Bill Clinton called ‘Most Influential Man in the World’ in current Esquire

In making a point about the importance of having a living will, ex-President Bill Clinton remarked that religious Americans are apparently hypocrites for having a fear of death.

“It’s interesting to me that we always proclaim – especially certain numbers of us – that we’re the most religious big country in the world,” said Clinton. “It may be true, but we also seem to be the most reluctant to get to heaven.”

The remark came at a speech this month before an audience of 5,000 at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and was greeted by laughter and applause.

“Look, I only halfway mean that in the sense that I think that everyone has a moral obligation to live as long and as well as he or she can,” Clinton continued. “But I do think the living will will help to deal with the health-care crisis.”

The impeached president mentioned the case of Terri Schiavo, the brain-injured Florida woman who was starved to death by court order after a long legal battle between her parents and her husband, Michael.

“We spend far more money on the last two months of life than any other country,” Clinton noted. “And I think the only answer to that and maybe the good thing that came out of the terrible agony of the Schiavo family that we were all treated to for weeks is that amazing numbers of Americans including Hillary and me … did living wills. We’d been wanting to do it a long time. We just kept puttin’ it off and puttin’ it off, and I saw that [tragedy] unfold and I said ‘You know, I don’t want to see Chelsea on television like that. Let’s do the living will.'”

Clinton, who has just been named the “Most Influential Man in the World” by Esquire magazine, reiterated a common theme of his – that the U.S. will not always be the leader of the world.

“My view is that we won’t be the supreme political, military and economic power in the world forever. We will always be a great nation if we do the right things. But as soon as China and India are as rich as we are then whether we’ve got the only military superpower is their decision and not ours. …

“We should be trying to build a world at this unique moment in history we would like to live in when we’re not the only big dog on the block.”

In the Esquire piece, magazine editor David Granger says Clinton is now poised to become “something like a president of the world or at least a president of the world’s non-governmental organizations.”

Audio of Bill Clinton’s speech at the University of Minnesota is available here. (Total length: 1 hour, 14 min.)

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