Clinton to Sun Studio

July 26th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

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Both being political geeks, we of course had to visit the Clinton Presidential Centre and Library. Is easy to get to, next to the Arkansas River.

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The car used as Clinton’s car during his terms as President.

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A replica of the Cabinet Room and table.

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Me trying out Clinton’s chair which has a slightly higher back than the others.

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The replica oval office.

As well as the replicas there was a huge amount of info on both the Clinton presidency, but also demographic changes in the world and US during his eight years as President. My favourite section was reading some of the personal correspondence to and from him. And yes there was a section on his impeachment. Of course as it is his library it was written reasonably favourably to him.

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The museum also had a temporary exhibition of dresses by Oscar de la Renta, who designed dresses for both Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush (and many others). He was also a personal friend of the Clintons. Auckland Girl made me attend, but actually some of the outfits were amazing – and was well worth seeing.

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One of many gifts to the Clintons.

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After Little Rock, we drove to Memphis and went to see their number one ranked attraction. No, not Graceland, but Sun Studio. This was the home of rock and roll – where Elvis was found and first produced. Ironically Elvis was originally rejected as not good enough!

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A picture of Sam Phillips, who owned Sun Studio. It was the Memphis Recording Service. He released Rocket 88 in 1951 by Ike Turner – the first rock n roll single. He also produced for BB King, Howling Wolf, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis.

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This is the actual recording room. It is still used almost every night by local musicians to do recordings. Ironically for a couple of decades it was used as an office, but luckily the owners never changed the internal structure so as it became famous, it could go back to being a recording studio. Was amazing being in the room where so many legendary songs were recorded.

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The tour guide was a local musician, and was a great guide. You got played parts of various original recordings, and heard about the history.

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A photo of the impromptu million dollar quartet. By chance Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley were in the studio at the same time, and they did some impromptu jamming – which Sam Phillips recorded without them knowing (Elvis was on a different label by then). They had Johnny Cash pop in also, and this iconic photo captured them together.

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We then went to the Graceland RV Park. They have a service where if you go into town to dine at Marlowes, they pick you up in a pink Cadillac.

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The interior of Marlowes. They are legendary for their ribs. Just be warned – only ask for the half plate size.

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Hope

July 25th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

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Left Dallas to drive to Hope and then Little Rock. Had lunch at a cafe on the way and was amused to have business cards for bails bondsmen on the cafe counter.

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Also found amusing that the road named after President Bush (41) is a toll road. Very apt for a Republican!

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We then got to Hope. It is a very small town, and very proud of the fact it is the birthplace of not just Bill Clinton but also Mick Huckabee. They served as Governors for 23 of 28 years from 1979 to 2007. It is very small with fewer than 20,000 people there.

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They have a quaint little museum at the train station. Mainly on Clinton but also on Huckabee a bit, and Hope. You learn a lot about Clinton’s early years, his Uncle Bucky (his dog was named after him) who was a substitute father. His grandparents, and how it was his grandfather who was a storekeeper who treated all customers with equal respect that had such an influence on Clinton being so anti-segregation.

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This is the house Clinton was born in. His father (a soldier) died in a car accident three montsh before he was born, So his mother moved in here with her parents.

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This is his old bedroom.  Butch Cassiddy was his childhood hero.

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After Hope it was a short drive to Little Rock. We checked in at the RV park and went to dinner. Trip Advisor said the best restaurant was Ashley’s at the Capital. The prices were okay so we headed there.

The food and service was superb. Highly recommended. Our waiter had been there many years and had served President Clinton (or Bill as he said he was always told to call him) well over 100 times. This is and was his favorite restaurant. The hotel was also his HQ for his presidential campaign. It is a lovely hotel.

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We had some drinks after dinner up on the mezzanine balcony. Wonderfully warm, and very classy. Drank far too much wine. We then left the hotel to walk back to the RV, and we were both saying how lovely it would be to stay there. We got around 200 metres down the road before we persuaded each other we should stay there. We headed back and inquired if they had any spare rooms. They did, but only their suites. The price was out of our range. But then they said they could provide them for the price of a normal room.

