ford and President Bush, and they appreciate his support for what's happened over the years. So I've had a number of players call and say, look, I'm going to be there without even asking.
I think we'll have a solid field. We have a lot of great tournaments all year, and it's work. But our players, most of our players, if you look at the charities they're involved in and the foundations, an awful lot of them have to do with kids. The David Toms Foundation (Inaudible), and a lot of the players are focused on kids.
When you talk about tournaments and kids in the same breath, it's very interesting. They also recognize they're role models. I would say in today's world 99.8% of them are great role models. Not a hundred percent, but if you look up and down the lineup, these guys take care of themselves.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: But generally compared to 20 years ago, if you ask somebody why has the average driving distance gone up? They'll say it's the equipment that's better and that's true. But I would argue far more than the equipment is how seriously these players take fitness. It's a different world.
They're professional athletes in a different way. I mean, when I was a kid, we used to have a pro tournament in my hometown, and I would get out of school and caddie for it. Most of the golfers on TOUR looked like everybody else in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
I mean, nobody would look at Padraig Harrington standing next to me and mistake me for a professional golfer. I mean, there are a lot of them. That's one of the reasons that I hope we can do something with this that really will capture not only the players' imagination but a lot of other people.
Q. Mr. President, what would be the chances of you playing?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Oh, well, I hope I can. I'm not very good anymore. Haiti just about ruined my golf game. My best year as a golfer was the first year I got out of the White House. I got down to a 10 handicap. But I'm not close to that now. I just don't play enough.
I saw President Bush, George W. Bush and I were doing this project in Haiti, and he was ragging me. He said I'm down to a 10 now. I was there my first year after office. I said you're just going to have to resist the temptation to do good. (Laughter) I said you start traveling and it will wreck you because we're the same age.
He said he played like four times a week and he's in good shape, so we have a good time playing.
Q. Mr. President, did your foundation consider another venue or partners to promote this initiative for health apart from the tournament?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: No, because like I said, I've got this whole separate thing, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. I told you Mike and Humana are one of our insurance partners. So that takes a lot of time. We're working that and expanding it. We want to go from 12,000 schools to all the schools involved in this.
This was a gift, as far as I was concerned, brought to me. Because I think when they asked me several years ago, the Heart Association and I started talking about this childhood obesity problem, and I'll just give you one example. The American Medical Association said two years ago ?? this is something that is amazing ?? we can no longer refer to Type 2 diabetes as adult on?set diabetes.
It was unheard of for almost all my life for any child to have anything other than Type 1, the kind you're born with. Now in the last few years we have 9, 10?year?old kids diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, so this is a big deal.
So to be honest with you, the idea of something like this happening never crossed my mind. But I was thrilled about it, because I also had a real soft spot in my heart for Bob Hope after we played in that tournament.
He called me one day. He said I'm coming to Washington. He's 95 years old. He said I know you're President, but I want to play golf, so just change your schedule.
So I took him out to Army?Navy Country Club, and we played nine holes, and he parred 175 yard par?3 hole. He hit driver straight up a hill on to the green. He could see the ball at his feet, he couldn't see the hole at all. (Inaudible) ? so he said it's going to break about four inches. So he hits the ball within one inch and tapped in for a par.
The reason I hope this will help older people is the thing that I think kept Hope happy and healthy is that he told me back in 1979 when I had dinner with him, he came to Arkansas to give a speech, that all of his life he had walked an hour a day, no matter what. He said if he did a deal in London and it was the dead of winter and it was raining like the devil and he couldn't walk until 11 o'clock at night, he put on his galoshes and took his big umbrella out, and he walked it out.
He worked on swinging his arms. Another big problem with getting older is you lose your flexibility. You lose your ability to lift your legs. You lose the ability of your muscular support. He could swing the golf balls parallel at 95.
Anyway, no, I didn't plan this. This is a gift. I'm just glad to be on the team.
