At a press conference on infrastructure, Bill Clinton vaguely disputes a 'Times' report about Hillary
4:50 pm Dec. 13, 2012
It was at the very end of a press conference in Harlem this afternoon that Bill Clinton got a Hillary question.
"We'll take one more, we're having a good time," he said from his chair, as American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten tried to wrap up the event from the podium.
"Listen, I have to cede to the president," she said.
The event, which was held at the uptown offices of the Clinton Global Initiative to announce that the New York City Teachers Retirement Fund had officially pledged to invest $1 billion in local infrastructure projects, from the fund's $46 billion in assets.
Clinton was joined by federal housing secretary Shaun Donovan, City Comptroller John Liu, and United Federation of Teachers president Michael Mulgrew.
"She debunked it, so I'll join the debunking," he said, then stepped to the podium and ignored the question, adding more thoughts to his already lengthy remarks about the importance of private infrastructure investment, and the greatness of today's announcement.
"I think you'll be very pleased and excited because it will be transparent, they'll tell you where the money is going, what the payback is and how the comptroller's four percent number will be hit," he said, referencing Liu's prediction that the invested money should generate a return of four percent.
The $1 billion is part of a plan by CGI to recruit $10 billion in investment from pension funds.
"This is actually a very good thing, I think, for the pension funds over the long run, and for the economy on the whole, the return on investment for smart infrastructure is enormous," he said.
Weingarten said the agreement had been a "dream" for years, and one that was accelerated by Hurricane Sandy, and Mulgrew said it was "especially joyful" to be able to use the pension fund to help some of his members, ten thousand of whom live inside the flooding's red zones.
Donovan, who has been tasked as the region's point-person for the federal rebuilding, said this "will hopefully be the first, and in some ways the beacon," for private money to supplement whatever federal funds the region ultimately receives from Congress.
As he shook hands another reporter shouted a question about Barbara Walters' interview with Chris Christie, in which she asked the New Jersey governor about his weight.
"I think he's doing a really good job with this," he said, apparently referring to the governor's reaction to Hurricane Sandy.
He also said the two recently sat together at the Big East tournament.
"That's all I'm going to say about that," he said.