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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Best Political Team in Jeopardy?

Friday on American Morning, John Roberts interviewed Bono about his experience at the United Nations last week. I've clipped the interview in two parts and also posted the text from the CNN transcript:

ROBERTS: Welcome back to the most news in the morning. And time now for an AMERICAN MORNING exclusive.

U2 front man Bono was one of the most recognizable faces at the United Nations general assembly this week. As leaders from countries around the world attended the general assembly, Bono and his ONE Foundation were lobbying for aid to fight disease, hunger and poverty in developing nations and quite successfully as well.

He joins us now for an exclusive interview. It's great to see you this morning. Thanks for joining us.

BONO: Good to be here.

ROBERTS: So, you know, all this talk has been about the economy collapsing, $700 billion bailout. Congress is absolutely absorbed with that.

Did that, in any way, affect what you were trying to do this week? Are people more focused on this economy than in helping out developing nations?

BONO: Well, we got good news this week. I know normally I'm on your program you have bad news, the wingie (ph) rock star, but it's great. You know the disease malaria, it's 3,000 African kids die every day of mosquito bites. Sounds mad, but it's true.

And people have committed and looks like the funds are on the table so that disease will be no more by 2015. That makes people like me punch the air and everyone who wears the ONE T-shirts and all our white band campaign in college campuses all over the country.

They -- it was a great day for them yesterday. So we're celebrating that. I know it's extraordinary, that while you're having this meltdown on the markets that this -- you know that people could even concentrate on this stuff, but I'm really grateful that they did.

We have both candidates make, you know, very powerful statements about the necessity for, you know, nonmilitary tools, for instance, in foreign policy. And that this is an America that both candidates want to show to the rest of the world, the greatness of America.

ROBERTS: So you're hearing what you want to hear from these candidates?

BONO: Yes. And you couldn't imagine a few years ago that you would have candidates so close to the election talking about this stuff, so yes.

ROBERTS: Yes. You were talking to Christine Romans outside the studio, who just did that piece for us a few minutes ago on what else could you do with $700 billion?

What could you do with $700 billion?

BONO: We wouldn't be asking for that kind of money. I mean these are serious matters. People lost their jobs. But for -- I think the world, the bill for the whole world so America would be like about a third of it.

For $25 billion, you could absolutely change the world. So you could put kids in school, most kids in school. You could eradicate diseases like malaria, as we're saying. We could change the water supplies.

But what's important is -- you know, is that people who want to change the world want to see their country -- want to be -- they see it as a patriotic act to show the world the -- you know, innovation of America, technology of America, pharmacology of America.

ROBERTS: You -- for $25 billion, you could put every kid who's out of school in the world into school?

BONO: Yes.

ROBERTS: That seems like a lot of people for $25 billion.

BONO: Yes. Well...

ROBERTS: That's a pretty good return on your investment.

BONO: It's a great return on investment. You heard me on your program before talking about debt cancellation? Strangely Americans don't know that because of debt cancellation there are already an extra 29 million African children in the school.

That's unbelievable. And because people got out on the streets in the Red campaign and stuff like that, there's now, I think, 2.5 million Africans on AIDS drugs, which are expensive.

So your country's -- it's turning for me in the right direction on these issues.

ROBERTS: So you're hearing some of what you want to hear, particularly on malaria issues.

BONO: Yes.

ROBERTS: But European Union had promised to increase aid by $50 billion between 2005 and 2010. Looks like they're going to fall $40 billion short.

BONO: They are, but they're still ahead of America. That's the bad news. You don't want to get me into the ring.

ROBERTS: Oh yes, absolutely. Come on. That's why you're here.

BONO: No, no, no. We've meeting with Sarkozy this week, as well as, you know, talking with the McCain and Palin and as well as always talking with the Obama campaign.

We do keep up the pressure on the Europeans, but the Europeans are way ahead of America on these aid -- on aids, so just to put it in context. But you're right. They're not coming through on all of it. And we will torture them, too. That's our job. ROBERTS: You talk a lot about these United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

BONO: Yes.

ROBERTS: Let me just go over a couple of those. It was supposed to cut global poverty in half by the year 2015, universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment by 2015, begin to reverse the incidence of malaria by 2015.

How far along that road are we?

BONO: The Millennium Development Goals are in a bit of trouble. And it is astonishing to me...

ROBERTS: And whose fault is that?

BONO: Well, you know, politicians, they love signing checks, but they don't love cashing them. They love the photographs. And, you know, these G8 meetings, you'll see myself and my partner Bob Geldof, you know, arm wrestling and, you know, politicians up against the wall.

ROBERTS: You're really effective in doing that.

BONO: Yes.

ROBERTS: You get access to a lot of places.

BONO: Yes, it's true. And...

ROBERTS: I remember that I was on a -- I was on a trip with President Bush once, and you walked on Air Force One, and the (INAUDIBLE) watching you do it.

BONO: Well, it's the absurdity of celebrity. You know I don't consider myself a celebrity in this sense, I think I'm an activist who knows what he's talking about.

But yes, we get access, and we use it. And it's true that there was a very ambitious plan signed up in 2005 that further committed what was decided in the year 2000, that we could actually, across eight goals, completely change the face of poverty and hunger in the world.

