Friday, October 3, 2008
After Debate, Still No Palin Plan for Special Needs
In last night's vice presidential debate, I was hoping for additional clarification about the candidates' positions, and I did in several areas, but not the one this blog focuses on. I've been saying for weeks that Gov. Palin has been too vague about being a "friend" to children with special needs. She hasn't addressed any specific plan in her numerous speeches, her handful of interviews, or any other forum. So what did we learn from her last night? Nothing new.
Repeating her vague listing of priorities, she said: "John McCain and I have had good conversations about where I would lead with his agenda. That is energy independence in America and reform of government over all, and then working with families of children with special needs. That's near and dear to my heart also."
In one of her comments about education, Gov. Palin contradicted her running mate when she said: "With education, America needs to be putting a lot more focus on that and our schools have got to be really ramped up in terms of the funding that they are deserving. Teachers needed to be paid more." Remember, McCain has proposed a spending freeze on all programs for education, including special education and new teachers. But he wants to tax your health benefits (if you're one of the 70 percent of Americans who get insurance through your job), while denying health coverage for anyone with a pre-existing condition, including children with autism and Down Syndrome.
Biden countered this way: "I hope we'll get back to education, because I don't know any government program that John is supporting, not early education, more money for it. The reason No Child Left Behind was left behind, the money was left behind, we didn't fund it."
Biden also stressed the need to fund education, even with the current economic challenges. "We cannot slow up on education, because that's the engine that is going to give us the economic growth and competitiveness that we need."
Here's CNN's transcript of the whole debate.