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Public Papers - 1991

Remarks at a Briefing by the National Commission on AIDS

1991-12-09

Lou, thank you. And let me just thank Dr. Rogers and Dr. Osborn and, of course, all the members of the AIDS Commission. And let me tell them that I have great confidence in the professionals in this Government, from Dr. Sullivan on, the people out at NIH, Dr. Roper, and so many others that are working these problems.

And when you have something as devastating and as scary as AIDS, I'm not sure that our people that are working with such compassion and such caring get the proper credit. They're not in it for credit; they're in it for trying to do something for humanity. And if I've ever seen a dedicated group of professionals, I think they're sitting right around this table.

Lou, I want to thank you for assembling the team. Dr. Mason, of course, we're going to hear from him; Tony Fauci, we know how inspirational he's been; our Surgeon General; head of NIH, Dr. Healy; and I don't want to leave out my former White House associate who's now branched off into a new setting down there in Atlanta.

But no, we've got good people working it. I think nobody ever has the total amount of resource to bring to bear on a problem, and yet I noted with interest what you said in terms of the levels of funding. And I'm very anxious to hear from everybody. I, too, would like to pay my respects to Belinda Mason and also Kimberly.

But this is a tragic disease, and it is something that I'd like to find ways to be helpful as President. In addition to the professional aspects of all of this, I'd like to think that there are some suggestions coming out of this as to what we might be able to do to be of more help from the White House. I'd like to do it. Barbara, of course, feels the same way. When she hugs those children, I think it sends the proper message around the country. And I'll never forget visits that Tony and others out there arranged for me quite a few months ago now, but it was terribly moving. And some have suggested that in some way it might have been helpful.

But all I'm saying here to you who are giving so much of your lives and your love and care to this, we do want to do what we can to help. And I think we've got a good program going, but I'd like to have the critique of that now from any -- I don't know whether you've got this all set up in an orderly Sullivan manner, or are we just dealer's choice here?

Note: The President spoke at 11:42 a.m. at the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC. In his remarks, he referred to Dr. June E. Osborne, Chair, and Dr. David E. Rogers, Vice Chair of the Commission; Dr. William L. Roper, Director of the Centers for Disease Control; Dr. James O. Mason, Assistant Secretary for Health, Public Health Service; and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Associate Director for AIDS Research at the National Institutes of Health. The President also mentioned AIDS victims Kimberly Bergalis and Belinda Mason, a former member of the Commission.

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