Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton

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President Bill Clinton has always been known for his ability to explain complex issues in a way that makes sense, and for finding a way connect with everyone he meets. To hear him tell it, this comes from growing up in a family and a culture where storytelling was their entertainment. From a young age, he learned to speak by learning to listen. He found that everyone has a story, and understanding their story is the key to understanding them as people. And if you understand people, it’s easier to make sense of our world. Inspired by this belief, this series will feature conversations with Bill Clinton and some of the most fascinating people of our time—to explore where we’ve been, but more importantly, where we’re going.

Episode Date
Shonda Rhimes: How We See Each Other Through Characters We Love
Television has always had the capacity to serve a greater purpose than just providing entertainment. It can introduce us to stories and characters we may never have known, and allow people who identify with them to feel seen, heard, and represented. Especially during a time when many people have felt isolated, television can keep us connected, give us an escape, and make us laugh.  But it takes a visionary writer and producer like Shonda Rhimes to create those stories and characters, bring them to life, and make them so compelling that people—love them or loathe them—want to invite them into their lives episode after episode.  Shonda has brought us groundbreaking shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder and Bridgerton and her best-selling memoir, Year of Yes. Through her production company, Shondaland, she has become one of the most prolific, respected, and successful creators in entertainment—and a pioneering example for young people who never thought that pursuing a career in writing and producing television was an option.  Just as she has created new ways to tell stories in what may seem like familiar settings like hospitals or the White House, she has focused her philanthropic work on changing the narrative around what a philanthropist looks like, and finding ways to make sure others have opportunities to realize their own talent. In this episode, Shonda joins President Clinton, one of her biggest fans, to share stories of her life, the power of saying yes, the secret to creating characters that speak to and for us, and the future of her Netflix hit, Bridgerton. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Apr 15, 2021
Stacey Abrams: How to be a Changemaker
On March 25, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a 98-page bill creating several new voting restrictions in the state—one of the now 361 bills in 47 states that have been introduced to restrict voting access since last November’s election. The right to vote is both fundamental to individual liberty and to the proper functioning of representative democracy. When voting rights are denied, diluted, or restricted, the ability of our government to solve problems, seize opportunities, and serve everyone is impaired—and its legitimacy is weakened. In this episode, Stacey Abrams joins President Clinton to discuss her work to register voters and protect voting rights in Georgia and across America. Together, they discuss how we can repair and restore faith in democratic institutions, elections, and voting, and what we can all do to achieve real, meaningful change. This conversation was recorded as part of the recent Clinton Global Initiative University meeting, hosted by Howard University. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Apr 08, 2021
Dr. Bernice A. King: How To Achieve Social Justice Through Non-Violence
On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and shared his dream that one day his “four little children would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” In the 50-plus years since that hot summer day, our nation has made important progress toward achieving that vision—but it is still painfully clear every day that we have a very long way to go.  In this episode, President Clinton speaks with Dr. Bernice A. King, the youngest of the four children Dr. King dreamed for in his most famous speech, who has herself spent a lifetime in pursuit of racial, social, and economic justice. As CEO of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Dr. King shares the lessons she learned from her father and mother, civil rights leader Coretta Scott King; how their new BE LOVE campaign is a vision for how to break the chain of hatred and violence; and why the younger generation gives her hope.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Apr 01, 2021
Dawn Staley: How To Have the Courage to Compete
A year ago, under the leadership of head coach Dawn Staley, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball team entered the NCAA tournament with a 32-1 record and were favored to win another national championship. But that dream was cut short when the men’s and women’s tournaments were abruptly canceled amid the outbreak of COVID-19. This year, March Madness is back and Staley’s team is again a No. 1 seed.  Even in a normal year, for so many people across the world, sports are often much more than a game. They have the ability to unite us and help us connect across borders, generations, gender, race, and other lines that might otherwise divide us. And, as we’ve seen over the last year in America, athletes have been important leaders in advocating for racial and social equality and justice across society — especially women athletes, who have spoken up even while facing disparities at the top levels in their own sports. With March Madness as the backdrop, and Staley marking the 500th win of her Hall of Fame career, we revisit a special episode of “Why Am I Telling You This?.” In this conversation from 2019, Coach Staley joined President Clinton to share stories about how her experiences — from growing up in Philadelphia, to winning national championships and Olympic Gold — have inspired her to mentor other young women. For her players, the fans, and the countless people benefiting from her philanthropic work and advocacy, Coach Staley’s story is an inspiring one that is also a reminder of how sports can lift our common humanity, and why equality matters. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Mar 25, 2021
Rep. Grace Meng: How to Stop the Hate
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the country, with New York City reporting an increase of more than 800 percent in 2020. These attacks have been fueled in large part by scapegoating and xenophobic rhetoric spread rapidly through social media. But they are also just the latest in a long—and often overlooked—history of prejudice Asian Americans have faced in our nation. In this episode, President Clinton sits down with U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), who recently authored a resolution condemning all forms of anti-Asian bigotry, including as it relates to the coronavirus pandemic. Together, they discuss the factors that are contributing to these crimes, why the coronavirus pandemic is the quintessential crisis to give rise to our ugliest national impulses, and what we can all do to protect members of our communities. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Mar 18, 2021
The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg: How to Fight for Equality
