Bubba forsakes all BBQ?

Rumor has it that Bill Clinton "is trying to be a vegetarian." Are you kidding?

Published June 13, 2005 8:42PM (EDT)

In her blog on Saturday, Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who must have a "Google News Alert" setting for "tempeh," wrote about how she read in the Times of India that former president Bill Clinton "is trying to be a vegetarian."

Oh my God. What?

Bill Clinton not eating meat? A man whose very name brings to mind the word "pork"? Who has never met a nitrate he didn't like? Whose all-night bull-and-barbeque sessions were sent up hilariously in "Primary Colors"? The man who once, after having consumed a 3,300-calorie lunch with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1994 that included meats, cheeses, seafood and veal-stuffed ravioli, ordered a piece of chocolate cake to go?

Yes, we know that since then he's had some pretty rough heart surgeries. And his daughter Chelsea has always been an avowed veggie, as Newkirk happily points out in her blog entry.

But still. The thought of Bill Clinton spurning meat is like the thought of him spurning blow jobs. Simply not possible.

And, sure enough, according to Newkirk's post, Clinton "is having trouble" moving to a meat-free diet. He loves him some chicken. And so, to help, Newkirk sent the former Big Mac-in-chief a letter, some Boca "chicken" patties, a vegetarian starter kit and a "Meet Your Meat" video narrated by Alec Baldwin.

Yeah, apparently Alec Baldwin is a vegetarian, too. Who knew?

Anyway, according to Newkirk's letter to Clinton, if he succeeds in weaning himself off the wieners, he won't just be joining the likes of Baldwin. He'll also be following in the "good company" of "some of the world's greatest historical figures and thinkers, from Mahatma Gandhi to Albert Einstein."

Added Newkirk, "Going vegetarian is one of the best choices a leader can make." And after all, who's known for making better personal choices than Bill Clinton?

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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