August 10, 2001
The lineup started at 6 a.m. Friday for fans jockeying to be among the first to own a Bill Clinton trading card.
When the doors to the convention center opened seven hours later, 1,200 people had gathered to watch the former president's stepfather, Dick Kelley, accept the first baseball-style card.
"I want to tell ya, I'm one of the proudest guys that ever came down the pike," Kelley said.
The cards depict Clinton in three poses, describe the former president's ties to Hot Springs and include a sales pitch for the town.
"These will be collector's items one of these days," said Ed James, 76, while waiting in line.
Clinton said he's delighted.
"Hot Springs is very special to me and I'm proud to support the city," Clinton said through a spokesman. "I've always loved baseball cards, too."
Steve Arrison, executive director of the city's Advertising and Promotion Commission, headed the plan to print the 300,000 Clinton cards. But even Arrison was shocked at how fast the $8,000 project snowballed through media interviews.
"The bottom line is 2.4 million people heard about this yesterday ... We've already had over $7 million in free advertising," he said.
Arrison is considering printing at least one more batch of cards. A self-addressed, stamped envelope is the only payment necessary to get the free cards by mail.
"People made fun of me for comparing Clinton's popularity to people like Princess Di, but I think he's definitely in that class," Arrison said.
Please Write to :
Hot Springs Convention Center
134 Convention Blvd.
Hot Springs, AR 71901
Call : 501-321-2277 or 800-922-6478
The Clinton Legacy
Clinton Mania Sweeps Europe -- Again
American Politics Journal
August 13, 2001
The View from Europe.
It's been quite refreshing living in little old Britain for the past couple of weeks. For once it's been a joy to open the papers or switch on the television and not have to be subjected to a smug-looking president. For all the talk coming out of the White House about changing images and tough legislative victories, the administration is lucky if it gets a passing mention. You see, the media have found something else to occupy their minds as yet again good old Dubya has found him upstaged by his predecessor.
Yes, Clinton mania is sweeping Europe once again.
And on the odd occasion the administration does get a mention, it is anything but complimentary. But to be honest, who can blame the media for their lack of interest in the White House spin machine? Why should anyone set aside column inches to rejoice about topics such as the passing of Bush's energy policy -- a bill that, rather than attempting to protect the environment, reinforces his position as the leader of the coil, oil and gas industries? The few times the "victory" has been mentioned it was only to criticise Bush's anti-environmental stance.
For all we knew, or cared, Bush could have been holidaying in Texas for the past two months and no one would have batted an eyelid. The media seem happy to let Bush disappear off on holiday -- I mean, it must be really hard work having all those people to do his job for him! Instead, the media have had much more exciting things to contend with, because after all, the former President is a far more exiting option.
But then again, Europe has never really been that taken with Bush. Even when he made his first official visit to England one found stories about his travels buried on the inner pages of newspapers, but Clinton visiting the Wimbledon tennis championship ... well, that was front page news.
Then of course, there was the opening of Clinton's new Harlem office. The media went into a frenzy of speculation and analysis, and when he offered a helping hand in the Northern Ireland peace process, paragraph after paragraph was dedicated to it. Bush's offer, on the other hand, was relegated to a few lines at the end of a story.
The thing is, we just don't like Bush.
If you compare him to Clinton, you can see who will draw the short straw every time. His smug 'I couldn't care less' attitude just doesn't wash with us. Where is the passion, where is the charisma, where is the enthusiasm? Not that Clinton was without his faults, but please -- at least he could pretend to give a damn.
Unfortunately for Bush, Clinton's ties with the UK look set to become even stronger. Not only is Chelsea about to follow in her father's footsteps by attending Oxford University, but Clinton has also been offered a professorship at one of London's top university's, LSE.
So it seems that George is just going to have to get used to living life in second place. As far as we are concerned he can take as many holidays as he likes.
Better still, why not try early retirement? Well, we can all live in hope.
April 8, 2002
The mayor of Hot Spring's Japanese sister city will be honored with the first copies of a special Japanese-language trading card featuring former President Bill Clinton.
Tsutomu Watanabe of Hanamaki, Japan, will receive the cards from Clinton's stepfather, Dick Kelley, at the Hot Springs Civic and Convention Center on Friday.
About 50,000 Clinton trading cards will be shipped to Hanamaki. The free cards will be distributed to any Hanamaki resident who wants one.
Business representatives and a translator from Hanamaki plan to attend Friday's ceremony with Mayor Watanabe.
"We know from our research that there is a great deal of interest among the citizens of Hanamaki and other parts of Japan in Hot Springs and the natural thermal water springs that give the city its name," said Steve Arrison, executive director of the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotions Commission.
"The Japanese-language Clinton cards are an effective way to let our friends in Japan know about Hanamaki's Sister City of Hot Springs."
Hot Springs and Hanamaki became sister cities in January 1993, when Clinton was inaugurated for his first term as president. In September, a delegation from Hot Springs will travel to Hanamaki to celebrate the approaching 10th anniversary of the relationship.
The Japanese cards, which feature of picture of Clinton taken during a presidential trip to Japan, are the fifth in a series of Clinton trading cards produced by Hot Springs as a way to promote the city and its history as Clinton's boyhood home. More than 400,000 cards have been distributed worldwide.
The city also plans to release Spanish-language Clinton trading cards featuring a picture of Clinton during a trip to Mexico.
Other cards have featured pictures of Clinton with a basketball and playing golf.
The cards have led to millions of dollars in free advertising for the city and have been a big hit with the public. When the first batch of cards was released in August, more than 1,200 collectors lined up outside the city's convention center to claim one.