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Golf, Obama and veggies with President Clinton

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NEW YORK – The great thing about meeting a former president is that you have no idea what sort of a tangent he’ll take. In this case, former President Bill Clinton was a thrill a minute.

Here are highlights from a small media roundtable Thursday from his Clinton Foundation offices in Harlem. The meeting was to promote Clinton’s involvement with the Humana Challenge, formerly the Bob Hope Classic.

On his relationship with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem: “Tim and I have been friends since Jimmy Carter was president. I learned 35 years ago that I do better just doing what he asks me to do.”

Asked about reports that he’s recently become a vegan: “I’m pretty close. The vegan publications gave me credit for not claiming to be one. If you’re a strict vegan, you have to watch what kind of oil is in your food and that kind of stuff. I travel too much. I don’t do that.”

How do golf and politics match? “I like to play golf with members of Congress and with people I didn’t know. The thing that’s important about that is I rarely discuss business on a golf course.”

On a round with President Obama three weeks ago: “There were times when I was president that I would go five holes before I hit a decent shot and before I could sort of flush out my head. You can’t play golf and do something else. I liked seeing him on the golf course because he was totally at peace, relaxed. It was a very good day.”

On the state of his game right now: “I’m not very good anymore. Haiti just about ruined my golf game. My best year as a golfer was the first year I got out of the White House. I got down to a 10 handicap, but I’m not close to that now. I just don’t play enough.”