The Remaining Four Candidates on Autism

18 02 2008

I only have a few weeks until Ohio votes and am still undecided… The beauty of Ohio’s Primary system is that I can walk into the polling place and request whichever ballot I want– regardless of how I’m registered.

So, do I vote against McCain (by way of voting for Huckabee)? Or Pro one of the Democrats?

I’ve said before that the two issues that matter to me are Autism and the Economy.  I’ve also added Energy to the list. So, over the next few days I’m going to do my research and organize my thoughts by inflicting them on you…

A U T I S M

Obama:

From A-Champ: http://a-champ.org/Candidatequestionnaire2007/Obama/Fact%20Sheet%20Autism%20Spectrum%20Disorders%20FINAL%20IH.pdf

From his site: “Support Americans with Autism.More than one million Americans have autism, a complex neurobiological condition that has a range of impacts on thinking, feeling, language, and the ability to relate to others. As diagnostic criteria broaden and awareness increases, more cases of autism have been recognized across the country. Barack Obama believes that we can do more to help autistic Americans and their families understand and live with autism. He has been a strong supporter of more than $1 billion in federal funding for autism research on the root causes and treatments, and he believes that we should increase funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to truly ensure that no child is left behind.

More than anything, autism remains a profound mystery with a broad spectrum of effects on autistic individuals, their families, loved ones, the community, and education and health care systems. Obama believes that the government and our communities should work together to provide a helping hand to autistic individuals and their families.”

From Obama’s Site: Plan to Empower Americans With Disabilities: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/awdplan#

Clinton:

From MSNBC: Clinton’s Autism Plan: http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/11/25/479647.aspx

From USAA Weekly News regarding Clinton’s Autism Plan:

Clinton’s Autism Plan
Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2007 9:25 AM by Domenico Montanaro

From NBC/NJ’s Athena Jones
CLINTON WEEKEND CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK

SIOUX CITY, IA — Hillary Clinton used the first stop on a two-day, post-Thanksgiving swing through Iowa on Saturday to lay out a $700 million a year plan to help people affected by autism. The money would be spent for research and provide support for families and teachers dealing with the disorder, as well as for autistic children and adults.

The senator said autism diagnoses had risen dramatically in the last 15 years to some 25,000 each year, affecting 1.5 million Americans and their families and costing the country at least $35 billion a annually. She talked about spending time with a child with autism while living in Little Rock and her work on behalf of children with disabilities over the years.

Clinton said not enough was known about what she called one of the most urgent and least understood challenges facing the nation and not enough services were available to deal with it.

“I think it’s time we had a government and a president who recognized the seriousness of autism and addressed it head on,” Clinton told the crowd at a local Boy’s Club. She said she was at the club because of the work the organization does to provide services for children with autism.

See the whole post: http://www.usautism.org/USAAA_Newsletter/usaaa_newsletter_112607.htm

Huckabee:

I searched high and low– there doesn’t seem to be any position from Huckabee regarding Autism… This was all I found:

McCain:

McCain has requested a hearing on Autism. I had trouble finding the details– like what are they doing to “hear” about Autism? It’s stuck in the approval process and I couldn’t find anything indicating if he’s working on getting it through. He has not responded to A-Champ’s questionnaire. (Actually, neither has Huckabee or Clinton– maybe they aren’t sold on A-Champ’s mission… neither am I but, they do have some good questions– see Obama’s answers above.)

My summary:

What?! Is Autism only a Democratic issue?!

The Democrats: Clinton and Obama have actually developed plans although, in my humble opinion, Clinton’s in more of a plan that Obama’s. I think Clinton actually gets it… Obama– not so much… He seems to lump Autism in with “Disabilities” in general rather than treating it as an epidemic.

As far as the Republican candidates– McCain at least has something to say… but, it seems that it’s more as a virtue of being a Congressman not because he has any passion (or compassion?) Huckabee is a disappointment in this regard.  He seems like a good guy– I’d love to have him over for dinner– but I’m not seeing much meat in any of his policies and, I’m not seeing any policy that relates to Autism.

So, I’m no closer between Clinton and Obama.  Thing is that I don’t like Clinton (and NO– it has nothing to do with her being a strong woman!) on the other hand, I’m not terribly impressed by Obama… I’m not buying into the new Camelot… and, I have concerns that Obama doesn’t flip flop but it looks like he breaks promises. It’s fine to change your mind, it’s great to be persuaded by better/more information– it’s not ok to make a promise and then back down.  Don’t make promises until you have all the information.

