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Global Initiative Conference ends. Now what?

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March 23, 2014

Former President Bill Clinton, center, and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, speak with talk show host Jimmy Kimmel during a student conference for the Clinton Global Initiative University   (AP Photo/Matt York)

Former President Bill Clinton, center, and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, speak with talk show host Jimmy Kimmel during a student conference for the Clinton Global Initiative University (AP Photo/Matt York)

The speeches are over; the interview with the late night TV host is done. All that remains before this year’s Clinton Global Initiative University conference wraps up is a service project in downtown Phoenix, headlined by former President Bill Clinton and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D.-Ariz.

The Sunday event at a community garden concludes a weekend conference attended by more than 1,000 students who heard speeches from former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel’s live interview of the Clintons.

The former first lady, who is considering a 2016 presidential campaign, said during the interview on Saturday that she was “very much concerned” about the direction of the country but is still weighing her future plans. Clinton said she was “obviously thinking about all kinds of decisions.”

The former president will join his daughter, Clinton Foundation vice chairwoman Chelsea Clinton; Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly; and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton on Sunday for a “day of action.” The project at PHX Renews aims to convert vacant city lots into urban gardens and community space for temporary public use. Vacant lots comprise 43 percent of the total land in Phoenix, according to the project’s website.

Giffords was seriously wounded in a 2011 mass shooting when a lone gunman opened fire as she met with constituents in a Tucson, Ariz., shopping mall. Six people died and 13 were wounded in the attack. Giffords and Kelly have lobbied for more gun control legislation.

With Hillary Clinton considering another White House campaign, her future plans drew broad interest from the students attending the meeting.

During the discussion with Kimmel, the Clinton family talked about the importance of perseverance in life and politics. Hillary Clinton said many people give up if they don’t succeed right away, but “that’s often the best time for what you can learn about yourself.”

She noted that her husband lost his first political race; she never expected to run for office and then won a Senate seat representing New York.

“But then I had a big loss which we all remember,” Clinton said, referring to her unsuccessful 2008 bid for the presidential nomination. “You just have to decide what you really care about.”

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Online:

http://phxrenews.org/

http://www.cgiu.org/

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