[Paleopsych] NYT: A Lovely Day for a Stroll: Bill Clinton in His Element

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A Lovely Day for a Stroll: Bill Clinton in His Element

[Prince Charles, Prime Minister Tony Blair, and Archbishop of Canterbury 
Rowan Williams of the UK were there, but not Camilla or the 
Queen. Also in attendance were the UN Sec. Gen. Annan, Cuban President 
Richard Alarcon (but not Fidel Castro, who mourns the Pope's passing), and
Free China's President Chen Shui-bian (but no one from Red China, angry at 
the Vatican's diplomatic recognition of Free China). The Presidents of 
Iran, Syria, France, Israel, and Algeria were there, as were the Kings of 
Spain, Sweden, and Jordan. Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned over the 
Boston sex abuse scandal, is one of nine prelates who presided over 
a funeral mass. Lech Walesa was among many Poles in attendance, as was the 
Prime Minister of Italy. Condi and G.H.W. Bush were there. I do not have a 
complete list of the dignitaries.

[I protest Prince Charles's attending. He dishonors Henry VIII, who 
bravely succeeded from the Church of Rome. There's a personal family 
connection here:

[Sir William Forman, Knt., my 13-great grandfather, was Lord Mayor of
London under Henry VIII. He mustered a citizen's army of 15,000, the
largest to that time in English history, parading up and down the streets
of London, warning the Germans and French of the dangers of invasion,
which they were contemplating at the instigation of the Pope, to bring the
heretic Henry to heel (but of course really a land grab). The invasion
never took place.

[Henry VIII has had a bad press, but his secession must not be dishonored. 
We must never forget the Norman Invasion or the Whiskey Rebellion, 


    ROME, April 7 - Flying into Rome as a guest passenger on what used to
    be his airplane, Air Force One, Bill Clinton had this to say about
    Pope John Paul II, even in death, "The man knows how to build a

    At lunchtime on Thursday, at the foot of the famed Spanish steps about
    two miles from St. Peter's Basilica, Mr. Clinton proved that he still
    knows a bit about that art, too.

    Clearly unwilling to spend a beautiful day in Rome cooped up in his
    hotel, he went for a midday stroll, stopping in at a few of the luxury
    shops on the narrow, cobblestone streets off the square, known for its
    fountain and familiar to film buffs as the backdrop for a scene in
    "Roman Holiday."

    While Romans were unlikely to catch a glimpse of President Bush - he
    moved only in motorcades and appeared only at a few official events -
    Mr. Clinton was clearly reveling in the fact that shoppers, tourists
    having lunch at outdoor cafes and Italian business people walking to
    meetings all stopped to greet him.

    "Isn't this a great city?" he said. Along the streets, people starting
    yelling "Bill, Bill, Bill," and a few shouted "U.S.A.!" One shopkeeper
    raced out with a photograph of Mr. Clinton on a past visit.

    Between handshakes and waves, the former president, looking thin, said
    that he was feeling good after two operations on his heart, but that
    he tired easily and planned to go back to his hotel for a rest - a
    change from the way he used to tour cities. He reminisced about his
    long walking tours of the backstreets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City,
    formerly Saigon, during the last long foreign trip of his presidency.
    "You go around the world and you see a lot of affection for
    Americans," he said.

    There was certainly a lot of affection for Mr. Clinton, who
    consistently got better press here during his presidency than Mr. Bush
    does. But Mr. Clinton has gone out of his way to demonstrate a new
    closeness to Mr. Bush, who invited him to come on the official
    delegation to the pope's funeral and asked him to sit in on the
    morning intelligence briefing on Wednesday. Mr. Clinton said he
    thought Mr. Bush seemed more relaxed now that he had won re-election.

    Mr. Clinton has appeared greatly relaxed, too, sharing with reporters
    aboard Air Force One his view of the pope as a politician. The report
    from journalists on the plane said he recalled John Paul's visit to
    Newark and how "he came into the back of the cathedral and shook hands
    all the way down the aisles and had nuns standing on the pews,

    He said he told Catholic leaders at the time that he would have hated
    to run against the pope. "You have no ideas how good a politician he
    is," he said.

    During the war in Bosnia, he said, the pope called him one day to ask
    what it would take to put forces in to stop the conflict. "He said,
    'The 20th century began with a war in Sarajevo, and you can't let it
    end with a war in Sarajevo,' " Mr. Clinton recalled.

    On Thursday, by the time Mr. Clinton made it out of the back streets
    and into the open square, a mob of hundreds developed. Mr. Clinton's
    nervous Italian bodyguards put him in a Mercedes and sped him away.

    But Thursday night he was back in his old form. After the dinner with
    the Italian leader, he went out to a second dinner with President
    Viktor A. Yuschenko of Ukraine and stayed at an Italian restaurant
    with him until after midnight.

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