Obama, Bush, Clinton Join Forces for Haiti Appeal

BY Jason M. Breslow  January 16, 2010 at 3:35 PM EST

President Barack Obama joined predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton at the White House Saturday to announce a fundraising appeal to benefit Haiti in “one of the largest relief efforts in our history,” Mr. Obama said.

After a 30-minute meeting in the Oval Office, the three men stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the Rose Garden to unveil the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund. President Obama praised both men for taking on the initiative, and said they will help keep the focus on Haiti especially “when the news media starts seeing its attention drift to other things, but there are still enormous needs on the ground.”

“We also know that our longer-term effort will not be measured by days and weeks, it will be measured by months and years,” President Obama added.

For Bush, it was his first time back to the White House since leaving office. “I know a lot of people want to send blankets or water,” the former president said. “Just send your cash.”

Clinton said their work in Haiti will mirror his work with former President George H.W. Bush in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami. “We want to be a place where people can know their money will be well spent,” Clinton said. He went on to joke, “I’ve already figured how I’m going to get him to do some things he hasn’t signed on for.”

More Haiti coverage from Saturday and Web resources on the disaster:

The New York Times has launched an interactive of photos of the missing.

At NPR, Greg Allen reports from Port-au-Prince’s main hospital, and Carrie Kahn looks at the harrowing scene at the city’s morgue.

The Wall Street Journal has a map of the destruction in and around Port-au-Prince, as well as a timeline of major earthquakes worldwide.

The Los Angeles Times has several reporters on the ground in Haiti who have filed audio slide shows on triage at the international airport, the desperation in the capital, and waking to the sound of singing.

At Foreign Policy magazine, a pair of slide shows examines Port-au-Prince before Tuesday’s quake, and Haiti’s tragic history with disasters.

The Christian Science Monitor has a slide show of the various search-and-rescue teams either in Haiti or on the way, while CNN has video of how specially trained dogs prepare for search-and-rescue missions.

To contribute to relief efforts, here is a list of organizations collecting donations.