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President Obama Confronts AIDS Activists at Connecticut Rally

By Candace Y.A. Montague

November 2, 2010

President Obama says enough to protestors. Photo: Getty Images.

President Obama says enough to protestors. Photo: Getty Images.

Days before the highly anticipated midterm elections, President Obama addressed a group of young protestors at a Democratic rally in Bridgeport, Connecticut. On Saturday, a group of 30 students were protesting President Obama for his failed promise of funding Global AIDS. One student explained that it was not their intent to cast a bad light on the president but to hold him to his word. "Hey Obama, we love you, but AIDS patients need you too," the students chanted outside the arena after the rally.

The president halted his speech to respond to the group. He firmly stated, "Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, young people? Let me just say this: You've been appearing at every rally we've been doing, and we're funding global AIDS, and the other side is not. So I don't know why you think this is a useful strategy to take. I think it would make a lot more sense for you guys to go to the folks who aren't interested in funding global AIDS, and go to that rally. We're trying to figure out how to finance the things that you want financed. You guys have made your point. Let's go."

Since 2003, funding for global AIDS has been designated through PEPFAR. According to data from The Kaiser Foundation, in November 2009, Congressional appropriations to the Global Fund have totaled $4.6 billion, including $1 billion in FY 2009 ($100 million of the FY 2009 amount was provided through a supplemental appropriation); the president's FY 2010 budget to Congress includes $900 million for the Global Fund. As of October 2010, Congressional appropriations to the Global Fund have totaled $5.7 billion, including $1.05 billion in FY 2010; the president's FY 2011 budget to Congress includes $1.0 billion for the Global Fund. Congress can authorize more funding beyond the president's request but they can place restrictions on contributions too. That makes today's midterm elections crucial in the national and global fight against AIDS. 

Locally, Vincent Gray is the expectant winner of the general elections for mayor of DC. DC residents will also have to vote for selected members of the DC Council today. Citizens in Maryland have to vote for governor and state representatives to Congress. To see what Vincent Gray and other council members have to say about AIDS in DC, click here.

To see President Obama address the group, click here.

Get tested. Get care. GO VOTE!

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See Also
Advocates Urge Obama to Address HIV in the U.S.
President Obama and HIV/AIDS
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Candace Y.A. Montague

Candace Y.A. Montague

Candace Y.A. Montague has been learning about HIV since 1988 (and she has the certificates from the American Red Cross to prove it). Health is a high priority to Candace because she believes that nothing can come of your life if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it. One of her two master's degrees is in Community Health Promotion and Education. Candace was inspired to act against HIV after seeing a documentary in 2008 about African-American women and HIV. She knew that writing was the best way for her to make a difference and help inform others. Candace is a native Washingtonian and covers HIV news all around D.C. She has covered fundraisers, motorcycle rides, town hall meetings, house balls, Capitol Hill press conferences, election campaigns and protests for The DC Examiner.com and emPower News Magazine.

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