On September 18, 2020, America lost one of the greatest advocates for equality in the history of our country, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Justice Ginsburg’s remarkable story is an important reminder of the barriers she faced that her male counterparts not only weren’t subjected to, but often didn’t even consider. She didn’t just overcome those barriers; she tore many of them down, and used her own experiences to inform her decades of work on behalf of others whose voices weren’t being heard. In this special presentation from the original version of “Why Am I Telling You This?,” NPR’s legal affairs correspondent, Nina Totenberg, joins Justice Ginsburg for a candid, rollicking conversation with stories from her quarter century on the nation’s highest court, her distinguished career fighting gender discrimination, what it’s like to serve among her fellow “sisters in law,” and her pop culture ascendance.  This conversation was recorded live in 2019 in Little Rock, Arkansas as a part of the Clinton Presidential Center’s Frank and Kula Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Mar 11, 2021
Steven Garza: How to Represent
In the summer of 1963, Bill Clinton had one of the most formative experiences of his life when he participated in the American Legion’s Boys State and Boys Nation programs—learning about government and politics, meeting President John F. Kennedy, and for the first time seriously considering pursuing a life in public service. In 1992, President Clinton became the youngest president to be elected since JFK, and the first of his generation to hold that office. In 2018, Steven Garza had a similarly life-changing experience at Texas Boys State, which is chronicled in the critically acclaimed documentary "Boys State.” In this episode, Steven joins President Clinton to share stories about their experiences at Boys State, learning what it takes to run for office, how to grapple with issues like voting rights and gun safety, and why it’s so important that young leaders step up to serve and move America forward. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Mar 04, 2021
Magic Johnson: How to Design the Next Act of Your Life
Whether taking a leap of faith to pursue a new path or overcoming an unforeseen obstacle, we all reach crossroads in our lives where we have to figure out what’s next. But no one should ever assume that their best, most productive days are behind them.  In this episode, Magic Johnson joins President Clinton to discuss how, after his HIV diagnosis abruptly ended his NBA career, he channeled his talent and drive to become a champion of others as an activist and entrepreneur helping underserved communities. In this wide-ranging conversation, Magic shares stories of leadership, inspiration, and determination, including what he learned from growing up in Michigan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Jordan, the Dream Team experience - and the most memorable game he ever played. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Feb 25, 2021
Douglas Brinkley: How History Will View the 2020 Election
Presidential elections have taken place in America every four years since 1788, but the 2020 election was unlike anything we had experienced before. Amid a pandemic, an economic crisis, and a long overdue reckoning with systemic racism, Americans made their votes and voices heard in record numbers, electing the historic ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Yet even after the results made clear that he had lost, Donald Trump tried to overturn the results of the free and fair election and undermine the public’s faith in our system—eventually leading to the assault on the Capitol on January 6. In this episode one of America’s most respected presidential historians and best-selling author Douglas Brinkley joins President Clinton to make sense of what we just lived through, and to reflect on how future generations might view what will likely be one of the most consequential and intensely examined elections in American history. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Feb 18, 2021
The Presidency and the People: How to Form a More Perfect Union
In commemoration of Presidents Day, President Bill Clinton traces the evolution of the presidency from America’s founding through modern history and explores how the best presidents used the office to build an America that more closely resembled our highest ideals and aspirations.  This special episode, from the original version of “Why Am I Telling You This?”, features President Clinton’s keynote speech from the 2019 Presidential Ideas Festival at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. For this episode, David Blight, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom” and Professor of American History at Yale University, provides original commentary on President Clinton’s speech. Professor Blight says the speech is a “rare blend of learned history and lived experience... a reminder of what the future of the institution of the presidency can still be.” This episode was originally released in July 2019. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Feb 15, 2021
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: How Facts Can Fight A Pandemic
From the time the first U.S. cases of the coronavirus began to be reported a year ago, America found itself in a battle against two interconnected diseases. The first, COVID-19, has now claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and completely upended the ways we live, work, and interact with each other. And the second is a major reason why COVID-19 has had such a devastating toll: the spread of misinformation to downplay the seriousness of the virus.  In this episode, President Clinton sits down with one of America’s most trusted doctors and journalists, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, to make sense of where we are in the fight against COVID-19 one year into the pandemic, dispel myths about the vaccines, and discuss his new book, Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Feb 11, 2021
Wynton Marsalis: How Jazz Explains Democracy
After a year in which we were all forced to improvise, and some of the most fundamental ideas and foundations of our society have been challenged, there may be no better art form to help us understand these times than jazz. In many ways, jazz is the music of democracy at its best, and shows how we can find harmony with one another and work together to become a more inclusive, kinder, and equitable nation.  In the premier episode of his podcast, President Clinton sits downs with one of the world’s most influential jazz artists, Wynton Marsalis, to hear powerful stories about Wynton’s life, how his recent works “The Ever Fonky Lowdown” and “The Democracy! Suite” are blueprints to help us decode and overcome the forces that divide us, and what he learned from his father, who he lost to COVID-19 early in the pandemic. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Feb 04, 2021
Introducing: Why Am I Telling You This?
President Bill Clinton is a master at using storytelling to explain complex issues and highlight our common humanity. To hear him tell it, this comes from growing up in a family where everyone had a story, but in order to tell one, you first needed to listen. In this new podcast, hear President Clinton share stories and ideas with some of the most fascinating people of our time as they make sense of the issues and events that continue to shape our interconnected world. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Jan 27, 2021