In a Philadelphia Daily News opinion piece, blogger and Republican gay activist David Benkof of praises U.S. President George W. Bush for his commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS (, 7/9).

“It is unquestionable that GOP Present George W. Bush has done more to fight AIDS than any president in history, including Democrat Bill Clinton,” Benkof writes. “The people pushing Bush to fight the epidemic at home and abroad are overwhelmingly conservative Christians—the same people we keep hearing gay leaders tar as narrow-minded and bigoted. Well, those bigots deserve far more credit for relieving suffering from HIV in this decade than gay men and lesbians did in the previous two decades combined.”

Benkof says that under Bush, the U.S. spends more than $3 billion annually fighting global AIDS through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), while Clinton’s last budget contained less than $1 billion devoted to AIDS programs. He also cites that Bush may be instrumental in lifting the long-standing travel restrictions on HIV-positive foreign U.S. visitors, and lauds Bush’s appointment of openly gay experts on HIV, including U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator Mark Dybul.

He concludes, “For years, I’ve been asked, ‘How can you be a gay Republican?’ In 2008 I can answer, ‘Because on one of the gay community’s top priorities, Republicans outshine Democrats hands down.’”