September 23, 2009.
* Clinton hosts Rudd in New York
* Gets Rudd's revolutionary war spiel
* One of world's "most intelligent"
AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been given a huge rap by former US president Bill Clinton who said he was one of the world's smartest leaders.
Mr Clinton said his friend was well-read, well-informed and an expert on China.
Mr Rudd, fresh from attending the first day of the United Nations climate change conference in New York yesterday, was a guest at Mr Clinton's own conference, the Clinton Global Initiative, across town at the Sheraton Hotel.
The former president was introducing Mr Rudd as a panellist, along with the President of Chile Michelle Bachelet, in the opening session of the four-day conference to discuss key global issues.
"In my opinion, he is one of the most well-informed, well-read, intelligent leaders in the world today," Mr Clinton told the audience.
He praised Mr Rudd for his government's recognition of the need to take urgent action on climate change and for its advocacy of the Group of 20 major economies as a preferred vehicle than the smaller G8 to deal with issues such as the global financial crisis and climate change.
Mr Clinton, who had breakfast with Mr Rudd north of New York on Sunday, detailed Mr Rudd's diplomatic background in east Asian affairs and described him as an expert on China.
"He told me he really didn't know much about America; like most Australian politicians who know more about America than they know about Australia, that's what he told me Sunday when we were talking," Mr Clinton said.
"He then proceeded to describe in excruciating detail George Washington's strategy to hold New York in the revolutionary war."
Mr Clinton said Mr Rudd told him that for his birthday on Monday his wife, Therese Rein, had given him a book of the maps that Washington used to hold New York.
"In other words, this guy's pretty smart," Mr Clinton said.