Bono is entertaining a bi-partisan group of six U.S. senators in Ghana this week, where he’s spending time working on behalf of his African advocacy group ONE. The senators – all of whom, bar Kay Hagan of North Carolina, are Republican – toured some projects that have been funded with U.S. aid money for Africa.
“(W)e were excited that a distinguished congressional delegation visited Ghana and other African countries this week to see the progress thanks to smart, effective U.S. investments and the hard work of Africans on the ground,” according to a ONE release on its website.
Bono will meet with anyone and everyone in his quest to ensure economic and medical justice for the citizens of Africa. One of his past allies is none other than Rick Santorum, whose 15 minutes of GOP primary fame will likely be winding down when you read this.
During his time in the Senate he and Bono worked closely together on debt relief and other poverty issues, including the fight against the spread of AIDS in Africa. Santorum was first introduced to Bono by former Ohio GOP Congressman John Kasich, who is now the governor of the state.
Bono clearly realized that his ultra-conservative pal Santorum could run wide off the mark on other issues. In 2006 Bono told David Brooks of The New York Times, "I would suggest that Rick Santorum has a kind of Tourette's disease -- he will always say the most unpopular thing. But on our issues, he has been a defender of the most vulnerable. . . . He was ready to stand up on Capitol Hill and say, 'This is important for America.'”
Bono used to spend time in Santorum’s Senate office while he was lobbying for increased U.S. funding for AIDS relief. President George W. Bush allocated $15 billion for a global AIDS initiative – a move widely hailed by Bono.
Back in 2005, when Santorum was still in the Senate, his office put out a notice that Bono and U2 were “teaming up” with Santorum to host a $1,000 per ticket fundraiser for his re-election campaign, at a U2 concert in Philadelphia. (You can just imagine how that would go down with the band’s very liberal drummer, Larry Mullen.)
But it turned out that the Santorum campaign purchased tickets or a box to the show, as anyone could have done, and billed it as a U2-approved fundraiser. Bono’s other African advocacy group, DATA, issued a statement at the time clarifying the situation.
“It is not uncommon for politicians, from both parties, to organize events at all kinds of music concerts. If any such events take place at a U2 concert, it is without the involvement or knowledge of DATA, U2 or Bono. U2 concerts are categorically not fundraisers for any politician -- they are rock concerts for U2 fans,” a spokesperson said.
Lest you think that Bono has been “palling around,” as Sarah Palin would say, with the GOP only, he also shared some face time with President Obama in Washington, D.C. before Christmas. As you can see from our photo, Bono and Obama met up at a World AIDS Day event hosted by Bono’s ONE campaign at George Washington University, where Obama spoke to an audience that also included singer Alicia Keys and several other pols.