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Bush Called “Healer” for Africa, HIV, AIDS

January 16, 2009

A legacy of President George W. Bush will be that he saved 10 million lives around the world.

That according to Doctor and Senator Bill Frist.

So many responded with anger and hatred and an anti-Bush visceral response to this article that we did a little (just a little) research.

“I salute President Bush for his leadership in crafting a plan for AIDS relief in Africa and backing it up with funding dedicated to saving lives and preventing the spread of the disease.”

That quote came from President-elect Barack Obama…..

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President-elect Barack Obama boards his plane at Washington's ...


By Bill Frist for CNN

His critics ignore it, but name another president about whom one can say that with such certainty. It is what historians will say a decade from now looking back. Not bad for a president who leaves office with the lowest approval rating in recent memory.

The bottom line is: George Bush is a healer.

First, a surprise proclamation came on January 29, 2003.

I was in the first row in the House chamber when three quarters through his State of the Union address, the president boldly said: “I ask the Congress to commit $15 billion over the next five years … to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean” and “lead the world in sparing innocent people from a plague of nature.”

In this  Sept. 4, 2008 file photo, Bill Frist speaks at the ...

And lead the world we did. No president in history had made such a commitment against a single disease. Those words and the action that followed meant that instead of another 30 million people dying from HIV infections, maybe just another 20 million will.

Later that night in an interview for CNN in my Capitol office, I predicted that five years later, this commitment to fight HIV would be the single most significant thing the president said that night. It was.

But even I — who as physician in Africa had witnessed how this virus was hollowing out societies — did not predict the huge global impact this Bush commitment would have on generations to come.

By Bill Frist
Special to CNN 

Editor’s note: Bill Frist, a physician, is former Republican majority leader of the U.S. Senate and a professor of medicine and business at Vanderbilt University.

US President George W. Bush in Washington, DC, January 13.(AFP/Jim ... 
US President George W. Bush in Washington, DC, January 13.(AFP/Jim Watson)

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