Sceptical Bush won over by Bono's 'genuine faith'
FORMER US President George W Bush has paid a warm tribute to Bono, describing him as a very impressive man who really understands the issues facing the Third World.
In his book 'Decision Points', Mr Bush tells how he was wary of do-gooder rock stars before their first meeting in the White House on March 14, 2002 -- shortly before St Patrick's Day
"I was sceptical of celebrities who seemed to adopt the cause of the moment as a way to advance their careers," he writes.
But he says in the book that Bono came bounding into the Oval Office with his "high voltage personality and signature shades" and "quickly dispelled the notion that he was a self-promoter".
"He knew our budgets, understood the facts, and had well informed views about the challenges in Africa."
Mr Bush says that Bono brought him "a thoughtful gift, an old Irish bible".
Bush says that his respect for Bono grew over time.
"Do you know that 2,003 verses of Scripture pertain directly to the world's poor," Bono asked Bush. "People are quick to point out the obvious sins like marital infidelity. But sometimes we ignore the most serious ones. The only place the Bible speaks directly of judgment is in Matthew 25: 'Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'"
The President was impressed with Bono's knowledge of scripture. "You're right", Bush told Bono. "The sin of omission is just as serious as the others."
Bush writes that he listened carefully when Bono urged him to do more on Aids. "With a few pills you can save millions of lives," Bono told him.
"It would be the best possible advertisement for the United States. You ought to paint the things red, white and blue."
"He was warm to Laura and the girls. He frequently sent notes of thanks. He is a man of genuine faith," Mr Bush adds.
He revealed how he wound up one of his staff on the day of Bono's first White House visit.
When one of his staff asked if he knew who Bono was, Mr Bush said that of course he did, he was the rock star who "used to be married to Cher".
"I kept a straight face as long as I could," Bush writes.