Prior to a U2 concert at Washington’s MCI Center on Wednesday night, Irish rocker Bono joined President Bush at the Oval Office in the White House for lunch and a discussion about world poverty, the Associated Press reports.
It’s not the first time the politically active vocalist has met with the president. The meeting was a follow-up to a discussion the pair had in July at the G8 Summit in Scotland, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
Over a lunch that lasted nearly two hours, Bono and Bush discussed such issues as AIDS, malaria and world trade, McClellan said. “Both share a deep commitment to lift people out of poverty, particularly in developing countries,” he added.
In a pre-lunch interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Bono said that meeting with world leaders didn’t unnerve him in any way.
“They should be afraid, because they will be held accountable for what happened on their watch,” Bono said. “I’m representing the poorest and the most vulnerable people. On a spiritual level, I have that with me. I’m throwing a punch, and the fist belongs to people who can’t be in the room, whose rage, whose anger, whose hurt I represent.”
While Bono has criticized the president in the past, particularly about the sluggishness of the Millennium Challenge program that dispenses money to foreign countries, the rocker admits that a certain diplomacy is necessary in order to accomplish his goals, which is why he keeps mum about the war in Iraq even though he disagrees with it.
“I work for (the poverty-stricken),” he said. “If me not shooting my mouth off about the war in Iraq is the price I pay, then I’m prepared to pay it.”