Former United States President Bill Clinton walked onto an Austin stage to a standing ovation. Within minutes, he was heckled by members of the crowd.
The interruptions mildly tarnished what was an in-depth and wide-ranging conversation on politics, cybersecurity, and his new novel, The President is Missing, co-written by famous thriller novelist James Patterson.
The premise of the book involves the president’s disappearance relating to a cyber terrorism threat. Clinton said he wanted it to be a “real life drama” on an issue that has “not gotten the attention it needs.”
“I wanted people to read this without regard to their politics and say, ‘you know, America only works when people work together, and this is one thing that we’ve neglected,” Clinton said.
Political commentator, and former Clinton adviser, Paul Begala, moderated the discussion. He asked Clinton, 71, about President Donald Trump’s attempts to negotiate with North Korea, something the 42nd and 45th commanders in chief share.
In telling a story about his own negotiation tribulations with the Kim regime, Clinton said Americans should “want this to work,” no matter their politics, explaining that he hoped the negotiations would run smoothly this time around.
Clinton also spoke about his humanitarian efforts worldwide, but one issue that continues to trouble him is our country’s opioid epidemic.
He said it was “mortifying” that the United States does not “have a national strategy” on resolving the crisis, emphasizing an importance on ensuring states restrict overprescribing and work to reverse increasing costs of rehab and other programs.
“Somehow some way I am going to figure out a way to get treatment out there to people who don’t have it,” Clinton stated.
On cybersecurity, Clinton said as foreign powers target our digital infrastructure, China used it for economic advantages, while others weaponize. He said he felt Texans know about cyber attacks related to elections, but there is more to it than that.
“Anything that’s electronic can be hacked,” he lamented.