January 10, 2006


Clinton greets troops at BIA (Doug Kesseli, 1/10/06, Bangor Daily News)

Returning to U.S. soil after a second tour of duty in Iraq, U.S. Army Spc. Joshua Ruschenberg used a cell phone provided by troop greeters at Bangor International Airport on Monday night to call his mother in Texas.

With former President Bill Clinton among the greeters, Ruschenberg placed a second quick call to his sister-in-law Shancy Garrison in North Carolina, then handed over the phone to the former commander in chief.

"Hi, Shancy, it’s Bill Clinton," the former president said into the small phone.

The 42nd president was returning to the U.S. from Paris where he had met with French President Jacques Chirac to discuss plans for the Clinton Foundation, the former U.S. chief executive’s charitable organization. Clinton’s plane had stopped at BIA around 7 p.m. to refuel. His plans for a quick departure went out the window with the arrival of two flights of soldiers returning from Iraq.

Upon learning of the arriving troops, Clinton delayed his departure and joined the line of staunch local troop greeters who meet each plane carrying service men and women either returning from overseas or leaving for duty.

"Thank you for your service," Clinton said as he shook hands and hugged many of the approximately 600 soldiers as they passed by.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 10, 2006 10:10 AM

Words fail.

Posted by: erp at January 10, 2006 10:22 AM

Mostly women in that group?

words fail, erp?

Opportunist comes to mind, not the 1st word, mind you, but it did come.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 10, 2006 11:00 AM

Excuse me I need to find a kleenex, or perhaps a piece of toilet paper would do.

Posted by: Genecis at January 10, 2006 11:16 AM

Sandy, there are no words in my lexicon to adequately describe this creature. Certainly he's an opportunist, but that seems so banal a word for such as he.

Surprising to me is that some who comment and post here find positive things to say about his presidency.

Posted by: erp at January 10, 2006 11:50 AM

He's been out of office for 5 years. It is time to let go. I was as much a Clinton Hater as anyone but I regret quite a bit. The current hatred of President Bush opened my eyes.

It is a good story and a nice gesture. Clinton didn't have to do it. I'm sure it was a thrill to many of them.

I, however, did laugh at "But most recently, she said, she saw him in animated form on the cartoon "The Family Guy."

Posted by: Bob at January 10, 2006 12:02 PM

I'm with Bob. When he shoots off his mouth again, we can all bang him, but this is a perfectly decent thing for an ex-President to do. Even if he did it only for political gain, isn't that what we want?

Posted by: David Cohen at January 10, 2006 12:08 PM

We wouldn't have elected him president twice if he weren't a patriot.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2006 1:38 PM

Hard to complain about the Democrats not doing anything for the troops and then complain about Clinton doing this. Even if it is some sort of internal poll-driven action designed to help the wife's case in 2008, it's still an act that goes against the bulk of the Clintons' party in a way that no high-ranking member of the Democrats this side of Joe Lieberman seems willing to do nowadays.

Posted by: John at January 10, 2006 1:45 PM

A calculated decision to coincidentally stop and refuel where these guys were landing? Is this plot spelled out on some Jerry Falwell video?

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2006 1:54 PM


Clinton never recieved a popular majority. Patriot? Pure opportunist. Country before self is patriotism.
Hillary is a NAZI and your boy Bill is married to her. This 'third way' stuff is clouding your judgement. Clinton is a buffoon.

Posted by: Tom C. Stamford, Ct., at January 10, 2006 2:07 PM

Imagine what the guy could have done if he hadn't been so despised. The only thing that kept the Dems from total collapse during his years in office was that they were the anti-anti-Clinton party. Otherwise we'd be referring to them in the past tense the way we do about the Soviet Union.

Even now we're all lucky the Left learned all the wrong lessons from how conservatives reacted to Clinton. They're so focused on getting revenge for all the slights he received (real, imagined or deserved) that they still haven't figured out that those slights didn't hurt,and in some ways, helped him. (At least personally)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 10, 2006 2:10 PM


If you're going to call people Nazis shouldn't you be at Kos or Huffington Post? We're grown-ups.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2006 2:13 PM


Sorry. Is statist, leftwing loon OK?

