Entries in Bill Clinton (4)


Bill and Hillary Clinton Share Romantic Moment in Haiti

Mario Tama/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As President Obama and Mitt Romney faced off in their final debate about foreign policy, two of America’s most experienced global politicians, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her husband former President Bill Clinton, traveled on a one-day trip to Haiti. 

The purpose of the trip was philanthropic, but the couple left a little room for romance, reminiscing about the last time they were in the country together for their honeymoon more than 37 years ago.

President Clinton, jokingly thanked the secretary for inviting him to the event, an opening of an industrial park with new businesses in Northern Haiti.

“Some of you know we came here on a delayed honeymoon 37 years ago in December,” said the former president.  “You know she’s been here a lot and I started coming here before the earthquake.  I’ve been here so much I’m sure I owe taxes to the Haitian government I have not paid.  But in all those 37 years this is the first time we have been back together.”

President Clinton congratulated the people of Haiti for their resiliency and resolve to de-centralize the country’s economy and invite foreign investment.

When it was Secretary Clinton’s turn to speak, she also told the crowd that the she and her husband “fell in love” with Haiti, and that the country was special to them.

“As Bill told you, we came here for the first time together just after we were married and fell in love with Haiti, and have just celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary, which is exhausting to think about,” said the Secretary to laughter and sustained applause.  ”It’s been an amazing experience from start to now and we have had a deep connection to and with Haiti ever since.  So it gives me a special pleasure to be here with my husband, who has worked so hard on behalf of Haiti and its development, because he believes so much in the people of Haiti and the potential that exists within each and every man, woman, boy, and girl.”

The Clintons were joined on the trip by actors Sean Penn, Maria Bello, Ben Stiller and his wife, as well as model Petra Nemacova, fashion designer Donna Karen and Sir Richard Branson. 

The group opened a $300 million facility in the Caracol area of Haiti, located more than a 100 miles from the worst-hit areas of the 2010 quake zone.  The hope is that the Caracol Industrial park will provide thousands of jobs to the northern part of the country, helping to transform Haiti’s fragile economy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Secretary Clinton Watches Bill’s DNC Speech from Asia

Nick Merrill/US Department of State(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have been 10,000 miles away from Charlotte when her husband gave his rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention last night, but that didn’t stop her from watching him.

After touring a coffee plant in Timor Leste, a tiny new democracy in Asia, she met the country’s Prime Minister and then held a press conference. Coincidentally, former President Clinton’s speech ended right about the same time his wife was asked about it by reporters, according to an aide traveling with the secretary.

“My husband read parts of his speech to me over the last few days,” said Secretary Clinton.

She first met with the staff and families of the Embassy to greet them and thank them for their service. Once that ended she walked over to the ambassador’s house, where the former first lady was finally able to take a break from being America’s top diplomat and enjoy being a proud spouse. In a picture released by the State Department, Secretary Clinton is seen beaming as she watches her husband nominate President Obama for a second term.

Being able to watch the speech from a country that barely has infrastructure, let alone high-speed Internet, took some technical prowess. She was able to watch using SlingPlayer, which streamed a recording from a SlingBox connected to an aide’s home TiVo, allowing her to watch the feed from nearly 10,000 miles away.

As Secretary Clinton boarded the plane to head to Brunai, the 110th country she’s visited as Secretary of State, when asked what she thought about her husband’s speech told reporters “it was great!”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Clinton Admits UN Source of Haiti Cholera Outbreak

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, offered the strongest statements to date acknowledging the role U.N. peacekeepers are believed to have played in the deadly outbreak of cholera in quake-ravaged Haiti.

During a tour of a hospital there this week, Clinton was pressed on the U.N.'s role in an outbreak that has killed more than 7,000 Haitians -- a politically-charged topic for more than a year now, with the U.N. repeatedly refusing to accept responsibility for the outbreak despite mounting scientific evidence that international peacekeepers were the most likely culprits.

"I don't know that the person who introduced cholera in Haiti, the U.N. peacekeeper, or [U.N.] soldier from South Asia, was aware that he was carrying the virus," Clinton said, adding that "it was the proximate cause of cholera. That is, he was carrying the cholera strain. It came from his waste stream into the waterways of Haiti, into the bodies of Haitians."

