The call came at midnight. it was Bill Clinton in Kiev. "Shouldn't you be in bed?" asked George Bush, who was in the serenity of his beloved Kennebunkport and knew a thing or two about the exigencies of summiteering. But Clinton, like hundreds of others, wanted to take the time to thank the former President for his defense of public servants and his denunciation of the outrageous language in a fund-raising letter by the National Rifle Association. In a now famous letter, Bush excoriated the N.R.A. for railing against federal agents as "jackbooted thugs ... wearing Nazi bucket helmets and black...

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