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Shelby Thanks Clinton for Visit

April 15, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Watching a television replay of his tour of tornado devastation in central Alabama, President Clinton spoke with apparent regret Wednesday of his difficult relationship with the state’s senior U.S. senator, Republican Richard Shelby.

Shelby joined Clinton for his tour of the area, then told the president: ``The people of Alabama appreciate you coming here because they know you are coming here because you care.″

Speaking with reporters as Air Force One returned to Washington, Clinton looked closely at the screen and expressed gratitude for Shelby’s words.

He then said the two had ``got off on the wrong foot″ early in the administration.

In 1993, despite appeals from Clinton, Shelby voted against the president’s economic package. Shelby later left the Democratic Party and became a Republican after the GOP won control of Congress in the 1994 elections.

Clinton said it had taken ``a while″ for the two to develop a relationship.

``He’s a very complicated man,″ the president said, pointing to Shelby’s face on the television screen.

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