Bill Clinton Talks New Book ‘Back to Work’, his Beloved Arkansas Razorbacks’ Looming Showdown with LSU, and the Penn State Sex Scandal

November 17, 2011 – 5:30 am by Michael Bean

No matter which way you lean politically, it’s hard not to at least respect and appreciate Bill Clinton for his ability to carry on a conversation regardless of the topic. I know there’s plenty of folks who can’t stand the 42nd President of the United States for his Slick Willie ways, and there’s probably some who think his smooth-talking is just another politician doing what he does best — blowing hot air. That’s not quite accurate though. The man can speak intelligently and interestingly about every topic imaginable because he reads incalculably more than the rest of us. As for his takes on sports? From what I gather, every man or woman who enjoys a good, healthy debate about sports would enjoy having a conversation with him about the latest developments in whatever sport they enjoy following and discussing. Unless they hate the Arkansas Razorbacks, in which case it might get a little testy.

Clinton made two radio appearances on Wednesday, primarily to promote his recently published new book, ‘Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government For a Strong Economy’.  We try to steer clear of politics on Sports Radio Interviews, so we did not transcribe his commentary about the book.  But we did jot down his thoughts from both interviews that pertained to sports — his take on his beloved Arkansas Razorbacks and their upcoming showdown with LSU the Friday after Thanksgiving, and his take on the sex scandal that’s rocked the Penn State campus in recent weeks.

Bill Clinton joined KLAC in Los Angeles to talk about his new book, and how his Arkansas Razorbacks might be able to knock of No. 1 ranked LSU two Fridays from now after, he hopes, first taking care off Mississippi State this Saturday.

On how his Arkansas Razorbacks can knock off LSU two Fridays from now and why he thinks they matchup well with the Tigers:

“Well first we’ve got to get by Mississippi State. It always bothers me when we you get diverted, but if the Razorbacks get by Mississippi State Saturday, then the next Friday they’re going to play LSU. We have had a fair amount of success against them when they are favored, but they are really good. I have to say, I didn’t think they could beat Alabama because Alabama’s defense is so good. And that game, they’re so evenly matched that I’m convinced if they played ten times, they’d each win five. So they’re really great. But I think Arkansas matches up a little better against LSU than they did against Alabama for a lot of reasons that aren’t worth going into. But I really do. First, LSU’s got those great cornerbacks, but we have more receivers than Alabama did. If the line can block for the quarterback, and they can’t just put him on the ground all night long, then he’s got four people he can throw to that will all be in the NFL before long. So I think that we match up a little better. LSU will be heavy favorite, but Arkansas, they had a great game last week against Tennessee, and if we beat Mississippi State than I think we’ve got a great shot to win.”

If there’s any mention of his pal Keith Richards in his new book:

“No, but I gave him an award the other night. He won an award from Norman Mailer’s foundation — it was set up after Norman died — and they gave him the Biography Award and I went and presented it to him. Everybody got a kick out of that. It’s a heck of a book, he did a good job. It’s interesting, my mother-in-law who just passed away at 92 was a Keith Richards groupie; she loves the Stones, she loves Richards, and I think she read his book quicker than mine.”

Listen here to Clinton with The Loose Cannons on KLAC in Los Angeles

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Clinton also joined WIP in Philadelphia on Wednesday to talk about giving the commencement address at Penn State in 1998, two of his in-laws being graduates and former players at Penn State, his thoughts on the sex scandal that led to the termination of Joe Paterno, and what the school can do to go about rebuilding its reputation.

On giving the commencement address at Penn State in 1998, his connection with the university and his thoughts on the sex scandal that led to the termination of Joe Paterno:

“Well, if the allegations are true, it’s a heart breaking thing. And I love Penn State. My father-in-law played football at Penn State and graduated from there; one of my brothers-in-law played football at Penn State and graduated from there; I have always had the highest respect for Coach Paterno and I still do. But this is a horrible deal and my view is you just need to see it through. The personnel decisions have already been made, but now you just need to see it through, find out what the truth is, do the right thing, and if you do that, then the good will emerge again. Penn State is a great university, you’ve got great athletic programs, and I’ve seen all these athletic programs get in trouble when yours didn’t. The enduring truth, the enduring legacy, the positive things that have happened, will emerge, but they can not re-emerge until you get to the bottom of what happened, let the law take its course, and everybody follow the do-right rule. When it’s done, then you can put the house back together. It’s still a great place and Joe Paterno had a great life there, and he did great, great things there. I just think you don’t want to mix the two things up; nobody’s saying that’s not true and can’t be acknowledged. But we need to find out who knew what when, who did what when, who was supposed to do what, and what actually happened. Then the law can take its course and the university can begin to put its life back together.”

Listen here to Clinton with Anthony Gargano & Glen Macnow on WIP in Philadelphia

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