Bill Clinton's Keynote Address at BEA
President Clinton's Keynote Wows 'Em at BookExpo America //
"Last, but definitely not least, Day 1 was topped off by the Keynote Address by former President William Jefferson Clinton, who kicked off his promotional tour for his memoir, My Life. A packed house of book industry professionals gave Clinton a rousing and loud standing ovation. When everyone finally sat down, the former President quipped, "You have to be careful treating me that way, you'll have me believing I'm President again," which prompted another round of applause. In his opening remarks, Clinton thanked the booksellers of America for agreeing to have his book in their lives for the next couple of months, and talked about his lifelong love affair with reading, which began when he was two and his grandmother gave him a copy of Dick & Jane. He noted how books have had a big impact on his life.
Notably, twice during his speech, the former President indicated his support for the position taken by booksellers and librarians to amend Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Acknowledging the complex political challenges facing the nation in its fight against terrorism, Clinton cautioned that "it will take us a while to get the right balance on how we are going to deal with this," but he also underscored that "we need to bend over backwards to protect" free speech.
Clinton's address was at times funny, and at times moving. He called the writing of My Life therapeutic. "I found myself thinking about things [in my life] in sectionsâ€¦. [A]nd after an hour I was there" back in that moment, he said.
Clinton also recommended that others write down their life story. "Someone who is fortunate enough to live 50 [or more] years â€¦ should sit down and write the story of their life" even if it is just for your family, he told attendees, explaining how young people still long to know their roots."-- Reported by Dan Cullen, David Grogan, Rosemary Hawkins, and Karen Schechner (American Booksellers Association--Bookflash).