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Bill Clinton's Vegan Adventure
LAS VEGAS — Bill Clinton was hungry.
Clinton, campaigning here for his wife, was two hours late into McCarran International Airport on account of headwinds Thursday afternoon, according to aides, so he was looking for lunch when he arrived at Downtown Container Park, part of a revitalized cluster of small businesses about 15 minutes off the Strip.
The first one to spot him was a construction worker across the street peering down from a scaffold. “It’s Billy!” he yelled. Clinton, dressed campaign casual in a brown sportcoat and checkered shirt, waved.
The ex-president, accompanied by Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge, went to visit Simply Pure, a vegan cafe owned by chef Stacey Dougan, a single mom and small-business owner.
“I am not alone” Clinton exclaimed with delight as he walked into the vegan eatery. “This is amazing. I love this place.”
Excited to discuss the vegan diet he adopted in the wake of his heart troubles, Clinton said the lifestyle “changed my life. I might not be around if I hadn’t ‘become a vegan. It’s great.”
Perusing a menu with one arm around Dougan’s shoulders, he noted, “I’d weigh 50 pounds more if I lived here because this looks so good. This is great. A lot better than what I eat.”
“What do you like to eat in particular?” Dougan asked him.
“I like all the Italian stuff,” he said. “Lasagna, I like the chili enchiladas, they nailed the meat substitute stuff. It used to be when I started this, it was inedible. It’s so much better now.”
Fudge appeared stressed out about moving the former president along and recommended ordering to go. Clinton was fixated on the food.
“I’ll take the green chili enchiladas,” he said. “Are they good?”
Dougan said she had prepared a nacho sampler for him, which Fudge — nudging — also encouraged him to wrap up and take for the road.
“This is unbelievable,” he said of cashew cheese sauce and textured vegetable protein that covered the nachos.
“He’s going to have to take it,” Fudge said after he took one bite.
“Otherwise Marcia will quit speaking to me,” he said.
“Bye guys, thank you!” Clinton said.
On his way out, he explained the current state of his diet: “I take blood tests often. If I could get this I’d be 100 percent vegan. But [my doctor] asked me to eat organic salmon once a week. I do, but I’d just as soon be without it. The vegan diet is what I like the best. … I have more energy, I never clog. For me the no dairy thing, because I had an allergy, has really helped a lot. And I feel good.”
A few minutes later, Clinton, clearly loving the retail politicking, made his first mention of the upcoming caucuses when a local artist — who grew up in Harlem near Clinton’s office on 125th Street — showed off her wares.
“You going to vote for Hillary Saturday?” he asked her. Of course, she said. “I wanted to vote for her before Obama, but I loved Obama. It’s all good.”
A Karni, Politico