Bono vs. Bush in White House Clash
"We had a good old row," Bono said after leaving the White House, according to PEOPLE's D.C. bureau. "(President Bush is) very passionate about these problems. What I just can't agree with is the numbers."
Congress, which recently has been asked by the administration to put aside $87 billion to maintain peace in Iraq, is currently reviewing a $2 billion spending request for next year that would provide the first installment for Bush's five-year, $15 billion plan to combat AIDS.
Bono (real name: Paul Hewson), 43, the lead singer of U2, founded an advocacy group for issues affecting Africa, where AIDS is a major crisis. He said the epidemic is wiping out entire populations there, with millions of children in Africa orphaned by the deadly virus.
He pressed for a U.S. commitment of $3 billion for the fiscal year that begins in October, while the Bush plan called for $2 billion.
"I'm not here peddling a cause," said Bono at a news conference at the St. John's Episcopal Church across from the White House, where he was flanked by three bishops of representing the Catholic, Episcopal and Evangelical Lutheran denominations. (Also represented: leaders of humanitarian programs and Agnes Nyamya, a Ugandan woman with HIV whom Bush met earlier this year during his visit to Africa.)
"Seven thousand people dying a day is not a cause," said Bono. "It's an emergency."
Bush has withheld his support for the full $3 billion for 2004 because of a concern that a system is not yet in place to use the money effectively, White House officials have said.
"I can get very, very angry. If you want me to do angry, I'll do angry. But right now, I'm trying to calm down and get the president to open his wallet," Bono said.
On Newsstands Now
- Brad's Devotion: The Inside Story
- Oklahoma Tornado: Heroic Rescues
- Michael Douglas on Catherine's Health
Pick up your copy on newsstands
Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine