Bono and Friends Open Bid to Make World Poverty a Focus of '08 Race

By Politics
Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Irish rocker Bono launched a $30 million bid yesterday to turn global poverty into a 2008 campaign theme, enlisting help from the rich and famous and a small army of Washington insiders.

Dubbed One Vote '08, the group held its kickoff event at a Capitol Hill church with a crowded agenda. Co-chairmen Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), both former Senate majority leaders, delivered speeches. Other headliners included ministers, a Zambian nurse and the African children's choir that appeared on "American Idol" in April.

The standing-room-only crowd of mostly young volunteers watched video testimonials from actors Matt Damon and Don Cheadle, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the U2 frontman. Actor Ben Affleck later spoke to 18,000 One members by conference call.

The effort bills itself as a bipartisan campaign to restore the United States' "fading global image" by rallying the 2.4 million members of One, Bono's humanitarian group, whose causes include African debt relief and disease eradication. Most of the $30 million budget will come from Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

If the group's goals sound far-reaching, its stated practical objectives -- to "educate and mobilize" voters and candidates on Third World poverty issues -- remain a little vague. In the fall, there will be a celebrity bus tour through early primary states.

-- Shailagh Murray

Gingrich Blasts Immigration Bill

President Bush wants to try again on immigration, but he won't get very far if Newt Gingrich has anything to say about it.

Writing via e-mail to his supporters under the banner of his recent book, "Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract With America," Gingrich urged recipients to call their senators because "the immigration conflagration is not yet extinguished."

Noting that Bush has scheduled a luncheon today with GOP senators to try to revive the overhaul bill, Gingrich called the effort "a fantasy" that could never be effectively implemented.

"When Washington quit work last week, it looked as though the disastrous Bush-McCain-Kennedy immigration bill was dead," Gingrich wrote. "As I write this, however, it is clear that the Bush Administration is determined to force it through with raw power, despite the fact that a large and increasingly vocal majority of Americans oppose it."

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