Speaking at Georgetown University on Tuesday as part of his annual lecture series at his alma mater, former President Bill Clinton offered both political and personal advice to students.
Public life = onion
“One thing I love about public life is that its like peeling an onion, there’s always another layer, something new again.”
Headlines vs. Trendlines
“Whenever you are tying to evaluate policy you should try to ask yourself: is there is a difference between story and the storyline. Always look for the story. Sometimes it’s in the storyline and sometimes it’s not. There is a difference between headlines and the trend lines. Typically for perfectly understandably reasons, bad news makes better news than good news. But sometimes the trend lines are better than headlines.”
“For me personally always had a pretty simply purpose. I always wanted at the end of my life to be able to answer with a resounding yes – to three questions: Are people better off than when you started? Do children have a better future? Are things coming together rather than being torn apart? To me all the rest is background music.”
Inclusive politics leads to inclusive economics
“This is becoming more important than every before – in an interdependent world, whether we like it or not, inclusive politics is necessary to have inclusive economics. Inclusive discussion with various stakeholders is necessary to have various social change.”
ISIS: The most interesting non governmental organization
“The most interesting non governmental organization today which includes the importance of inclusion by it’s shortcomings but its formidably is ISIS. ISIS is a terrorist organization and NGO trying to become a state that is they don’t recognize any of the boundaries of Middle Eastern countries as legitimate … and so when they go capture a place they set up their own judicial system their own rule making thing, whatever their social services will be. And the only thing is, you can’t disagree with them or they’ll kill you as we’ve seen.”
’Why this negotiation with Iran is so important’
“I think you live in an exciting time. I think that is unlikely these ideological driven conflicts we’re having now with non state actors will be fully resolved – I hope and pray that we will leave behind a system that we can say with some confidence that we could keep really big, bad things from happening, that is why this negotiation with Iran is so important.”
How to find purpose
“We all find our purpose in our own lives. If you work at it. It will come.”
CNN’s John Verhovek contributed to this report.