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So ended up staying in this room, rather than the RV. No complaints at all. We decided to abandon the 8 am start and headed to the Clinton President Library around 11 am.

Little Rock is a great city. Only there one day and night, but it had a great vibe.

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The Clintons

October 6th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The bitter and negative 2012 American presidential election has left few political reputations intact.

Republican challenger Mitt Romney has run a staggering, gaffe-prone campaign, while President Barack Obama is battling a listless economy and a disenchanted Democratic base.

But, through all the attacks ads, missteps and heated controversies, both Bill and Hillary Clinton have emerged with their reputations and status not only intact but greatly enhanced. In a remarkable development, and 12 years since they vacated the White House, the Clintons have rarely seemed more influential or more relevant.

Rather than slipping away into obscurity, Bill Clinton is hitting the campaign trail hard for Obama after his stirring performance at the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, overshadowed the President.

During the first debate the words that would most often send the worms upwards were “small businesses”, “jobs” and “Bill Clinton”.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is trotting the globe as America’s top diplomat amid feverish speculation that, whichever of Obama or Romney wins on Tuesday, November 6, she will again run for the White House in 2016. That could make her the first female US President and conceivably extend Clintonian domination of US politics to 2024.

I think she will, if Obama wins. Maybe even if he does not.

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Nodding in unison

March 30th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at the NZ Herald reports on the post frontbench press standup in Dunedin:

Behind him, they nodded like bulldog toys in the back of car. When he announced he had unanimous support from his frontbenchers, it set off a Mexican wave of determined head nodding.

They also laughed. When an apparently ridiculous question about Mr Goff’s support levels was asked, they laughed scornfully as one. When Mr Goff made a joke they again laughed as one, too loud and too long.

Some overdid it. David Cunliffe stood glued to Mr Goff’s side when they arrived and when he was asked how he would have handled it had he been Labour’s leader, he announced “I’m delighted to say I’m not the leader of the Labour Party.” He went on, further announcing that the actual leader of the Labour Party was “right here and he has my full support”.

Afterward, he was again glued to Mr Goff’s side. He nodded so hard when Mr Goff said he had unanimous support that he risked a dislocation. When Mr Goff was asked how he had tested his unanimous support, it was Mr Cunliffe who answered first, yelping “because we told him” and shaking his head in disbelief at the suggestion a show of hands might have been required.

I’m trying to think of what the scene best resembled. It reminded me of the 60 minutes interview by Steve Kroft with Bill and Hillary Clinton in 1992. You know the one – where they are trying to look like the relationship is perfect, but they are just trying a little bit too hard to be genuine.

But on the positive side, it worked for Clinton!

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Which Republicans said this about Obama?

January 11th, 2010 at 8:22 pm by David Farrar

The first quote is:

A few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee

The second quote is:

a “light-skinned” black man “with no Negro dialect unless he wanted to have one.”

So was this Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin? Dick Cheney and Bill O’Reilly?

No, according to a new book called Game Change, the first quote was made by Bill Clinton to Ted Kennedy, and the second by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Clinton’s quote is of course incorrect. If it involved serving himself and Ted Kennedy, there is no way they would have been getting served coffee – whiskey is far more likely.

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The Barack Obama Speech

August 29th, 2008 at 12:27 pm by David Farrar

I’m off to the United States Embassy to watch Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. It is going to be an incredible moment, regardless of the fact I don’t like his policies. It is a milestone for the United States to have an African-American candidate for President, when just one generation ago they had segregation.

So offline most of the afternoon, but any breaking news I can blog from my blackberry. I’ve been doing that a lot this week.

I’m at the Embassy next week also for McCain’s speech. He should be announcing his Vice-Presidental candidate over the weekend, which will be fascinating. The choice of Biden doesn’t seem to have changed the polls much. I am picking a big spike after the speech today.

Oh one has to give Bill Clinton full marks in his careful use of language, where he declared Barack Obama the best man for the job of President of the United States. That is, well, just so Clintonian! Both can’t fault either of their speeches.

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