Inside the U.N. and C.G.I.

09.25.13

Piers Morgan Pesters Clintons About 2016 Plans At CGI

The CNN anchor hosted Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton in a trio of panels at CGI on Wednesday, asking the family, time and again, whether Hillary (or even Chelsea) was ready to announce a presidential run.

Here are a few things that were discussed over the course of Piers Morgan’s star-studded session on “Mobilizing Youth Around the World” for CNN at the Clinton Global Initiative: Hillary Clinton’s presidential run, Chelsea Clinton’s presidential run, Syria, and the U.S.-Russia relationship. Here’s what was barely touched upon: mobilizing youth.

Chelsea Clinton launched off the first of three interviews with a confident statement about how young people are ready to effectively harness their individual and national futures. “Before we get too deep into the weeds,” Morgan interrupted, “Is your mom running for president?”

The conversation circled back to the young and unemployed, with actress America Ferrera calling the number of youth who lack tools to navigate the adult world “a civil crisis.” The third panelist, Peggy Mativo, Kenyan founder of PACEmaker International, lamented the recent attacks on her country as “deplorable,” and Clinton weighed in, calling the attack backlash against the progress the country was seeing with a new generation of successful young Kenyans.

“Have you ever thought of running for high office?” Morgan cut in after her answer. When Clinton deflected with that vague, non-committal tone often struck by politicians, she was interrupted with praise for her ability to “talk for an entire minute without referring remotely to a yes or no.” Finally he got an answer out of her, though it was certainly not the one he was hoping for. “Right now, no,” she said. “In the future, I don’t know.”

A question posed by Morgan’s “heroine” actress Goldie Hawn stressed the need for programs to build resilience in children living in countries where mass tragedies continue to strike. Ferrera’s answer, which involved identifying the most vulnerable schools, led Morgan to praise her as a woman whom “Chelsea should have as a running mate.”

Morgan dove into the so-called “weeds” with former President Bill Clinton, who came out next, addressing the Syrian conflict and the rocky agreement, recently forged between Russia and the United States, to allow Moscow to relieve Syria of its chemical weapons. (But first, Clinton donned purple sunglasses and did a spot-on impression of Bono, who had imitated the president at yesterday’s plenary: “I'm hoarse, that's why all my charities have three-letter names: “One.” That's more letters than U2.”)

The question of trust between the two superpowers has been on the national conscience, and Clinton assured Morgan that Russian President Vladimir Putin never reneged on a deal the two struck, and their relationship was “brutally blunt” behind closed doors. “We’d be crazy not to take advantage of that,” he said referring to the latter’s offer to help secure the chemical weapons supply. He speculated on the beginning of a new strategy for a future focused on Russia and not “trying to make sure America’s miserable in the Middle East.”

But before long, Morgan was ready to get off the wonk and back to the Oval Office.

“Who do you think might make a better president, your wife or your daughter?” he asked Clinton, who noted that “the day after tomorrow” he’d pick Hillary, but in the long-run his money was on Chelsea “because she knows more about everything than we do.”

Mrs. Clinton’s vibe, Morgan said, “screamed to me, ‘I’m running for president.’ Can you put us all out of our misery?”

“I feel like I’m going to school every day when we have conversations,” he joked.

When they met earlier, Mrs. Clinton’s vibe, Morgan said, “screamed to me, ‘I’m running for president.’ Can you put us all out of our misery?”

“No,” Clinton asserted. “It should have screamed to you something else: ‘Real life is healthier than politics.’” When pressed, Clinton said it was up to his wife, and he criticized the new “permanent presidential campaigns” politicians were forced to run.

To Morgan’s credit, the third session, which brought back Chelsea Clinton to sit with Coca Cola CEO Muhtar Kent and Cisco CEO John Chambers, did refocus (at least, initially) on the responsibility of big business to employ young in developing countries Before long, though, it swung back to the news anchor’s favorite topic. When Clinton made a strong argument for governments to guide employment standards and programs for young people, Morgan told the audience to pay attention, because “she will be your commander in chief.”

“Oh, Piers,” Clinton sighed.

“Oh, Chelsea,” he countered. “We could have a comedy routine here.”

“I think we already do.”