NEW YORK – Former President Bill Clinton (search) is a familiar figure in the streets around his office in Harlem (search), and residents sent him prayers and good wishes Friday after he was hospitalized for heart surgery.
"I'm going to go home, and I'm going to get my Bible, and there's something I'm going to read for him," said Fred Johnson, a retiree who was passing Clinton's office on 125th Street. The passage, he said, was from Deuteronomy, and he gave it as, "Be of good courage, do not fear, for the Lord thy God is He that goes with thee. He will not fail or forsake thee."
"You'll be all right, Bill," he added.
Another resident, John Bagley, said, "He's a good man. A speedy recovery and God bless his family."
Jacklyn Brown, who works for a welfare-to-work (search) agency in Clinton's building, said, "I hope he does well."
She said she sees him often.
"He waves and shakes hands. He walks the streets. He goes around the corner to eat."
Another worker in the building, Melvin Alston, said, "I'm very sad. To me he is one of our greatest presidents. Our prayers are going to be with him." He described Clinton as "a big, vibrant man, you wouldn't even think he could be sick."
It was a surprise when Clinton chose Harlem for his post-presidential office headquarters in 2001, and the former president has been embraced by the neighborhood ever since.