Presidential candidates call for new efforts to fight global poverty

McCain, Obama pledge to support efforts to expand access to education, fight TB and malaria, and reform aid

Washington, DC (September 25, 2008) — Both major presidential candidates voiced their support for development initiatives critical to tackling poverty worldwide in their separate addresses to the Clinton Global Initiative.

Senators John McCain and Barack Obama both emphasized the importance of U.S. leadership and effective foreign assistance in creating goodwill and building stable societies, and spoke of their commitment to reducing poverty and fighting disease.

Appearing via satellite, Sen. Obama announced a bold commitment to establish a $2 billion Global Education Fund if elected to office. The fund would help ensure that every child in the world has an opportunity to attend primary school. Senator Obama also endorsed the Education for All Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Senator Hillary Clinton to expand and more effectively target U.S. funding for basic education globally.

"Above all, we must do our part to see that all children have the basic right to learn," he said. "There is nothing more disappointing than a child denied the hope that comes with going to school, and there is nothing more dangerous than a child who is taught to distrust and then to destroy."

Sen. Obama also emphasized the need to combat diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis and particularly malaria. He reiterated his support for the Millennium Development Goals, a set of specific global targets for health, education and cutting extreme poverty by 2015 agreed to by world leaders eight years ago.

Sen. McCain also highlighted the need to expand the fight against infectious diseases, with stronger efforts against tuberculosis and malaria. "As we have done with the scourge of HIV and AIDS, we should embark on a more concerted effort to fight tuberculosis, which accounts for nearly two million deaths each year," McCain said.

Both McCain and Obama also called for reform of our foreign aid efforts, with McCain stating that "We should reform our aid programs, to make sure they are serving the interests of people in need, and not just serving special interests in Washington."

"It's hugely important that even at this very challenging time domestically, both presidential candidates called for ramping up efforts against major infectious diseases and that Sen. Obama made a bold and very specific commitment to a new Global Fund for Education," said Joanne Carter, executive director of RESULTS. "There are no investments more critical to ensuring our collective security and tackling poverty than access to education for all children and the fight against global infectious killers like TB," Carter said. "We also strongly support both candidates' calls to reform how our international aid is delivered and believe this is critical to delivering real results on the ground for the world's poorest people."