NEW YORK – Former President Bill Clinton (search), in his first public remarks since the election, said Friday that President Bush's re-election offered great opportunities for both the incumbent and the Democratic Party.
"The two are not necessarily in conflict," Clinton told the annual conference of the Urban Land Institute (search), a Washington-based think tank. Democrats "shouldn't be all that discouraged" by Bush's narrow victory over U.S. Sen. John Kerry (search), he continued.
It would be a mistake, Clinton warned, for Democrats to "sit around and whine" after Tuesday's results.
Clinton, whose second term was hampered by the Monica Lewinsky (search) scandal, said Bush should use his second four years to move the United States toward an economy less dependent on foreign oil. Such a move would shift the balance of power in the Middle East, the ex-president said in his address at a midtown Manhattan hotel.
One crucial concern will be brokering a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, which Clinton said could happen during Bush's second term. He said the uncertain health of PLO leader Yasser Arafat, who remained in a coma Friday, made an agreement more likely.