Clinton Mum on Kennedy During Golf Outing, Speech

Former president limits tribute to written statement

By R. Stickney
|  Thursday, Aug 27, 2009  |  Updated 3:58 AM PDT
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A Nation Mourns Ted Kennedy

President Clinton waves to the person taking his picture at the Coronado golf course.

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You’d think President Bill Clinton would reminisce about Teddy during his visit in San Diego, wouldn’t you?

That’s what we thought when we headed over to the San Diego Convention Center to hear Clinton speak at the National Business Travel Convention. But no go.

President Clinton spoke about his role helping to free the journalists in North Korea, swine flu, and even talked about health care but made no mention of the "greatest Senator of our time" passing early Wednesday morning.

Perhaps it was too close to his heart to mention. Perhaps the president known for being able to talk for hours on end on any subject just couldn't find the right words. Or perhaps he didn't feel it was an appropriate setting. Yes, that's it. Doubtful he'd return our calls.

We asked some who attended if they were surprised. "Not really because he was coming to give a message about the current administration about news on travel so it really didn't feed into those comments," said Holly McTague.

"I thought he might [give condolences to the Kennedy family] but to be honest with you I completely forgot all about it while he was talking because it was so fascinating," said Frank Dolce.

Earlier in the day,  we saw how President Clinton spent his time here in San Diego. He took in the California sun at the Coronado municipal golf course with his bodyguards in tow. Wearing a straw hat, black shirt and black shorts --  at least he was in black --- the president can be seen getting out of a sand trap and then dropping a second ball on the green. He waves to the person with the video camera and laments his inability to score well. Then, climbs into the golf cart, marks his card and drives to the next hole.

Before you criticize, keep in mind -- we all grieve differently. 

The Clinton Foundation did release a statement earlier in the day.

"Senator Ted Kennedy was one of the most influential leaders of our time, and one of the greatest senators in American history.  His big heart, sharp mind, and boundless energy were gifts he gave to make our democracy a more perfect union."

The statement also thanked Senator Kennedy for helping the Clinton family over the years.

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