Clinton Urges Blacks to Back Bush
WASHINGTON (AP) Former President Clinton urged loyal black supporters Saturday to support President Bush's efforts in the aftermath of the nation's deadly terrorist attacks. ``We're all better when we work together,'' he said.
The 15-minute address came after Clinton received the Congressional Black Caucus Chair's Award for his efforts for minorities during his eight years as president.
In an effusive introduction, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas, the chair of the 38-member, all-Democratic caucus, said of Clinton, ``He took on so many initiatives he made us think for a while we had elected the first black president.''
Later, she said as Clinton took the podium, ``I present to you THE president of our time ....''
Clinton has spoken to the black caucus every year since his 1992 election. Bush, who has not enjoyed widespread support from blacks, was not invited.
But Clinton, who has long enjoyed the support of the minority community, used his remarks to promote national unity.
``We have come a long way from the time when people in our country thought it was all right to kill the innocent,'' the former president said to wide applause.
``Surely we can all stand hand in hand together and say it is not right for anyone ever to kill the innocent and we as Americans, black, white, brown, from every country, from every place, we will stand together.''
``Yes, we have to support our president on military and law enforcement action, on the building of defenses,'' Clinton said. ``They cannot win, these people who attack us.''
He later told the crowd, ``None of us in our lifetime will ever fight quite the same way again. We have been reminded that our common humanity, our shared freedom ... these things are what make America special.''
Clinton was surrounded by supporters in the audience, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and two members of his Cabinet: former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman and former Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater.
The only black Republican in Congress, Rep. J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, is not a member of the black caucus.