Clinton went on to say that he believes what "really caused" the outbreak was the country's dismal sanitary conditions. "Unless we know that he knew or that they knew, the people that sent him, that he was carrying that virus and therefore that he could cause the amount of death and misery and sickness, I think it's better to focus on fixing it."

In a statement to ABC News, U.N. spokesperson Kieran Dwyer said, "In relation to former President Clinton's reported remarks to the press this week in Haiti, we note that he emphasized the importance of focusing on improving Haiti's sanitation system and the fact that the United Nations and others are working hard to do this." Dwyer added that in 2011, over three million people received water supplies, water treatment products, water filtering systems and sanitation materials from United Nations agencies and its humanitarian partners.

In January, ABC News reported on compelling scientific evidence suggesting a United Nations peacekeeper from Nepal carried the virulent strain of cholera to a remote village in October 2010, and dumping of raw sewage from the UN encampment sent the disease into a key water supply for Haitians. In addition to killing 7,000 people, more than 500,000 Haitians have been infected in Haiti.

Leading researchers from Harvard Medical School and elsewhere told ABC News that they felt confident they had traced the strain back to Nepal, and that they believe it was carried to Haiti by Nepalese soldiers who came to Haiti to serve as U.N. peacekeepers after the earthquake that ravaged the country on Jan. 12, 2010. Haiti had never seen a case of cholera until the arrival of the peacekeepers, who allegedly failed to maintain sanitary conditions at their base.

"What scares me is that the strain from South Asia has been recognized as more virulent, more capable of causing severe disease, and more transmissible," said John Mekalanos, who chairs the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School. "These strains are nasty. So far there has been no secondary outbreak. But Haiti now represents a foothold for a particularly dangerous variety of this deadly disease."

The U.N. had previously repeatedly said there exists no conclusive evidence fingering peacekeepers for the outbreak. The international organization has already faced hostility from Haitians who believe peacekeeping troops have abused local residents without consequence. They now face legal action from relatives of victims who have petitioned the U.N. for restitution. And the cholera charge could further hamper the U.N.'s ability to work effectively there, two years after the country was hobbled by the earthquake.

Over the summer, Assistant Secretary General Anthony Banbury told ABC News that the U.N. sincerely wanted to know if it played a part in the outbreak, but independent efforts to answer that question had not succeeded. He said the disease could have just as easily been carried by a backpacker or civilian aid worker.

Banbury said the U.N., through both its peacekeeping mission and its civilian organizations "are working very hard ... to combat the spread of the disease and bring assistance to the people. And that's what's important now."

"The scientists say it can't be determined for certainty where it came from," Banbury said. "So we don't know if it was the U.N. troops or not. That's the bottom line."

Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research called Clinton's comments an important first step toward accountability.

"President Clinton's acknowledgement, as a U.N. official, should bring us one step closer to the U.N. taking responsibility for what it has done, and fixing it." Weisbrot said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bill Clinton Says He Wouldn't Rule Out Arming Libya's Rebels

ABC News(SAN DIEGO) -- Former President Bill Clinton said he thinks the United States should consider arming the rebels in Libya's civil war.

"It would depend...and I might need to know a little more, but I would be inclined to do it," Clinton told ABC News Sunday in San Diego during an exclusive interview.

Clinton was in San Diego for his annual Clinton Global Initiative University Meeting.

The uprising in Libya stared in February during a wave of social and political unrest in the Middle East.  Fighting has escalated all across the country, but the rebels have found themselves outgunned by Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi's forces, which are better equipped.

Last month the United Nations authorized a no-fly zone over the North African nation to prevent further attacks on civilians from Gadhafi's troops in the air.

The United States backed the no-fly zone and has also authorized additional support for the anti-Gadhafi fighters, but key U.S. lawmakers and top officials in the government of President Barack Obama have said they are not comfortable with arming the rebels -- apparently because not enough is known about them.

But Clinton said he wouldn't completely rule out the idea of supplying arms to Libya's rebels.

"Let me just say this.  I sure wouldn't shut the door to it.  I think ... we may need to know a little more," he said.

Clinton, husband of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stressed that he was speaking without "any official sanction" whatsoever.

"I'm just speaking from myself.  But I certainly wouldn't take that off the table, too," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio