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Arts and Entertainment

Photos: Bill Clinton Surprised People At A Venice BBQ Place And It Was Awesome

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With its late-in-the-race June date, California's primary is usually pretty irrelevant. Not so this year, when the Democratic candidates are in a dead heat, and Bernie, Hill and even Bill are criss-crossing the state. In the past few days, we've had candidates and former presidents casually dropping in at restaurants and parks across our fair city to meet and greet Angelenos in the hopes of garnering some votes. This must be what it's like to live in Iowa or New Hampshire!

On Friday, as you likely already know, former President Bill Clinton made a much-ballyhooed stop at In-N-Out. And then, after a long day of restaurants and speeches, Mr. Clinton made a final surprise visit—this time to a barbecue joint in Venice.

"I'm not the candidate, so I'm not interested in making news," Clinton had said during his final speech of the day at Bergamot Station, before heading out for the drop-in visit. And we're sure he really meant it. But to watch Bill Clinton surprising a room full of unsuspecting diners and effusively, personally greeting every single person in the room, is to be catapulted back in time: this is Clinton on the saxophone, this is Bill the comeback kid. This is charisma, if you looked it up in the dictionary.

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"There's a baby in the next room," his aides whisper knowingly while Clinton takes selfies with a group of twenty-somethings—as if to say get ready, because even if you thought he was already at Peak Bill Clinton, just wait, he's about to take it up a notch. It is difficult to describe the energy in the room, because this is L.A., and we've all seen celebrities. But this is something different, more historic and ever so slightly electric. This is a story you can tell your kids about it. It's this particular static charge that seems to elevate Clinton as he works the room, like helium to a balloon.

People have gathered on the street and are pressed up against all the windows, staring in. Perhaps the thing kids should really aspire to is not being President of the United States, but rather life fifteen years out, when the weight of the world is no longer on your shoulders and the criticism has dulled and instead there is just adulation. As The Man From Hope wends his way deeper and deeper into the restaurant's kitchen, one can't help but think that if this is a lion in winter, well, where can I sign up?

Some Secret Service agents cluster around the front counter, quietly inquiring about the key lime pie. It's unclear if it's for them or him, though by this point He has indeed found that baby, and, by the way, his aides were right.

And then, as quickly as he burst in, he's gone, having greeted every last person in the room. Two girls stand on the corner, amidst the muck of cops and cameras and looky-loos.

The blonde looks at the brunette and says, "Can you believe we almost went to the Dodger game?"

P.S. We are sorry the pictures aren't better, it was dark and crowded.