In the wake of his own bruising encounters on the campaign trail on behalf of his wife Hillary, and amid a presidential contest that is daily growing more ugly and rancorous, the former president bemoaned the lack of togetherness that had characterised the country immediately after the attacks.
“I will always remember the way New York and America came together on 9/11,” he said. “Every time we fail to do that when our national interest is involved, I wish we could recover it.”
Seven years on from the terrorist assault, in which almost 3,000 people died, help for the families of the victims remains mired in bureaucratic wrangling. Clinton addressed last night a conference organised by Voices of September 11th, a campaign run by and for families impacted by the tragedy, in a hotel in downtown Manhattan.
Before speaking, he met with several representatives from the group and heard their complaints.
He promised to work hard to rectify problems that have beset a multi-million dollar scholarship fund that he helped to set up that supports children of 9/11 victims through college. There has been criticism that funds awarded by the $27.3m scholarship have been inadequate.
“From my point of view, this is your money. This money was given for your benefit, for your children,” he said.
Clinton said he would also give “real time” to support Voices of September 11th in its on-going project to memorialise each of the victims of the attacks through a digital database.
He said he thought it was of great importance, as a way of informing people in a hundred years time who had no experience of New York when the twin towers were still standing.