“Don’t bet against America.”

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—President Bill Clinton in a speech at the Center for American Progress Action Fund on 4/16/2010.

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From our friends at ThinkProgress:

Fifteen years ago today, anti-government extremist Timothy McVeigh blew up a truck laden with 5,000 pounds of explosives outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring more than 680 in the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil before 9/11. In a speech at the Center for American Progress Action Fund on Friday, former President Bill Clinton spoke of this pivotal moment in his presidency and “drew parallels between the antigovernment tone that preceded that devastating attack and the political tumult of today.” “Before the bombing occurred, there was a sort of fever in America,” Clinton recalled. “The fabric of American life had been unraveling, more and more people who had a hard time figuring out where they fit in. … It is true that we see some of that today.” Speaking before Clinton, Center for American Progress Action Fund President John Podesta noted that while dissent is “patriotic” and should be encouraged, “when any leader promotes fear-mongering or distortions, it can create a climate where violence is more imaginable.” Given the disturbing uptick in anti-government extremism, Clinton noted that it takes only one Timothy McVeigh to cause extreme violence and urged leaders in politics and the media to be more responsible with their rhetoric. “Words have consequences as much as actions do, and what we advocate, commensurate with our position and our responsibility, we have to take responsibility for,” Clinton said, adding, “Don’t bet against America.”

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Why Did Extremist Groups Surge in ’09?

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Could it have anything to do with the ’08 election results?

Today, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) released its annual “Year in Hate and Extremism” report. The number of extremist groups in the United States exploded in 2009 as broad-based populist anger at political, demographic and economic changes in America ignited an explosion of new extremist groups and activism across the nation.

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