Isaiah Washington Attends Summit on Malaria, Meets President Bush

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Isaiah Washington may play a doctor on TV, but in real life, he's building his cred as a political activist, mingling with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush this week in Washington, D.C.

Isaiah Washington Attends Summit on Malaria, Meets President Bush
The Grey's Anatomy star met Bush for the first time on Thursday while emceeing the White House Summit on Malaria.

Washington called the President "genuine" and tells People the First Lady was "very warm... (the summit) is her baby."

The half-day event, organized by Laura Bush, brought together leaders bent on eliminating malaria, a curable and preventable disease that kills 1 million people a year, many of them African children. Last year, the U.S. launched a five-year, $1.2 billion plan aimed at cutting malaria deaths in half .

Laura Bush's own staff pooled the $600 they would have spent on holiday gifts for each other - using it instead to buy 50 bed nets to protect people from mosquitoes carrying the disease.

"It goes to show you that the passion and compassion (for eradicating malaria) is indeed working," Washington said.

Isaiah Washington has taken a great interest in the plight of Africa, and is in the process of filming a documentary about the continent, centering around his tribal homeland of Sierra Leone.

For Washington, the brief break from the Grey's Anatomy set wasn't all work and no play. Before jetting back to L.A., he went to Vice President Dick Cheney's holiday party.

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Did you say it? 'I love you. I don't ever want to live without you. You changed my life.' Did you say it? Make a plan. Set a goal. Work toward it, but every now and then, look around; Drink it in 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow."

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