President Clinton yesterday used the annual congressional prayer breakfast to reach out to his critics in the Republican Party and called on both parties to "show the right attitude toward those with whom we disagree, even when we feel wronged."
Capping a three-hour event in which several lawmakers prayed for civil public discourse, Mr. Clinton made a plea for harmony in politics and American life as he broadened his re-election campaign theme of "common ground."
Accompanied by the first lady, the president quoted several figures from the Bible and American history, including Benjamin Franklin. "He said, `Our enemies are our friends, for they show us our faults.' Well, as someone who has had more of his faults shown - real and imagined - than anyone else, I think we all have a lot of friends here."
Mr. Clinton focused on problems facing families and teen-agers in his prayer and quoted from Hillary Rodham Clinton's new book, "It Takes a Village," when addressing the nation's high divorce rate.
"Hillary said in her book that, `Til death do us part' has often become, `Til the going gets tough.' It may be that it ought to be a little harder to get a divorce where children are involved," Mr. Clinton said.