Q. Mr. President, how do we grow the game more in the United States? It seems to be growing well globally, but participation in the last decade in the states has been fairly flat. Any ideas how we can grow it in the states?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I think, first of all, I think there will be a gap. I think all of these First Tee efforts are going to have a positive impact. And I think like I live up in Westchester County, we have a network of good public courses that an ordinary person can go and play on. I noticed that in the economic collapse, some of the memberships at some of the clubs in my county dropped way down to more affordable levels.
I think we reach a point now where (Inaudible) as I said, the thing I think that's going to help membership here is the older people (Inaudible). If we do this right, even though it's not (Inaudible). So I think you can assume you'll have substantial older people playing golf, even though that's where the demographic's concentrated now, I think as the First Tee crowd begins to move through school and onto golf, you'll see an increase.
Q. Do you agree with Freddy Couples and who the two Presidents Cup picks have been?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Freddy Couplesb, he's a great golfer. You know (Inaudible) he's got ??
When I was President, I got second guessed all the time, which was the right and which was the left. I don't think I should second guess the captain's picks. We'll just have to wait and see.
The real problem he's got is he's got so much young talent. And the problem you've got in all these things is do you want to take somebody that's young and fearless or do you want to take somebody who has been around the track and thinks about it.
The things about the Cup that's so interesting are the different kinds of matches are a whole different psychology. Just for example, Harrington, I said do you think that the way the European Golf Tour is helps the Europeans win the cup? He said, oh, yeah. It creates team spirit. I said, why? He said, well, for one thing, room service is not very good. So we all have to go out to dinner together.
I don't know. I think the first thing you've got to make is what categories he wants for his picks. But he's a really smart guy. I trust him.
Q. I wanted to ask whether ?? I don't want to get into politics ?? in light of that Obama?Boehner round of golf, did you have time in your presidency where you used the golf game to your advantage?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yeah, I like to play golf with members of Congress and with people I didn't know. So I had a lot of rounds to take people to go play golf. The thing that's important about that is I rarely discuss business on a golf course.
But I made a crack yesterday in Chicago or the day before and at the time people made fun of me. But Americans have gotten over all their prejudices. The country is much less racist, much less sexist than we used to be. We saw Chris Christie defending Mitt Romney about his Mormon faith, people have different views on gay marriage. Hardly anybody is prejudice against people because they're gay anymore.
The only thing we don't like now is we don't want to be around people we disagree with. Just think about it. There is a book - I recommend this book to you since you asked the question. The book called The Big Sort, written by a man named Bill Bishop who happens to be a democrat in Austin, Texas.
He was prompted to write this book because he was very good friends with a Republican who lived in his neighborhood, and Austin is the most Democratic city in Texas maybe San Antonio is a little more.
So he loved this guy because he had somebody that he could actually have honest arguments, and he liked his kids, they liked his kids, the whole thing. But he was the only guy apparently in the neighborhood who was nice to him. So the guy left the neighborhood.
The neighborhood in 2004, he wrote the book after that election, where John Kerry had cared his neighborhood 3?1. The guy moved to a neighborhood where George Bush beat John Kerry 4?1. And the argument, the guy said both our neighborhoods were poor. We were separating. So he started doing research. He found out there was a developer in the Inland Empire, not far from where we're going to have the course.
He had a huge plot of land, and he did a socioeconomic profile. He targets all upper income. It was a gated community. He found they were almost equally divided between Republicans and Democrats. I swear I didn't make this up.
So he builds one half of the streets for Republicans. They have basketball courts in the backyard, sidewalks, and one half for democrats. They've got a yoga room.
He sells 100% of the houses when they were built. Then he went back and did a review. 100% of the people that lived on this side of the street were Republicans. 100% that lived on that side were Democrats. It's a bad thing, I think, for our country, that we don't like to be around people who disagree with us.
Golf brings people together. Once you actually see somebody as a human being, it becomes impossible to disregard what they have to say, and you might learn something. I think it's really important.
Q. Mr. President, could you speak to your round with President Obama? Any nuggets about the round?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: We were going to play, and then we weren't going to play. Then he calls and says, oh, come on, let's play. So I got on a plane and went down and played.
