Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Labour Party Conference-9/29/2004-Brighton, U.K.

Thank you. My name is Bono and I'm a rock star. Brighton - rock - star. Excuse me if I appear a little nervous. I'm not used to appearing before crowds of less than 80,000 people. I heard the word party - obviously got the wrong idea.
I've been here in Brighton before... March 13, 1983. That time I had the greatest rock band on the stage behind me, they looked a little different from you. I think I was climbing the PA stacks, waving a white flag… and yes, I had a mullet from the 80s.
We played a song called 'Out of Control', and yes sometimes I am!
It must have been at that point when a young Tony Blair stroked his chin and said, 'Someday, when I come to lead this great land, I must have this man address my party conference.'
Well, 20 years later, here we are. I've come because Prime Minister Blair asked me.
He might well regret it.
In the larger sense, I'm here as part of a journey that began in 1984-85, with BandAid and LiveAid.
Another very talll, grizzled rock star, my friend Sir Bob Geldof, issued a challenge to 'feed the world.'
It was a great moment, it changed my life.
That summer, my wife Ali and I went to Ethiopia,on the quiet, to see for ourselves what was going on. We lived there for a month, working at an orphanage. The locals knew me as 'Dr Good Morning'. The children called me 'The Girl with the Beard.' Don't ask.
But let me say this - Africa is a magical place. And anybody who ever gave anything there got a lot more back. A shining shining continent, with beautiful royal faces… Ethiopia not just blew my mind, it opened my mind.
On our last day at the orphanage a man handed me his baby and said: take him with you. He knew in Ireland his son would live; in Ethiopia his son would die. I turned him down.
In that moment, I started this journey. In that moment, I became the worst thing of all: a rock star with a cause.
Except this isn't a cause. 6,500 Africans dying a day of treatable, preventable disease-dying for want of medicines you and I can get at our local chemist-that's not a cause, that's an emergency.
That's why I'm here today.
You know, I could make the soft argument for action-or I could make the more muscular one.
The soft argument you've all heard before. People are dying over there, needlessly dying, at a ridiculous rate and for the stupidest of reasons: money.
They're dying because they don't have a pound a day to pay for the drugs that could save their lives.
Pound or Euro, they really don't care.
There are hard facts that make up the soft argument.
This soft, moral case I know you understand.
And if you're already converted, you don't need me preaching at you. Though I must admit enjoy it.
So let me make the other, more muscular argument.
I know you can take it.
You're Labour, aren't you?
You're tough. Keir Hardie was a tough guy, wasn't he? Down the pits at the age of 11.
Clement Attlee was tough, right: fought in the Great War, worked in the slums.
Blair, Brown, they're tough guys. The Labour Party has never been a garden party, has it. I mean the reddest of roses has thorns.
Let's get real here on a couple of things - let's get to some uncomfortable truths.
Let's be clear about what this problem is and what this problem isn't.
Firstly, this is not about charity, it's about justice.
Let me repeat that:
This is not about charity, this is about justice.
And that's too bad.
Because you're good at charity. The British, like the Irish, are good at it. Even the poorest neighbourhoods give more than they can afford.
We like to give, and we give a lot. But justice is a tougher standard. Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties,it doubts our concern,it questions our commitment.
Because there's no way we can look at Africa- a continent bursting into flames -and if we're honest conclude that it would ever be allowed to happen anywhere else. Anywhere else. Certainly not here. In Europe. Or America. Or Australia, or Canada.
There's just no chance.
You see, deep down, if we really accepted that Africans were equal to us, we would all do more to put the fire out.
We've got watering cans; when what we really need are the fire brigades.
That's the first tough truth.
The second is that to fight AIDS, and its root cause, the extreme poverty in which it thrives, it's not just development policy. It's a security strategy.
The war against terror is bound up in the war against poverty, I didn't say that, Colin Powell said that.And when a military man from the right starts talking like that maybe we should listen!
Because maybe, today, these are one and the same.
People get nervous when I talk like this. I get nervous when I talk like this. But in these distressing and disturbing times, surely it's cheaper, and smarter, to make friends out of potential enemies than it is to defend yourself against them.
