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Democrats, Republicans Find 'Common Ground' In Acknowledging Bush's AIDS Work

In Foreign Policy’s “Passport” blog, Associate Editor Uri Friedman reflects on former President George W. Bush’s efforts against AIDS, highlighting PEPFAR, which was “established in 2003 and which now supports antiretroviral treatment for 4.5 million people around the world.” Friedman quotes former President Bill Clinton, who, speaking at the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, said, “I have to be grateful, and you should be too, that President George W. Bush supported PEPFAR. It saved the lives of millions of people in poor countries.” Friedman continues, “[W]hat’s particularly notable about the reference is that, during a convention season designed to draw sharp distinctions between Republicans and Democrats, the two parties have found common ground on at least one point: the success of Bush’s efforts to fight AIDS.”

“The Democratic platform, which condemns Bush’s war on terror, focus on Iraq, and attitude toward the United Nations, praises the former president’s global health record,” Friedman notes, adding, “The Republican platform only mentions Bush twice — in the context of tax cuts and AIDS relief.” He concludes, “PEPFAR, of course, has attracted its share of criticism over the years for focusing on abstinence and consuming a disproportionate amount of U.S. global health funding, among other issues. But for now at least, it’s just about the only Bush initiative that Republicans aren’t evading and Democrats aren’t denouncing” (9/6).