And I was dead because it was right after the Clinton Global Initiative. He was pretty tired. He had been in New York at the U.N. But I had the U.N. and then I had a lot of those guys coming in, so I could barely stand up. I didn't play well. I shot like 92 or something, and the course was wet, and the ball wouldn't roll. But I had the best time. I had a really good time with him.
He didn't play very much. He started playing when he was a state senator. He plays more now. I think he had about the same score I did. He might have won by a shot or two. I just was terrible that day, but I had such a good time.
I was glad to see him get out and do it. There were times when I was President that I would go five holes before I hit a decent shot and before I could sort of flush my head. You can't play golf and do something else. It's a head game as much as anything else. If you're prepared to play and physically prepared, it's a head game.
So I liked seeing him on the golf course because he was totally at peace, relaxed. Went up and greeted everybody, shook hands with everybody that were standing around the course and everything. It was a very good day.
For a person who has only been playing seriously ?? he never really played serious golf until he became President. He picked it up pretty well. He hits an excellent shot.
Q. Getting back to modifying behavior and living a healthier life. Went to Rwanda with Sandy Thurman from your administration and your foundation is doing really good work. But with virtually no resources over there, they've made enormous strides because they've gotten everybody on the same page and they've gotten the message in. How do we do that? How do we get everybody on the same page?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: First of all, they had an incentive that we don't have. They practically destroyed each other. But it is an astonishing place. The President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, who is a Tutsi, the majority or most of them are dying. He's raising those kids, all of the school children, be Rwandan first, and only secondary to be a member of a various tribe.
He started several years ago with a system that said all of the adults in Rwanda will take one Saturday a month and clean the streets, and they rotate it. He said we may be poor, but people associate being dirty with poor, and then they think we're inferior.
He said we don't have to be ?? you can go to Kigali Rwanda and it's cleaner than a lot of American cities. They don't have big street crews; they have all these volunteers out doing it. It's amazing.
I got the Rwandans and helped the Haitians. The President of Haiti got them to do it, and then started organizing all these street crews. He needs to pay people to do that. He had to put people to work down there. But they started as a volunteer day, and it was markedly clear it was helping.
So I think what Paul Kagame and the people of Rwanda proved to me is you could actually have an impact on behavior. You can organize. If you can get the right kind of psychology you can change the behavior.
In America, you have to do it in a more voluntary way. You have to make an argument, make it fun, make it interesting, and you have to get information out to people about how they and their children's lives will be affected by it.
I don't think there is any question we can do it. Like I said, if you just look at what happened so far ?? and I think that the baby boomer thing is really important.
Ten years ago, little more than that, right before my term ended, there was a terrible tornado in Arkansas that ripped up a lot of the old part of Little Rock, including a lot of the governor's mansions where Hillary and Chelsea and I lived for many years. So I went down and visited and everything, and before I left town, I had 20 people that I went to high school with come for a barbecue. They just came over and we were sitting and talking.
There weren't three people there that hadn't made more than $50,000 a year. They didn't go to college. And I went around the table and I asked every one of them what they were worried about. Three?quarters of them said the thing that bothered them the most was that when all of us retired, the burden of the baby boomer retirement will be so great, that our children will have to spend so much on us they wouldn't be able to properly educate our grandchildren.
These are not wealthy people or particularly well?educated people. They're just good, solid, hard?working American people with a lot of common sense. I still think all that is there. Even with all of these economic problems and everything else. In fact, it may intensify. So that's why I think we've got a chance to affect a sea change in the way Americans behave.
MIKE McCALLISTER: As a company, I can tell you we put a lot of energy and time and research into this. We all know what we need to do to be healthy. We've known for decades: Eat less, get exercise, quit smoking. It's straightforward.
The doctors have told us this forever, and people aren't doing it. So it's going to take some different approaches and a different way to communicate and motivate and incentivize to get people to have more interest and fun in doing this.
This angle is quite powerful, this idea of not being a burden on the next generation. It comes in a number of forms. What you do with your own health will have an impact on those generations.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: But don't you pick it up in what you do and everything?
