August 27th, 2007
05:45 PM ET
7 years ago

Armstrong disappointed in no-shows

Lance Armstrong with New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CNN) - Speaking to reporters at a press conference Monday, cancer survivor and seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong said that, while his Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum was beneficial for getting candidates on the record regarding the issue, he wished more of them would have shown up.

"We obviously think a disease that kills 600,000 Americans a year deserves having all of the frontrunners here," said Armstrong.

He went on to mention a few of those frontrunners by name.

"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."

Of the four top Democratic candidates, three of them - Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. John Edwards and Gov. Bill Richardson - spoke to the crowd of over 2,000. One was notably absent.

Sen. Barack Obama's Iowa communications director Josh Earnest told CNN that Obama has no public events today and is "spending some private time with his family."

Earnest also said they plan to issue a statement relevant to "issues relating to cancer."

Armstrong said he understands people have other commitments, but that didn't stop him from making one final plea.

"[It's] fine that you couldn't make it tomorrow, fine that Senator Obama couldn't make it today, but please think about this the next time we call and ask for your input," urged the famous cyclist.

Ohio congressman Dennis Kucinich was the only other Democrat on stage.

As of this writing, the only two GOP presidential candidates slated to speak Tuesday during the Republican forum are Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Lance, Monrovia, CA.

    Lance Armstrong is a hero in the very best sense of the word. He has done more to raise awareness about cancer than anyone I can possibly think of.

    It should not be surprising, however, that the Republican candidates where not at this fundraiser for cancer cures. One of them may have been asked about stem cell research and then they may have had a heart attack right there on the stage.

    They would have been rushed to the hospital while gasping with their final breaths, "somebody save me! do something!"

    But of course the doctor would have just shrugged and said, "can't do much for you. Stem cells could have reversed the damage, could have cured hundreds of thousands of cancer patients maybe. Six cels taken from blastocysts that were thrown into the trash at the local fertility clinic as a rule. But... uh, your Republican congress couldn't bring themselves to overturn your Republican president's veto on the issue."

    You see, Republican candidates only want to give you a tax break so you can pay the HMOs some more money, instead of actually addressing anything real like finding a real cure for a disease that is afflicting our children, grandchildren, parents and friends.

    It's just safer to stay at home than it is to exert their hearts like that, and wind up in a bad way that they've made for themselves...

    uh oh. Too late.

    August 27, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  2. anon, new york, NY

    The reasons for some no-show candidates:

    – Obama treasures private time over public service

    – McCain runs out of campaign funds to travel

    – Giuliani has better use of the donated funds to pay his personal company's and his friend's alledged services

    August 27, 2007 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  3. Jim, Ithaca, NY

    To be quite honest, I wouldn't attend something a celebrity athlete organized either, especially something so serious. Armstrong has nerve and ego to be disappointed – and to express it. He has no place in the news except as a biker, a winning biker at that.

    August 27, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. David, Salinas, CA

    President’s Bush’s budget proposal for the National Institute of Health includes a $40 million cut in the fiscal year 2006 funding for the National Cancer Institute.

    Mayor Rudolf Giuliani has been treated for prostate cancer.

    Senator John McCain has battled recurrent skin cancers including melanoma.

    Senator Fred Thompson has been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

    Thompson’s campaign has strong ties to the Philip Morris conglomerate:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/06/25/fred-thompson-the-philip_n_53736.html

    August 27, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. Faiza, Los Angeles, CA

    It is really disappointing, kudos to those who actually showed up. Even though I don't agree with all of them at least they show enough care (for whatever reason) to show up. It's getting tired to push health issues to the side; these issues are just as important as international affairs b/c it affects all.

    August 27, 2007 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  6. Elery, Dallas, Tx.

    Lately it just seems that every entity can have a debate and the Presidential candidates have an obligation to attend but that's not realistic or fair. It's elitist to say, well, Im so important you CANT decline my invitation. God forbid someone is actually booked up alraedy that day.

    August 27, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  7. Dr. Berney, Honolulu HI

    Cancer Wellness–not in the medical vocabulary.

    Vitamin C given medically can selectively destroy cancer cells, similar to radiation, but makes the patient healthier, so says the NIH.

    Healthy Chemo! who would have thought?

    Lance call me. Let's "get er done"

    August 27, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  8. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Obama has time for Katrina victims (african americans) but no time for supporting Cancer survivors?

    Two games he seems to know: Basketball and Politics.

    August 27, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  9. Hillrose, Chicago, IL

    Obama will regret this deliberate absence from a major American health concern. He has time for his family but not for the America he seeks to lead? what an insult..! Now we know those candidates who care about us and our welbeing. Certainly not Obama who cares about his family only.

    August 27, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  10. Kim, Mpls, MN

    We need to realize that politicians participate in debates on specific issues not because they feel passionate about it or they have a particular opinion about it, but because the current environment expects them to do so.

    The current political system expects politicians to participate in debates on every single issue that comes to mind regardless of it's importance. What's next, a heart disease forum?

    Do you see the Republicans having an NRA, stem cell research or abortion debate?

    Senator Obama chooses to debate issues that are worth debating, like the ways to fix the health care system, understanding our countries role in the world and resolving the immigration issue, these are the topics that need to be debated. Cancer, much like global warming is an issue we all agree on. What is there to debate on cancer? Cancer, asthma and genetic diseases should all be apart of the comprehensive debate about our health care system.

    Presidents address big complicated issues in a comprehensive way.

    August 27, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  11. Ken, Boston MA

    I wouldn't have shown up either if I were a candidate. The United States presidency is above and beyond a celebrity athlete's vain attempt to get some press. And press he sure got. He has CNN's attention. Armstrong has gobs of nerve and ego to say he's disappointed, to even be disappointed at all. Funny how Democrats can't separate entertainment from politics and government. But they'd pounce to separate church from state.

