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Originally published Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 7:42 PM

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Bill Clinton gets a standing O at Golden Globes

Who can seize the rapt attention of a room full of A-list movie and TV stars?

The Associated Press

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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. —

Who can seize the rapt attention of a room full of A-list movie and TV stars?

Try a former U.S. president.

When the glitterati gathered at Sunday's Golden Globe awards heard the surprise introduction of Bill Clinton, they leaped to their feet and roared their welcome.

No, this wasn't some joke, a comedy spoof by co-hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. Here in person was the 42nd president, whose appearance brought a smile to George Clooney's face, caused "Girls" star Lena Dunham to wear a look of startled pleasure and inspired a salute from Steven Spielberg.

Once the room settled down, Clinton got down to business: Describing one of the nominated films, the Spielberg-directed "Lincoln," starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the beloved 16th president.

"A tough fight to push a bill through a bitterly divided House of Representatives: Winning it required the president to make a lot of unsavory deals that had nothing to do with the big issue." A little shrug. "I wouldn't know anything about that," Clinton said. His audience laughed.

President Abraham Lincoln's struggle to abolish slavery "reminds us that enduring progress is forged in a cauldron of both principle and compromise," Clinton went on. This film "shows us how he did it, and gives us hope that we can do it again."

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