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 to 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
Prime Minister Tony Blair: How to Define Our Interdependence
2856

Leadership matters. And while it’s easy to take a cynical view of government and politics in today’s world, it’s important to remember that public service can and should still be an honorable endeavor - and responsible leadership, working together, and putting people first are still fundamental to effective government. 

In the season finale of Why Am I Telling You This, former Prime Minister Tony Blair joins President Clinton for a wide-ranging discussion on the conflict in Ukraine, the future of Northern Ireland, how to create a vital center in politics, and the work of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

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May 26, 2022
President Bill Clinton: Reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban Now
480

Last week was another week marked by multiple mass shootings in America, including attacks in Houston, Southern California, and a particularly heinous, racially-motivated massacre in Buffalo, N.Y. in which 10 people were killed in a supermarket—the deadliest mass shooting in the United States so far this year.

In the wake of these tragedies, Americans have a responsibility to denounce domestic terrorism and stand up to those who promote the racist ideology that motivated the Buffalo shooter.

But elected officials, especially, must go beyond offering thoughts and prayers. Mass shootings keep happening, on a near-weekly basis, and the one thing we know can make them less frequent and less deadly has not been done: namely, reinstating the assault weapons ban and the limit on high-capacity magazines that were in effect from 1994 to 2004.

For this episode of Why Am I Telling You This?, we revisit commentary from President Clinton (originally published in TIME in the wake of two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio on the same weekend in the summer of 2019) calling on Congress to institute universal—and more thorough—background checks, and reinstate the ammunition limit and ban on assault weapons—sensible measures that worked before, and can work again.

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May 19, 2022
Dr. Jill Biden and Hillary Clinton: How Community Colleges Can Build A Modern Workforce
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Graduation season is here, and soon a new generation of leaders will take their energy, their ideas, and their desire to take action out into the world to help solve the challenges we all face. The more opportunities we provide for more people to pursue higher education, the better off we all are.

This special episode of “Why Am I Telling You This” features a conversation between the sitting First Lady of the United States and community college educator, Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary Hillary Clinton from the 2022 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) meeting about why community colleges are one of the great cornerstones of America’s education system, and the important role they play in shaping the leaders of tomorrow.

Started in 2007, CGI U has brought together more than 11,000 college and university students together to create change in the U.S. and around the world. The 2022 CGI U meeting, hosted in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges, included more than 400 student leaders, representing 70 countries and more than 200 schools, all with ideas to tackle the innumerable challenges students have faced throughout the COVID 19 pandemic, and to make the world a safer, healthier, and more equitable place for all.

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May 12, 2022
How Parents Can Inspire Us: Stories of Moms and Dads
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A parent or caregiver’s unconditional love is one of the greatest gifts any of us can receive.  With Mother’s Day around the corner and Father’s Day coming up next month, this special episode of Why Am I Telling You This? brings together some of the most inspiring stories our guests have shared with President Clinton about their parents and other caregivers and the impact they made on their lives. The episode features conversations with Dr. Bernice King, Wynton Marsalis, Magic Johnson, Jason Isbell, David Ortiz, Melba Wilson, Matt Damon, Lisa Leslie, and Jose Andres.

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May 05, 2022
Melba Wilson: How Food Feeds Our Soul
2131

There’s a reason a certain type of home-cooked cuisine is referred to as “soul food”—because it nurtures the spirit as well as the body. From the American South to New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, food is an integral part of culture, a symbol of love, and a way to bring family, friends, and strangers together.

On this episode of Why Am I Telling You This?, President Clinton is joined by “America’s queen of comfort food,” Melba Wilson, whose eponymous restaurant has been serving mouth-watering meals in Harlem—where she was “born, bred, and buttered”—since 2005. In addition to nurturing her native community with food, Wilson also takes care of her neighbors in other ways. In 2021, she was instrumental in setting up a mobile COVID vaccination site for Harlem residents, provided meals to thousands of essential workers, and established the Melba’s COVID-19 Employee Relief Fund to provide financial aid to dozens of restaurant workers who found themselves out of work during the pandemic. She is also serving on New York City’s COVID Recovery and Health Equity Task Force.

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Apr 28, 2022
Dolores Huerta: How to Lead a Movement
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Throughout American history, progress has never come easily, as we’ve been reminded repeatedly over the last few years. It requires hard work, persistence, and passionate individuals banding together to support causes they believe in. Few people know that better than Dolores Huerta, the trailblazing civil rights and labor movement leader who helped farm workers find their voice and power by organizing a strike and boycott among California grape workers in the 1960s in response to horrific working and living conditions. Despite violent backlash, the workers’ steadfast determination over the next five years resulted in health benefits, higher wages, and better, safer living and working conditions.

