Bill Clinton explains how to jumpstart American innovation in science

Last night, Jon Stewart hosted Bill Clinton on The Daily Show to talk geopolitical policy, the cooperation between government and private sectors, science, technology and progress. It was a great interview, but it ran a little long, so some of Clinton's science and technology comments had to be cut from the televised broadcast. Fortunately, the Daily Show has posted the extended interview in two parts over on its website.

Both segments definitely warrant a watch, but the following quote — wherein Clinton describes what he calls "an example of a place in America that is doing well" thanks to collaboration between government, NGO and private industry — resonated particularly strongly with us. Clinton's example begins around the 3:30 mark in the video below, but we've included the transcript here:

San Diego is one of our great naval cities, but it's also the center of human genome research in America. The private sector, Craig Venter, was in a race, in effect, with the International Government Consortium to sequence the genome, which was done in 2000. Started with a bipartisan commitment to federal research then I put 3 billion dollars of your money [in], [and we're already seeing huge results]. I was in St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis around three weeks ago, looking at children whose lives have been saved, because we can now see how their genetic differences require different kinds of medicine to cure the same kind of cancer. It was unbelievable.

So you've got Venter's foundation (it's an NGO). Then you've got the University of California at San Diego putting out all these scientists. You have the Republican mayor of San Diego inviting people in, and the biggest computer company, Qualcomm, headed by a Democrat… And they have spawned 700 more computer companies. Why? Because you have the government, the non-profit sector, and the business sector working together to do this.

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Watch the original interview, along with both extended segments, over at The Daily Show.