Former White House counselor, and current CNN contributor, Paul Begala was blown away by the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas earlier this week. From his report:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, along with the Center for American Progress Action Fund and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, brought together the most amazing, eclectic collection of political and policy types I’ve ever seen.
Only Reid could bring former President Bill Clinton and right-wing Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens together to find common ground. Clinton spoke first. He arrived Monday, direct from Little Rock, where he’d helped eulogize his friend, Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney. The heartache was still etched in his face, but nothing was going to make him break his commitment to Reid.
With few notes and no prepared speech, the former president outlined a comprehensive strategy to spur economic growth and create millions of new jobs while moving America away from fossil fuels and toward saving the planet.
It was a tour de force: so deep in the details that the propeller-heads were swooning, yet simple and compelling enough that I could follow it. On the day before his 62nd birthday, I couldn’t help cursing the 22nd Amendment, which limited Clinton to two terms. Heck, he’s still 10 years younger than McCain.
Tuesday it was Pickens’ turn. The 80-year old strode up to the stage like he was walking up to the OK Corral. And as one of the few Republicans in the room — and a major backer of the much-hated “Swift Boat” attacks on Sen. John Kerry — Ol’ Boone must have felt like the only fireplug at the dog show.
But, like Clinton, he rose to the occasion. He outlined his plan to move trucks and cars to natural gas, while producing 20 percent of our electricity from wind. He was self-deprecating, clear-eyed and disarmingly candid. Through it all, he conveyed one clear message: American dependence on foreign oil must be reduced.
Begala saved the killer line for the end:
I don’t know which ticket will win in November, but the Clinton-Pickens ticket Harry Reid assembled has definitely won August.