Sixty years ago, along with Cesar Chavez, Huerta formed the National Farm Workers Association—which later became what is currently America’s most enduring agricultural union, the United Farm Workers. As a direct result of her leadership in the American Labor Movement, countless people have been able to better support themselves and their families and have earned the treatment of respect and dignity they deserve. She has remained on the front lines of nearly every progressive social movement since.

On this episode, Huerta shares with President Clinton her remarkable life story, the experiences she had as a young person that shaped her into a trailblazing activist, and how today—at 92 years old—she still has the motivation and commitment to make a positive difference on women's rights, immigrant rights, labor rights, voting rights, and civil rights through the Dolores Huerta Foundation.

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Apr 21, 2022
Roman Mars: How Great Design Can Be 99% Invisible
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In an age that seems dominated by conflict, it’s important that we step back and remind ourselves of our amazing capacity to work together.  And there’s perhaps no greater example of that than the modern city.  From the smallest details to the large-scale infrastructure, every piece of a city was thought about, designed, and built by someone to make one large living thing we could all inhabit. When it all works well, it enables our society to work well, too.

Roman Mars has spent his career chronicling these bits of human ingenuity that we so often take for granted—things like the utility codes, the curb cuts, the traffic signals, and much more. As host of the 99% Invisible Podcast and, with Kurt Kohlstedt, co-author of the book The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design, his work challenges all of us to look up and around, and to think about the how and the why of design around the world in a different way.

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Apr 14, 2022
Secretary Donna E. Shalala, Dr. Harold Varmus, Dr. Francis Collins, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci & More: How to Invest in a Healthier Future
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In existence for over a century, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is arguably one of the most important agencies of the federal government. Its work is so critical that it often enjoys rare and widespread bipartisan support. In this special bonus episode, President Clinton and nationally recognized experts share first-person accounts and unique perspectives of how the Clinton administration’s unprecedented investment in research and science at NIH led to some of the most impactful scientific breakthroughs in the last century – including developing antiretroviral treatments for HIV/AIDS, accelerating research which ultimately made it possible to develop COVID-19 vaccines, and the sequencing of the human genome.

This episode features talks by:

  • President Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, Founder and Board Chair, Clinton Foundation 
  • Dr. Donna E. Shalala, Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration
  • Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH
  • Dr. John I. Gallin, NIH Associate Director for Clinical Research who served as the inaugural chief scientific officer of the NIH Clinical Center
  • Dr. Gary Nabel, President & CEO of ModeX Therapeutics and the first director of the NIH Dale and Betty Bumpers Vaccine Research Center
  • Dr. Harold Varmus, the Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine at Meyer Cancer Center of Weill Cornell Medicine, former Director of NIH, and Nobel Prize winning scientist
  • Dr. Wendy Chung, Director of Clinical Genetics at Columbia University
  • Dr. Francis Collins, longstanding former NIH Director and Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute
  • Dr. Charles Rotimi, Director of the Trans-NIH Center for Research on Genomics and Global Health

This podcast was adapted from an event held in partnership with the Clinton Presidential Center and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service as part of the Kumpuris Distinguished Lecture Series. To learn more, visit www.clintonpresidentialcenter.org

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Apr 07, 2022
Matt Damon & Gary White: How to Measure the Worth of Water
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More than 770 million people around the world are living without access to clean water—including in communities throughout the United States.  The challenges this creates to public health, economic opportunity, education, and gender equality are astounding, and the crisis of water inequity is only growing more urgent due to the effects of climate change.  

In this episode, President Clinton is joined by an unlikely pair who are working together to bring access to life’s most fundamental resource a reality for everyone across the globe—actor and Academy Award winner Matt Damon, and water and sanitation engineer Gary White.  After meeting at a Clinton Global Initiative meeting more than a decade ago, they partnered to found the organization Water.org, and later WaterEquity, and have now brought clean water to more than 40 million people in 11 countries.  In their conversation with President Clinton, they discuss their new book The Worth of Water, explain the urgency of the water crisis and why they’re both so passionate about it, and outline a roadmap to how solving this problem is possible within our lifetimes.

