As you may have heard, Hillary Clinton wanted to be an astronaut when she was young. This was long before she got into politics, hooked up with Bill, was publically humiliated by his now-famous cigar tricks, rebounded and became a United States Senator from New York, lost out on a presidential bid to Barack Obama, rebounded and became Secretary of State, and was finally honored by a fairly ingenious yet short-lived Internet meme tumblr.
Speaking today, Clinton told those gathered:
I'm also delighted to welcome Sir Richard Branson. Thank you so much for being here. I love the fact that he is such a strong proponent for business as unusual. And I'm excited he's here because many, many, many years ago, I wanted to be an astronaut, and I think he may be my last chance to live out that particular dream.
Ho ho. That's pretty funny stuff, right? As we know, Branson's Virgin Galactic plans to one day offer paying customers trips into space - an idea Clinton may literally want to get on board with.
Wow. The jokes keep coming.
Laughs aside, the forum was intended to delve into at least a couple serious issues.
A two-day event, and the first-ever, the Global Impact Economy Forum is intended to bring together over 350 big-time investors, academics, political types, business executives, entrepreneurs and philanthropists to discuss, "how the U.S. Government can promote innovative business approaches and sustainable investments for U.S. businesses and investors abroad, mitigate the risks of doing business in emerging economies, and increase economic engagement overseas that improves the lives of those in developing nations while supporting the expansion of American business overseas," according to a press release from earlier this week. Clinton delivered today's keynote address, and Branson was scheduled to speak and be interviewed later in the day.
In addition to her Branson joke, Clinton told the crowd:
You're here because you know that we have an opportunity with the convergence of the recognition on the part of government, the private sector, civil society, that we can be so much more effective working together than working at cross-purposes. And for me, this is a great moment to look at where we stand in the world in the pursuit of economic growth and prosperity that is broadly inclusive and sustainable. You know the statistics as well as anyone: One out of three people in the world today living on less than $2 a day; the challenges we face from finite resources, climate change, and other environmental degradation; looking at how people themselves are being empowered from the bottom up in large measure because of the phenomenon of social media. And it's not only happening somewhere out there, it's happening everywhere.
And the fact is, these trend lines, apart from the headlines that we all spend most of our time looking at, are profoundly important to foreign policy and national security of all of our countries, because governments everywhere, including most particularly our own, are grappling with what challenges like these mean for our citizens.
But, seriously, that Branson gag she opened up with was pretty funny, right?