Bill Clinton: "Negative" Press of Clinton Foundation a "Tribute To My Wife That It All Happened Now"


Former President Bill Clinton discusses the funding controversy surrounding his foundation. He speaks with Bloomberg’s Betty Liu at the Clinton Global Initiative America conference in Denver.

BETTY LIU, BLOOMBERG NEWS: Mr. President, again thank you again for inviting us to CGI here this year. It has certainly been -- I have been to many CGI events. In fact I was at your annual meeting back in September. And you do highlight, and as we have seen, some of the great work of the Clinton Global Initiative around the world, helping millions of people out of poverty, fighting childhood obesity and many, many other issues. And I want to get to some of the commitments, Mr. President, that you are excited about to talk about today. But I also want to talk about some of the topics that have overshadowed some of the good work that CGI has done.

CLINTON: Have at it.

LIU: So we know that you have something like 200,000-plus sponsors that have supported CGI since 2001. A few of them have begun to reassess their sponsorship of the Clinton Global Initiative. ExxonMobil has said that they are not going to sponsor CGI this year. Is this because of the funding controversy?

'There are people who just don't like bad press'

CLINTON: Well I think they don't want to be involved in politics. They don't think we were ever political. And there had never been a more, I don't believe, foundation with a prominent political person involved in and like me that had been more nonpolitical. I've had and George and Laura Bush here, Mitt Romney, John McCain. And Sarah Palin came.

I have got all these -- Rupert Murdoch, and his son and his foundation have given money to us, along with Mayor Bloomberg. We just solve problems. But a lot of -- there are people who just don't like bad press. And you can't be involved in modern American politics without somebody attacking you.

And I think that the fact that there are so many other channels like Bloomberg and the social media means that, in effect, if somebody wants to go negative it's I think sort of a tribute to my wife that it all happened now. And we've got all this -- all the social media and the alternative ways of communicating, And I think in the end, the foundation will stand or fall on the work it does. But you're right. We've had more than 300,000 contributors, and 90 percent-plus of them have given $100 or less.

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