Candidates Answer The Cancer Question

Lance Armstrong and his foundation, LIVESTRONG are sponsoring two Presidential cancer forums. Today was the first one with the Democratic candidates, and on Tuesday at 11 a.m. two of the Republican candidates will meet. Hillary Clinton spoke first today and said that President Bush has waged a war on science, so Clinton proposed we wage a “national war on cancer.” “What really bothers me is that we are on the brink of so many medical breakthroughs right now and instead of pushing forward with the resources and the focus that is needed, the current administration has really called a halt in the war against cancer,” Clinton said. She wants to raise taxes on cigarettes, and stopped just short of asking for a federal ban on smoking in public places. Clinton instead feels smoking bans should be regulated at a state and local level. Clinton called for a nine point plan for fighting cancer, which included health care coverage for everyone. “I intend to do everything I can to sign into law national health care,” Clinton said.
John Edwards was the next candidate to speak, and he favored a national ban on smoking in public places, but he doubts it would be constitutional. He pointed out that cancer is a “big personal issue for our family.” Like Clinton he feels that the foundation for cancer prevention is universal health care. “The foundation for fighting cancer is a truly universal health care system for every man, woman and child,” Edwards said. He said the difference between him and Clinton is that she allows the special interest to join in. “If you give drug companies a seat at the table, I think they’ll eat all the food,” Edwards said. Instead, “they have to be beat.” “We have to confront (the special interests) head on and fight them,” he said. He announced his National Strategy for Cancer Survivorship
Dennis Kucinich said he wanted to fashion a “compassionate health care system which truly meets the needs of all of the American people.” He also pushed for Medicare for all, and the end of private health care insurance. He says insurance companies make money by not providing health care. Kucinich says the current system is “only about the health of the insurance companies. This system is wrong. This system must change. I’m the person to do it.”
Bill Richardson wanted a surge in the war on cancer instead of a surge in the war in Iraq. The nation spends $6 billion a year on cancer research, Richardson said. “That’s about two weeks in Iraq. That’s pathetic,” he said. Richardson said he would name Armstrong his cancer czar, but Armstrong said he has retired. Richardson also said we all should get the same level of coverage as the President does.
Notably absent from the forum was Barack Obama who was spending personal time with his family today. According to David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager, Obama has chosen to limit his appearances at these forums. “So far, Barack has attended seven Democratic debates and 19 candidate forums,” David Plouffe said. “There are five remaining sanctioned DNC debates, which we are committed to attend and two Iowa debates normally held in January, which are being held in December, which we are also committed to attend.” If campaigning is so hard on his schedule, then what in the hell does he think the White House will be like? Talking to the people should be the number one thing on Obama’s mind right now, not personal time with his family. He is running for one of the most powerful positions in the world.
Lance Armstrong later commented on the no shows saying, “We obviously think a disease that kills 600,000 Americans a year deserves having all of the frontrunners here.” The GOP has only two candidates signed on for the forum on Tuesday so far, Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback. “It’s a disappointment,” Armstrong continued, “that two cancer survivors on the Republican side are not coming. Mayor Giuliani and Senator McCain are both cancer survivors. As a fellow survivor and as somebody that wants to represent this community and wants to see change happen, that’s disappointing.”
Alan Cosgrove

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