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Clinton urges more giving during tough times

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton called on guests at an amfAR AIDS research charity gala in France to give more to good causes during the recession.
Image: Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton, speaking at an AIDS research benefit during the Cannes film festival, told the audience, "When times are tough you should give more, not less."Matt Sayles / AP
/ Source: Reuters

Former President Bill Clinton called on guests at an AIDS research charity gala in France to give more to good causes during the recession.

The glitzy party, held late on Thursday and hosted by actress Sharon Stone, is held every year during the Cannes film festival to raise funds for The Foundation for AIDS Research, or amfAR.

Clinton joined Stone, rapper 50 Cent, actor Robert Pattinson, singer Annie Lennox and members of the cast of Quentin Tarantino's new film "Inglourious Basterds" at the exclusive Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc to make the keynote speech to 800 guests.

"When times are tough you should give more, not less," he told diners in a giant marquee. "If it hurts a little more, we will still be happier," he added.

Clinton said around $30 trillion of wealth had been wiped out by the financial crisis between September and February. "But if you think about it, everyone in this room is better off than 99.9 percent of people who ever lived on planet Earth."

AmfAR chairman Kenneth Cole added: "When the economy slows down, the spread of AIDS speeds up."

One of the top lots at a fund-raising auction held on the night was a saxophone belonging to and signed by Clinton.

The instrument fetched $181,000, and the proceeds will be shared between amfAR and the Clinton Global Initiative.

Overall the auction raised $4.5 million for amfAR, which supports AIDS research, HIV prevention and treatment education, down from 2008's tally of more than $10 million.

Among the other highlights of the sale were two Bruce Weber prints which fetched $140,000 each, a trip to Milan Fashion Week ($195,000) and a customized case containing six bottles of vintage Dom Perignon rose champagne ($70,000).

Pattinson raised $55,000 by auctioning a kiss for the daughters of the two winning bidders.

Stone paid tribute to actress Natasha Richardson, who was an amfAR board member before she died after a skiing accident in March. Richardson's father Tony died of complications related to AIDS in 1991.