Bono credits Obama’s father in global AIDS fight

AIDS activist and U2 lead singer Bono on Wednesday suggested that President Obama’s tough stance on corruption in Africa was in part due to the fact that Obama’s father was Kenyan.

In a Fox News Channel interview in honor of World AIDS Day, Bono told host Bret Baier, “Maybe only a leader with an African father could be that tough on Africans. It has to be a partnership now.”

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Bono recounted a speech Obama gave in Ghana, describing the president as telling leaders, “ ‘We’re not giving you any money. I’m not spending American taxpayers’ dollars if I can’t see that the money is being spent well. So our support of you is in your hands.’ ”

Obama’s stance on global AIDS funding is “very supportive,” but also “very tough talking,” Bono said.

The rock star also had high praise for Obama’s predecessor, former President George W. Bush, who raised U.S. international AIDS funding levels to record highs during his presidency. “I think President Bush was moved by his own compassion. But I think he was also being hard-headed about it and saying, you know, America needs to show the world what it’s for as well as what it’s against.”

Bush in turn spoke highly of the rock star, saying that when the two first met, Bush “was a little skeptical that I was going to deal with one of these kind of shallow rock stars.”

On the contrary, Bush said, “Bono was prepared, compassionate, [a] passionate man. So many [people in similar positions] get wrapped up in [themselves] that it’s hard for them to serve. And Bono serves, and I’m impressed by him.”