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"I distrust anything that's obvious, like someone saying, 'Let's be original.'"

-- Bono

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Transcript from Bono's Appearance on Anderson Cooper 360

CNN, July 27, 2004

 

Following is the portion of the transcript from the July 27, 2004, episode of Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees on CNN.



COOPER: We just had Al Sharpton, often described as a rock star. We have a real rock star just up ahead. 360 next, an exclusive interview with U2's Bono, there he is live, rock (UNINTELLIGIBLE) star turned political activist, making an appearance at the two political conventions tonight.

Plus ahead, the Democratic Party's royal family, the Kennedys, their homecoming for the convention.

All that ahead. Stay with us. Bono in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: And welcome back to 360 for more coverage of the second night of the Democratic National Convention here at the FleetCenter in Boston, Massachusetts.

If last night was about the party's past, two ex-presidents, a one-time vice president who very nearly became commander in chief himself, a former first lady, tonight it's more about the Democratic president, present and about its future. Consider the names of some of the evening's featured speakers, Dean, Obama, Heinz Kerry, just to name a few. As lead singer of U2, Bono may be the biggest rock star on the planet. He's also a crusader in the war against AIDS. He has done an extraordinary amount of work on the issue. An estimated 38 million people, of course, are living with HIV. And every minute six die from the disease. Bono calls AIDS the greatest challenge facing the world, a challenge he believes is being, well, ignored, you might say, at the Democratic and Republican conventions. That is why he is vowing to appear at both, as in his a quote "nagging presence in sunglasses." True to form, Bono joins us now in sunglasses.

Thanks for being with us.

BONO: Thank you very much, I look very shady.

COOPER: Not too shady, it looks good. It's good not to be shady here. You wrote that you wince when you think you're rich Irish rock star, not even a rich American rock star. And you know that people wince when they hear some celebrities talking about issues. But even knowing that, you're still putting yourself out there, talking about HIV/AIDS in Africa, why?

BONO: Everybody has got their (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I'm just (UNINTELLIGIBLE) make it clear that at least in the half dozen Africans dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease is not a cause of an emergency. I mean, look, here we are, this incredible carnival here going on. Every constituency wants their box checked, you know, they want their issue mentioned.

But this isn't an issue, this is an emergency and it's not a constituency either because the people who are dying everyday of a preventable disease, they don't vote in America. And yet their lives will be shaped by the stuff that comes out in this convention here in Boston and the one in New York.

COOPER: What does it say about -- I mean, about us, about the media, about politicians that it takes a guy like you to pay attention when frankly, just to criticize ourselves, we wouldn't be talking about HIV AIDS in Africa if you weren't here tonight? What does that say about not only us but about politicians? You're meeting -- I mean, you're not just talking on the media about this. You're meeting behind the scenes with politicians around the world.

BONO: People are interested. This is John Kerry's town, Kerry's week here, and I have to tell you, he's been really, really good on this. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) best guy on this, and he's got brilliant people working on it. In 1999, he reached out across the aisle to (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and they brought in the first global AIDS bill. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) here. I want him to be banging on about it more than he is, yes, I do. President Bush has done some extraordinary (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in the last two years in Africa on AIDS. I want us to move faster, yes, I do, but I also have to give some credit where credit is due.

COOPER: Well, it seems like your -- in your commentaries -- and you wrote an op-ed, it was very well written, you're very non-partisan. I mean, you're not -- you're not throwing stones here at one party or the other. Why? I mean, some people say, well, that might be more effective.

BONO: No, it's not more effective. The people that I represent -- look, I'm an Irish rock star (ph), gagging me is quite hard. You know, keeping my mouth shut is quite hard. But I do so because I'm working for people whose voices aren't heard here and whose face you don't see. And you were talking about Malawi before we came on. You've been there. I've seen people (UNINTELLIGIBLE) die three in a bed there, two on top, one underneath. These are the people I work for.

And we need Congress to pass these bills. And you know, Senator Kerry (UNINTELLIGIBLE) $30 billion pledge on AIDS. That's fantastic, but the real boss in America is Congress. So we have to get Congress going. And we are going to use both sides of Congress. That's why I have to work both sides of the aisle, and the smart people, including John Kerry and -- know why I'm not going to be out carrying one of his placards.

COOPER: Do you think people care about this issue? I mean, you've been out, you spent a lot of time in Africa, I've been to those hospitals in Malawi where people are dying on plastic sheeting without even bed sheets, and the things you see are -- are indescribable. Is it that people don't know about it, or they don't care?

BONO: No, people -- if people know, as Harry Truman said, give America the facts -- give Americans the facts, and they'll do the right thing. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) do the right thing. What we (ph) have got to do is dramatize it better. This is not a burden. This is an extraordinary opportunity for America and Europe to redescribe ourselves in very dangerous times, very nervous times, with -- to the people in the south (ph), the people who live on less than $1 a day, below the equator. Those other two-thirds, you know, the third of the entire planet lives on less than $1 a day.

Give a chance to redescribe ourselves to them, by responding to the AIDS emergency and to the extreme poverty that it breeds. These AIDS drugs are great advertisements for us. I told President Bush, paint them red, white and blue. I told John Kerry, paint them red, white and blue. They're the best advertisements for America right now you're going to get, because where they go, it is going to change lives, transform communities.

COOPER: I'm a little skeptical always of celebrities talking about issues, but your work is really extraordinary. You're really walking the walk. And I appreciate you joining us.

BONO: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

COOPER: I appreciate that. Thank you very much. Bono.

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