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Byline: Jeff Zeleny
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. _ The sun did not shine upon Bill Clinton at the dedication of his library here Thursday, but a cold, persistent rain seemed to wash away any stain of controversy or discord as his fellow presidents showered him with praise and recognized his place in history.
A rare chapter in American politics unfolded in this Southern capital as President George W. Bush and two former presidents, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, played the role of cordial statesmen as they positively reflected on the 42nd president. One by one, through humor, blunt honesty and carefully chosen words, they offered testimonials to Clinton's legacy to help the poor and his attempts to achieve Middle East peace.
With the exception of state funerals, there are few times when living U.S. presidents gather, giving witness to the collective power of the people who have held the office. But as the four men strode slowly onto stage, walking through a punishing rain that drove away thousands of spectators, they presented a rare moment free of partisanship.
The William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Center, a museum, college campus and national archive, opens to the public Friday as the …