Former President Bill Clinton was in central Arkansas for some notable events on Saturday.

Clinton spoke earlier in the day at his Presidential Library, which unveiled a new permanent exhibit for the Little Rock Nine – the courageous African-American students who helped integrate Central High School in 1957.

Suzi Parker with Politics Daily covered the event and noted that Clinton’s remarks were more than focused on the exhibit’s unveiling.

At times, Clinton sounded troubled about the direction of the country, and his speech seemed more political than commemorative.

He talked about the controversial ending of a busing plan by tea party board members in a North Carolina school district that had allowed diverse students to attend school together. He mentioned the campaign to repeal health care reform and what he characterized as backward steps on energy and education. And Clinton harshly criticized the growing conservative agenda, saying the country was "infected with a virus" that believes any federal power is "squashing democracy."

He said that Eisenhower was a genuine conservative Republican for his time, but that didn’t stop him from using federal power to gain equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of race. "Conservative means something very different today than it did in 1957," Clinton said.

You can access Parker’s full story on Clinton’s comments at this link.

Also, Clinton attended an arts event in downtown North Little Rock to open the new Argenta Community Theater (ACT). Clinton joined North Little Rock’s Mary Steenburgen, Gov. Mike Beebe and a host of state and local leaders to dedicate the new community building.

After some wisecracks, storytelling and promotion on the value of arts support, Clinton picked back up with his theme of concern for the state of American politics.

He advocated more consensus building and less divisive rhetoric and politics using the metaphor of new subatomic research that shows that positive particles outweigh negative particles by the smallest of margins. The new science suggests that the universe isn’t always in equilibrium, he suggested, but it takes slightly more positive energy to advance matter.

"In the end, right or left, it doesn’t matter unless you go forward. And you can’t go forward, unless you go together," Clinton told the crowd of around 1,000.

 

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