America

Bill Clinton Asks For Toned-Down Rhetoric In U.S.; Ramped-Up Aid In Haiti

"You can leave a little blood on the canvas while you're boxing, but you don't want to try to stimulate the public debate with the kind of violent rhetoric that makes a guy like McVeigh listen more. You just don't want to do it. We don't want to go there again."

That was former president Bill Clinton, speaking with All Things Considered host Michele Norris. He expanded on recent comments he's made warning that the sometimes raw rhetoric of politics today is too much like the sometimes heated talk of the years prior to the April 19, 1995, bombing by Timothy McVeigh at the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City — an attack that killed 168 people and left hundreds more injured.

Clinton, though, had fond words for some of his early '90s political rivals — Republicans Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey and Tom DeLay. "I had a good time fighting Newt Gingrich. ... I got a kick out of Dick Armey when he said whatever it was he said about me. ... I didn't mind battling Tom DeLay":

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Michele also talked with Clinton about his current efforts to help the people of Haiti, who continue to struggle to recover from the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed at least 200,000 people and has left many more in danger as the rainy and hurricane seasons approach.

The former president, who has written that he has "cherished" that poor nation since "Hillary and I took our delayed honeymoon there in 1975," told Michele that Haitians "are immensely talented. They have suffered from 200 years of outside and inside abuses and neglect and misgovernment. ... And now there is a true consensus for — and determination for — a sustainable, comprehensive, long-term, modern society in Haiti. And they can do it. They can really do it":

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Much more from Michele's conversation with the former president will be on today's ATC. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show. Later, the as-aired version of the interview will be posted here.

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