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Dems favor Clinton as envoy

Democratic candidates for president said they would use former President Bill Clinton as a peace envoy. Four hopefuls in Sunday night’s debate on CNN, asked how they would use Clinton, said envoy would be their preferred choice. Clinton’s presidency ended with a failed attempt to hammer out a comprehensive Palestinian-Israeli final status deal, but negotiators for both sides praised him for coming closer to achieving an agreement than any other broker. Clinton’s wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel spoke of using Clinton as an envoy in general terms, and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson specified his usefulness in the Middle East, among other regions. “I believe he is needed in the Middle East,” Richardson said. “This administration has not had a Middle East peace envoy as other bipartisan administrations have had. We have serious problems in the Middle East. Our great ally Israel, which I think needs buttressing, right now is less safe than it was when President Bush came in.” The other candidates in the debate, which took place in New Hampshire, were not asked the question.