Just when you thought CES couldn’t get any randomer than Qualcomm’s “Generation Mobile” atrocity, guess who showed up? Bill Clinton, who stopped by to speak in the middle of Samsung president Stephen Woo’s presentation. Not only that, but according to CNET’s liveblog, in the midst of his remarks he digressed and started talking about gun control.
The man used to be the leader of the free world; you really thought he’d get on stage at a trade show and stick to the subject? Child, please.
Mr. Clinton’s appearance seemed a little random, but his philanthropic work involves attempts to close the technology gap between richer and poor countries, and he’s specifically partnered with Samsung to work on the issue. Also, as much money as they’ve got flowing around that conference, why not hire a former president to speak?
And yes, he did start out on the topic of technology: “On the day I took the oath of office, a grand total of 50 sites on the entire Internet,” he opened, before tacking toward the reason for his presence in Las Vegas, reminding everyone that poor countries need tech for things other than Evernote-integrated fridges.
That’s when he started to drift. CNET says Mr. Clinton started talking about bad things that’ve happened all over the world, but like a record hitting a scratch, he got hung up on “unjustifiable neglect of gun safety”:
Clinton talking about gun control and the death rate in the U.S. compared to other countries. “I grew up in this hunting culture, but this is nuts,” Clinton says. “Why does anybody need a 30-round clip for a gun?” Half of all deaths have occurred since the assault weapons ban expired, Clinton offers.
Apparently he got a huge round of applause, then meandered through a discussion of anomie: “We have sorted ourselves out in our living patterns so that we look for people who agree with us,” he said. Then finally he circled back to the topic at hand, by saying he wants technologists to find ways to bridge that gap.
Stay roguish, Bill. Never change.