Bush, Bono Lunch At White House

Photo provided by the White House shows President Bush talking to Bono, in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2005.
AP
In town for a concert, U2 rock star Bono was invited to lunch Wednesday with the president. White House press secretary Scott McClellan said the meeting at the executive residence would be a follow-up on talks he had with President Bush in July at the G-8 summit in Scotland.

"They had a very good discussion about some of our common priorities," McClellan said. "Both share a deep commitment to combating AIDS, preventing malaria and expanding trade to lift people out of poverty."

McClellan said Bono also planned to meet with National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley later in the day, before U2's concert at the MCI Center. The spokesman laughingly told reporters that Mr. Bush was not planning to attend the concert.

Bono and Bob Geldof, the organizer of the Live 8 concerts, met in July with Mr. Bush – along with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin -- to try to bolster support for African aid.

Blair wanted agreement to double aid for Africa to $50 billion by 2010 and for the G-8 nations to further commit to a target of providing foreign aid equal to 0.7 percent of their economy.

At that time, Bono told reporters, "We had some very tough meetings here today, some risks being taken on both sides. It is equally unhip, it turns out, for the politicians to be hanging out with us as it is for us to be hanging out with them."

Mr. Bush announced in June that he will seek to double Africa aid to more than $8.6 billion by 2010, but private aid groups say this included some money already pledged and would fall short by about $6 billion of the amount needed as America's share to get to the $50 billion total. Mr. Bush has also rejected setting a 0.7 percent target for aid.

Bono has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for international social justice efforts that include trying to persuade rich nations to relieve the debt of poor nations.