Big Spending For, Well, Poverty

One Vote '08, the national campaign to make poverty a campaign issue in the 2008 presidential election, will spend $30 million in the four earliest primary and caucus states: Nevada, Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given the effort, begun with the help of U2's Bono, a $22 million grant. Campaign organizers say that amount is the "minimum" for the campaign, making it surely one of the biggest issue campaigns thus far announced for the 2008 election cycle.

Kimberly Cadena, a campaign spokeswoman, says the issues of global health and poverty resonate with voters, in part because many people now consider them issues of national security. Faith-based communities also respond to these issues.

The antipoverty campaign has met with all of the presidential candidates, she said, and has met with some of them several times. The campaign isn't planning to endorse a candidate.

The focus is on the early primary states at the moment, but "our efforts will expand after January," Cadena says. The initiative coincides with the week-long effort by candidate John Edwards to highlight the problems of America's poor.

By Silla Brush