Clinton Welcomes First Lady to His Global Initiative
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
President Clinton and his wife have recently criticized President Bush on Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq War, and tax cuts, but it was nothing but smiles yesterday as Mr. Clinton and Laura Bush thanked, praised, and honored each other more than a half dozen times in less than 20 minutes at the opening of Mr. Clinton’s three-day “Global Initiative” meeting.
“I have to confess that at my age I have learned a thing or two watching her — watching her do good around America and the world,” Mr. Clinton said before shaking hands with Laura Bush and giving her a diplomatic pat on the back.
He added: “Hillary and I have been particularly grateful for her advocacy of education for young women.”
Mrs. Bush was no less effusive.
“Thank you, President Clinton for inviting me today,” she said, announcing a $10 million pledge by the U.S. government to provide clean drinking water to Sub-Saharan Africa. “Thanks to your foundation for the important work you do.”
The Clinton Global Initiative, which clinched more than $2 billion last year in humanitarian aid commitments to tackle climate change, health, poverty, and religious and ethnic conflict. The former president said he hopes to surpass last year’s achievement.
The cost of attending the conference was free for some nongovernmental organizations, but the general tickets cost $15,000.
During the first forum, the conversation turned to the Danish cartoons lampooning the Islamic prophet Mohammad and the pope’s recent comments that have sparked global violence.
President Musharraf, whose military dictatorship is an American ally, told the audience that these incidents were like “putting salt in the wound” of a community that feels hopeless.
“I don’t think anyone has a right, whether it is freedom of speech or anything, to hurt anybody else’s feelings — least of all at this time when there’s so much tension because of that.”
Mr. Musharraf then said the solution to many of the world’s problems lies in Israel.
“I think Palestinian dispute lies at the core—it lies at the core of everything,” he said. “It lies at the core of terrorism and extremism in Pakistan and in Afghanistan. It lies at the core of whatever is happening in Iraq. It lies at the core of whatever is happening in Lebanon.”