CNN's O'Brien Hits Clinton on AIDS Spending
Coming just 24 days before Christmas, CNNâs Soledad OâBrien practically accused Bill Clinton of playing Ebenezer Scrooge with the global AIDS problem. Her complaint? He didnât spend enough of the taxpayersâ money when he was president.
The occasion for criticizing the liberal Democrat from the left was âAmerican Morningâ devoting the bulk of its December 1 program to World AIDS Day.
âWeâre searching for a cure and telling stories of hope on this World AIDS Day 2006,â OâBrien teased as she narrated the opening credits to the âAmerican Morningâ at 6 a.m. The diagnosis from OâBrien: the government should throw more taxpayer money at the problem.
âPresident Bush has committed $15 billion over 5 years to the fight against HIV/AIDS globally,â OâBrien noted, lamenting that during Clintonâs watch, âthe Congress was much less willing to pony upâ the money. âDo you look back now and say, if only we put the cash in early, we could have made a big difference,â the CNN anchor pressed the former president, who appeared in a satellite interview taped November 30.
Earlier in the program, OâBrien presented viewers with an interview with freshman liberal Democratic Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), a prospective 2008 presidential contender.
âWe spoke earlier in the week about the governmentâs role and whether President Bushâs emergency plan for AIDS relief, which is called PEPFAR goes far enough with its $15 billion commitment,â OâBrien said as she set up the interview.
Obama lauded Bushâs spending initiative but insisted it wasnât enough. âI would like to see increased fundingâ to the tune of âa billion dollars a year,â he suggested.
Lobbing another softball, OâBrien asked Obama why among âa gajillion causes that you as a U.S. Senator would focus on, to give your name toâ AIDS.
The CNN anchor did not similarly press Obama over why more American tax dollars should go to AIDS, a disease spread by avoidable risk factors such as promiscuous sex and needle-sharing, rather than other devastating diseases plaguing the Third World like malaria or tuberculosis.