NAMES & FACES

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush at the University of New Hampshire graduation.
Former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush at the University of New Hampshire graduation. (By Jim Cole -- Associated Press)

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Cold, Wet and Inspirational

Former presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton buddied up again on Saturday, this time sharing the stage at the University of New Hampshire in urging graduates to focus their efforts on helping people in their own communities and around the world.

The former rivals have worked together in recent years, raising millions of dollars for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

"I can't tell you the selfish pleasure I get out of working with President Clinton," Bush told a cold, wet crowd of about 17,000 at the outdoor ceremony. "It's a very selfish feeling in my heart to be out there doing something to help others."

Bush, who alluded to the "broke but happy parents" in attendance, told the 2,650 graduates that they don't have to run for office to make change.

"All you have to do is care, roll up your sleeves and claim one of society's problems as your own," he said.

Bush commented on the difference in education that the new graduates received compared with that of Islamic fundamentalist schools overseas, stressing that one of the greatest struggles the nation faces is the "battle for young minds around the entire world."

Clinton warned the students that while they are graduating in a "culturally diverse and creative time," they also face a world blemished by "inequality, insecurity and -- because of climate change and resource depletion -- unsustainability.

"I believe that you are going to be given a great opportunity to change this world of division and divisiveness, because it's also a world full of decency and hope."

Clinton also took the opportunity to make a lighthearted reference to his wife's campaign for president in his speech when thanking J. Bonnie Newman, the university's interim president: "Thank you, Madam President Newman," he said. "I like the sound of that. I've decided that women should run everything, and George and I can play more golf."

TomKat and Co., Out for a Spin

If you found yourself doing a double take along the Potomac Saturday, that really was Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes biking the C&O Canal towpath into Georgetown, reports the Reliable Source's Amy Argetsinger. The Hollywood twosome made a weekend trip to Potomac to visit Redskins owner Dan Snyder and wife Tanya, Snyder spokesman Karl Swanson confirmed yesterday. The two couples (with at least two bodyguards) biked down to Georgetown and hung out at the waterfront park, where they drew a crowd. TomKat graciously signed autographs and posed for photos. (Not too late to send us yours! reliablesource@washpost.com). They stopped off to dine at the Old Angler's Inn on the way back. DanTom cemented their friendship last year when the D.C. mogul agreed to help finance Cruise's production company.

Polanski Had Enough

The Cannes Film Festival saw a little of its own drama yesterday when director Roman Polanski walked out of a news conference after criticizing journalists for asking "empty" questions.

Polanski, 73, whose film "The Pianist" won the top prize at Cannes in 2002, was onstage with nearly 30 other major directors. Among them were Mexico's Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Germany's Wim Wenders and China's Wong Kar-Wai.

The event was aptly titled "To Each His Own Cinema." It was apparently the line of questioning that focused on the future of cinema in the digital age that prompted the walkout.

When the moderator announced that the journalists were down to two minutes, Polanski had this to say: "It's a shame to have such poor questions, such empty questions. And I think that it's really the computer which has brought you down to this level. You're no longer interested in what's going on in the cinema.

He concluded his tirade with, "Frankly, let's all go and have lunch," before walking out. He may have lunched alone -- the other directors all stayed put.

-- Compiled by Catherine Handren from Web and wire reports


© 2007 The Washington Post Company

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