Can I just say that again?
Surely it's cheaper, and smarter, to make friends out of potential enemies than it is to defend yourself against them.
Africa is not the frontline on the war against terror.But it could be soon.Justice is the surest way to get to peace.
So how are we doing, on this other war, that will affect so many many more lives than the war I read about every day.
Well, I'm going to tell you what I think, but you're probably better off asking an economist. An NGO. An African farmer.
In fact, anyone but a rock star. I mean, get yourself a source you can trust-one who, say when he hears the word 'drugs,' probably thinks 'life-saving,' rather than 'mind-altering.'
Let's just say that when the government sends a fact-finding mission somewhere in the world, there's probably a good reason they don't send a delegation of rock stars.
But actually, I can see through these goggles. I know progress when I see it. And I know forward momentum when I feel it.
And I do feel it.
There is a lot for Britain to get excited about.
And with that in mind, I want to say a few words about two remarkable men.
Like a lot of great partners, they didn't always get along as the years passed. They didn't always agree. They drifted apart. They did incredible things on their own, as individuals. But they did their best work as a pair. I love them both: John Lennon… and Paul McCartney.
I'm also fond of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. They are kind of the John and Paul of the global development stage, in my opinion. But the point is, Lennon and McCartney changed my interior world - Blair and Brown can change the Real World.
And that's why I'm here.
You know as transcendent as I'd like to think a U2 show can be, it isn't life or death. This is. And I've met people whose lives will depend on the decisions taken by these two great men. They have great ideas. And the promises they have already made will save hundreds of thousands of lives -- if they follow through, and you don't let them forget who they are.
Don't let them forget who they are, promise me that, conference.
Growing up in Dublin in the Seventies, I didn't think much of politics, and I thought even less of politicians. I had no idea they worked as hard as they do. I had no idea what it takes to make good on your ideals.
Hillary Benn is doing a great job, with big shoes to fill. I'd like to thank Clare Short, for letting me in.
The Chancellor's spending review showed me this is a serious moment in time.
And the IFF, what a brilliant idea.
The Prime Minister's Africa Commission. This can be a radical landmark - like the Brandt report - certainly if Bob Geldof has his way, and it's hard not to give him his way. The Irish don't you love them. Anyway, what I'm telling you is 2005, when Britain takes the reins of the G-8 and EU, this is it. And if we don't get there in 2005 -- if we don't get there in 2005 -- I know where these people park their cars.
Listen, this is a real moment coming up, this could be real history, this could be something that your children, your childrens children, that our whole generation, will be remembered for at the beginning of the 21st century.
Putting right a relationship that has been so very wrong for so very long.
The North, the South, the Have Nots, the have yachts.
Britain is in a unique position here. I know you've got a chequered past. I'm Irish, let's not go there. Forget the plundering of Empire, I wont even bring it up….
You have real relationships in these places - real relationships-right across the developing world.
You could be the interface - there's a 21st century thought for you,- interface - as opposed to just-in-your-face -between the worlds of the haves and the-have-nothing-at alls.
But Empire aside, we have to accept that even people with short memories are not sure they like the look of us.
In certain quarters of the world, Brand UK, Brand EU not to mention Brand USA-are not their shiniest.
They're in real trouble.
The neon sign is fizzing and crackling a bit, isn't it?
The storefront's a little grubby. Our regional branch managers are getting nervous.
Let's cut the crap.
The problems facing the developing world afford us in the developed world a chance to redescribe ourselves in very dangerous times.
This is not just heart - it's smart.
Onerous debt burdens,decreasing aid levels,duplicitious trade rules,no wonder people are pissed off with us.
Listen, I know what this looks like, rock star standing up here, shouting imperatives others have to fulfill. But that's what we do, rock stars. Rock stars get to wave flags, shout at the barricades, and escape to the South of France. We're unaccountable.We behave accordingly. But not you. You can't. You can't do that.
See, we're actually counting on you.
Politicians have to make the fight, do the work, and get judged by the results.
The weight of expectation is a heavy burden. Hang it on a rock band and that's usually when they make a crap album.
