In Africa, Bush Seeks Money for AIDS

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania -- U.S. President George W. Bush, on a five-nation visit to Africa, challenged Congress on Sunday to renew and expand his global program to combat AIDS.

With backing from Congress, Bush is behind an emergency HIV/AIDS response that is the largest in history to target an infectious disease. It is up for review this year, and Bush is trying to double its size -- from the commitment of $15 billion already spent to $30 billion to be spent over the next five years.

"We don't want people guessing on the continent of Africa whether the generosity of the American people will continue," Bush said in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Before a news conference, Bush signed a nearly $700 million aid pact to help Tanzania build up its infrastructure. The president of Tanzania praised Bush for his support in fighting AIDS and malaria in his country.

Bush, nearing the end of a presidency dominated by the war in Iraq, is targeting disease and poverty on his Africa tour. The president and first lady, Laura Bush, began their trip in Benin in West Africa, then flew to the east coast of the continent to Tanzania. He also plans to visit Rwanda, Ghana and Liberia.

Unlike in the United States, where his approval rating hovers near his record lows, Bush is treated with reverence here. A crowd of people, some wearing clothing bearing Bush's image, waved tiny U.S. and Tanzanian flags as the president and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete walked down a red carpet into the State House in Dar es Salaam.

At the news conference, both leaders dodged a question about the presidential race in the United States and the candidacy of Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan. Obama's grandmother, Sarah Hussein, is following election results at her home in Kogelo, Kenya.

Bush, momentarily taken aback by a question about the excitement surrounding Obama's candidacy, said: "Seems like there was a lot of excitement for me."

Kikwete would say only: "Let him be as good a friend of Africa as President Bush has been."

Bush praised the Tanzanian leader. "I'll just put it bluntly, America doesn't want to spend money on people who steal the money from the people," he said. "We like dealing with honest people, and compassionate people. We want our money to go to help human condition and to lift human lives as well as fighting corruption in marketplace economies."