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Mar 31, 2022
David Ortiz: How to Swing for the Fences
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A new baseball season is finally getting underway—bringing with it our enduring optimism. Baseball has helped see us through wars, depressions, and pandemics.  It’s seen Jackie Robinson break down the color barrier 75 years ago this April, and players like Juan Marichal and Roberto Clemente open the doors of possibility to generations of young people across Latin America.  It is more than a game; it’s a part of who we are.

There’s no better person to help celebrate the upcoming season than David Ortiz, a once in a generation star who embodies the best of baseball both on and off the field.  David is a 10-time All-Star, three-time World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox, seven-time Silver Slugger, soon-to-be baseball Hall of Famer, and a hero to fans young and old, from New England to the Dominican Republic where he grew up.

In this episode, David shares stories about how his parents’ love and guidance helped give him the dedication and discipline to succeed; some of the most memorable moments of his career, including breaking “The Curse of the Bambino” in 2004 and rallying the local community and the country after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing; and his commitment to giving back and making a difference in kids’ lives through the David Ortiz Children’s Fund.

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Mar 24, 2022
Bernard-Henri Lévy: How to Find the Will to See
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Over the last three weeks, people around the world have watched in horror as the Russian invasion of Ukraine has claimed hundreds of innocent lives and put millions more in grave danger. The invasion has been a tragic reminder of the human costs of war, and why what happens to people anywhere should matter to all of us, everywhere.

In this episode, President Clinton is joined by French philosopher, filmmaker, and author Bernard-Henri Lévy to discuss his latest project, a documentary and accompanying book titled “The Will to See,” which shines a light on the suffering created by conflicts in places including Ukraine, Bosnia, Somalia, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan; explain how NGOs can play in critical role in rebuilding societies after “forgotten wars”; and share stories from his own extraordinary life.  While this conversation was taped before the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the insights Lévy shares about the bravery of the Ukrainian people and the importance of their struggle for freedom and against oppression rings even truer today.

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Mar 17, 2022
Remembering Dr. Paul Farmer: How to Fight for Health Equity
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Dr. Paul Farmer, who passed away unexpectedly in Rwanda on February 21st, fundamentally changed the way healthcare is delivered in the most impoverished places on Earth, touched millions of lives, and inspired countless others to follow his example.

In tribute to his extraordinary life and pioneering work, this special episode features a conversation between Chelsea Clinton and Dr. Farmer from 2019, as well as President Clinton’s reflections about his longtime friend.

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Mar 10, 2022
Michael Murphy: How Architecture Can Save Lives
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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, so many of us found ourselves looking at the places we visit in our daily lives, weighing factors like ventilation and ability to social distance, and asking ourselves a new question: will going here make me more or less likely to become sick?  

For architect Michael Murphy, this is the kind of question he has spent his life thinking about. As the Founding Principal and Executive Director of MASS Design Group, one of the most innovative architecture and design collectives working today, Michael is devoted to designing better buildings that improve health, bring people together, and promote equality and dignity. In this episode, Michael joins President Clinton to talk about projects they’ve worked on together in Haiti and Rwanda, his new book “The Architecture of Health” and the simple design elements that can limit the spread of disease, and his involvement with the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama. They also share personal reflections on the impact that their mutual friend and partner Dr. Paul Farmer, who passed away unexpectedly the day before this conversation, had on their lives.

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Mar 03, 2022
Apolo Ohno & Lisa Leslie: How to Be An Olympian
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At their best, the Olympics symbolize our world’s potential for cooperation, honoring the common humanity that unites us across old divisions of gender, race, and geographical borders. With the 2022 Winter Olympics having drawn to a close, President Clinton sits down with two iconic Olympians, speed skater Apolo Ohno and basketball player Lisa Leslie, to talk about their journeys from modest backgrounds to the pinnacle of their sports, the honor of representing the United States, and embodying the Olympic ideals. They share stories and frank discussions about the pressure and emotional toll Olympians face, the discipline to succeed and the resilience to keep going after setbacks, and how to find satisfaction and purpose after athletic careers end by lifting others to achieve their own potential.

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Feb 24, 2022
Jason Isbell: How to Find Something to Love
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Bill Clinton has often said he wouldn’t have become President if he hadn’t been born in Arkansas into a family whose main form of entertainment was storytelling. From a young age, he learned that every person has a story, and every person’s story has value—and when we truly hear other people’s stories, we can recognize at least some part of ourselves in them, too.