The weight of history is so heavy. It's a huge responsibility to be the repository of people's dreams, to be their hope for the future.
So Tony… Gordon…I don't envy you.
Because there's a lot of work to do.
There is progress, but it's incremental. History never notices that, and the lives that are depending on it don't deserve the wait.
You know we made a promise to half poverty by the year 2015 - a big millennium promise - but we're not even going to make it by 2115.
It's not enough to describe Everest, we've got climb it and we've got to bring everyone else along. George,Jacques,Silvio,Gerhardt,Paul,Junichiro - they've all got to come up the hill.
Because this is the big year, 2005. All of you have to double aid, double it's effectiveness, and double trouble for corrupt leaders.
The G8 - people look at these meetings and wonder whether they ever achieve anything.
I stood in Cologne, with how many thousands of people. We got that announcement on debt cancellation which now means that three times as many children in Uganda are going to school.
Finish what you started in Cologne.Thank you for last weekend, Gordon.
And trade. Our badge of shame. We in the rich countries shuffle the poorest into a backroom, tie their hands and feet with our conditionalities and then use our subsidies to deliver the final blow.
We have to reform the CAP, and we have to let democratically elected governments -- not the IMF, not the World Bank, not the WTO, not the EU -- decide what policies work best.
We can't fix every problem, but the ones we can we must.
But it's going to cost you. Justice, equality, these ideas aren't cheap.
They're expensive - I know that.
And while I'm sure you care about education in Africa, I know you also care about schools at home. You care about AIDS clinics in Africa, but there's a hospital right down the road you're not sure you can get in.
These are hard choices.
And I'm probably the wrong person to ask you to make them.
And I know that on certain issues this room is already divided. I know many people - and I include myself - were very unhappy about the war in Iraq. Still are.But ending extreme poverty, disease and despair- this is one thing everybody can agree on.
These efforts can be a force not only for progress but for unity - not only in Labour but around the world.
Can you take this from a rockstar,'All You Need is Love' when all you need are groceries.
Now you know why Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are really excited that U2's got a new album coming out - why?
Because I'll be away on tour next year.
But even from a tour bus I can be a pain in the arse. That's my job. And I've got some very interesting friends, there's as many of them in mothers unions as trade unions.
It's not just purple Mohawks we've got going, it's blue rinses.
It's the Temperance League of Tunbridge Wells.
The Wigan Bowling Society.
The Chipping Camden Ladies Cricket Club.
OK, I made those up. But don't mess with us.
As I say, next year, 2005, Great Britain is on the door at the EU and G-8. So this is the time to unlock something really big. Excuses?Horseshit.
Earlier I described the deaths of 6,500 Africans a day from a preventable treatable disease like aids: I watched people queuing up to die, three in a bed in Malawi.
That's Africa's crisis. But the fact that we in Europe or America are not treating it like an emergency-and the fact that its not every day on the news, well that is our crisis.
And that's not horseshit, that's something much worse, I don't even know what that says about us.There will be books written.
Think about it. Think about who you are, who you've been, who you want to be.
I don't care if you are Old Labour or New Labour, what is your party about if it's not about this - if it's not about equality, about justice, the right to make a living, the right to go on living?
Simply agreeing with us is not enough.
If Britain can't turn its values into action against extreme, stupid poverty… if this rich country, with the reins in its hands, can't lead other countries along this path to equality, then the critics tomorrow will be right:
I am Tony Blair's apologist. The rock star pulled out of the hat at the Labour Party Conference.
I've more faith in the room than that. I've more faith in your leaders than that. I don't need to have. I'm an Irish rockstar. It looks much better on me to slag you off.
But let me say this again. For the last time.
We're serious, this is gigantic.This stuff is the real reason to be in politics, to go door to door, to organise and demonstrate and take bold action. It's every bit as noble as your grandparents fighting the Nazis.
This is not about 'doing our best.' It's win or lose. Life or death. Literally so.
If I could ask you to think a hundred years ahead, to imagine what we, and our times, will be remembered for, I would venture three things: the Internet,the war on terror,and the fate of the continent of Africa.