On Autism I give:
1.5 to Clinton
.5 to Obama
.25 to McCain
0 to Huckabee

I guess we’ll see how the other issues– Economy and Energy– pan out.

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3 responses

13 03 2008
johnbigjohn

I am so glad I found your blog!! I have been working on getting the candidates more open mouthed about autism on the campaign trail. You have great info here!

I am located at autism08.wordpress.com

Thanks John. I was having so much trouble finding the info from each candidate so I did the research myself… sure would be great for them to start talking about Autism… you’d think that something that effects more than 1 in 150 voters would get a little attention… humm…

13 04 2008
Doug

Blogger News Network had a story about Obama, Clinton and McCain and Autism – http://www.bloggernews.net/115099

Obama, Clinton & McCain Must Meet Families With Autism

When Autism News on Blogger News Network requested the candidates for the Presidential Elections – Senator Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton who are going for the Democratic nomination and Senator John McCain the Presidential Candidate for the Republican Party to speak out on autism to mark the first ever United Nations World Autism Awareness Day declared by the UN General Assembly and held on Wednesday 2nd April 2008 – two of the three candidates responded by issuing statements – but these statements were not well publicised in the national and international media.

Although it was good to see plans for autism from the candidates we now urge Senators Obama, Clinton and McCain to show their committment to parents, carers, children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome by organising meetings with families with autism – on the campaign trail. There is nothing like the connection with voters – one to one connections. Autism is a serious education and health issue in the United States. According to the CDC 1 in 150 children is on autism spectrum and numbers are rising. The next President of the United States must show his or her commitment to parents, carers and people with autism by coming up with detailed and specific plans for autism.

We now need to see the candidates meeting with children and adults with autism – public perceptions are extremely important – do they really care for children and adults with disabilities? As far as we are aware the candidates have yet to have specifically organised meetings with parents, carers, children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

So here is the challenge to Senator Barack Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator John McCain. Will you have the courage of your convictions to speak out on autism and meet with families with autism, children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome while on the campaign trail?

We urge Democrats and Republicans to bring this to the attention of all the candidates and the those driving the individual campaigns.

The campaign organisers to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain must organise this – not behind closed doors, not just though a statement but in the full glare of the media and in front of voters. The candidates must not forget that parents, carers and people with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome are voters too. Politicians ignore them at their peril.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations have put the issue of autism on the global stage, by declaring the historic World Autism Awareness Day. A future President of the United States going into the White House will have to take this further and come up with sweeping reforms, help and structured support and reach out to all children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in the US. A future US President must also bring hope to the hopeless in Africa and Asia where families with autism are sinking without any help or support.We must look at the issue of poverty and autism.

It woould be tremendous if a future President invites parents, carers, children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome into the White House next year on 2nd April on World Autism Awareness Day 2009. Lets hope this becomes an annual event where the Commander-in-Chief will open the doors of the White House to children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. You heard it first on Blogger News Network.

13 04 2008
Dan McGinn

I have a 9 year old son who has been battling Autism since his diagnosis at 18 months of age. I followed the fight for passage of the Combating Autism Act during 2006. Senator Chris Dodd wrote the legislation himself and introduced the bill with co sponsor Senator Richard Santorum of Pennsylvania. I found that both of these Senators, Dodd, a Democrat, and Santorum, a Republican, had a great understanding of the issues.

I come from Iowa and I am a lifelong Democrat. I had the pleasure of meeting Senator Dodd in August of 2007 when he was campaigning for the Democrat Party Presidential nomination and the upcoming Iowa Caucuses. From my experience I felt he understood the Autism issues. He was very passionate about the autism problem and indicated that he was working of funding for the Combating Autism Act. He had to put alot of time in fighting for its passage.

When Senator Clinton came out with this legislation that she mentions in the video spot I was a bit skeptical. Why couldn’t she work on getting the funding needed for the combating autism act rather than simply reintroducing what has already been legislated by Senator Dodd’s legislation? it seemed a bit political to me.

Anyway, it’s obvious that the Democrats are going to be more aggressive and informed about this issue than the Republicans.

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