Monday, October 20, 2008

McCain Campaign: "We Do Not Have a Policy on Disabilities"

As I said in one of my earliest posts on this blog, it's hard to compare the candidates' policy positions on disabilities when only one candidate -- Sen. Obama -- has one. If you don't believe me, read on.

Kareem Dale, Obama's national disability vote director, recently appeared at a disability forum in Athens, Ohio. The idea was to discuss important issues with a member of Sen. McCain's staff. The only problem is, the McCain campaign sent an email message instead of a person. As hard as it is to believe, Donna M. Jones, the national coordinator of the (impressive-sounding) Americans with Disabilities for McCain Coalition, wrote this:

"The McCain campaign does not have a vetted disability policy to release at this time. I also do not have any further information on when we might be releasing a platform discussing the senator's stance on issues that relate to people with disabilities. I understand that in this contentious political season, the needs of people with disabilities must be addressed as part of the policy conversation. It is my hope that we will be able to release a vetted policy from Senator McCain in the near future. That being said, I will not be able to send a surrogate to discuss a policy Senator McCain has not approved."

In a blog post, Dale writes, "This statement by the McCain campaign reflects one important reason I support Senator Obama. Over a year ago in 2007, Senator Obama released his comprehensive Plan to Empower Americans with Disabilities. And, over a year later, Senator McCain still has not set forth any plan for Americans with disabilities. We are 23 days from electing the next President who will have a significant impact on Americans with disabilities in terms of health care, employment, education, independent living, and many other important supports and services. I want a President who took the time to care enough and recognized the importance of setting forth detailed policies for our community of steps the federal government should take to empower Americans with disabilities. I do not want a President who 23 days before the election still has not released a plan for the disability community."
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