We are the first generation that can look extreme and stupid poverty in the eye, look across the water to Africa and elsewhere and say this and mean it: we have the cash,we have the drugs,we have the science -- but do we have the will?
Do we have the will to make poverty history?
Some say we can't afford to. I say we can't afford not to.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The O'Reilly Factor-9/1/2004-Fox News

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Tonight, the lead singer of the rock group U2, the legendary Bono. He has used his fame in a political way, forming a group called DATA, which stands for Debt AIDS Trade Africa. The group tries to help that continent, which is desperately poor, as you know, and ravaged with the HIV virus. What most people don't know is that Bono has worked with both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. He joins us now.
So are you a non-partisan guy?
BONO: I'm a non-partisan guy.
O’REILLY: You don't root?
BONO: I don't root anymore. Yes, I’ve stopped rooting. I'm rooting for people that don't have a vote and for people whose faces we don't see.
O’REILLY: OK. So you're not going out with Springsteen to try to get Kerry elected, you’re not going to do that?

BONO: I'm not going to do that. I love Bruce Springsteen, but I’m not going to do that. I put all that behind me when I went to work for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. That’s what I have to do. It’s hard for an Irish rock star, though, sometimes to shut up.
O’REILLY: Well, you don't have to shut up, it’s just about you have to make your points in I think a broader way than saying, I like this guy, the other guy is the devil. I think that alienates people. And you need bipartisan support, and indeed you have bipartisan support in the United States, do you not?
BONO: Yes, yes -- no. We've worked very hard to have it. And it’s difficult. We found the one thing that both parties can agree on, which is that it’s important right now for America that the world sees the greatness of America through their AIDS medicines, through their Peace Corps, through the real America, I see the America I was a fan of.
That’s the America my father…
O’REILLY: Do you really believe America is a great country?
BONO: Yes, I do.
O’REILLY: Because a lot of Europeans do not.
BONO: Yes -- no, I mean, I'm like an annoying fan. I'm like the one that reads the liner notes on the CD. I’m the one that -- I read the Declaration of Independence before a speaking tour we did on AIDS in the Midwest. I've read the Constitution. I've read these poetic tracks. And I suppose, you know, I'm just going around trying to remind people that their country -- why it is great, and in case they forget, why it’s great. Because the United States that I love is like the Statue of Liberty with its arms open, give me your tired, your poor and huddled masses. It’s not the continent behaving like an island, which sometimes it behaves like.
O’REILLY: All right. Let’s get specific now. The United States gives more money to poor people than any other country, raw dollars -- not per capita, raw dollars we give, and we have given. We've freed billions of people all over the world. But we have now a problem in this country, in the United States. We're fighting a very intense war that takes an enormous amount of money to fight, just to protect ourselves from people who would kill us. So that the largesse of the country is skeptical.
They want the money to go where it's best needed. Now, Africa is your cause. That is what you are front and center on, correct? Africa?
BONO: Yes. I wouldn't call it a cause, though.
O'REILLY: Well, whatever you want to say.
BONO: It's an emergency. 69,000 Africans dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease.
O'REILLY: I've been to Africa as you. I'm not as widely traveled as you, but it is a corrupt continent, it's a continent in chaos. We can't deliver a lot of the systems that we send there. Money is stolen.
Now, when you have a situation like that, where governments don't really perform consistently, where there's just corruption everywhere, how can you cut through that?
BONO: It's funny, we worked with this administration on two things. Historic AIDS initiative, and a thing called the Millennium Challenge, which is a way of increasing aide flows to Africa, but only to countries that are tackling corruption. So really important, and not well described initiative.
O'REILLY: So like Uganda, which is really trying to do something, the money would flow there.
BONO: Yes.
O'REILLY: But in Sierra Leone, wouldn't go there.
BONO: Exactly.
O'REILLY: OK. I like that. Because that, at least, gives you a chance. You know, your friend, Bob Geldof you know.
BONO: Yes.
O'REILLY: Remember, he raised all that money with the Live Aid he did. Very little of it got to anybody.
