For release on Thursday, September 25, 2008

Media contact:  Tom Gavin, 202-536-7477


ONE Question for John McCain and Barack Obama

Advocacy group launches new ad around presidential debate


WASHINGTON, D.C…. The ONE Campaign poses a single question to Barack Obama and John McCain on the eve of their first debate:  “What will you do about global poverty and disease?”


The question is the cornerstone of ONE’s new television ad set to air starting today on national cable networks and running through the final presidential debate on October 16.


“ONE is asking a simple question – and the answer can be the centerpiece of a new American foreign policy.  We know that people can fight their way out of extreme poverty if they have the right tools.  The question remains:  Will Barack Obama and John McCain take up that challenge,” ONE President and CEO David Lane said. 


Already, more than 105,000 Americans have signed a petition urging debate moderator Jim Lehrer to ask at least one question about U.S. efforts to address global poverty in Friday’s exchange.  In presidential debates since 1960, only two questions have been related to extreme poverty. 


Two former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders – Republican Bill Frist and Democrat Tom Daschle – lead the ONE Campaign’s efforts to influence the policies and priorities of the presidential candidates.  The new ad, they say, is another tool to drive positive change in this election, and the opportunity is there for both Senator Obama and Senator McCain to respond.


“The efforts to counter extreme poverty and preventable diseases like malaria and HIV are far too important to be left on the sidelines of this debate.  There is a real, tangible benefit for the United States to take on these challenges,” Frist explained.  “We are learning more each day about the world’s economic troubles, the energy crisis, the hunger crisis – these are enormous challenges for us and the world, and they will hit the poorest people the hardest.  The candidates ought to take on these issues in their debate.”


"Millions of children around the world live in deplorable conditions," Daschle explained.  "While progress has been made in the fight against preventable disease and global poverty, much more work remains to be done.  As we prepare for new leadership in our country, it is important for the electorate to hear directly from the candidates on these issues during the upcoming debate."


Research indicates that Americans support global health and poverty programs to a greater degree when they know that those programs are delivering results. Unfortunately, too often Americans don’t hear about what is being achieved.  “ONE Question” highlights the lifesaving and life-changing differences that the United States has sparked, and challenges the next president to build on these accomplishments.


“In a simple, straightforward way, this message cuts through the noise of the political ads out there right now,” explained veteran political strategist and ONE Vote ’08 advisor Carter Eskew. “The ONE ad makes the case that our next president – Democratic or Republican – has an opportunity of a generation before him to change our world for the better.  The unanswered question, will he take advantage of it?”


For the past 18 months, ONE’s presidential outreach effort has combined the organization’s strong grassroots influence with an unprecedented team of nonpartisan political strategists, policy experts, security and military advisors, entertainers and influential faith leaders.  Combined, they have won solid initial commitments from McCain and Obama, but also recognize that more needs to be done.


The ONE Campaign is a global organization uniting millions of people to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease around the world. For more information on the ONE Campaign visit


ONE Vote ’08 is a project of the ONE Campaign and ONE Action. It is not endorsing or opposing any candidate, but is encouraging all presidential candidates to address these critical issues. For more, visit




Script for ONE Question


One question for John McCain and Barack Obama: “What will you do about global poverty and disease?”  America’s goodness is making a difference.  Innovative and accountable efforts are saving millions of lives.




·         3 million more with HIV/AIDS medication.

·         3.5 million fewer children dying.

·         41 million more children in school.


Stopping the spread of AIDS and malaria. Making drinking water safer. And helping people in poverty make their own way out.  The candidates have said we need to build on this success.  Will you make sure they follow through?  Go to




Add your voice to the millions who’ve said yes. 


[GRAPHIC MOVES ABOVE THE LOGO:  Republicans, Democrats, Independents] is responsible for the content of this advertisement.