World leaders gathering in New York to resolve global problems? Sounds like the UN General Assembly — well, except when they’re all across town with Bill Clinton.
The Democratic Party legend basked Tuesday in his unofficial role of world problem solver as he opened the fifth annual session of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), timed to coincide with the huge UN meeting a few blocks away.
Swelling, movie-style music accompanied the white-haired Clinton as he took the stage at the Sheraton hotel where he joked of having been afraid, following the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, that “we’d throw a party and no one would come.”
Not that there were real worries on that score.
President Barack Obama gave the keynote speech, saying “Bill Clinton has helped improve and save the lives of millions.”
Bill Clinton watched from the sidelines as 800,000 innocents were macheted to death in Rwanda — 8,000 a day for 100 consecutive days.
Bill Clinton emoted about the AIDS epidemic, but did nothing. President Bush acted and saved millions of African lives.
Speaking of Africa, has Obama done anything to improve the life of his half-brother or other kin in Africa?
FLASHBACK to February 2008:
Mr. Geldof is an Irish rock and roll singer and longtime social activist who has helped, along with U2 rocker Bono, raise awareness about need in Africa. His most well known achievement is organizing the Live Aid concert in 1985, which raised money for debt relief for poor African countries.
But Mr. Geldof has remained closely engaged with African affairs since then, and he spoke off the cuff to reporters today who were waiting for a press conference with Mr. Bush and Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Mr. Geldof praised Mr. Bush for his work in delivering billions to fight disease and poverty in Africa, and blasted the U.S. press for ignoring the achievement.
Mr. Bush, said Mr. Geldof, “has done more than any other president so far.”
“This is the triumph of American policy really,” he said. “It was probably unexpected of the man. It was expected of the nation, but not of the man, but both rose to the occasion.”
“What’s in it for [Mr. Bush]? Absolutely nothing,” Mr. Geldof said.
Mr. Geldof said that the president has failed “to articulate this to Americans” but said he is also “pissed off” at the press for their failure to report on this good news story.
“You guys didn’t pay attention,” Geldof said to a group of reporters from all the major newspapers.
Bush administration officials, incidentally, have also been quite displeased with some of the press coverage on this trip that they have viewed as overly negative and ignoring their achievements.