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Ignoring Rush Limbaugh, Americans donate to aid Haiti, new poll shows

January 19, 2010 |  3:02 pm

Grieving at the cathedral

A new survey released by Zogby Interactive found that 64% of adults in the United States have given or plan to give to relief efforts to aid quake-ravaged Haiti.

The survey, released on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, found that 33% of respondents have already made a donation and 31% plan on doing so. Giving was more pronounced among African Americans, with 47% already donating and 34% planning to do so. Apparently these donors didn’t pick up on what Rush Limbaugh had to say last week about donating to a government-created website to help Haiti.

As our colleague Mark Silva reported: “We’ve already donated to Haiti,” Limbaugh told the caller on his radio show. “It’s called the U.S. income tax.” (White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, with some understatement, called the comment “really stupid.")

Undeterred, former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are spearheading fundraising efforts for clintonbushhaitifund.org. Bush had this to say about relief efforts:

That money will go to organizations on the ground and will be -- who will be able to effectively spend it. I know a lot of people want to send blankets or water -- just send your cash. One of the things that [President Clinton] and I will do is to make sure your money is spent wisely.

Clinton recalled how he teamed up with another Bush – President George H.W. Bush – to raise money for the parts of Asia devastated by the tsunami in 2004:

Right now, all we need to do is get food and medicine and water and a secure place for them to be. But when we start the rebuilding effort, we want to do what I did with [President’s Bush's] father in the tsunami area. We want to be a place where people can know their money will be well spent, where we will ensure the ongoing integrity of the process.

As for the reaction to U.S. relief efforts, check out La Plaza, the latimes.com blog on Latin America and the Caribbean, which is offering frequent updates out of Haiti. The blog features a video, which was released by the White House and widely seen on YouTube, of a California rescue squad pulling a victim from the rubble. As you’ll see and hear, the crowd begins to applaud and chant, “U.S.A! U.S.A.!”

-- Steve Padilla

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Photo: A woman pauses at the National Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times.

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