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"It's very hip to knock America and it really bugs me."

-- Bono

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Transcript: Bono interviewed on CNN Sunday Night

CNN, May 17, 2004

 

CAROL LIN, HOST: You'd be pretty hard pressed to find a bigger rock star than Bono, but the lead singer of U2 has a softer side. He is one of the leading voices in the global fight against AIDS and poverty. And this weekend, he took that fight to Philadelphia for the One Campaign, a new effort to rally Americans to the cause.

Bono is tonight's newsmaker. I talked to him earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BONO, CO-FOUNDER, DATA: Politicians are not afraid of me. Rock stars and student activists, they're used to us and our placarding, but it's church folk and soccer moms that the politicians are nervous of.

Now politicians get really nervous when rock stars and student activists start hanging out with rich folk and soccer moms. That's when they start getting uncomfortable and realize that they're going to have to dig deeper.

And by the way, there is a will to dig deeper in the United States Congress. I'm amazed across both sides of the aisle. People are waking up to the fact that, you know, there is a war against terror and it's an expensive war to fight, but the war against poverty is necessary in the fight against -- to win...

LIN: Right.

BONO: ...in the fight against terror.

We just -- we have to look at the hard facts that right now in the world, these are dangerous, nervous times. And people don't know what to make of the United States.

LIN: And sometimes people don't know...

BONO: Or Europe.

LIN: ...what to make of you, Bono. And I think that's what brings in the dollars and brings in the attention.

For example, there's a story out there, when you were trying to get $435 million out of Congress in your fight against AIDS and poverty around the world, that you actually said listen, if these guys don't cut the check, you know, U2 is going to go to the district, round up 50,000 kids, put them in a stadium, and put their picture, the Congressman, up on a 30-foot screen and announce to these kids that they are responsible for women and children in Africa dying.

I mean, is that a true story?

BONO: We rather not use that threat, but the threat of coming to a stadium near you is always there, because you know, our community, the music community, is a very important one in politics because they haven't necessarily made up their minds who they're going to vote for. They're the floating vote.

So we're saying, you know, vote your conscience. But don't forget that the measure of a politician is sometimes doing the unpopular thing. It's much easier to tend to domestic problems. We accept than it is to reach out to what's happening in Africa and the AIDS emergency.

But you know what? History is going to be very hard on us if we miss this. And you know, our whole era will probably be remembered for three things: the Internet, the war against terror, and how we let an entire continent burst into flames or not. And you know...

LIN: Well, you are -- you know how to take advantage of the political equation, too, because just this past week, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin actually pledged $50 million to your cause. Some of the cynics up there saying that was his price actually for getting his picture taken with you for the possibility of a re-election.

BONO: Oh, at least I'm not a cheap date. By the way it was $150 million.

LIN: One hundred and fifty million?

BONO: Yes, and some serious pieces of legislation on the right for poor people to buy the cheapest drugs possible. Now Paul Martin did the right thing. And my job in this equation is to play criticism if people do the wrong thing, and supply applause when they do the right thing.

And -- the thing about the One campaign that we launched today is there's a lot of groups doing the right thing from health gap here in Philadelphia, to World Vision, to Bread for the World. And we're all working the same neck of the woods. But we have to start getting coordinated, getting organized. Then we're a real political force.

LIN: Right.

BONO: I mean, the crowds you saw on the pictures, it looked like whatever it was. The truth of it is it was three million people there, because that's how many people they represented with their various groups. That's a serious force politically.

LIN: Bono?

BONO: And this is important stuff.

LIN: And speaking of working, you're still working. And I hear your next album is going to be your first rock and roll album? How's it going?

BONO: It's going great. I mean, I have to sneak out the bathroom window and down the drain pipe, you know. And sometimes it's annoying to the band that I'm not there when they need me, but you know, they support what I'm doing. They know this is important stuff. And they know that, you know, their audience feels strongly about this. And so, they let me off work.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LIN: And he's still doing good work regardless. U2's new album is coming out in September.

Now Bono was coy about it. He couldn't really tell us what it was called just yet. We'll keep on it.



© CNN, 2004.

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