Clinton Helps Esquire Announce Official Start of 21st Century

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There we were, cruising the multiple bars set up inside of New York's Gotham Hall to celebrate Esquire's 75th anniversary, when we spotted him. Instantly recognizable, he's one of the best-known creatives in the industry for all the wrong reasons -- mostly his philandering, boozing and work that is firmly mired in the old way of doing things. Then we realized it wasn't a real ad man, but one of the "Mad Men," Mr. Roger Cooper (or, as he's known in real life, John Slattery).

Speaking of rascally old buggers, the keynote speech of the evening was given by none other than Bill Clinton. Esquire ain't exactly subtle when it comes to politics, so it was no surprise that the magazine that decreed the 21st century isn't really going to start until George W. Bush is out of office snagged the man who built the bridge to the 21st century to speak at its party. Of course, if one wanted to be a gadfly, one could point out that Clinton unilaterally started bombing runs against Bosnian Serbs and never succeeded in capturing Osama bin Laden the first time he declared war on the U.S., but why dwell on the details? (The magazine did actually put Bush on the list of its 75 most influential people of the 21st century ... along with both Clintons, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Scarlett Johansson, George Clooney and LeBron James.)

Whatever your political persuasion, Bill Clinton gives good speech, especially when perched above the crowd between two columns -- a setup that prompted a few bars of "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" from spectators. After Esquire Publisher Kevin O'Malley and Editor Dave Granger made it through their remarks -- assisted, like mortal human beings, by note cards -- Clinton mosied on up to the microphone and, as usual, gave everyone -- even critics -- the warm fuzzies. Say what you will about the man, but if it weren't for term limits he'd probably still be president.
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