Saturday, November 1, 2008

Obama-McCain Positions on Special Needs Change Pennsylvania Woman's Vote

The Palin Factor will definitely have an impact on this election -- but maybe not the type of impact Palin and McCain would like. An article from The Australian leads with the story of a woman who has a child with autism -- she was a strong McCain supporter who has become an Obama backer after examining their positions on special needs.

Reporter Geoff Elliott had talked to Pennsylvania resident Cindy Sowers, 48, during the Democratic primary, when Sowers was angered by Obama's clumsy comments about rural Pennsylvanians being "bitter." She called Obama an idiot and supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries. When Elliott contacted her again after Obama defeated Clinton in the primary, Sowers said she would vote for McCain.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the voting booth. On Friday, Sowers sent Elliott an email with the subject "I changed my mind." She wrote: "Thought you might be interested on why I changed my vote to Obama. After going to Children's Hospital in Philadelphia to get my grandson tested for autism (waiting list was 1 1/2 years), I thought I would look into how politics would affect disabled children and who would help the most! (Not just talk about it.) My husband is still voting for McCain. But I am not."

One thing that swayed her opinion was this essay from Paul Longmore, director of the Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University. Elliott says: "From Clinton to McCain and now, just days out from the election, a vote for Obama: Sowers' decision is based purely on his policy prescriptions. Like so many others, Sowers is finding that the economic crisis in the U.S. is grinding out whatever sense of security she felt she had left, and she is now attracted to a candidate offering what she considers a life raft on core family concerns, namely health care and education. In this climate it appears to be a winning ticket."

And here's Longmore's most recent essay, reacting to Palin's speech on special needs policy.
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