President Clinton toured Germany to promote "My Life"
TWIG - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton was in Germany - just as he was recently in Canada - promoting the nearly 1,500-page German translation of his new biography "My Life," which has already sold over a million copies in the United States.
At the only signing event in Germany, held in Berlin’s upscale Dussmann department store, visitors waited hours in a line that snaked around the block to get a rare face-to-face meeting with the former president.
As visitors packed the store in the German capital, journalists from around the country stood by to capture the moment and analyze Germany’s reception of the former president. Some wrote of the "Clinton Fever," which has gripped Germany, while others questioned whether it was his policies or his fame that drew so many people to the store.
Berlin journalists griped about the exhaustive security at the signing event, which left them without a pen to jot down their impressions. Book-buyers as well were turned off by the security procedures. One fan even said, "When Hillary was here, it was a lot nicer."
Still, most visitors felt that it was time well spent. "Clinton – he has something" said a Berlin student who couldn’t quite pinpoint exactly what draws people to the president.
Clinton himself, in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, took a more modest view of the excitement he causes in Germany. "I hope that the people in my own country and in the world know that, as president, I tried to form a world in which they could live well, in which they could raise children without fear," Clinton said in remarks published in German. "I’ve tried to extend this feeling to people – and maybe that’s why they still come to see me."
Clinton’s interest in Germany plays a minor role in his new book. As a student at Georgetown University, he studied German as a foreign language because he "was interested in the country and impressed by the clarity and precision of the language."
During his tenure as president, Clinton made several visits to Germany and knew what historical company he shared when he addressed the German people from the Brandenburg Gate in July of 1994:
"President Kennedy and President Reagan had given memorable speeches just outside the gate on the western side of the wall," Clinton writes in his book "My Life."
"Now I was standing on a podium on the eastern side of unified Berlin, facing an enthusiastic crowd of fifty thousand Germans, many of them young people wondering about their future in a very different world from the one their parents had known."
Urging the German people to lead Europe towards a greater
unity, Clinton said, in German, "America is on your side, now and forever."
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