Philanthropists-In-Chief: Presidents Unite For Haiti

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January 16, 2010: President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and former President George W. Bush walk toward the Rose Garden, where they’ll give a press conference about the former presidents’ efforts to raise money for Haiti relief, called the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. In a statement released earlier, Bush and Clinton said: “We are pleased to accept President Obama’s request to lead private sector fundraising efforts. In the days and weeks ahead, we will draw attention to the many ways American citizens and businesses can help meet the urgent needs of the Haitian people.”

Newscom/UPI

Bush and Obama shake hands before the press conference. In his address to the crowd, Bush said: “The most effective way for Americans to help the people of Haiti is to contribute money. That money will go to organizations on the ground and will be — who will be able to effectively spend it. I know a lot of people want to send blankets or water — just send your cash. One of the things that the President and I will do is to make sure your money is spent wisely.”

Newscom/Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

In his own remarks, President Obama said: “What these gentlemen are going to be able to do is when the news media starts seeing its attention drift to other things but there’s still enormous needs on the ground, these two gentlemen of extraordinary stature I think are going to be able to help ensure that these efforts are sustained. And that’s why it’s so important and that’s why I’m so grateful that they agreed to do it.”

Official White House Photo By Pete Souza

Bush and Clinton listen as Obama makes his remarks. Clinton had also made a brief statement at the press conference: “I believe before this earthquake Haiti had the best chance in my lifetime to escape its history — a history that Hillary and I have shared a tiny part of. I still believe that. The Haitians want to just amend their development plan to take account of what’s happened in Port-au-Prince and west, figure out what they got to do about that, and then go back to implementing it. But it’s going to take a lot of help and a long time.”

Newscom/Mike Theiler / CNP

After the press conference, President Obama leads the former presidents back to the Oval Office for a meeting.

Newscom/Kristoffer Tripplaar/ Sipa Press

Things aren’t all serious when Bush, Obama, and Clinton meet in the Oval Office.

More information on the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund can be found at clintonbushhaitifund.org.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

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