Bono‘s efforts to eliminate AIDS in Africa was among the topics in HBO’s hour-long documentary Countdown to Zero, and in the Vice-produced special, former president George W. Bush talked about working with the U2 singer to help the continent improve their medical facilities through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Bush spoke glowingly about Bono and shared an amusing anecdote about the first time he met the singer.
“I guess somebody thought it’d be cool to have Bono in the Oval Office. They must’ve had a Bono record or two. I certainly didn’t suggest it. You know, I’m pretty cynical when it comes to people’s intentions when they say they’re going to help other people. Somebody walked in and said ‘Bono’s coming. You do know who he is?’ And then I looked at them and said ‘Sure, he’s married to Cher.'”
However, Bush’s initial concerns that the Bono meeting was just a publicity stunt were quickly assuaged. “Bono came in and floored me with his knowledge, his energy, and his faith,” Bush said, adding of PEPFAR’s continued success, “We had a comprehensive program. Our teams worked with each country to develop a program specific to their cultures and needs and politics.”
Watch Bush talk Bono at the 25-minute mark of Countdown to Zero: