President Obama, Mitt Romney Address Clinton Global Initiative

President Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, appeared within hours of each other Tuesday at [the Clinton Global Initiative,] a global charitable gathering hosted by former president Bill Clinton, each focusing on how the United States can better promote prosperity and human rights abroad and at home,” the Washington Post reports (Rucker/Wilson, 9/25). Saying “that decades of foreign aid have not extinguished ‘the suffering and hardship,’ Romney called for big changes in the approach to foreign assistance,” the Associated Press/Fox News writes (9/25). According to Foreign Policy, Romney “pledged … to shift foreign aid toward the private sector and deprioritize humanitarian aid in favor of promoting free enterprise and business development around the world” and “then said he would lower the priority of foreign aid as a means to address humanitarian needs, such as health, as well as foreign aid as a means to promote U.S. strategic interests” (Rogin, 9/25). “His plan, which he called ‘Prosperity Pacts,’ calls for tying development money to requirements that countries allow U.S. investment and remove trade barriers,” the AP adds (9/25).

“Obama’s topic was the tragedy of human trafficking and efforts by his administration to address a problem affecting the developing and developed worlds alike, including the U.S.,” NPR’s “It’s All Politics” blog notes (James, 9/25). “Obama said that more than 20 million people worldwide are victims of human trafficking, including children forced to work at sweatshops and women pushed into the sex trade,” and he “acknowledged that the U.S. was not immune from the epidemic and pledged to help stop the abuse of migrant workers and young women who are forced ‘to walk the streets,'” according to New York Daily News (Lemire, 9/25). “He announced new initiatives to combat human trafficking, including an executive order tightening restrictions on companies that secure federal contracts, improved training for federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials, and a $6 million grant program for communities that seek to prevent trafficking,” the Los Angeles Times writes (Mehta/Hennessey, 9/26). “The president talked, too, of new efforts to help victims of human trafficking recover, promising better access to treatment, legal services and job searches, as well as a simpler visa process for victims brought to America against their will,” U.S. News & World Report notes (Flock, 9/25).

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