George W. Bush plans return to Washington in September for AIDS event

Since leaving office in 2009, former President George W. Bush hasn’t seemed too nostalgic for his days in the White House.

But next month, Bush 43 will return to Washington to participate in an event focused on one issue he has carried on post-presidency: The HIV/AIDs fight.

Bush’s years in office will always be linked to the War on Terrorism, the Iraq War, and later the Wall Street bank bailout. But even his fiercest critics agree that one of Bush’s greatest successes in office was his commitment to eradicating AIDs in Africa.

Billed as a “conversation,” Bush will be the main event at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) annual Research and Hope Awards ceremony on Sept. 10, according to the PhRMA invitation. Each year the event focuses on progress made combating a particular disease. This year it’s HIV/AIDS.

Bush doesn’t spend a lot of time back in Washington (he’s taken to retirement hobbies like painting and writing) but when he does make a rare appearance it’s been focused on global health or human rights initiatives.

He was here in August for the White House’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit where he spoke about public health needs on the continent. In May 2012, he gave a speech in Washington to launch his “Freedom Collection,” a project to promote democracy around the world. Then in 2011, he attended an event at the State Department to announce the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Partnership, a global health program to fight breast and cervical cancer.

Bush’s spokesman did not immediately return requests for comment.

But just because Bush will have been in town twice in two months, don’t expect to see the former president hanging around D.C. any longer than he has to. At the 2012 freedom event, he quipped, “I actually found my freedom by leaving Washington.”

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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Colby Itkowitz · August 19