Bono dazzles powerful to end poverty and combat AIDS

The Washington Post Style section tells how when Bono speaks, “We want to rush out and do what he says.”

How does he get legislators and heads of state and titans of industry together, and get them to offer up billions in debt relief to help lift Africa out of poverty?

According to writer, Sridhar Pappu, “He dazzles them in telling them what to do, and they do it.”

As proof of his potency in Washington, one need only look at the crowd that Bono, 47, draws one fall evening on the second floor of Sonoma, a restaurant on Capitol Hill. Surrounded by administration officials and Hill staffers — Democrats and Republicans — and musicians from Mali, he mixes easily with these folks, most of whom he knows and greets by first name. Daschle is there, as is Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) and Jendayi Frazer, the State Department’s top official for Africa. Yes, they are together for Africa. But they’re really here for him.

“When I first met him, I was thinking, what does this man have to do with the people I represent?” says Rep. John R. Carter (R-Tex.), a third-term congressman from the district that includes the Fort Hood Army base as well as the blossoming suburbs north of Austin. “But listening to him, well, he’s a straight shooter, and that’s what we like back home.”

The straight shooter has control of the room soon enough. Looking out at the bipartisan crowd, Bono talks about the stats that have been flashing on flat-screen televisions all evening, of the 20 million African children going to school because of debt cancellation.

Read how he re-energized the fight against HIV/AIDS and pushed debt relief to combat poverty here.

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