- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday rolled up his sleeves and got his shoes muddy as he, Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton planted trees at a national park site along the Anacostia River in northeast Washington.

Obama let Clinton be the first to dig into the dirt. He said the former president had to leave to attend a fundraiser. “I don’t want him getting off scot-free,” Obama joked.

Gripping a shovel with gloved hands, Clinton dug a hole into the ground.

“I think the president has pretty good shoveling skills,” Obama said of Clinton’s work.

The stop at the Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens came after Obama signed into law a bill that triples the size of the AmeriCorps program over eight years and expands ways for people to serve their communities.

Obama and Biden were joined by their wives and volunteers from the Student Conservation Association and local public high schools. The association’s volunteers annually provide more than 2 million hours of conservation service at sites in all 50 states.

Obama and first lady Michelle Obama chatted with students as they shoveled away dirt to make room for their trees.

The couple also bantered with each other.

“We have the biggest tree,” Mrs. Obama told her husband.

Having finished planting his tree, he asked her if she needed help. “Well, not now,” she joked, after most of the hard work was done.

“All right, you done good, sweetie,” Obama said.

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