Speech at the Clinton Foundation's A Decade of Difference Concert October 16, 2011
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Decade of Difference concert celebrating 10 years of philanthropic activity by the Clinton Foundation. Clinton takes time to thank his many celebrity and citizen friends who have partnered with the Foundation over the years to fight diseases like AIDS and assist in recovery efforts in locations like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and Port-au-Prince, Haiti after the earthquake.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you. First um, well I have to uh, put on my glasses. There's gotta be somebody on this stage who's not cool tonight so I'll put on my glasses. I want to thank a few people. First thank all of you for filling the Hollywood Bowl tonight, this has been wonderful, I'm very grateful. I want to thank my daughter, my son in law Mark; all the committee that made this all possible (lists names).
Thank you Yahoo! for broadcasting and streaming this all over the world. Thank you Aaron Grogsky (sp?), thank you Kevin Wall.
Thanks to all the people in the control room who produced this great show tonight.
I want to thank the volunteers, the staff who made this possible. And I want to say that everything you saw on these films that had my face on it was done by somebody else. I want to thank the more than 1300 people who work for our foundation, who work for the Clinton Global Initiative, work for our health program, all over the world and all over America. I'm very grateful to them. They deserve the credit for whatever good we have done. I want to thank - I mean how cool is it to be 65 and you get Lady Gaga, come on! And then I wondered - she always kind of goes up to the edge, and she said she was going to have a Marilyn moment and I thought 'I get Lady Gaga and I will have a heart attack celebrating my 66th birthday.'
And I want to thank K'Naan for coming and Wonance (sp?) for coming. I wanted people here from all over the world - those guys are great. And I thank them.
I wanted to thank Kenny Chesney for coming so I wouldn't be the only person up here with an accent. I want to thank Stevie Wonder for being such a great friend to Hillary and me over the years.
I want to thank Usher who has been a great partner to me and is a wonderful, wonderful man.
Thank you Laura Lane for becoming my friend after I kind of met you. I can say 'there's a girl I picked up in North Korea.' How cool is that?
Thank you Maria Bellow. We have a lot of celebrities involved in Haiti, but when I see Maria Bellow in Haiti I never think of her on television; I think of her as somebody working in Haiti to change people's lives for the better. She's wonderful. I thank her for that.
Thank you Ashton Kutcher for doing everything you've done to try and end trafficking in women and girls.
Thank you Ellen Degeneres for a thousand things, but especially for working in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Thank you Jason Siegel. Thank you Colin Farrell who will come on later.
I want to thank everybody in the film. The film was a hoot wasn't it? I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying to steal Sean Penn's lunch. Sean Penn went to Haiti when it was falling apart and moved in. He didn't take some highly publicized trip down there. He moved into one of those God-forsaken camps where nobody had decent sanitation and nobody had any clean water, and the kids didn't have any schools to go to and the doctors weren't there and he lived there and he organized there and he tried to turn it around. So I want to thank him.
I want to thank my pal Kevin Spacey who really can do me better than I can.
My great friend Ted Danson and Mary Steinbergen who is like my sister. Thank them for doing this.
Thank you Matt Damon - you're pretty cool bald-headed and you look good with a baseball cap. And he's probably the number one advocate for affordable clean water technologies in the entire United States and I thank him for that.
Thank you Jack Black. Thank you Kirstin Wig. And thank you Ben Stiller. Ben Stiller lives in the same town I lived in in New York. I never see him except when he's out being famous doing good. He raised over 12 million dollars in one night not long ago for Haiti, Ben Stiller did, so I thank him.
Now, I have one other person whom I would like to mention besides my daughter of whom I'm extremely proud. I am the only person in history who got to be President, who then had a post-Presidential birthday party attended by both Lady Gaga and the Secretary of State. So, I want to thank Hillary because we met 40 years ago this year and when I met her she was already doing the kind of work you see here. Long before it was cool she was a non-governmental organization all to herself. And for 30 years I was in politics and she did that; then about 10 years ago we switched places. I like it fine. I like it when she's in public office and I'm doing this work. And i'm very proud of her and I'm very grateful that she could be here.
I want to thank my 92 year old mother-in-law who is the coolest person on the planet and the person in our family who knows the most about popular culture. If you have any question about who should win the next Dancing with the Stars contest, go by and see my mother-in-law on the way out and she will fill you in.
I want to thank all of Hillary's family, all of my family, everybody else who is here, but mostly thank you.
One serious thing only - the stories you saw up there on the screen tonight are all true. When you saw K'Naan, he grew up with people in Somalia that aren't even alive anymore because of the violence they live with. You saw the reforestation project in Cambodia - we support an orphanage there of 325 kids with AIDS - most of them lost their parents before they were one year old. They're all going to have normal length lives now; because of that medicine.
What Chelsea said; it is what drives me. I've had the most unusual life. I was born after World War II in the second poorest state in the country into a family that had never had a college graduate and poof lightning struck one time after another. And I never ever believed I was born in a log cabin I built myself. Nobody climbs any ladder alone. And we are not ever going to build this country back by telling people they are on their own. We have got to do America and the world together.
So, you just think about that when you go home tonight. If you're up in the high seats or you're down here; the money you spent tonight will save lives like the people you saw on the screen. This is about real lives and it's about giving everyone the chance to have their story. Thank you for doing that and God Bless!
Barack Obama talks of issues concerning all countries whether in small or great magnitude according to each country's needs. He advances the collective movement of a unified United Nations in building a peaceful future through commitment and trust.1 people like this