Posted by: Tom C. Stamford, Ct., at January 10, 2006 2:16 PM

Sure, that'll do.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2006 2:24 PM

Sorry. I don't hate Clinton, I hate what he did to our country. His foreign policy led to 9/11, his operatives allowed the media's influence to grow like Topsy, he sold our secrets to China, for his own personal gain, he pardoned child molesters and drug dealers, again for his personal gain, he looked the other way and let terrorism get a foothold in the Balkans, his support of the U. N caused millions of people in Africa to be doomed to die of starvation, and then of course, there's his providing Iran and North Korea with the capability to make nuclear bombs. I could to on, but dredging it all up again will cause my blood pressure to spike.

I will not accept that my feelings about the Clinton years in any way compare with the left's irrational hatred for Bush.

During those years, the media didn't tell the truth so Clinton could look good and now we aren't getting the truth so Bush will look bad.

David, I don't know what you want, but I want to see him and his wife being led to jail in disgrace.

Posted by: erp at January 10, 2006 3:07 PM


I could not agree more with your summary of the Clinton years. The country may be paying a price for generations. C'est la vie.

Posted by: Tom C. Stamford, Ct., at January 10, 2006 3:28 PM

The country seems to be doing rather well and has been for twenty-plus years now. Looking back folks will have no metric by which to distinguish Clinton from Reagan and Bush. He's Grover Cleveland.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2006 4:16 PM

Clinton was a small man. He was probably a below-average President. He did less damage than LBJ or Nixon, but more than Carter.

Clinton most likely met with the troops because he wanted to be in the limelight again, but some part of him probably wants to be "Presidential", whatever that means to him. It is theater. To me, it is sad - not that he did it this time, but that he never really did it before.

I am confused by OJ's statement that he is a patriot - both of his opponents were clearly more so than he. That didn't stop him from winning the elections. They were decided on other grounds.

But we need to let Clinton go. He is not as obnoxious an ex-President as Carter, who may have been a patriot in 1976, but most certainly is not one now.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 10, 2006 4:24 PM

....folks will have no metric by which to distinguish Clinton...


(the balance of the comment was voluntary deleted by the author in order to adhere to the JuddBlog commenting/posting manifesto)

Posted by: John Resnick at January 10, 2006 4:27 PM

Where is the blog manifesto to be found? I thought only name calling and using expletives deleted were banned. I really enjoy being here and would hate to be deleted because of an unintentional transgression.

Posted by: erp at January 10, 2006 5:06 PM

I think this is as close as we've come:


Address arguments respectfully, not individuals in a derogatory manner, and you'll be fine.

But here are the rules we try to follow on the front page:

(1) No profanity.

(2) Minimal self-reference (though none would be unnatural)

(3) Minimal linking to other blogs.

(4) Minimal reference to comments. (Folks who write comments don't get
to do so on the front page, so we try not to write about them on the front.)

(5) Try--though I'm bad about this myself--to only quote about three
paragraphs, or no more than a third, of any story you blog. We want
folks to go read it at the site that owns it. But if you need to use
more to make the excerpt make sense, no problem.

(6) Always link to the original--we want folks to read the whole thing--and don't use links that pop up a new browser window. It's annoying for readers and if we aren't interesting enough for them to navigate back to us, that's our problem.

(7) Never let it interfere with real life.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2006 5:17 PM

Bob Dole's foreign policy would also have led to 9/11. Bin Laden got bit by the anti-American bug under Pres. Bush the Elder.

Clinton acted in the Balkans.
His admin may have made the wrong choices, but it's not at all clear that any other Pres. would have made better choices.

What Pres. hasn't supported the UN, especially when it comes to aid work ?
Neither Bush the Elder nor Dole would have spent billions, and used U.S. troops, to make the changes in Africa that will need to be made, to prevent hunger there.

Even Bush the Younger is only doing diplomatic and goodwill outreach projects there.

America HAS NOT provided Iran or North Korea with fissionable material, under any President.

The NoKo deal under Clinton did not include providing NoKo with any materials which could be used to make nuclear bombs, and in any case, the reactors that America was to finance were never completed.

William J. Clinton is a complex and in many ways contemptible person, but much of his foreign policy was a product of the times in which he governed, and it would not have been significantly different if we had had Republican Presidents from '92 - '00.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at January 10, 2006 5:24 PM

I'm not arguing that he was a great president, or even a decent human being. It was when lefties started defending Hillary's beef future trading that I realized that the country as a whole had left reason behind. But for an ex-president going out and greating returning troops is a decent thing to do. If he and Hill are being forced to treat the troops decently for partisan political advantage, then conservatives have won a great victory.

