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Why Bill Clinton Has Not One, But Two Ant Farms

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Andy Kropa/Invision/AP

While speaking at the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit on Thursday morning, former President Bill Clinton revealed that he has not one, but two ant farms.

He was given the farms as Christmas gifts from his staff last year, and he keeps one of them on his desk at his presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

But why am I talking to you about ants? He asked the audience rhetorically.

The former president went on to say that he frequently talks to his staff and others about a very “important political book” he read, The Social Conquest of Earth by Edward O. Wilson, that he believes has the power to “make us all much healthier as citizens.”

The conclusion of the book, he explained, is that out of all of the species that have ever inhabited the Earth, the most successful species that ever lived are ants, termites, bees and people.

“What do they have in common?” he asked.

They’re all the greatest cooperators.

“Diversity, inclusion and creative collaboration leads to better results,” he concluded.

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At the Partnership for a Healthier America conference to end childhood obesity, which former First Lady Michelle Obama will be addressing on Friday, Clinton also spoke about the “rising tribalism” in the U.S., likening it to junk food.

“It’s emotionally satisfying but a dumb way to run a railroad,” he said. “It doesn’t work. What works is what you are doing here.”

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The president also praised Obama for her work toward ending childhood obesity, saying that once she got involved and started her “Let’s Move” initiative, “you could see the whole landscape just open up.”

“And I’m glad that when she left the White House, she didn’t leave the cause,” he said.

Clinton also suggested that “Let’s Move” should be the national motto, especially in Washington. “Do something,” he said. “Do it.”