    August 27, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  12. Ken Gort, Boston MA

    I wouldn't have shown up either if I were a candidate. The United States presidency is above and beyond a celebrity athlete's vain attempt to get some press. And press he sure got. He has CNN's attention. Armstrong has gobs of nerve and ego to say he's disappointed, to even be disappointed at all. Funny how Democrats can't separate entertainment from politics and government. But they'd pounce to separate church from state.

    August 27, 2007 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  13. Bruce, San Francisco,CA

    Rick, Obama is also a human being, he deserves rest and at least the minimum quality family time he can afford just like every other human being.I guess he is also fully aware of the cancer stigma as his own (white) mother died from a cancer related illness, Lance is not the only man who cares about cancer and Obama's no show doesnt necessarily mean he wont address the issue.

    August 27, 2007 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  14. Greg, Houston

    One issue forums don't attract a lot of attention. Let's face it Cancer research is not a great campaign issue.

    And I 'm not even going to respond to that first bigoted comment.

    August 27, 2007 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  15. Dan, TX

    Soooo.... You're saying we shouldn't care about Katrina survivors?

    You think this means Obama doesn't care about cancer?

    I don't see any reasoning or logic here....

    Cancer is a fundamental problem, we've had a war on cancer, that war is continuing. Tremendous progress has been made. My daughter has a 50% chance of carrying my wife's breast cancer gene. If she has it, it is very likely she'll have breast cancer before she's 40-45. Thankfully, we know how to proceed and my daughter will either not get breast cancer or it will be detected and treated very early and will be very unlikely to be life threatening. We have made progress, and yes, there is a long way to go. But Obama – in case you haven't looked – has very detailed plans concerning health care. I have very strong confidence that all of the democrat party candidates will do an outstanding job with respect to cancer education, prevention, detection, and treatment. I strongly resent your unfounded attack against Obama, or any other democrat candidate.

    August 27, 2007 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  16. Stephen, Tallahassee

    cry me a river you critics ... Obama is spending time with his family. Give me a break, there seems to be a forum every week, or every other week. People all your issues are important but talking with the American people is more important. Retail politics in the early states is more valuable then a forum put on by Lance Armstrong. (i did not know there was a forum today, and I am a news and politics junkie.) You can only be in one place at a time.

    August 27, 2007 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  17. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    Lance Armstrong is a hero in the very best sense of the word. He has done more to raise awareness about cancer than anyone I can possibly think of.

    It should not be surprising, however, that the Republican candidates where not at this fundraiser for cancer cures. One of them may have been asked about stem cell research and then they may have developed a fatal tumor right there on the stage. Faced with this development they would have sought help but of course they'd be doomed because Republicans vetoed stem cell research and kept the Congress from having a veto proof majority.

    Funny how their right to life beliefs stop at birth. I wonder how the same party that loves the death penalty so much can be so moral and righteous.

    August 28, 2007 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  18. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    Oh, and to the above poster that says Obama doesn't have time for cancer survivors?

    Obama has developed a very comprehensive health plan that would do wonders for cancer patients and every other kind of illness. He supports stem cell research, which promises a cure someday for many types of cancer.

    Before you hang someone find out their positions. People are dying every day in this country that dont have to because of backward republican thinking on issues like cancer research. Your words actually have an affect. They can change things for better or worse. By feeding into political nonsense and soundbites, you may find that one day you yourself are the one with a disease that could have been cured but wasn't due to the hateful rhetoric and backward thinking.

    And yeah, I'm sure Obama can kick some ass at basketball, politics, and i hear he's a pretty good uno player too.

    He's also the next President of the United States, and he's pretty damn good at getting there too.

    August 28, 2007 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  19. Marsha, Portland, OR

    Yea, well, remember that Obama is too concerned with limiting his appearance at debates so that he doesn't bumble anything. I agree it's a great way to ignore reaching out to cancer survivors all over America who can see him on T.V. While what he caters to voters in one state? Not impressed.

    August 28, 2007 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  20. Igor, Mineral Wells, TX

    what's to debate? "I'm more against cancer than my respected opponent". Really. Seems we're really grasping for special-interests here.

    Now, if Lance had gotten Sheryl to attend also, well. . . .

    August 28, 2007 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  21. bret, atl, ga

    Why is this a problem for government? In fact Lance, if you got government OUT of the business, you might find yourself a solution to the problem. I mean, their track record at solving other problems (terror, poverty, education, immigration, drug / alcohol abuse) is, like, not so stellar and stuff. HEE HEE.

    Ron Paul has all the answers you need and want ... you just aren't asking him the right questions yet, Lance! Get to work, get informed, get active!

    August 28, 2007 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  22. Linda Houser, Albany,New York

    Everyone knows by now that just showing up will not win you the support either. Clinton’s campaign should really stop it with the cheap shots. It is annoying to all of us, even the ones considering voting for her.

    August 28, 2007 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  23. Amie Seattle WA

    Just because a politician didn't show for Lance Armstrong's latest self promotion extravaganza doesn't mean they are "pro cancer". Virtually everyone is touched by this horrible disease, and TONS of government money is spent researching it. For Armstrong to make a big deal out of his "disappointment" was in poor taste. If I were Obama, I'd rather spend time with my family than with Armstrong too. Doesn't mean the man doesn't take Cancer seriously, just not Armstrong's self promotion, perhaps.

    August 28, 2007 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  24. Chris, Tucson Arizona

    Look at Richardson...what a clown.

    August 28, 2007 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  25. Providence, RI

    I agree, Rick. It is sad. It shows the authencity and compassion of the candidates. Obama does not have it...

    August 28, 2007 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
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