Excerpts from the Press Briefing by Scott McClellan, October 9, 2003 (Full Transcript)
QUESTION: Following the meeting between Bono and the
President, Bono told reporters that he believes the President is truly
committed to a long-term strategy regarding AIDS funding for Africa.
However, he said in the immediate -- what's happening right now is the
President is -- and these are his words -- "short-changing the
program." What happened to the $3 billion commitment for fiscal year
MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know how one could look at what the
President has done and come up with those words that you used to
describe it. The President has shown unprecedented leadership in the
fight against AIDS, globally and at home. He outlined a $15 billion
package over five years to direct resources to -- a lot of those
resources to the most afflicted countries in Africa and the Caribbean,
14 countries in all. The President is strongly committed to helping
those who are suffering in those afflicted countries. And we are fully
committed to making sure that that $15 billion is implemented.
QUESTION: Did the White House ever commit to $3
billion on the front end, the first year, '04?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, keep in mind that, again, there's $15
billion over five years. You need to make sure that the infrastructure
is in place for those resources to be spent. We want to make sure that
the money is spent effectively and that there's accountability for that
money. So there's a ramp-up period, and so that money will continue to
ramp up over time, but it will be a total of $15 billion over five
And we are working with Congress to make sure that the $2 billion
that was requested is fully funded, and Congress is moving forward on
that. This is one of the President's highest priorities. He made it
very clear in his State of the Union address that it was important that
Congress act on this initiative. So we are moving forward to make sure
that it is fully funded.