REYKJAVIK, Iceland – U.S. Sens. Hillary Clinton (search) and John McCain (search) visited Iceland on Tuesday to study its use of alternative energies, but they were upstaged by former President Bill Clinton, whose separate 11-hour visit captivated the local media.
During it, Clinton met with top politicians, chowed down at Iceland's most popular hot dog stand, and visited the site of the world's oldest Parliament.
Clinton arrived at Reykjavik airport in a private Boeing 757 at 9:20 a.m., and was soon giving a news conference saying that he was stopping here to collect Mrs. Clinton en route to a book signing in Ireland for his best-selling memoir, "My Life."
Following a private meeting with the president, prime minister and foreign minister of Iceland, Clinton said they had decided what would be discussed, not him, since he is now out of office.
Afterward Clinton, a known fast-food aficionado, was spotted at a popular hot dog stand, Baerjarins Beztu ("town's best"). It serves the traditional Icelandic hot dog, which includes lamb, beef and pork. It is served with onions and an egg-based relish.
Clinton next traveled to Thingvellir (search), the site of the world's oldest Parliament, and spoke out again.
"I knew about this place when I taught in law school. And I knew about Iceland's pivotal role in the history of law," he said.
With a nod toward University of Iceland Professor Sigurdur Lindar who also spoke about the site, Clinton said: "The whole idea behind the American Constitution was to limit the abuse of power. We learned about how the assembly here was given enough power to organize, but they were able to avoid the abuse of power."
During Clinton's hours in the limelight, Mrs. Clinton and McCain joined a U.S. congressional committee that was visiting Iceland to investigate the country's use of hydrogen and alternative energies.
McCain also briefly discussed plans for the U.S. military in Iceland. "We should maintain a defense presence here," McCain told reporters. The NATO (search) base in Keflavik employs more than 1,000 Icelanders. Many here have been worried about the effect on the economy if the base is closed.