BONO: Well, look, I've seen what it did. I've been to Africa, I've seen -- it did a lot. But the reason I got involved in this whole business that I'm in now is largely to do with Live Aide, and it engaged me and engaged my generation to realize that we actually -- we can't escape what's going on in Africa, and that we have to look at sometimes the structural problems of the poverty of Africa.
And it's true, Live Aide, we made -- I think $200 million on the English side. And we thought, wow, we've cracked it. What an amazing thing. And then we realize that Africa pays $200 million every week on old debts that it was lent by -- you know, for Cold War reasons, you know, during the Cold War to dodgy dictators, and we were still collecting those debts, even though it was two generations later.
O'REILLY: Yes. And all the money in Switzerland with Mobutu and all these guys. Now, let's talk a little AIDS.
BONO: But there was corruption there on our part. You don't understand that.
O'REILLY: I don't know if it was corruption.
BONO: Not just on their part.
O'REILLY: I don't think you guys understood what you were getting into in the Live Aid situation. Oh, you mean there was corruption on the USA's part?
BONO: No, it wasn't just the U.S., but Europe, all the rich countries lending this money willy-nilly and then demanding it back a generation later. It was just a mistake.
O'REILLY: Let's talk about AIDS, because this is a very controversial topic within the United States itself. Now, we've got the epidemic under control here, primarily by education and frightening people into safe sex and all of that. In Africa, the education is almost nil. And that there's a tradition of men, as you know, not having sex protected, because of some kind of macho thing involved in it.
Now, Americans are going to say, I don't want my tax dollars going over to a civilization or a society that no matter what you tell them, they're going to continue to do disruptive practices. How do you answer that?
BONO: Look, if you see a car crash, somebody's lying there in the middle of the road bleeding and it turns out they're a drunk driver, you're still going to call an ambulance. We can't make these judgments about entire civilizations. We try to re-educate people, we try to deal with the problem.
And by the way, not dealing with the problem with something like AIDS, which metastasized, which grows on a geometric level, is really foolhardy. Because it will be more expensive to deal with it later.
O'REILLY: Look, you can't force the truck drivers who are spreading AIDS all over Africa, because they visit the hookers and then they drive their truck from one to the other to the other. You can't force them to use condoms.
BONO: Let me tell you something -- just on truck drivers. Because we did this tour through the Midwest, because politicians in D.C. said Americans don't care about what's happening in Africa. They don't care what's happening with this AIDS stuff. We believe they were wrong.
We went all over, schools, you know, colleges, churches. I was in a truck stop, and there was this big, big guy, big truck driver, tattoos over his eye, you know, like a big, big guy. And he heard what we were talking about, and he interrupted us and he said did you say that 50 percent of all truck drivers are going blind, they've all got this death sentence of AIDS.
BONO: And I said yes, they had some stupid practices, but they're all going to die. He says I don't want to pass judgment on people, they made mistakes. He said if you need someone to drive trucks over there, you've got me.
O'REILLY: Well, Americans are very generous people. And I think it's the kids that are -- that's my focus, it's the important children.
BONO: But we can't even judge mentalism, and we're not wrong in the statements you've made to excuse our inaction. That's not going to fly...
O'REILLY: We have to take action that's...
BONO: God is not going to accept that as an answer and history is not going to accept that as an answer.
O'REILLY: True. But action has to be efficient and people in the United States, most of us, are struggling to make our own lives solvent, and to ask them to give more money to people who aren't going to help themselves is foolhardy. But I do agree we have to find a way. Why hasn't the United Nations -- why hasn't the United Nations taken a more aggressive posture in fighting the AIDS epidemic which they are cut out to do?
BONO: I don't think that's true. I mean, the Global Health Fund to fight T.B., AIDS and malaria was set up by Kofi Annan. And this administration is funding it, it's actually got bipartisans...
O'REILLY: Do you think you're doing a good job over there?
BONO: No one's doing a good enough job. Let me just say this. I have myself seen people queuing up to die, three in a bed, two on top, one underneath.
O'REILLY: Right.
