20 October 2005
'I'm not feeling nervous.'
Lunch with President Bush at the White House. The band are in Washington for two shows and yesterday Bono was invited to the White House to continue discussions he had with President Bush about global poverty at the G8 Summit in Scotland in the summer.
According to White House spokesman Scott McClellan the meeting ran to an hour and 40 minutes as they talked about debt relief, AIDS, malaria, and world trade.
Jamie Drummond at DATA, the campaigning group Bono helps lead, added that 'Bono and President Bush discussed increasing funding for AIDS and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, both in the current appropriations cycle, where we are seeking $3.6 billion, and the White House budget request for FY07. Also discussed, were debt cancellation for developing countries and efforts to make global trade fair.'
In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine conducted a little while ago and on the streets this week, Bono explains that he is not intimidated in meetings with world political leaders.
'They should be afraid, because they will be held accountable for what happened on their watch. I'm representing the poorest and the most vulnerable people. On a spiritual level, I have that with me. I'm throwing a punch, and the fist belongs to people who can't be in the room, whose rage, whose anger, whose hurt I represent.
'The moral force is way beyond mine, it's an argument that has much more weight than I have. So I'm not feeling nervous.'
In the Rolling Stone interview, Bono praises Bush for providing $15 billion to help fight AIDS in Africa, money that is helping pay for anti-retroviral drugs. But he expressed disappointment that Bush and Congress had cut the Millennium Challenge program that gives foreign aid to countries that pursue political, economic and human rights reforms.
Bono said he doesn't support any president from the left or the right, but he has a hard time criticizing Bush after he has sent the money to Africa. He said he's made it clear that he doesn't support the war in Iraq, but he doesn't campaign against it because his main priority is helping the poor and disadvantaged.
'I work for them. If me not shooting my mouth off about the war in Iraq is the price I pay, then I'm prepared to pay it.'
More on the campaign to fight extreme global poverty here