Neither Bush Nor Kerry Have Made International Development, Including AIDS Funding, Central Campaign Issue, Editorial Says
Neither President Bush nor Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) have made the "prospects of poor countries," including the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, a central part of their campaigns, a Washington Post editorial says. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a "new consensus appeared to form on the importance of economic progress in poor countries," and the Bush administration "embraced it as a part of the nation's response to terrorism," the editorial says. However, neither candidate has "spoke[n] out in support of their own policies" concerning international development, including funding for HIV/AIDS initiatives, according to the Post. Although Kerry has an "admirable record" on HIV/AIDS issues and has said that he would double current spending on international programs, he has "barely mentioned the subject" during his presidential campaign, the Post says. In addition, although Bush during his presidency launched the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and increased funding to developing countries by 80%, the fact that approximately five million people contract HIV annually "has not been featured in the candidates' speeches or in the debates," the editorial says. "No doubt" both Bush and Kerry have determined that "foreign assistance is way down on voters' list of priorities"; however, it is "not clear they are right," according to the Post. In the "absence of public advocacy, it's not clear that the president's new development programs or Mr. Kerry's promise on AIDS would actually be funded," the editorial says, concluding, "Only three years have passed since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, but the commitment to the new pro-development consensus may already be fraying" (Washington Post, 10/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.