BONO: People who don't want to even admit they have the virus, because it's such a stigma. They say they've got T.B. When you see people dying like that, you just -- these -- these -- you know, you put away all your -- you just want to reach out and do the right thing. We have these drugs, these anti-retroviral drugs are great advertisements for America...
O'REILLY: Now what do you want America to do?
BONO: Get the message because these are great advertisements for America products. For your technology, your ingenuity. Imagine China, when Europe was going through the Bubonic Plague and lost -- 1/3 of Europe died in the Middle Ages to the Black Death. Imagine, say, China had a treatment for the Black Death and hadn't because it was difficult or expensive. What would we think of China now?
O'REILLY: You want American drug companies then to send to Africa all the drugs they can possibly...
BONO: I'm not asking drug companies to behave like philanthropists. I'm saying we, our governments, United States and Europe, have to deal with this problem. If we don't, we will reap a very ill wind. This is -- it's not just being bleeding hearts here. The strategic implications. There's 10 million AIDS orphans in Africa right now. There will be 20 by the end of the decade. 12 right now. This is chaos. This is a consummating (ph) havoc, and the war against terror, which you talk about every night, is bound up in the war against poverty. I didn't say that. Colin Powell said that.
O'REILLY: I agree.
BONO: And we have to join the dots here.
O'REILLY: Let me ask you this. We liberated Iraq from a terrible dictator, Saddam Hussein. And the polls show that most Iraqis don't appreciate America's sacrifice in doing that. Do you think Africans would appreciate if Americans actually, you know, said, OK, we're going to suffer financially, we're going to do what you want. Do you think we'd be appreciated even if we did it?
BONO: I think it would turn around the way the United States is seen in the world right now. I think that's one thing as well as it just being this great -- this awful thing. This is a chance for the United States to redescribe itself to the rest of the world, show its greatness, and respond to what is the greatest health emergency in 600 years. I absolutely believe that. And the people who are watching this show, people all over America, they are more interested in this than the politicians in D.C. realize. I know this from...
O'REILLY: But they've been helpful to you, the politicians in D.C.
BONO: Yes, they have. But they're not talking. It's not on the news. It's not on the agenda here. It's the greatest health crisis in 600 years but it's not on the news.
O'REILLY: But it's not their fault when you've got the war on terror so intense and so -- look, if 9/11 didn't happen, you would have a much easier time with your crusade.
BONO: I disagree.
O'REILLY: Really?
BONO: Yes. I disagree. Two things happened on 9/11. There was -- the one that's reported, of course, is the attack on America. But the one that has not been reported, and reported with less disgust, is what happened in the aftermath, which was those pictures around the world of people jumping up and down, celebrating the Twin Towers turning to dust. One of the most disturbing -- they were the most disturbing images for me as a fan and a person who loves America.
A lot of people and this great country went. I don't care who you are, a politician, you stop that. How did this happen to us? How did this -- and this is the America that liberated Europe? Not just liberated Europe, we built Europe with the Marshall Plan which cost, by the way, 1 percent GDP over four years. That's when "Brand USA" was at its brightest.
Right now "Brand USA" has taken some blows and some knocks. And I'm saying there's an opportunity here. The Marshall Plan rebuilds Europe as a bulwark against Sovietism in the Cold War. It was smart. It wasn't just goodness of heart, which it also was. It was smart. And I'm saying in a hot war, here's a chance now to redescribe ourselves and be a bulwark against other militarism.
O'REILLY: And you believe that the world's negative opinion of America would change if America took the lead to save people in Africa?
BONO: One hundred percent. They are. America is taking the lead.
O'REILLY: But more aggressively.
BONO: I have to say this. President Bush has done it, John Kerry is big on AIDS. What we want here is to -- why is it not an emergency? How can three of these a week, three Madison Square Gardens a week, how can -- you know, a giant stadium every two weeks disappearing, you know, a preventable, treatable disease like AIDS, how can that not be an emergency?
O'REILLY: Because those people aren't in our eye line. Look at Darfur in the Sudan? I submit to you that in theory, you are correct. And I'm glad you're doing what your doing by the way. I admire you greatly for doing it. But I think, in practice, it becomes more complicated. And I think you're right. If the United States got out in front of this, started to introduce U.N. resolutions, that's the way to go. But the world really has to come together.
