A president who does not always fit the stereotype

Jay P. Lefkowitz, Bush’s deputy domestic policy adviser when the global AIDS initiative was being developed, gives an insider’s account of the president’s interest in HIV/AID policy. One extract:

The announcement came the next month in the President’s 2003 State of the Union address. Midway through his remarks, he turned to the issue of AIDS, pointing out that nearly 30 million people in Africa were infected, including three million children under the age of fifteen. Yet across the entire continent, observed Bush, only 50,000 AIDS victims were receiving medication. Calling his initiative a “work of mercy beyond all current international efforts to help the people of Africa,” he declared his intention to commit to it a full $15 billion over the next five years. This time, the reaction from AIDS activists was a resounding chorus of approval.

No sooner had the dust settled on the State of the Union speech than the initiative faced its first controversy. Although the heart of the plan lay in the disbursement of funds for prevention, treatment, and care, the President had made clear that he wanted to follow the Ugandan model of counseling. This raised the touchy issue of condom distribution (the C in the ABC).

Read it all here.

Yesterday Bush pulled another surprise, using his executive powers to create three huge environmental preserves in the Pacific.

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