Bill Clinton appeared yesterday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, addressing "a panoply of world issues from climate change and alternative energy to food security and AIDS" -- that is, most everything except the presidential campaign he devoted much of the last two years to.
During a "sober hour-long conversation" before an overflow crowd, Clinton argued that "creatively rethinking and reorganizing current global problem-solving methods would vastly improve civilization."
"It's a simple little thing that philanthropists should be doing anywhere: Change the business model," the former president said while discussing a market-based solution for distributing affordable HIV/AIDS drugs in the developing world. Clinton explained how, by changing the system of drug production and sales, his Clinton Foundation was able to cut their costs drastically while still allowing manufacturers to turn a profit.
He took a similar tack on addressing starvation in sub-Saharan Africa and other regions facing food shortages. Clinton said America needs to "get the show on the road" by aiding farmers and developing native agriculture in ailing nations, rather than simply dumping American foodstuffs on them.
But that didn't stop some from thinking he might have taken an impromptu shot at Sen. Barack Obama. From the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg:
Bill Clinton is speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and he said just now, apropos of almost nothing (actually, during a long peroration on Nelson Mandela): "Every living soul on this planet has some highly-justified anger. Everyone. If you know anybody who was a P.O.W. for any time, they can be going on for years and all of a sudden something will happen that will trigger all those bad memories."
Not too subtle. Astonishingly, his interviewer, former Clinton Administration official Jane Wales, didn't follow-up. One subject Clinton didn't talk about at all: Barack Obama. He seemed to go out of his way, in fact, not to mention Obama's name. Which, when you think about, calls into question whether the P.O.W. shot was actually an intentional shot at all. On the other hand, I believe that Bill Clinton doesn't say things by accident.
Was that a shot at Obama? Seems highly doubtful to me.