Tuesday, July 10, 2012

AIDS Group CEO Weinstein, 
Kucinich Donor, Slams Obama For Confab Snub

The two gay publications in Washington, DC, the Blade and Metro Weekly, ran stories yesterday about the AIDS Healthcare Foundation criticizing President Obama and his lack of commitment to speak at the International AIDS Conference later this month in the nation's capital. For the first time since 1990 when the conference was held in San Francisco, it is back on American soil, and many people with AIDS and professional advocates would like to see Obama address the conference.

The Blade and Metro Weekly articles covered a press briefing held by AHF in Washington, at which the organization's chief of public affairs Tom Myers said the president should publicly commit to make an appearance at the AIDS gathering. Joining the briefing via telephone was AHF's chief executive officer Michael Weinstein, who had little praise to offer.

According to the Blade, "[Weinstein] dismissed Obama’s increase in funds for the Ryan White Care Program on the basis that a minority percentage of people with HIV/AIDS are in regular care under the program."

Metro Weekly quoted Weinstein saying, "Defunding PEPFAR and ignoring ADAP waiting lists merely confirms what people with HIV/AIDS and their advocates have long suspected — that the president is not seriously committed to fighting AIDS."

That's way over the top, claiming Obama is not serious about combating AIDS, and I don't at all think it's fair for any AIDS Inc executive to say that and to claim that all PWAs and our advocates don't believe this. Why is Weinstein engaging in unreasonable hyperbole to make a few political points?

I don't know but I wish to point out that during the 2008 presidential race Weinstein not only didn't contribute money to the Obama campaign, he donated $1,300 to Ohio Democrat Rep. Dennis Kucinich's coffers, according to FEC records.

While I'm surprised and impressed Weinstein gave money to Kucinich's longshot effort to win the White House, I believe he's simply not an Obama supporter and never will be able to acknowledge the good he's done as president benefiting PWAs. Nothing wrong with criticizing Obama's AIDS record, but let's be clear that Weinstein is very out of bounds to claim Obama is not genuinely interested in fighting AIDS, regardless of whether he speaks at the conference later this month.

(Screengrab from the Political MoneyLine.)

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