A pair of former presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, were in Utah Monday, speaking to business executives and, in Clinton’s case, headlining a pair of fundraisers, including one for Salt Lake County mayor candidate Ben McAdams.
Clinton and Bush spoke on a panel discussing the changing world at the Outlook 2012 Conference hosted by Convenience Store Petroleum, a media company that covers convenience stores. The panel was sponsored by Altria, the nation’s largest tobacco company and was closed to the public.
Before the forum, Clinton held an intimate fundraiser for McAdams, attended by about 15 people. The event raised about $110,000 for the McAdams campaign where Clinton spoke of the importance of bringing people together and praised McAdams as someone who would work across party lines.
Steve Price, McAdams’ finance co-chairman, said it was exceptionally rare for Clinton to even be in Utah and even more unusual for him to agree to do a fundraiser for a candidate for local office.
“In part he was here because Ben has the ability to work with Republicans and Democrats, Mormons and non-Mormons, old and young, so Ben is one of those rare individuals like President Clinton always wanted to be where you could work with everyone, you work for the betterment of mankind,” Price said.
The event lasted about an hour and Price said Clinton spoke about the future of India, China, Russia and Brazil, as well as the United States. Price said Clinton spoke about Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate and how “devastating” Ryan’s budget blueprint could be.
McAdams, who worked in the Clinton White House before moving back to Utah and being elected to the state Senate, said he was honored the former president would agree to the event.
“It’s significantly important to me that President Clinton was here today with President Bush, and I think that’s a show of bipartisanship and that’s the type of approach I try to take to things,” said McAdams.
Monday evening, Clinton was scheduled to appear at another fundraiser for The Clinton Foundation, the former president’s charitable organization that he created to try to improve global health, fight childhood obesity and address climate change.
The private event was scheduled to be held at the Park City home of Barry and Amy Baker, who have hosted events for both Bill and Hillary Clinton before when they have been in Utah.
Barry Baker is the former president of USA Networks and is now a managing director of Boston Ventures, a major investment firm. Amy Baker spent 20 years at NBC News.
Bush did not participate in any events aside from the Outlook Conference.