Jesse Helms Warns of Bill Clinton's UN Ambitions

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:30 PM EDT

( - Former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms is raising the possibility that former President Bill Clinton may want to succeed Kofi Annan as U.N. Secretary General when Annan retires next year.

In a letter intended to raise funds for his senatorial library, Helms wrote to supporters, "I'm sure you might agree that putting a left-wing, undisciplined and ethically challenged former President of the United States into a position of such power would be a tragic mistake."

(The Associated Press obtained a copy of Helms's letter on Tuesday, and the Washington Post reported the story on Wednesday.)

Word of Helm's comments came one day after U.N. diplomats chose Bill Clinton to serve as a special U.N. envoy for tsunami aid.

In that capacity, Clinton will urge wealthy nations to continue funding relief projects. And according to the Washington Post, Clinton "will also offer to mediate long-standing armed conflicts in tsunami-hit areas in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, senior U.N. officials said."

Just last month, President George W. Bush chose Clinton and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, to head a nongovernmental tsunami-relief effort in the U.S.

In his fund-raising letter, former Sen. Helms reportedly included a petition asking President Bush to "rebuke all efforts by Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and every other liberal in Congress to push for Bill Clinton to become Secretary-General of the United Nations."

Helms is now 83, retired, and living in North Carolina.

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