TIME: You ultimately decided to time live 8 around the G-8 summit. Isn’t it a bit odd to stage a rock concert around what’s essentially a policy meeting?
GELDOF: …We didn’t just pick this moment out of the sky. This G-8 is in the U.K., where the Prime Minister was once a young git with the worst haircut save mine. He attended Live Aid and was informed by it, so he’s in tune with where we’ve come from. Then, a lot of these G-8 guys are on their last political legs. Schroeder’s going to lose in Germany. Chirac won’t stand because he will lose. Berlusconi? Might have a year left. (Canadian Prime Minister) Paul Martin is clinging on. George Bush can’t stand again, and Tony Blair said he wouldn’t. It gives us a chance to appeal to their sense of legacy. Combined with all this, our generation has become the Establishment. Bono is the rock god of the Establishment. Richard is the filmmaker of the Establishment. And I’m just a paddy with a hat on. (Much laughter.)
BONO: The missing piece in a way is in the U.S. What Bob provides with his steel and fund raising and what Richard provides in terms of community in the cinematic arts and as a writer with his ability to deliver a message, I feel like I’ve been trying to do in the U.S.—but I’m not American. Really until today, when Russell Simmons called and offered to help, we haven’t had the American sense of ownership that we should. It’s a real problem. I think it’s going to turn around. But we’ve started very late.
TIME: Have you tailored your message in each G-8 country, and if so, how have you tailored your message to Americans?
BONO: Warren Buffett gave me the best advice on this subject. He said, “Don’t appeal to the conscience of America. Appeal to the greatness of America and you’ll get the job done.”
… Onstage, I talk about my first impression of Americans, which was watching a man walk on the moon. We thought, “Americans are mad! But look what they can do when they get organized.”
GELDOF: America doesn’t have a lack of empathy, they just don’t know the issues as well. Actually, today I had to defend the Bush Administration in France again. They refuse to accept, because of their political ideology, that he has actually done more than any American President for Africa. But it’s empirically so.
TIME: Which of the G-8 leaders do you think remains the toughest nut to crack?
BONO: The most important and toughest nut is still President Bush. He feels he’s already doubled and tripled aid to Africa, which he has. But he started from far too low a place. He can stand there and say he paid at the office already. He shouldn’t, because he’ll be left out of the history books. But it’s hard for him because of the expense of the war and the debts. But I have a hunch that he will step forward with something. And it’ll take somebody like him ...
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Contact: Ty Trippet TIME 212-522-3640