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ONE Launches ONE Vote '08
Frist, Daschle to Serve as Chairs
Joined by hundreds of ONE members, Ben Affleck, national and state political activists and faith leaders to kick off $30 million mass media and mobilization effort to make global poverty key to 2008 presidential race
Washington, DC - Today, at a major event at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill, ONE launched ONE Vote '08, an unprecedented, high energy, non-partisan campaign to save lives and secure America's future by energizing presidential candidates and ONE's 2.4 million members to make the fight against global extreme poverty a key foreign policy issue in the 2008 presidential election.
ONE Vote '08 co-chairs and former Senate Majority Leaders Bill Frist and Tom Daschle were joined by hundreds of ONE members, political activists, faith leaders, coalition members and The African Children's Choir to launch the $30 million mass media and mobilization effort.
In an evening national conference call with ONE members, Senators Daschle and Frist will be joined by Ben Affleck in rallying members for action over the next 18 months of the 2008 presidential campaign. All 2.4 million ONE members were invited to join the call.
With millions of supporters behind it, ONE Vote '08 will run aggressive mobilization and media campaigns in each of the early primary states - including Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina - and beyond. ONE Vote '08 forces have already organized tens of thousands of ONE members in the early states, including 20,000 in Iowa, 20,000 in South Carolina, 17,000 in Nevada and 15,000 in New Hampshire.
ONE Vote '08 plans to spend a minimum of $30 million on this mass mobilization and media effort throughout the 2008 election cycle. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided a $22 million grant to the ONE to support ONE Vote '08.
"Sixty years ago, President Truman committed American resources to revitalizing Europe because it was both the right thing and the smart thing to do. Today, we have an opportunity to commit to ending extreme poverty and preventable disease in the developing world," said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation. "Again, it is both right and smart, and we can do it by committing to modest increases in our effective foreign assistance budget. ONE is a way to combine our voices to send a message to politicians that Americans are ready to step up to this challenge."
Two campaign experts will serve as managers of ONE Vote '08: Jessica Vandenberg, who ran Democratic Senator Jim Webb's successful campaign, and Liesl Hickey, former chief of staff to Republican Congressman Mark Kirk and campaign veteran. ONE Vote '08 also has a brain trust of presidential strategists and policy experts - including former Senator Bob Kerrey, Dina Powell, Donna Brazile, John Podesta, Tucker Eskew, Mike McCurry, Geoff Garin, John McLaughlin and Steve Jarding - on board to help build momentum and grow the mobilization.
ONE Vote '08 co-chairs Senators Bill Frist and Tom Daschle will travel the country talking with candidates and voters about America's role in the world and what the next president can do to save lives and secure our future.
"We've got to work together to increase awareness of these issues and raise their visibility in the upcoming presidential election," said Senator Frist, former Senate Republican Majority Leader. "I'm proud to work with Senator Daschle, the ONE Campaign and ONE's millions of grassroots activists to accomplish that goal through ONE Vote '08."
"My late friend Paul Wellstone was fond of saying that, 'The poor don't have a lobbyist. That's why I went to Washington,'" said Senator Daschle, former Senate Democratic Majority Leader. "Well, the ONE Campaign has found lobbyists for the world's poor - millions of lobbyists, to be precise. We will spend the next 18 months making sure that the candidates hear their message - a message of great hope in the power of the United States to beat back global poverty and disease, to restore stability and security, and to be a shining example throughout the world."
U2's Bono, co-founder of DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa), and a major force in the creation of ONE, has already met with many of the leading Democratic and Republican candidates, echoing the calls of ONE's grassroots forces who are meeting these candidates as they travel across the country. Along with coalition partners, DATA is leading on the development of the policy platform and working with ONE on direct engagement with candidates.
In a video released as part of the launch of ONE Vote '08, Bono said, "The number of people whose lives will be affected by the choice you make next November is much higher than the population of America. It's in our generation's gift to end the kind of stupid poverty that means a child dies of hunger in a world of plenty, the kind of extreme, brutal poverty that means millions of people are literally too poor to stay alive. The real issue is, do we have the political will to end this?"
The video, which can be viewed at www.ONE.org, also includes testimonials on the importance of the 2008 presidential race in the future fight against global poverty from New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady, actors Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Alfre Woodard, and Pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life Rick Warren.
Both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates also answered a question about what they would do for Africa for a special July 2007 Africa-focused issue of Vanity Fair (www.vanityfair.com). Bono was Vanity Fair's first ever guest editor for the issue.
Pastor Brian McLaren, named by TIME magazine as one of America's 25 most influential evangelicals, represented a coalition of faith leaders from across the country at the launch event. These faith leaders will work over the course of the 2008 presidential to raise awareness about global poverty.
"The emergency of global disease and extreme poverty is awakening many of us from business-as-usual religion. We know that God has charged us all with caring for our neighbors, and more and more of us are turning our doctrine into action," said Pastor Brian McLaren. "The faith community will play a vital role in ONE Vote '08 because of their tremendous power to influence the next president of the U.S. to do more for the world's poorest people. We must infuse American citizens - especially the younger generation of potential voters - with a keen sense of responsibility for using our power to vote not simply in self-interest, but on behalf of the poor."
Also participating in the event was Karen Sichinga, a nurse and Deputy Director of the nonprofit Churches Health Association of Zambia. Karen, who lost her brother from AIDS, spoke about the real impact aid programs are having in battling deadly diseases and saving lives. An estimated one-sixth of Zambia's adults have AIDS, about 1.1 million people, according to the World Health Organization.
"I am here to thank America for saving lives in Africa through the Global Fund and the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief," said Nurse Karen Sichinga of Churches Health Association of Zambia. "I lost both my brothers to AIDS. Today, because of America's generosity, others will not have that same loss. I am here to join with the ONE campaign, with people of faith, because together, we can win the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty."
