The Clintons are getting into podcasting: 'Why Am I Telling You This'

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Bill Clinton wants to tell you a story, and the famously verbose former president is getting into podcasting to do just that.

Clinton, along with his daughter Chelsea Clinton and through The Clinton Foundation, launched a podcast on Thursday titled, "Why Am I Telling You This," a nod to a phrase that the former president often uses to connect stories he tells in speeches.

The podcast, which is meant to allow listeners to better engage with Clinton Foundation projects, will feature conversations between the former president, Chelsea Clinton, Clinton Foundation staff and a series of special guests and foundation partners about their lives, issues that have shaped the foundation's work and the world.

According to Craig Minassian, a spokesman for the Clinton Foundation, the series will be a mix of reflections from the Clinton administration and the President's life and conversations about the work the foundation he started in 1997 is currently doing, reported CNN.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is not formally involved in the podcast, but she may appear in it at some point to support the foundation's work, Minassian said. The 2016 Democratic nominee is not a principal player in the foundation but she has attended foundation events and helped in some of its efforts.

Podcasting is a somewhat natural next step for the former president, whose love of telling stories is legendary in Arkansas, his home state, and across the country. The often-loquacious President -- his speech at the 1988 Democratic National Convention was 33 minutes, double the time he was allotted -- and his aides believe the format fits him well because podcast listeners are often willing to listen for longer and give subjects more time.

"Growing up in Arkansas just after World War II in a family that didn't have a lot of money, most of our entertainment revolved around storytelling," the former President says in the introduction to the series that has been posted on iTunes. "Listening to my relatives and neighbors tell stories showed me that everyone has a story, and that everyone's story has value."

He adds: "When I got into politics, I always thought that the main point of my work was to give people a chance to have better stories. And after I left office, that's the same purpose that led me to start the Clinton Foundation."

Chelsea Clinton, the first daughter and vice chair at the foundation, will also be central in the project. In the teaser clip for the podcast, Chelsea Clinton says the series will focus on the "people, issues and events that have shaped our work and our world."

Episodes, according to Minassian, will include interviews with celebrity chef and founder of World Central Kitchen Jose Andres, former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and senior members of the Clinton administration as well as artists, authors and celebrities active in philanthropy.

The series, which has been in development for about a year, is being co-produced by At Will Media.

The podcast also offers the foundation a chance to rehabilitate an image that, in many ways, was tarnished by Republican efforts to use the foundation as a political cudgel in 2016. President Donald Trump and his allies slammed Hillary Clinton for the foundation throughout the 2016 campaign, attacks that people close to the Clintons say diminished the philanthropic work that foundation does on a regular basis.

Minassian said podcasting is a "natural extension of President Clinton's mastery of using storytelling to explain complex issues and his belief that once you know someone's story, you better understand them as a person and your differences becomes less important."

"President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton have always sought new ways to create a deeper understanding of how to make an impact and improve lives," Minassian added, "which is particularly important and challenging in the current environment."

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