Obama Enlists Clinton, Bush to Confront Haiti Suffering With Compassion

"Right now, all we need to do is get food and medicine and water and a secure place for them to be," he said. "But when we start the rebuilding effort, we want to do what I did with the president's father [George H.W. Bush] in the tsunami area. We want to be a place where people can know their money will be well spent; where we will ensure the ongoing integrity of the process. And we want to stay with this over the long run."

Clinton said he and his wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who consulted with Haiti's president in Port-au-Prince today, said he has a personal attachment to Haiti beyond his official U.N. capacity as envoy.

"I was in those hotels that collapsed," Bill Clinton said. "I had meals with people who are dead. The cathedral church that Hillary and I sat in 34 years ago is a total rubble.

"But," he added, "it is still one of the most remarkable, unique places I have ever been. And they can escape their history and build a better future if we do our part. And President Obama, thank you for giving us a chance to do a little of that."

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