Saturday, September 20, 2008
Instead of the usual grilling, Tony Blair was subjected to rather soothing treatment during his debut appearance at Yale University.
Organ music played while the crowd waited for the former Prime Minister to appear at Yale’s historic Woolsey Hall, giving the whole affair a faint religious air.
The university’s president, Professor Richard C. Levin welcomed his guest on stage by saying, “It is such a thrill to have you here, it’s very exciting for our community, Mr Prime Minister,” perhaps the most polite welcome Mr Blair has received in months.
Prof Levin then peppered him with considerably tame questions about Northern Ireland, Iraq, education and, in conclusion, whether Mr Blair was a Beatles or Rolling Stones fan.
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Mr Blair appeared in front of 2,600 faculty, staff and students after teaching a three-hour course for the Ivy League school’s undergraduates.
Moments before he entered, the university’s vice president and secretary, Linda Koch Lorimer, told the audience not to get up from their seats during the question-and-answer session. There were members of Scotland Yard present and “we do not want them to mistake an interested audience member for a bad guy”, she said.
This article was posted: Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 4:00 am