Oxfam America

Calling the Ex
January 21, 2010

Last Saturday, President Obama tapped the unlikely duo of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton to lead a massive campaign to help Haiti. It isn't the first time former presidents (and political rivals) have led major relief efforts: Clinton and George H.W. Bush worked together after the 2004 tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Ike. "This is a model that works," Obama noted. But how, exactly, does that model work? Why do we call on former presidents to help after disasters? 1) They Get People's Attention. They're presidents. They have high profiles. People listen to them.