MIKE McCALLISTER: Absolutely. It's very powerful. I'm supporting that premise, absolutely, because we are going to have to find a different way. That's part of what we're going to try to accomplish here is let's find a way to start connecting these sort of activities and everything from the health care summit itself, which really has a chance to raise the bar on an a difficult conversation, as well as connecting it to something that people have fun in their lives and figure out how to get some measurements, and metrics and fun and change the debate in the conversation a little bit. Because what we've been doing for the last 50 years is clearly not working.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Also, there may be a way, though I'm doing everything I can to bring this horrible economy to an end, but there may be a way that the current economic circumstances could facilitate this by getting people looking at more affordable, close at hand ways to be with their families and do things that are exciting but low cost stuff.
Q. Mr. President, what is your dream foursome?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Hmm? I would like to have played a round of golf with Harry Vardon, whose golf books I have read and actually have two of them in the first edition. He was a smart rascal. And Bobby Jones and probably Sam Sneed. I never got to play golf with Sam Snead. When he was 82, he wanted me to play with him, and he said he would not take more than a thousand dollars from me.
Q. What is on your bucket list of golf courses? Anyplace you'd like to play that you haven't?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yeah, I have never played some of the greatest American courses I've never played Augusta National. I've never played at Pine Valley, New Jersey.
Q. Have you received invitations to play there?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I never played Augusta because too many secret service. So after that (Inaudible). You know, I have a wife and daughter that don't like the no women policy, so I dealt with that for several years.
But I'd like to play those courses. I played most of the courses around California. I've never played in Bandon Dunes in Oregon. I never played that great Nebraska course. There is all this controversy about whether the pipeline should be there, whether you can run the pipeline safely into the sand dune.
I like to play (Inaudible) courses. So I played some (Inaudible). I'd like to go out there and play the old course at St. Andrews. I had a pretty good record.
Q. Is there still someone on your bucket list that you haven't played with that you'd like to play with?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't know, probably a lot. I like playing golf. Amy Alcott, I played with her in California, and it was fun. She gets mad if I outdrive her. But I like playing with Greg Norman. I like playing with Fred Couples.
I played with Tiger Woods one day on the course he grew up on. He said these greens are very hard. I three?putted nine greens.
I played with Luke Donald and Michael Jordan once at Conway Farms outside Chicago, and I got up on the blue tees and Jordan was standing back on the pro tee. I was 61 years old, and he said, 'You're going to play from the little girls tee?' I said, okay, Jordan. He said if you play here and you break a hundred, that will be good. So I did that. So he had a 76. And I said I knew Luke if he could ever get in the zone was going to do well.
But I like playing. I played with Adam Scott when he was a college player at UNLV. He came to Washington once, and a friend of mine who is a great golfer, invited me to play with him. I like playing. One day I played golf with Nicklaus two days in a row.
Q. You played golf with Bryce Molder in Arkansas?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: He shot a 59.
Q. He had just won his first PGA TOUR event.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I've been pulling for him all this time. He is a wonderful guy. We played the (Inaudible) golf course in Little Rock, which is a darn good course. I realized if he ever got his mojo going, he'd be good.
You know who I like playing with? Sean Fister who won the long driving championship. I mean, it's amazing playing with a guy that every third time he hit it, it's 400 yards. I like it.
When you play with a pro, you're on a normal course, and you sort of feel bad when he outdrives you a hundred yards. When you play with Sean, he's so massive, it's like okay. You can't even see the ball.
Q. Do you have a hole in one, sir?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Yeah, I made a hole in one. Only one. In Chicago at a links course that was (Harbor Side International?) ?? I went out there because I was trying to support the city. They had recovered an old dump there, it's like a landfill site and made this beautiful links course.
And I hit it on a short par?3, and I hit a 9?iron. The hole was behind the hump so I didn't get to see the ball go in.
I've had two eagles on par?4 holes, but I've only hit one hole in one. I came off, I left one on the rim when I was 15, and I got down and blew on it, and it still didn't go in.
Thank you all for coming. Keep your fingers crossed for us. This might work.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
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