By  on December 1, 2005

NEW YORK — "There's an old saying that you can tell the state of the economy by whether or not women are buying lipstick," said Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, N.Y.), surveying a packed room of press and Estée Lauder Cos. executives Wednesday morning.

And the junior senator from New York is definitely interested in seeing sales of at least one lip color line — MAC's Viva Glam — spike. Along with fellow politico Rep. Charles Rangel (D, N.Y.), Clinton was at MAC Cosmetics' Harlem store both to mark World AIDS Day, which is today, and to present a sizable donation on behalf of the MAC AIDS Fund to North General Hospital. In the 11 years since the MAC AIDS Fund was founded, more than $55 million has been raised to support men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS, all through the sales of MAC's Viva Glam line of lip colors.

"AIDS has been given a lot of attention, and it deserves it," Clinton told the crowd before presenting a $50,000 check to North General Hospital's president and chief executive, Dr. Samuel Daniel, on the Fund's behalf. The money will be used for a facility at the hospital that will provide 28 individual living facilities to New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS. "AIDS knows no barriers in gender, race and age. Retrovirals have saved many lives, but they are not a cure, and they have lulled some people into complacency — reported cases of AIDS are again on the rise," Clinton said.

"While many companies have made significant contributions to the fight against AIDS, MAC is the only one I'm aware of that has a single product [line] which is dedicated to supporting the cause," Clinton told WWD after her speech. She noted that when consumers purchase one of the five Viva Glam lipsticks or the Viva Glam Lipglass, they are making a decision to support the cause in addition to getting a fashionable lipstick.

"The results speak for themselves, and there is a real lesson here," Clinton continued. "If you can get a product on the market which is broadly available and has a reasonable price point, you can really make a significant difference." Clinton praised both MAC and the Estée Lauder Cos. for their "tremendous support" in the fight against AIDS.

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