Monday 22 January 2018

Bono gives his full backing to president

There's 'nothing fake' in smile of Obama

US Army Chinook helicopters landing at Dublin Airport yesterday ahead
of Barack Obama's visit next week
US Army Chinook helicopters landing at Dublin Airport yesterday ahead of Barack Obama's visit next week
American Chinook' s land at Dublin Airport yesterday ahead of President Obama' s arrivall on Monday

Eimear Ni Bhraonain and Don Lavery

BONO is backing US president Barack Obama ahead of his arrival in Ireland this Monday.

The U2 frontman said he believes there is "nothing fake" about Mr Obama's smile.

Bono first met Mr Obama during the build-up to the 2004 US Presidential election.

In an interview published in 'Hot Press', Bono recalls inviting Mr Obama and Condoleezza Rice to dinner, performing at the inauguration, getting his views on Africa, meeting him in the White House, and his sense of humour.

He said: "A lot of politicians need to control their smile, it's like you can see the wires, but there's absolutely nothing fake about this man."

Recalling his dinner with Ms Rice and Mr Obama, Bono added: "I remember the first half of the dinner the two of them kind of talking politely through me, and then the second half of the dinner, it was like I wasn't there. They were just kind of sharing and swapping ideas."


The singer said Mr Obama had promised to double overall foreign assistance but it has been left "unclear" how much of that will go to Africa.

"This has been somewhat hampered by the market collapse," he said.

Bono described Mr Obama as "the BlackBerry president", saying "he gets technology". "He's on Facebook. He's on Google. I worked personally quite hard to get Google to choose Ireland as their headquarters outside of America and I'm very proud of it being here -- and Facebook now."

On the controversial killing of Osama bin Laden, Bono said he did not believe it was an "execution". However, he admitted "part of me would have liked to have seen a trial".

Meanwhile, the first sign of the huge security presence that will surround Mr Obama when he arrives on Monday was evident yesterday when four large U S Army CH-47 Chinook helicopters landed at Dublin Airport.

The Chinooks, which can carry up to 47 people with five crew, are just part of the massive entourage surrounding the president and will be used to ferry them around. They were immediately surrounded by gardai, and Irish Army Cavalry troopers armed with Steyr assault rifles.

A succession of giant USAF cargo planes will visit Dublin over the next few days to deliver the president's helicopter, Marine One, his back-up helicopter, his armoured Cadilliac known as 'The Beast', and armoured and soft skin SUVs for use by his heavily armed Secret Service guards.

Meanwhile, in Mr Obama's ancestral home of Moneygall, Co Offaly, villagers will begin collecting their "golden tickets" to see the US president from 10am today.

An office at the Church of Ireland school will be opened between 10am to 4pm to facilitate Moneygall residents. Only those who completed and returned vetting forms to gardai -- and who live in the Moneygall village and hinterland will be able to apply for admission.

Moneygall residents have been told they must leave their homes for security reasons a number of hours before the arrival of Mr Obama next week.

During the hour-long visit Mr Obama will have a private meeting with around 20 people -- including his distant cousins -- in Ollie Hayes' bar, where the village gathered at every occasion during Mr Obama's election campaign.

Irish Independent

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