I’m at the Newseum in downtown Washington, D.C., where the Rev. Rick Warren is hosting an event dedicated to honoring President Bush for his work on HIV/AIDS.
Mr. Warren is a high-powered and internationally recognized pastor, who hosted the presidential candidates at his church in August. And he has drawn some pretty serious star power to this forum, although most of it is by video.
But President-elect Barack Obama, President Clinton, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, U2 rocker Bono, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame will all address the forum by video.
Mr. Blair and Mr. Kagame’s videos, and maybe the others, will both be specifically aimed at saluting Mr. Bush, whose PEPFAR program (President’s Plan for Emergency AIDS Relief) in Africa has given life-saving treatment to over 2 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, at a cost to the U.S. taxpayer of $15 billion over five years.
Congress this year renewed the program and increased its funding to $50 billion over the next five years.
Mr. Warren and his wife Kay (who I found out has her own official office, sort of like the first lady’s office) will then conduct an interview with Mr. Bush and first lady Laura Bush that is scheduled to run about 40 minutes.
At the conclusion Mr. Warren will award an “international medal of peace” to Mr. Bush.
Mr. Bush leaves office in 50 days. Today marks a signature moment in the long road ahead for the battle over Mr. Bush’s legacy. His work on this issue is lauded by just about everybody, even his critics, and it will be interesting to see how prominently this single issue factors into his overall legacy.