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Bill Clinton's unsolicited reminder about what he did before Obama

April 22, 2009 |  1:48 am

Barack Obama and Edward Kennedy at an Obama campaign rally 2008

Although no one remembers asking, ex-President Bill Clinton has issued a special statement about the legislative signing ceremony that he attended with President Barack Obama and Sen. Edward Kennedy Tuesday.

Clearly, ex-presidents are not all that fond of being spectators. Obama politely acknowledged Clinton's presence in the crowd, but No. 44 did not bow to No. 42 as he did the Saudi king last week. Here's what Obama said:

I want to, first of all, thank President Bill Clinton for joining us here today -- where’s President Clinton? -- (applause) -- for his lifetime of service to our country, but also the fact that he created AmeriCorps, and that not only made this day possible, it has directly enlisted more than half a million Americans in service to their country; service that has touched the lives of millions more.

But, apparently, that was insufficient. Clinton also issued this subtle New York reminder: If you don't read the whole thing, just scan the second paragraph; that's the real point of this statement.

Here it is:

Statement of Former President Bill Clinton on the Signing of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act

I congratulate President Obama and Senator Kennedy on the signing of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. It will triple the size of AmeriCorps over the next eight years, putting more young Americans on the course to a lifetime of service at a time when our country needs their innovation and passion to solve the challenges we face. The legislation also increases opportunities for older Americans to serve.

This signing is particularly important to me. In 1992, I campaigned on establishing a national service program.In 1993, I signed legislation that created AmeriCorps –  with the same pen President Kennedy used to create the Peace Corps – and I’ve been proud of the more than 500,000 young people who have served and pleased that the third class will graduate from the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas this weekend.

Over the last year in America, we have seen a remarkable resurgence of public spirit by young people in their involvement in presidential campaigns, in voting in record numbers, and also in service activities on their campuses, their communities, and all across the globe. 

My Clinton Global Initiative held its second meeting of CGI U this winter, and more than 1,000 young people attended from across America and more than 50 other countries to discuss pressing global problems and take concrete action.

President and Mrs. Obama have been inspiring advocates for youth service. Senator Kennedy was present at the creation of AmeriCorps and he has been a leading supporter.They and the rest of the supporters have given young people a great opportunity to make a real difference.   ###

-- Andrew Malcolm

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