President Barack Obama has tapped former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to lead private sector fundraising efforts for Haiti.
Enlisting ex-presidents' help in responding to a natural disaster is just what Bush did in 2004 after a tsunami ripped across Asia. Back then, it was Clinton and President George H.W. Bush who assisted in relief efforts.
In a joint statement, George W. Bush and Clinton said, "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."
Obama called his predecessors Wednesday to ask them for their assistance because he thought Bush's decision to mobilize former presidents during the tsunami was a good one, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Thursday.
Gibbs said the Obama administration's criticism of Bush's actions during the response to Hurricane Katrina were irrelevant.
"I think if you asked George Bush whether the government acted up to its ability in responding to Katrina, I think the answer to that would be 'no,'" Gibbs said. "The actions that were taken to deal with the humanitarian crisis from the tsunami, on the other hand, I think worked quite well."
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