clinton1OWENSBORO, Ky. (3/6/13) – The current approach to politics in Washington is a failing one, but something America can overcome if people work together to change it. That was the message of former President Bill Clinton at a fundraising speech tonight.

The event, held to raise money for the Wendell H. Ford Education Center, hosted President Clinton as the keynote speaker. Clinton, who was invited by Ford to speak, said what the country needs right now are more leaders who are willing to discuss their differences and work to find the middle ground. Throughout his speech, he hailed Ford as the sort of person who did that when he worked in Washington in the 90’s, the same time Clinton was president.

“I thought a lot about coming up here and making you laugh,” Clinton said before adding that he decided it would be better to talk about the positive impact Ford had during his years of service in the federal government.

“One of the things he did in the Congress that meant a lot to me was… Wendell Ford was the first member of Congress to vote to put federal records on line,” Clinton said. “We now take it for granted.

“There are parts of our government still kept secret which have nothing to do with national security,” he added.

Clinton continued by saying he believes “debates are healthy,” and encouraged the audience to “trust people enough to really tell them what’s going on.”

“One of the things that really bothers me about modern politics is polling,”he said as he explained the process. Essentially, a poll is designed to help a candidate know what the most important topics are for voters, so the candidate can focus on those specific issues.

“That’s the dumbest advice you’ll ever get,” he said of the process.

clinton2

Clinton said he also hopes to see the country return to a time when candidates found middle ground among their voters on important topics, rather than catering to a specific constituency. He said the change in the way media works over the last decade is partly to blame for the shift in political philosophy.

“The breakdown of stable, reliable advertising… has put people in the position of blurring the lines between news and politics,” he said, noting that sound bites from politicians have continually shrunk in length over the last 50 years. Where a comment from President John F. Kennedy was closer to 45 seconds in length, he said, a quote from President Barack Obama today runs about 10 seconds.

“Everything gets distilled in whatever the conflict is,” Clinton said. “Never mind the details.”

Clinton said the change in the way media operates isn’t the only factor.

“The American people have to own up to some of this,” Clinton said. “It’s not just a conspiracy.”

“We just have one bigotry left,” he said as he noted that many of the prejudices of the twentieth century have been left behind. “We don’t want to be around anyone who disagrees with us.”

clinton3

Clinton continued his speech by referencing the current budget deficit challenges that led to sequestration of federal funds for many government programs, include defense and education spending.

“If it was up to me, we’d be out of debt in three years,” Clinton said, pointing out the fact that interest rates are below inflation rates right now. “You have to walk and chew gum at the same time.”
Ultimately, he said, the issues in Washington will resolve themselves when people come together to solve the problems the country now faces.

“It’s a complicated time, but there’s nothing wrong with this country we can’t fix,” he said. “There are too many people who think it is preferable to hunker down. It is preferable to think like (President Abraham) Lincoln, to think like (Wendell) Ford. It’s alright if we don’t get 100 percent of what we want as long as we move ahead.”

Clinton spoke before a sizeable crowd at the River Park Center in Owensboro. Other speakers at the event included Ford and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear.

Dennis Beard
SurfKY News
Photos by Dennis Beard

LIKE SurfKY on Facebook - Click here to LIKE us now.

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story on social media.

3/13 - 16

In Other News...

MPD Officers Rescue Man from Apartment Fire

MURRAY, Ky. (3/27/15) — According to a Murray Police Department report, on March 26, 2015, at approximately 7 a.m. MPD… Read More

Col. Stephen Trigg Chapter SAR to Honor Local Vietnam War Veterans on March 29

KENTUCKY (3/26/15) — The Col. Stephen Trigg Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution is making a deliberate… Read More
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

March 18, 2015 9487

UPDATE: Hanson Man Located in Henderson, Taken to…

by Trooper Stu Recke
March 25, 2015 5078

Fazoli's, Roses Coming to Madisonville

by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
March 24, 2015 4941

One Dies, Another Injured in Mortons Gap Traffic…

by Deputy Heath Owens
March 25, 2015 4864

Grand Jury Finds No Criminal Wrongdoing in Bean…

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 24, 2015 4078

UPDATE: One Injured in Hopkinsville Road Accident

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 27, 2015 4038

Three Arrested during Execution of Search…

by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center

Most Read This Month

February 25, 2015 13950

Multi-Agency Investigation Nets Large-Scale Meth…

by Trooper Stu Recke
March 09, 2015 13008

Multi-Agency Drug Bust Results in $1 Million Meth…

by KSP DESI

Stories Trending Today

March 27, 2015 4038

Three Arrested during Execution of Search…

by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
March 27, 2015 1615

MPD Searching for Man Accused of Nearly Running…

by Madisonville Police Department
March 26, 2015 1569

‘Chasing Rainbow’ Heart Walk Raises Funds for AHA

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 26, 2015 1482

Two Injured after Jumping from Second Floor to…

by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
March 26, 2015 1349

Baptist Health Honors Staff with Years of Service…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
March 26, 2015 1269

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - March 26,…

by Madisonville Police Department
March 26, 2015 1194

Hopkins District Court Fines Handed Down

by Hopkins Court Clerk
March 26, 2015 1096

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
March 27, 2015 1090

Family Loses Possessions, Dog in Sugg Street Fire

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
March 26, 2015 1000

Teams 'Dodge for the Cure' during Relay for Life…

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News