Bill Clinton’s worldwide network pays off

By Laurie Bennett

August 6, 2009 at 10:26am

As the Washington Post notes today, the success of this week’s mission to North Korea relied not only Bill Clinton’s renown, but on his international web of contacts.

Clinton’s networking skills are unsurpassed.

Since leaving the White House, he has continued to broaden his reach and his reputation through the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative. The initiative encompasses world leaders and business titans such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and T. Boone Pickens.

William J. Clinton
William J. Clinton

While the Friends of Bill phenonemon was an obstacle in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s nomination for secretary of state, it can be a boon to outreach efforts that can’t be overtly managed by official channels.

The North Korea trip was underwritten by Clinton’s friend, Steve Bing, who arranged for the plane. Bing, who has made billions in real estate and movies, is a big donor to the Clinton Foundation. He was a bundler for Hillary Clinton’s presidential run.

Those accompanying Clinton included his former chief of staff, John Podesta; his longtime aide, Doug Band; David Staub, an associate professor at Stanford who used to head the State Department’s Korea desk; and Justin Cooper, who edited Clinton’s autobiography, “My Life.”

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