Obama, Romney Speak to Different Priorities at Clinton Summit
7 months ago
Presidential opponents address human trafficking and foreign aid before philanthropic audience
NEW YORK CITY – President Barack Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney on Tuesday worked the philanthropic crowd, as leaders in the development and financial worlds met for the final day of the annual Clinton Global Initiative conference.
In separate remarks to conference attendees, Romney highlighted the need for efficient use of foreign aid, while Obama spotlighted the scourge of human trafficking.
To some extent, both men seemed to share the concerns of other world leaders and experts in international relations, who were simultaneously gathering at the opening of the 67th United Nations General Assembly meeting, taking place not far from the conference arranged by former President Bill Clinton.
“Too often our passion for charity is tempered by our sense that our aid is not always effective. We see stories of cases where American aid has been diverted to corrupt governments,” Romney said, echoing a UN concern that multi-year declines in aid to developing countries might derail meeting 2015 anti-poverty goals.
A sobering report on Millennium Development Goals, the UN’s poverty reduction targets, released ahead of the General Assembly meeting, shows a $167 billion gap between the aid disbursed and the amounts committed to by development partners. Sixteen of the 23 donor nations, including the U.S., reduced their aid last year, citing the fiscal constraints of the economic crisis, according to the report.
It’s one of the rare times that the UN has chosen to openly shame partner nations that are contributing to the disbursement deficit, a UN spokesperson said by phone.
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In his remarks, Romney emphasized the much-debated idea that aid should not be given to nations without some strings attached.