Wolfowitz reaches out to Bono

If the World Bank nominee was hoping for an endorsement, he still hasn't found what he's looking for.

By Tim Grieve
Published March 18, 2005 1:53PM (EST)

George W. Bush's nomination of Paul Wolfowitz to lead the World Bank has critics concerned that the neo-con architect of the Iraq war will use the World Bank as just another weapon in the war on terrorism. But Wolfowitz is showing that he knows a thing or two about diplomacy, too: In the last two days, he has checked in with numerous foreign officials, the leaders of international development agencies -- and Bono.

According to a Reuters report, Wolfowitz initiated two long telephone conversations with the U2 front-man, who may have been a contender for the job Wolfowitz is getting. With Europe and much of the developing world less than enthusiastic about Wolfowitz' nomination, the deputy secretary of defense knows that a good word from Bono might ease his way.

Wolfowitz spokesman Kevin Kellems said Wolfowitz and Bono "clicked." "They were very enthusiastic, detailed and lengthy conversations," Kellems said. He said that the conversations "were incredibly substantive about reducing poverty, about development, about the opportunity to help people that the World Bank presidency provides and about charitable giving and social progress around the globe."

The word from the Bono side of the conversation was a little less effusive. The government relations director for Debt, AIDS, Trade and Africa, a lobbying group Bono helped to found, told Reuters: "Bono thought it was important that he put forward the issues that are critical to the World Bank, like debt cancellation, aid effectiveness and a real focus on poverty reduction."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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