It’s all in the reflexes

President Obama says that “the other side” (presumably Republicans) isn’t interested in fighting AIDS:

We’re funding global AIDS. And the other side is not. So I don’t know why you think this is a useful strategy to take. I think it would make a lot more sense for you guys to go to the folks who aren’t interested in funding global AIDS and chant at that rally, because we’re trying to focus on figuring out how to finance the things that you want financed, all right?

This is a bizarre attack, since President Bush launched a huge, well-regarded campaign against AIDS in Africa. A peer-reviewed academic study found that the campaign saved over a million lives.

Is Obama simply ignorant of Bush’s achievements fighting AIDS? No, he’s not:

President-elect Barack Obama doesn’t often offer praise for President George W. Bush’s foreign policy, but on Monday he offered the outgoing head of state accolades for battling AIDS in Africa.

“I salute President Bush for his leadership in crafting a plan for AIDS relief in Africa and backing it up with funding dedicated to saving lives and preventing the spread of the disease,” Obama said in taped remarks to the Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health.

I think what you’re seeing here is Obama’s basic reflex. When under attack (he was responding to hecklers), he blames Republicans and the truth isn’t a factor.

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