In the Season 2 premier of Why Am I Telling You This?, President Clinton is joined by one of the most acclaimed storytellers working in music today, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and guitarist Jason Isbell. Jason shares how his upbringing in rural Alabama helped him find his calling, why he feels a responsibility to speak out on issues he cares about, and how music can cut through our defenses and speak to our souls. Along the way, Jason and President Clinton talk about the challenges facing rural America, the overdose epidemic, and vaccine hesitancy—as well as Jason’s most recent album, Georgia Blue, and his film acting debut in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Killers of the Flower Moon.

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Feb 17, 2022
Introducing: Season 2 of Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton
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President Bill Clinton returns for a new season of his critically-acclaimed podcast, “Why Am I Telling You This?.” Listen each week for new and timely conversations with some of the most fascinating people of our time that will celebrate our unique differences that make life interesting, but affirm that our common humanity matters even more.

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Feb 10, 2022
Introducing: You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton
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Hillary is back, and fired up for more illuminating conversations on You and Me Both. This season, along with her guests, she’ll tackle big stuff, with a multi-part series on the state of our democracy. But she’ll also venture into more personal territory with athletes, advice givers, Broadway stars, and political leaders. And she’ll draw inspiration from people who have stepped out of their lane, found their own voice, or forged a singular sense of style.

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Jan 26, 2022
Jimmy Smits: How To Hit New Heights
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The explosion in media platforms - from streaming services to podcasts - means more programming is being produced and consumed than ever before. But despite the boom in content, representation of Latinos in major roles in film, television and on stage still doesn’t match the significant role the Latino community plays in American life.

People deserve to feel that their lives and stories are important and worthy of being told. At their best, TV and film characters can help us break down stereotypes so that people of all backgrounds believe they can chart their own course in life and achieve whatever role they want to play, whether on screen or in society.

Jimmy Smits has spent his career bringing to life some of the most memorable characters we've ever seen in shows and movies from “LA Law,” “NYPD Blue,” and “The West Wing,” to “Dexter,” “Sons of Anarchy,” and “Star Wars.” As a co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, he's also worked tirelessly to improve representation and given hundreds of promising young Latino students the opportunity to pursue their dreams in the arts.

On the season one finale of “Why Am I Telling You This?,” Jimmy joins President Clinton to discuss how he approaches his craft and some of his favorite characters, his role in the upcoming film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In The Heights,” and his work to expand opportunities for Latinos in front of and behind the camera.

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May 20, 2021
José Andrés: How to Feed the World in Times of Crisis
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In recent years, the world has been hit by crises with immense human tolls—from larger and more frequent natural disasters and the devastating consequences of climate change, to armed conflict and political instability that has forced millions of refugees to flee their homes, to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic insecurity. In the wake of these crises, responding quickly and understanding the challenges and needs facing communities is critical. Often, the first and most basic need for those suffering is access to a meal.  

This week, as the COVID-19 surge in India reaches catastrophic levels and we all look for ways to make a difference, we revisit a conversation between President Clinton and José Andrés. José, already a world renowned chef, started World Central Kitchen to ensure that people in crisis are treated with dignity, respect, and nourishment. Whenever and wherever disaster strikes, José and his team can be counted on to be on-site, building massive relief operations from the ground-up.  

Since the start of the pandemic, World Central Kitchen has partnered with more than 2,500 small restaurants to help them keep their doors open while feeding vulnerable members of their communities. When the onset of pandemic closed schools and services in Little Rock, World Central Kitchen joined with the Clinton Presidential Center to prepare and serve more than 700,000 meals for people in need in Central Arkansas. And now in addition to their efforts at vaccination sites, hospitals, and medical centers across the U.S., World Central Kitchen is providing food and hydration to the medical staff working around the clock in India. 

Even while feeding millions during the pandemic, World Central Kitchen has also continued to respond to natural disasters, like the recent volcanic eruption on St. Vincent, the largest Atlantic hurricane season on record last year, and the unprecedented wildfires in the American West.    

In this episode, José Andrés shares the stories of founding World Central Kitchen in response to the Haiti earthquake, his work in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Mozambique to provide hot meals, human dignity, and hope after catastrophe hits—and how he found his passion in cooking.

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May 13, 2021
James Carville and Paul Begala: How to Keep Putting People First
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Successful political candidates—and more importantly, successful leaders—need to have a vision and a message that lets everyone see themselves as part of our shared future. James Carville and Paul Begala have been as good at crafting those messages as anyone in modern day politics. 

In the 1992 Clinton/Gore campaign, they helped give voice to Bill Clinton’s policy proposals which put people first and resonated with voters across every demographic—building an inclusive economy; expanding access to quality, affordable health care; improving education at every level and opening the doors to higher education to all; and protecting our natural resources. As a result, Bill Clinton became the first Democratic president in six decades to be elected twice; led the U.S. to the longest economic expansion in our history, including the creation of more than 22 million jobs; and signed into law programs that are still helping Americans today, like the Family and Medical Leave Act, AmeriCorps, and the mapping of the Human Genome, which led to breakthroughs in medicine including the COVID-19 vaccine.

Although the political and media landscapes are constantly changing, James and Paul are still two of the most sought-after strategists and commentators. On this episode of the podcast, James and Paul join President Clinton to share stories from their lives in politics, analyze the current landscape, and discuss how we can continue to make the case for a more inclusive America. 

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May 06, 2021
Dr. Vivek Murthy: How We Can Overcome the Opioid Crisis
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This week, we revisit an important episode of “Why Am I Telling You This?” on the escalating opioid crisis, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This episode features U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and harm reductionist and Clinton Foundation partner Julie Stampler who joined President Bill Clinton in 2019 to discuss how we can work together to fight this epidemic, and a personal story from Sarah Gad, who overcame her own struggle with substance use disorder and is now helping others through a Clinton Global Initiative University commitment that has increased medication-assisted treatment for incarcerated people struggling to survive and conquer their addiction. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that, on average, more than 160 people a day die of opioid overdoses across America — and millions more are in need of treatment. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in overdose deaths throughout the country, as people struggling with substance use disorder have had difficulty accessing health care professionals, support groups, and family and friends. In April 2021, the Biden Administration asked Congress for $10.7 billion to fight the opioid crisis.

The Clinton Foundation’s Opioid Response Network has been responding to the opioid crisis since 2012 — working with partners to distribute more than 280,000 doses of life-saving naloxone, engage influential faith leaders in hard-hit communities to reduce stigma, and translate research into practice with institutions such as the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School. Learn more: clintonfoundation.org.

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Apr 29, 2021
Roy Spence: How to Find A Common Purpose
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America has always been at its best when we pull together in common cause. But rampant misinformation campaigns, media silos, and polarization have undermined faith in our institutions and trust in each other, which has made working together more challenging. Changing the behavior and attitudes that have led to this polarization will start with changing our perception of each other—seeing one another as people again and finding a common purpose. 

Roy Spence has spent his life helping respected leaders and organizations discover their purpose, and rallying people around it. Roy and his partners at renown ad agency GSD&M in Austin—the same core group he started the firm with after college—have been behind some of the most successful advertising campaigns in U.S. history, from the iconic “Don’t Mess with Texas” slogan, which began as an anti-litter effort, to long-running campaigns that helped define brands like Southwest Airlines, Walmart, and AT&T. Roy has also created public service campaigns featuring former Presidents and some of the biggest stars in music, film, and television to bring people together in times of crisis, including after Hurricane Katrina and 9/11. 

An Advertising Hall of Fame inductee and author of the Wall Street Journal bestseller, It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For: Why Every Extraordinary Business Is Driven by Purpose, Roy joins President Clinton to share stories from their 50-year friendship, and talk about how marketing can move people to do good by appealing to their higher aspirations, and how finding purpose can help move America forward.

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Apr 22, 2021
Shonda Rhimes: How We See Each Other Through Characters We Love
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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.

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Apr 15, 2021
Stacey Abrams: How to be a Changemaker
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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.

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Apr 08, 2021
Dr. Bernice A. King: How To Achieve Social Justice Through Non-Violence
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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. 

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Apr 01, 2021
Dawn Staley: How To Have the Courage to Compete
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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.

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Mar 25, 2021
Rep. Grace Meng: How to Stop the Hate
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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.

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Mar 18, 2021
The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg: How to Fight for Equality
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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.

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Mar 11, 2021
Steven Garza: How to Represent
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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.

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Mar 04, 2021
Magic Johnson: How to Design the Next Act of Your Life
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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.

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Feb 25, 2021
How History Will View the 2020 Election
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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.

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Feb 18, 2021
The Presidency and the People: How to Form a More Perfect Union
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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.

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Feb 15, 2021
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: How Facts Can Fight A Pandemic
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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

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Feb 11, 2021
Wynton Marsalis: How Jazz Explains Democracy
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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.

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Feb 04, 2021
Introducing: Why Am I Telling You This?
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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.

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Jan 27, 2021