Fisher to take Johnson's seat on AIDS panel Infected woman spoke at convention


WASHINGTON -- Mary Fisher, the AIDS-infected woman from Florida who spoke so movingly at the Republican National Convention in August, is taking Earvin "Magic" Johnson's seat on the National Commission on AIDS, sources confirmed yesterday.

The White House is expected to announce the appointment today. Ms. Fisher will be the only member of the advisory panel with acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Mr. Johnson, a basketball star who has the virus that is linked to AIDS, resigned from the commission last month and criticized President Bush for not following its recommendations.

Mr. Bush said Sunday on CNN's "Larry King Live" that he wanted Ms. Fisher to replace Mr. Johnson.

White House aides later refused to confirm that Ms. Fisher would join the commission, but sources said that was only because she had to complete a background check that is required of all high-level presidential appointees.

Mr. Bush described Ms. Fisher Sunday as "a very loving person . . . who just mesmerized the GOP convention, speaking for many when she talked about caring and compassion."

He noted that Mr. Johnson had attended only one meeting of the AIDS commission and said of Ms. Fisher, "I think she'll be very faithful in attendance there."

Ms. Fisher, the daughter of a prominent GOP fund-raiser, will be sworn in for the commission's next meeting in mid-November.

Ms. Fisher could not be reached for comment yesterday.

She reportedly was traveling to Washington, where she is

scheduled to participate in events this week related to the display of the AIDS memorial quilt on the Mall.

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