And there was a $25 billion bill by 2010 that would enable them to do that. They haven't come through on that. And another day I'll tell you why, but today I'm punching the air because malaria will be no more by 2015.

And it's Americans, people from the private sector, Peter Chernan there, you know, Ray Chambers -- all kinds of people, Bill Gates. Your mayor of this city, you know...

ROBERTS: Bloomberg, yes. BONO: Bloomberg is an amazing guy. He's working on this stuff. I just want Americans to know that side of their country because I'm a fan of America. And, again, that you have candidates, you know, like John McCain taking time out this week to talk to us. Barack Obama before. This is fantastic.

ROBERTS: I was reading your blog on

BONO: Yes, I'm a reporter as well as you right now.

ROBERTS: You've been writing all week, doing a great job, too. You mentioned in one of your pieces that you've been writing some lyrics. And I'm wondering where the lyrics are going.

BONO: The lyrics. Statistics don't rhyme. I -- you know, songwriting comes from such a different part of my brain and such a different part of my -- just who I am.

ROBERTS: And are you writing about all this?

BONO: No, it's strange. It's very strange. I used to work in a garage when I was a kid, you know, pumping gas, and I used to dream when I was -- pumping the gas about getting to rehearsals on a Saturday, you know, so I could be with my band and write songs.

The work that I'm doing now, as we say, we're working like a dog, living like a Shih Tzu. We're like spoiled people. We travel well, but we work on these issues.


BONO: Because you're working for the world's poor, we work like dogs. But I find myself at times, sometimes, I just wake up in the morning, and I just want to be back with my band in a rehearsal room.

ROBERTS: Right. And you will be soon. New CD coming out next year.

BONO: I'm not complaining about the work. This is the most inspiring thing I've ever been involved in my life, and it's working. It really is working. And that's why I'm on your show this morning. I just want to thank Americans really.

ROBERTS: And we want to thank you for coming in this morning.

BONO: Thank you.

ROBERTS: It's really great to see you. Good luck on the new CD coming out next year, right?.

BONO: Thanks.

ROBERTS: Looking forward to it.

Bono, good to see you. Thanks for coming in.

BONO: Thank you.

If you are a frequent viewer of CNN, you may have developed the impression that the Best Political Team On Television has all of the answers. Well, on Thursday night, they will have the answers as they provide the clues on Jeopardy.

Anderson Cooper CNN Jeopardy September 2008Bill Schneider CNN Jeopardy September 2008Campbell Brown CNN Jeopardy September 2008Candy Crowley CNN Jeopardy September 2008Wolf Blitzer CNN Jeopardy September 2008

It looks like Anderson Cooper, Bill Schneider, Campbell Brown, Candy Crowley, and Wolf Blitzer are among those delivering answers. Here's a look at promo that ran yesterday afternoon on CNN:

The Metro ran an article by Tom Forman on Friday: Selling off the rest of the Wall St. rubble. No surprise that this week's article would be about the impending bailout.

Let’s say you walk into an office building filled with busy people doing all those things that people in offices do, and suddenly a guy appears with a big fat wallet.

"Listen,” he says in a money-filled drawl, “I’ve got $10 million for you if you can just make sure nothing bad happens here in the next 30 minutes.”

You start walking the floors, and 29 minutes later you smell smoke. What do you do? If you are a caring human being, you pull the fire alarm and say goodbye to your almost fortune.

Or, if you bear no direct blood ties to Mother Teresa, you say nothing, collect the money and tell the fire crews, “Hey, it wasn’t burning when I was in charge!”

That’s why Congress spent much of this week arguing for limits on CEO pay as part of the bailout package. For decades now, Wall Street has been moving deeper into a realm where rewards are based on fast bucks and blind eyes toward future problems.

In the 1970s, the average CEO made only 35 times as much as the average worker, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Back then, the big boss still had to keep the place running, the income flowing, the widgets selling for 15 or 20 years before he could safely afford three houses, six cars, and a year-round vacation schedule. Today, that same CEO makes about 275 times as much as his employee. At a paltry $25 million a year, he can work two weeks and retire with as much money as the average American family will make in 20 years.

That trend promotes, by the reckoning of many analysts, a really weird way of looking at business. Long-term survival of a company? Who cares? Being a good corporate citizen interested in the stability of your workers’ lives or careers, their neighborhoods, or your country? Are you kidding?

If we were talking about just the dealings of private businesses, perhaps we could all shrug and go back to hemorrhaging our own money at the gas pumps. But what we are talking about now is us, the American taxpayers, picking up the tab for the bad decisions these highly paid professionals have made. A $700-billion tab.

The funny thing is, everyone on Wall Street could smell the smoke years ago. So even the slowest politician knows, voters are not going to be very happy if part of the payout goes to the guys and gals who did not pull the fire alarm. | Catch Tom Foreman on CNN every Saturday at 6 p.m. on This Week in Politics for a look back at the presidential campaign trail.

The Election Express Bus is on the move! Here's the latest on where it will be stopping:

10/2Vice Presidential Debate
St. Louis, MO
10/3 – 10/4Oktoberfest
St. Louis, MO
10/7Presidential Debate
Nashville, TN

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