CNN's O'Brien Hits Clinton on AIDS Spending
Coming just 24 days before Christmas, CNNâ€™s Soledad Oâ€™Brien practically accused Bill Clinton of playing Ebenezer Scrooge with the global AIDS problem. Her complaint? He didnâ€™t spend enough of the taxpayersâ€™ money when he was president.
The occasion for criticizing the liberal Democrat from the left was â€śAmerican Morningâ€ť devoting the bulk of its December 1 program to World AIDS Day.
â€śWeâ€™re searching for a cure and telling stories of hope on this World AIDS Day 2006,â€ť Oâ€™Brien teased as she narrated the opening credits to the â€śAmerican Morningâ€ť at 6 a.m. The diagnosis from Oâ€™Brien: the government should throw more taxpayer money at the problem.
â€śPresident Bush has committed $15 billion over 5 years to the fight against HIV/AIDS globally,â€ť Oâ€™Brien noted, lamenting that during Clintonâ€™s watch, â€śthe Congress was much less willing to pony upâ€ť the money. â€śDo you look back now and say, if only we put the cash in early, we could have made a big difference,â€ť the CNN anchor pressed the former president, who appeared in a satellite interview taped November 30.
Earlier in the program, Oâ€™Brien presented viewers with an interview with freshman liberal Democratic Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), a prospective 2008 presidential contender.
â€śWe spoke earlier in the week about the governmentâ€™s role and whether President Bushâ€™s emergency plan for AIDS relief, which is called PEPFAR goes far enough with its $15 billion commitment,â€ť Oâ€™Brien said as she set up the interview.
Obama lauded Bushâ€™s spending initiative but insisted it wasnâ€™t enough. â€śI would like to see increased fundingâ€ť to the tune of â€śa billion dollars a year,â€ť he suggested.
Lobbing another softball, Oâ€™Brien asked Obama why among â€śa gajillion causes that you as a U.S. Senator would focus on, to give your name toâ€ť 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.