Tales from the Trail

Former presidents Bush, Clinton team up for civility

presidentsFormer presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush are joining forces again — this time for civil discourse.

Democrat Clinton and Republican Bush have agreed to serve as honorary chairmen of The National Institute for Civil Discourse which opens Monday in Tucson, The Washington Post reports.

The privately-funded, nonpartisan facility at the University of Arizona will be a center for debate, research, education and policy about civility in public discourse, the Post says.

The shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and constituents at  a political gathering in Tucson led to debate about the sometimes nasty tone of political discourse in the United States and calls for more civility.

Arizona University Provost Meredith Hay said that although the shootings were not linked to public discourse the incident “created a space for us to think about civil discourse.”

“Through the eyes of a child”

President Barack Obama faced two tests when he spoke Wednesday night at a memorial service for the six people killed in the Arizona shooting — make an emotional connection and comfort a grieving community.

Obama honored heroes and victims, but his tribute to the youngest victim may have helped him connect with people who attended the service in Tucson or watched on television.

“And then there is nine year-old Christina Taylor Green,”   Obama said. “In Christina, we see all of our children.”

Palin’s choice of words raises new questions

RTR2DVXI_Comp-150x150It didn’t take long for Sarah Palin to go from an uncompromising response to critics of her campaign rhetoric to new questions about her choice of words.

Not the gun-toting choice of words that had already landed the former Alaska governor in hot water with political opponents who tried to blame her rhetoric for last weekend’s melee in Tucson, where a gunman tried to assassinate congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords while killing six and wounding 13 others.

This time the questions surround two words that are charged with meaning:  blood libel.