WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Saturday enlisted the help of his two predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, to lead a national drive to raise money for earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
"By coming together in this way, these two leaders send an unmistakable message to the people of Haiti and to the people of the world," Obama said in the Rose Garden, standing between Bush and Clinton. "In these difficult hours, America stands united. We stand united with the people of Haiti, who have shown such incredible resilience, and we will help them to recover and to rebuild."
Bush and Clinton have created a Web site, http://www.clintonbushhaitifund.org, to begin collecting donations. They said potential donors should know that their money will be spent wisely.
Bush said the best way for people to help in Haiti is by sending money.
"I know a lot of people want to send blankets or water. Just send your cash," said Bush, who made his first visit to the Oval Office since leaving the White House in January 2009.
Dined with victims
Clinton, who also is the special U.N. envoy to Haiti, said he had stayed in Haitian hotels that collapsed during Tuesday's earthquake and dined with people who were killed in the disaster.
"It is still one of the most remarkable, unique places I have ever been," he said.
"Right now, all we need to do is get food and medicine and water and a secure place for them to be. But when we start the rebuilding effort ... we want to be a place where people can know their money will be well spent," Clinton said.
Haitian authorities believe tens of thousands of people — and perhaps as many as 200,000 — died in Tuesday's earthquake that devastated the Caribbean nation.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.