By Benjamin Leatherman
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Troy Farah
By Roger Calamaio
By Mark Deming
By Glenn BurnSilver
By Brian Palmer
NT: What's your Secret Service code name?
Clinton: I don't think I have one. I asked mother not too long ago--certainly before Christmas [Clinton's mother, Virginia Kelly, died in December]--and she said, "I don't think we have one." Letterman said, "I hear your code name's 'Headache,'" and knowing it was Letterman, I absolutely thought he was kidding. But I think it sorta caught on after that, and people started saying, "Is your name really Headache?"
NT: Are there any babes in the Secret Service?
Clinton: Oh, ho! Uh, yeah, there are! There are, but they're as serious as the bulldogs. Very rarely can you speak to any of them, because that's their life. And they'll tell you that.
NT: You've got quite a rep as a ladies' man.
Clinton: Well, I always have had. In one respect, I was always proud of that because that is absolutely what prohibited me from getting tied down with anyone or jumping into a relationship. . . . So I've always had that, and I think I'm going to continue to have that. That's the way it's always been for anyone in this kind if situation, so I can't expect it to be different. But I have a beautiful child and a stable, secure relationship with my wife.
NT: So Bill got the brains and you got the looks?
Clinton: Ha, ha! Don't put me on the spot, ha, ha, ha! I think my brother's a very handsome man, I really do. I think he's very charismatic; he's got that dignified look.
NT: You've said that Bill acted as both an older brother and a father figure to you. If your ages had been reversed, do you think you'd be more reserved and he'd be the wild man? Clinton: Going by my heart and my character, I think we would have been the same if the ages were reversed or not. However, the situation in my family, the adversity in our lives from our father being such a violent alcoholic, there was one specific time when my brother stood up to him. He put me and my mother behind him and said, "You will not hit my mother or my brother again, and if you do, you will go through me." That was when he was about 15 or 16 years old. He accepted the leadership role in the family right then and there. NT: That was about when he met John Kennedy at the White House. Do you remember when he came home from that trip?
Clinton: Oh, yes. When he returned from that and we saw the film of him looking the president in the eyes, it was almost as if he was saying, "I know what I have to do and I'm going to do the best of my ability." It was the highlight of his life to meet John F. Kennedy.
NT: What did you think about it?
Clinton: Well, I didn't have much reaction. I thought it was neat 'cause he thought it was neat, but I didn't know anything about it, for goodness sake. I was just getting out of grade school. [Editor's note: When Bill met Kennedy, Roger was 6 years old. Perhaps Roger confused getting out of grade school with getting out of preschool.] I was heavy into junior high, I was losing weight--I lost 40 pounds. A man that helped to get me started singing told me one day, "Roger--girls don't like fat boys." And I dropped 40 pounds before the next school year!
NT: Though you're about to hit the road, why haven't you and your band Politics been playing out?
Clinton: We've played [warming up] for TV shows [audiences] the last few years; I try and stay out of nightclubs. I've played 'em for so many years, and TV shows are the best of both worlds. You don't have to put up with people drinking and fighting and talking or dancing while you're performing. We warm up studio audiences, and the clientele there is usually more conducive to the right place at the right time scenario than a nightclub.
NT: Do you ever wonder where your career will be if Bill doesn't get reelected?
Clinton: No, I never worry about that. I didn't worry if he got elected this time or not. I wanted my music and my heart to be ready if these opportunities presented themselves, and I felt like they were. Whether he's reelected or not, it's still going to be up to my ability to stay here or not. If I'm not worth a flip, if people deem me unworthy musically, then it doesn't matter what my brother does. I'll get a desk job, but I won't be able to put out another album. I've worked hard at my music, and people are going to be able to tell immediately that I just didn't pick up a microphone.
NT: You've played and partied at the White House, but when you've stayed in the Lincoln bedroom, did you see his ghost?
Clinton: No, I didn't, but that's why everyone wants to stay up there, to see his ghost. And I think Mary's still flying around up there somewhere. There's a waiting list to sleep in Lincoln's room.
NT: So it was a letdown, spookwise?
Clinton: Yeah! There were no spooks, I didn't see any spooks.