At the NARdi Gras open session on Saturday two former presidents of the United States were in attendance. This event was highly anticipated and a crowd of 20,000 (the figure is what I heard I really have no idea) attended.
Yes the presidents really did steal the entire show. I know these two guys have plenty to do, but if they took some time off and practiced a routine they would give Abbot and Costello a run for their money.
Here's the best my camera could do by zooming to the max, I was not even nearly this close to the stage but I did manage this photo.
They both took the stage and each had their turn at the podium and later were involved in a question-answer segment. As they entered the stage I was overcome with a weird sense of pride even though I never voted for either of these two men. I guess it was just the fact that these two powerful men were in the same building as I was or something, I had no problem giving each of them a rousing standing ovation.
I have to say that President Bush, the elder, is quite a cut up. He had the place rolling with his quick wit. He had a little anecdote about when he'd go to San Fransisco how there would always be some protest group waiting for him. One time, he described, there was a mangie looking woman that ran up near the presidents limo and held out a sign that said 'stay out of my uterus' to which Bush said, "No problem!" Obviously you had to be there to get the desired affect. Clinton was practically rolling out of his chair in laughter.
One other mention, and I'll try not to butcher it. Bush said that when he left office that he promised Clinton that he wouldn't be talking to the press on what he would do different on policies that Clinton proposed or how he ran the country. In other words he wouldn't be overtly critical of the job Clinton had to do. But he said that he couldn't offer the same thing to the current president (kind of a swipe at #43) which got plenty of laughs. He said this is especially true for his wife Barbara and that she lets her son know about it all the time.
Yeah, they both talked politics a bit and you can see they disagree about things along those lines, but they have done some great work for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and hats off to them joining together like they have.
A couple of Clinton quips. He said that if millions of us care about the same thing at the same time that we'd have more power in this country than Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or any ONE man and that together we could change the world. This went along nicely with his message about how the Internet has been so powerful in the efforts to raise money for the Bush-Clinton Katrina fund.
He also said that he told the leaders that he was campaigning for to remember that if the democrats win the mid term elections (they did) to keep in mind that the voters were probably not aligning themselves entirely with his political party, instead the voters were telling ALL the leaders to get stuff done in a positive manner on behalf of the people of this country. This was a time to work together for solutions that the American people are demanding. I found his message to be sincere but I doubt the leadership in his party is going to see it the same way, and I also think he knew his audience as NAR is frequently a better supporter for the repbulican agenda on issues important to NAR and Realtors.
I'm really happy that I didn't miss this event. I went to my hotel room to catch up on some college football games and got right in to the event with no problem at about a quarter to 4:00pm. Later I found out that people were waiting in line since 2:00pm (the event started at 4:00pm) and there was some kind of HUGE line outside the building. I guess I cut in front of thousands of people by taking some side entrance. I had no idea that I was cutting in line though... and I wasnt' the only one doing so.