Once again, it’s Bono Week in Washington: The U2 frontman has returned to sprinkle some stardust on the issue of third-world poverty. On Tuesday, he met with Joe Biden; on Wednesday, he has an audience with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim; and in between, he’s expected to lobby lawmakers against cutting foreign aid as they grapple with the “fiscal cliff.”
He kicked off his visit Monday night with a speech at Georgetown University, where he congratulated students “for electing an extraordinary man as president.” And then, we’re told, he lingered on campus to dine with a more elite crowd of about 30 business and political leaders.
Among those in the room: Nancy Pelosi, David Bradley, Mike Barnicle, Irish Ambassador Michael Collins, the younger Barbara Bush, foreign-policy scholar Steve Clemons, who moderated the conversation, and Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, which co-sponsored the speech. On the menu: spicy rockfish, butternut squash soup.
We’re told that Bono, always suave this way, lavished bipartisan praise on guests Pat Leahy and Norm Coleman for their support of anti-poverty programs — and Coleman, the former Republican senator, responded with a full-throated defense of the importance of government leadership. Bono also argued that overseas development won’t succeed unless leaders promote it as a business model, not strictly a charitable concern. Oh, and China? Way ahead of the U.S. in assisting Africa, he said, because it sees mercantile advantage. Soon, “China will have annexed Africa if we’re not there,” he said.
Aphorism to mull: “America is an idea that is supposed to be contagious. You don’t do very well isolated, as an island.”
Jolly banter: Guests introduced themselves, one by one. When it was his turn, he said, “Bono. I am a rock star.”
Read earlier: Bono drops in on White House as much as Oprah, 5/31/12
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