The African Children's Choir, fresh off their American Idol appearance, performed at the ONE Vote '08 launch. The Choir features African children ages 7 through 11, many of whom have lost one or both parents through the devastation of war, famine and disease. The primary goal of the Choir is to raise awareness of destitute and orphaned children's needs in Africa and raise funds for relief and development programs.
Unlike many issues in the 2008 presidential campaign that deeply divide Republicans and Democrats, ONE Vote '08 brings both sides together. A majority of likely voters on both sides share a concern about both national security and America's respect in the world. No matter their party, ethnicity, religion or ideology, they know saving children and families from hunger and preventable diseases is the right thing to do.
ONE Vote '08 will address voters' concerns about a fading global image and national security by talking about strategic, cost-effective and proven solutions to end global disease and extreme poverty. Healthy citizens and productive economies lead to stronger nations in the developing world. Strategic investments in ending hunger, stopping the spread of AIDS and other preventable diseases and educating children are also investments in future stability, in global allies and against future enemies.
Susan McCue, President and CEO of the ONE Campaign, said, "In today's world, fighting global poverty is not only an important moral mission but also critical to America's security in an interconnected world. Over the next 18 months, ONE's millions of members will help create the political will in America to help those who need it most, and ensure that the next president is committed to saving lives and securing our future by eradicating global poverty and readily preventable diseases."
"I want to commend Senators Frist and Daschle, Bill Gates and Bono for their leadership of the One Vote '08 campaign. I know from my own experience in the U.S. military how vitally important it is for America to engage proactively in the developing world both to stem extremism and instability and to lay the foundation for opportunity and prosperity to take hold," said General James L. Jones, (ret.) USMC, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe; Current President & CEO, Institute for 21st Century Energy. "It is in the strategic interest of the United States that we do more to fight poverty and disease around the world through proven and effective assistance programs, and I look forward to working with Senators Frist and Daschle, Bill Gates and Bono and the other leaders of the One Vote '08 campaign to make this objective a reality."
Next fall, each candidate will be asked to sign the ONE Pledge based on five achievable, cost-effective and proven goals that will have a rapid impact in eradicating poverty and creating economic opportunity. The five achievable goals include: combating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria; improving child and maternal health; increasing access to universal basic education; providing access to clean water and sanitation; and combating hunger.
Jack Oliver, Republican strategist and Co-Chair of the ONE Campaign added, "ONE Vote '08 will show every presidential candidate that millions of people will be thinking about the world's poorest people when casting a vote for the next president. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue - this is a human issue."
As part of the national ONE Vote '08 launch, state leaders from each of the four early primary states participated via satellite from Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina. State launches for ONE Vote '08 early primary state campaigns will occur in the coming weeks with high-profile, bi-partisan supporters in each state. ONE Vote '08 grassroots supporters will continue to engage the candidates, meeting them at campaign stops around the country. So the next time you see a presidential candidate wearing the white band, you'll know it's because he or she agrees that saving lives should be a U.S. priority and is part of securing this country's future.
On the 'Net
The ONE Vote '08 launch has the blogosphere buzzing. Both liberal and conservative blogs covered the ONE Vote '08 launch today and many met with Senators Frist and Daschle as well as Susan McCue and Mike Gerson beforehand. Among those attending were Amanda Terkel of Think Progress, John Araviosis of America Blog, Matthew Ygleisias, Chris Bowers of MyDD, Christy Hardin-Smith of Fire Dog Lake, Michael Link of DNC's blog Kicking Ass, Richard Miniter of Pajamas Media, Matt Lewis of Townhall, Ed Morrisey of Captain's Quarters, Joe Carter of Evangelical Outpost, Soren Dayton of Eye on '08, Chuck DeFeo also of Townhall and Mark Armbinder of Hotline. Other blogs linked to the ONE Vote '08 website that debuted today at www.one.org. The site includes a candidate tracker, a blog and explanation of the issues ONE Vote '08 is raising awareness for. Additionally, Yahoo.com featured the AP article about ONE Vote '08's debut as one of the top news headlines of the day.
Also driving the internet chatter is what is shaping up to be the largest conference call of its kind ever. Monday night, Senators Frist and Daschle and actor Ben Affleck will speak with thousands of ONE grassroots supporters across the country about ONE Vote '08 and the campaign's plans to organize and influence the 2008 presidential election. ONE's 2.4 million members were invited to participate, including over 100,000 MySpace "friends" and those in the ONE network on Facebook.
ONE: A Record of Action
ONE Vote '08 capitalizes on the successes ONE has had demonstrating to America's leaders that Africa and other poor nations are an opportunity, not a burden. ONE is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 partners composed of the nation's leading relief, humanitarian and advocacy organizations, including DATA, World Vision, CARE and the NAACP. ONE has also rallied nearly 2.4 million Americans of all walks of life. Together, ONE members and ONE partner groups encourage America's leaders to do more to eradicate global poverty.
In March of 2007, ONE's grassroots supporters and its partners successfully fought for and won the full restoration of a $2.2 billion cut to the International Affairs budget, which contains critical global poverty funding. In February 2007, ONE members sent more than 200,000 letters encouraging Congress to protect $1 billion in funding in the FY2007 budget for the fight against extreme poverty; Congress responded by committing to a $1.45 billion increase.
ONE Vote '08: Saving Lives, Securing our Future is an unprecedented non-partisan campaign to engage and energize U.S. Presidential candidates on issues of extreme poverty and global health, bringing high visibility for these issues into the U.S. political arena along with commitments by each candidate to support real solutions.
For more information, please visit: www.one.org