I think that President Clinton is a strong choice. Here are some sources that I’d suggest:
•PBS American Experience: Clinton
As I’ve noted on many occasions, the supplemental websites to PBS documentaries are incredibly loaded with source material and/or links to source material.
•My Life by Bill Clinton
•The Survivor: Bill Clinton In The White House by John F. Harris
•A Complicated Man: The Life of Bill Clinton As Told By Those Who Know Him by Michael Takiff
•First In His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton by David Maraniss
•The Natural: The Misunderstood Presidency of Bill Clinton by Joe Klein
•The Presidency of Bill Clinton: The Legacy of a New Democratic and Foreign Policy by Mark White
And don’t hesitate to check out the oral histories and collections of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and the William J. Clinton Presidential History Project at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs.
Bill Clinton is famously, and sometimes mockingly, remembered for biting his lip before he prepared to say something. At times, it seemed corny or even smarmy, and on Saturday Night Live, it became a staple of the great Phil Hartman’s impression of Clinton during the Clinton Administration. The mannerism was usually followed with a comment like, “I feel your pain.”
However, in Michael Takiff’s awesome oral history of Bill Clinton, A Complicated Man, it is revealed that there was much more to Clinton’s lip biting than a goofy quirk. In fact, it was a calculated action — a speed bump for the lightning quick thoughts of one of the most intellectually powerful and supremely gifted politicians in American history. Clinton’s longtime aide and one of the driving forces of his 1992 Presidential campaign, Paul Begala, says that Clinton was trained to do the lip biting because Clinton answered questions so quickly that it almost seemed unnatural.
According to Begala:
“He was so smart about so many things but also could connect. The whole thing about his biting his lip — that was coached. Because he would answer so fast. We’d say, ‘Take a beat. Pretend you’re thinking about it. Pretend you haven’t already got an answer.’ It was a studied thing to give himself a second to force himself to slow down.”
Bill Clinton. No hesitation on that answer. He’d be a perfect roommate for me for several reasons. We’re both night owls/insomniacs, so neither of us would have to tiptoe around in fear of waking the other roommate, plus we’d have someone to hang out with at 3:00 AM every morning.
All of the Presidents would be interesting in one way or another, but Clinton seems like he’d be the easiest to just sit around and talk to or play rounds of Hearts with. I’m sure he’s also the type of guy who enjoys a good meal (or, at least, was before he decided to eat better after his heart surgery), and finding a roommate who enjoys the same food as you is always a bonus.
Clinton and I have similar tastes in books. I’d pay double the original rent just to combine my library with his. Also, since I tend to be anti-social, Clinton as roommate would be the best medicine for that. He’d be great for throwing parties, and I tend to believe that he’d be a pretty damn good wingman when it came to meeting nice ladies.
Bill Clinton can talk to anybody and immediately make a new friend, and that would be great. He’s just likable, and you can’t ask for much more than a roommate you like being around. Even political rivals seem to end up liking him personally. George W. Bush had quite a bit of resentment towards Clinton because he beat Bush’s father in 1992. But once they got to know each other, 43 was asked how he felt about his predecessor, 42, and Bush said, “Are you kidding? How can you not like Bill Clinton?”
I don’t like living with roommates and feel like living alone is the best way to experience freedom, but I’ve really warmed to this idea while answering this question. I’m in if you’re in, Mr. President! I’ll come work at the Clinton Foundation and we can carpool. Also, I cook, if that helps.
He’s luckier than a dog with two dicks.
Bill Clinton, to aides, on Barack Obama’s good fortune against Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign
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President Clinton and Bob Dole being Senate Spouses is pretty great. Clinton and Dole are right up near the top of the list when it comes to former campaign rivals who enjoyed a friendly relationship afterward. I think it would probably have to be Clinton and George H. W. Bush, though. I love reading about how close they are and how Clinton’s basically been adopted into the Bush Family.
Honorable mentions would go to Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford who bonded after their 1976 campaign against each other. Also, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie. Despite losing to FDR in 1940, Willkie gave Roosevelt his support as the U.S. entered World War II. FDR even sent Willkie to Europe as a special envoy during the war. Of course, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had themselves a little bit of a beef that turned into one of history’s most fascinating friendships as they aged.
Worst? The relationship between Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams was pretty nasty and I’d be stunned if there wasn’t some animosity between George W. Bush and Al Gore, but I’m going to go with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover. At one point, FDR and Hoover were quite friendly, but issues heated up between them during the transition after FDR beat Hoover in the 1932 election. Once FDR was President, Hoover was treated as if he were radioactive. Despite Hoover’s massive success in relief efforts during the first World War, FDR asked nothing from Hoover. After FDR died, it only took a few days before President Truman contacted Hoover for advice and to put him to work.
Kind of like awarding President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize? I guess it doesn’t make much sense, but if it’s GLAAD giving Clinton an award, who am I to say he doesn’t deserve it?
"It’s frustrating when I think we’re majoring in the minors, either over the budget debate, or going right back to politics as soon as the last election is over instead of getting into the grimy details where the future of America will be written."
— Bill Clinton, on how people need to stop obsessing over Hillary’s 2016 plans or potential Presidential candidates and focus on the problems today. (Via Politico)