The Presidential and Vice-Presidential Response to Haiti

I was heartened to hear America’s highest in command pledge the government’s unwaivering support for the people of Haiti.

Standing alongside two former presidents, President Barack Obama today promised that U.S. support for Haitian relief would continue long after the scenes of death and destruction fade from the headlines.

“In these difficult hours, America stands united,” Obama said. “We stand united with the people of Haiti, who have shown such an incredible resilience, and we will help them to recover and to rebuild.”

“But what these gentlemen are going to be able to do is when the news media starts seeing its attention drift to other things but there’s still enormous needs on the ground, these two gentlemen of extraordinary stature, I think, are going to be able to help ensure that these efforts are sustained,” Obama said of Bush and Bill Clinton.

Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Florida’s Homestead Air Reserve Base today to inspect the relief efforts for Haiti. Biden said:

“We’re in for the long haul. The Haitian people are our friends, they’re our partners, they’re our neighbors. We’re not going to abandon them in their time of need,”

Hillary Clinton arrived today on a Coast Guard C-130 transport plane carrying bottled water, packaged food, soap and other supplies. She was to depart on another plane carrying about 50 U.S. citizens to Jamaica before her return to Washington.

In Haiti, Clinton met with President Rene Preval and got an update on relief efforts. She was accompanied by Rajiv Shah, administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, who is acting as the top U.S. relief coordinator. She told President Preval:

“We are here at the invitation of your government to help you,”

“As President Obama has said, we will be here today, tomorrow and for the time ahead. And speaking personally, I know of the great resilience and strength of the Haitian people. You have been severely tested. But I believe that Haiti can come back even stronger and better in the future.”

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