Bill Clinton eulogizes Franklin: Hillary and I were 'Aretha groupies'
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Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonHypocrisy in Kavanaugh case enough to set off alarms in DC Getting politics out of the pit Kavanaugh and the 'boys will be boys' sentiment is a poor excuse for bad behavior MORE said Friday he counts himself and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump to declassify controversial text messages, documents related to Russia probe Hypocrisy in Kavanaugh case enough to set off alarms in DC Clinton: Hard to ignore 'racial subtext of virtually everything Trump says' MORE among Aretha Franklin’s “groupies.”

“We started out not as a president, a first lady, a senator, a secretary of State,” Clinton said at a funeral service in Detroit for the performer known as the “Queen of Soul.”

“We started at as like Aretha groupies or something,” Clinton, 72, said to laughs.

Franklin died Aug. 16 at 76 after a pancreatic cancer battle.


“She lived with courage. Not without fear, but overcoming her fears,” Clinton said of the “Respect” singer. “She lived with faith. Not without failure, but overcoming her failures.”

“I just loved her,” Clinton continued.

Franklin performed at Clinton’s 1993 presidential inauguration. In 1999, he awarded the singer the National Medal of Arts and Humanities.

“I figured out I think that the secret of her greatness was she took this massive talent, and this perfect culture that raised her, and decided to be the composer of her own life song," Clinton said. "And what a song it turned out to be.”

As he wrapped up his comments, Clinton pulled out a phone and started playing Franklin’s 1968 hit, “Think,” for the mourners gathered at Greater Grace Temple.

“It’s the key to freedom!” Clinton exclaimed, as 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton looked on with a grin.

“God bless you, Aretha. We love you!” the ex-commander in chief added.

Clinton was one of several speakers — including Rev. Al Sharpton, former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderHolder: ‘Make America Great’ mindset flawed, rooted in fear Overnight Defense: Trump marks 9/11 anniversary | Mattis says Assad 'has been warned' on chemical weapons | US identifies first remains of returned Korean war troops Eric Holder blasts Trump for Twitter attack on 9/11 MORE and Smokey Robinson, among others — who took part in a star-studded service honoring the late entertainer.