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Sep 23, 2:30 PM EDT

At Clinton confab, Obama praises role of citizens

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NEW YORK (AP) -- President Barack Obama says ordinary citizens will often have a more lasting impact on their community than their presidents and prime ministers.

Obama is promoting civil society during his speech Tuesday at the annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York. He says when people are free to speak their mind and hold leaders accountable, their governments work better and are more responsive. He's praising groups that work to promote the rights of women, minorities, laborers, gays and lesbians.

Former President Bill Clinton greeted Obama onstage with a hearty handshake and a few jokes. Obama says picking former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to be his secretary of state was one of his best decisions as president. He says now that she's left government she has "that post-administration glow."

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