BONO: They will on this. See, this is a war -- this is winnable. There is actually -- it's really winnable. There's more lives at stake. It's a war against a tiny little virus, as Bill Frist says. But it's, in a way, it's the one we all agree on. This is the one where the United States.
O'REILLY: Yes, who's going to say, 'Yes, I want the African kids to die.' Nobody. It's just a matter of how engaged they're going to get. How much they're going to feel. Because we, again, have problems here that we have to take care of.
BONO: I understand that.
O'REILLY: Let me ask you a couple of questions. I understand the late Jesse Helms, the arch conservative, the late Jesse Helms of North Carolina was a very big booster of your cause, is that correct?
BONO: Yes. It's been amazing. I've been really surprised. You know, I came at this from -- you know, I grew up in a Labour household, you can imagine in the north side of Dublin. I have all my opinions. I have my opinions of conservatives, and they weren't all good. And then I met some conservatives that really turned me around on that. They were really just conservatives. They were people that will had their convictions that were different to mine, but they held them, you know, from a true place.
Then I met Jesse Helms, who you know, who people in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) wouldn't speak to me because I was meeting Jesse Helms. And he did an extraordinary thing. He did something no politician does. He publicly apologized for the way he had thought about the AIDS virus. He says, 'I've got it wrong.' And he got emotional about it, and he turned it around. And he made a lot of other people who were very judgmental about AIDS...
O'REILLY: Look at it in a different way.
BONO: ... look at it in a different way.
O'REILLY: And our pal John Kasich was a champion on the Hill when he was congressman from Ohio, is that correct?
BONO: Well, absolutely. I mean, I arrived in Washington, D.C. with Bobby Shriver, with a Kennedy, and I was trying to get this done. And somebody says, I think it was Arnold Schwarzenegger said, you might need some other folks to balance it up.
O'REILLY: Right. You got it in John.
BONO: I meet John Kasich and it helps. And look, it's very difficult to work both sides of the aisle. But I'm telling you, this is the one thing...
O'REILLY: That can bring everybody together.
BONO: It works for people.
O'REILLY: I like it, and I think it can be done. You're going to have to work hard to get it done. Is that a rosary around your neck there? Is that a rosary?
BONO: The pope gave me this, it's a Michelangelo designed. You know, when the pope could stand up and carry around this big cross, this is a little miniature of him. And myself and Geldof and Quincy Jones went to see him, and he swapped a pair of my sunglasses for a rosary.
O'REILLY: I've never seen the pope wear your sunglasses.
BONO: You know what, there was a lot of photographs taken at that moment, because he put them on.
O'REILLY: Well, look, I mean...
BONO: One day you might.
O'REILLY: You're certainly doing God's work. I mean, I admire you very much for what you're doing.
BONO: God must have a great sense of humor to have me on board.
O'REILLY: No. No. We need people like you to command a worldwide audience and to get people at least thinking about this. And then we need the politicians out here in the convention, in both conventions to come up with a strategy. I do agree that if America could take the lead, it would turn public opinion around and help us in the war on terror.
I’ll give you the last word on it.
BONO: It a really, really important time right now in the world. And I'm a fan of America, and my band comes here and we love it here. But it’s dangerous around the world. We travel around the world.
O’REILLY: Yes, it’s dangerous.
BONO: And my father grew up, and his generation grew up, and they thought they were American, they loved it so much. And I would just ask Americans to think back when was the brand brightest.? And I'll tell you when it was. As I said earlier, the Marshall Plan, it cost 1 percent of the GDP. Right now the United States is at 0.15 percent, and in the list of the richest countries and what they give to the poorest as a percentage, they are No. 22 in the list…
O’REILLY: OK. Well, we’ve…
BONO: Including private philanthropy, it makes it like No. 15. This is a great country, generous, generous, generous people. I think if they think the money is not going to be wasted, if it’s not going down a rathole, they're with us.
O’REILLY: All right, Bono.
BONO: Thank you.
O’REILLY: Thanks for coming in, a pleasure to meet you.
BONO: All right.