You know those moments when you read something and think “What the Flip?” (or something like that!)

I had one of those moments this morning when I read this blog post that had been shared on Twitter.

Bill Clinton did many things while president. He enacted the North American Free Trade Agreement. He reformed the nation’s welfare policy. He got impeached. He created a budget surplus. And then he left office with a higher approval rating than any president since World War II.

Bill Clinton did not send many emails during this period of time. In fact he sent only two, according to a surprise talk he gave at today’s Wired for Change conference at the Ford Foundation in New York:

I sent a grand total of two emails as president: one to our troops in the Adriatic, and one to John Glenn when he was 77 years old in outer space. I figured it was OK if Congress subpoenaed those.

Here’s the “electronic message” Bubba sent to John Glenn. It’s now printed in a book.

Astonishing. Can you imagine Barack Obama, who just won by a landslide thanks to highly sophisticated use of email and social media (£), or David Cameron announcing that they have only emailed twice in their entire political career? Tony Blair was famously a technophobe, but even he mastered email and text messaging in the end!

I guess the reason this is most surprising is that Bill Clinton is not a faded memory where quircky stories like this are read with misty eyed nostaligia. He is still on the scene; his presidency happened within the lifetime of anyone over 11 years old. So this is a very stark reminder of how quickly things have changed.


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