Posted by: David Cohen at January 10, 2006 5:46 PM

Bill Clinton shrank Welfare and expanded free trade. LBJ and Nixon expanded the welfare state and refused to win the Cold War.

He's above average and they were two of our worst presidents.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2006 6:24 PM

A calculated decision to coincidentally stop and refuel where these guys were landing? Is this plot spelled out on some Jerry Falwell video?

No, just a smart politician taking advantage of a fortuitous situation. Lots of Democratic pols would have simply stayed in the plane or would have never been able to bring themsleves to offer up more than a half-hearted remark for the obiligotry photo op with the soldiers.

Posted by: John at January 10, 2006 6:52 PM

I have to side with the pro-Clinton faction.

It's hard to argue that President Clinton's ill behavior in the White House set a bad example (as I have) and then claim that this kind of thing doesn't also set an example.

Even the cynical emulation of virtue contributes to real virtue in society and I salute Clinton for taking the time to reward the troops.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at January 10, 2006 6:57 PM


So not an "internal poll-driven action".

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2006 6:58 PM

John R. -

Paula Jones claimed she could distinguish him. Now THAT would have been something to see tested in open court. Would plaintiff's counsel have asked the First Lady the same question?

Posted by: ratbert at January 10, 2006 7:34 PM

aog: Can we find some other name for the faction?

Posted by: David Cohen at January 10, 2006 9:11 PM

How about anti-anti-Clintonists?

Posted by: joe shropshire at January 11, 2006 12:32 AM

OJ, Clinton can act based on both propositions. After serving as president for eight years and sending U.S. troops into danger zones (albeit zones of far less danger than he should had sent a few into in hindsight), it's unlikely anyone of rational thought couldn't appreciate the effort of our soldiers more. That's the non-calculating part. But at the same time, both Clintons realize that the American people are not going to elect someone in 2008 who is so obtuse about the possible dangers overseas that he/she will increase the odds of a major U.S. city suffering a new terrorist attack.

In that way, doing good for its own sake at the airport also does the missus' election chances good. So even if the greetings had an alterior motive, given the choice between someone with that Machivellian attitude versus one of the other far more clueless presidential hopefuls on the Democratic side who could get the nomination, I'll take having Bill and Hillary back in the spotlight any day.

Posted by: John at January 11, 2006 12:59 AM

Clinton didn't do any long term damage at all. His tax increase has been reversed. He did no more to encourage terorism than Regean's withdraw from Beruit did. His overreaching on guns and health care helped tip the country conservative.

While I would not like it, if Hillary becomes president, the country would survive.

Posted by: Bob at January 11, 2006 9:47 AM


In Bangor Maine?

Posted by: oj at January 11, 2006 11:58 AM


Bill and Hillary are unlikely to run into any troops in NYC, Westchester County, or LA.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 11, 2006 2:58 PM

Yes, it is good for the country that Clinton greeted and thanked the soldiers. But why was Bangor Bill even at the airport? Because he'd just returned from the sandbox where he gave a very lucrative speech saying Iraq was all a big mistake. In other words, the soldiers fighting only 200 miles away were fighting--and dying--for nothing. Any profanity here on my part concerning this truly profane man would be redundant.

The work-a-day felonies of his administration do not really concern me. But he wedged himself between a willing seller (Loral) and a willing buyer (the ChiComs), taking money from both, to give the Chinese ICBM & MIRV technology. He then ran interference for Wen Ho Lee, who downloaded our entire nuclear library after midnight on Christmas Eve and made many still-unrecovered copies after meeting secretly with Chinese agents in China. Clinton accused his own Attorney General of racism, of prosecuting Lee only because he was "Engineering While Chinese".

I don't know if the ChiComs had incriminating photos of Clinton from the back room of Charlie Trie's restaurant. But I do know his foreign policy wouldn't have looked any different if they did. And if that were the case, to ask if he would have put himself or his country first and resigned, well, the question answers itself.

The Clintons--both of them--are true scum, shameless amoral grifters, the worst of a generation. In that sense, they are "above average". Well above.

Posted by: Noel at January 12, 2006 2:28 PM