July 10th, 2008
12:19 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain avoids Viagra question

CNN

Watch McCain field a question about Viagra and health insurance.

(CNN) – John McCain is known for his frequent chats with reporters and his willingness to discuss nearly any issue.

But at least one is off-limits, the Republican presidential nominee suggested Wednesday: Viagra.

"I certainly do not want to discuss that issue," the Arizona senator said aboard his "Straight Talk Express" bus in Ohio when asked about his views on health insurance covering the medication.

But the off-message topic was raised from a member of McCain’s own team: national co-chairwoman Carly Fiorina, who had said earlier women often express frustration over the fact many health insurance plans cover Viagra but not birth control medication.

"Let me give you a real, live example, which I've been hearing a lot about from women. There are many health insurance plans that will cover Viagra but won't cover birth control medication. Those women would like a choice," she said Monday.

A McCain spokesman later said the Arizona senator supported competition in the healthcare industry, presumably allowing women to nix policies that cover Viagra but not their specific needs.

Election Center: Where McCain stands on healthcare

McCain has voted against Senate measures that sought to require insurance companies to cover birth control medication.

The exchange also followed a town-hall event during which McCain touched upon the abortion issue, a matter that traditionally hasn’t animated him on the stump.

After praising President Bush’s efforts to expand faith-based programs, McCain pivoted: “I also think that we should do everything that we can, and one of those in my view is respect for human life both born and the unborn.”

The comments led to a standing ovation - his first at that event.


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (266 Responses)
  1. Fritz Gibbs

    If this country has lowered itself to the level of asking our presidential candidates about their ability to get and maintain an erection, I invite Iran to bring on all of their "non-nuclear" arsenal and let us die die the deaths we so obviously deserve. One must also wonder why would anyone, reporter or not, be concerned with the penile functioning of the next president? Is it because a decision may be needed in a hurried manner and if the president has all his blood flowing "south of the border" that his decision may be seen as "questionable"? I'm moving to the UK – this country has become intolerable!

    July 10, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Laurie Velez

    Probably can't discuss VIAGRA because he needs it himself, and if so, would it be a sin. Lets not get so perfect Senetor Mcsane.

    July 10, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Lance

    Why asked such obvious question? He needs Viagra, not birth-control pill. So why would he not support the current policy of paying for Viagra but not birth-control.

    July 10, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Andy

    I guess Fiorina's VP hopes are dashed

    She messed up McCain's talking points like she messed up HP.

    July 10, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Glenn

    McCain is just like Bob "Viagra" Dole.

    July 10, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  6. Cat

    CNN, your set up is a little suspect. I didn't know this was a tabloid!

    July 10, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. Mike Carver

    I don't know what Fiorna is talking about, I worked in a pharmacy for 4 months and during that time I saw viagra partially covered under insurance once, I can't recall a plan that didn't cover birth control or even women that paid full price for it, I can however remember many men who upon seeing the cost of viagra since their insurance wouldnt' cover it, making us redo the prescription to only give them 4-5 pills. Just saying

    July 10, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  8. Christopher, Madison, WI

    This is more important than the guy at a town hall meeting this week who asked McSame about his voting record in regards to vets? He called McSame on his claim that he votes with the vets. He had McSame's voting records in his hand and again McSame said he couldn't recall the specifics. The truth is folks McSame has voted AGAINST the vets 80% of the time. Compared to Obama who voted FOR the vets 80% of the time. So either McSame is a complete lair or he has dementia. This is the best the republicans can? I guess they'll just have to add some of Rove's spin and swift boating techniques.

    July 10, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Jennifer

    Don't take it personally Senator......It's not an AGE question.

    July 10, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. Stacy Clarks

    I REALLY DO NOT CARE FOR THIS TOPIC!! CAN WE SAY TOO MUCH INFOR?!?!?!?

    July 10, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Inky

    I can see it now....

    The "OFFICIAL PRESIDENTIAL" SEXUAL ENHANCEMENT DRUG, VIAGRA !!

    Hey, they have it for pizza, fast food, why not ??

    Its such a man's world Insurance to offer insurance for Viagra and not birth control ridiculous.

    OBAMA 08' !!

    July 10, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  12. Rick

    Hey CNN.....do you people hit your knees and pray to the great Obamasiah every night? Are you going to possibly gather yourself and go on if this nitwit loses in November? Your bias is so transparent it's laughable. One after another "Praise Obama" stories in here and this is the McCain story of the day? Stop masquerading as a news agency and just admit that you are an Obama public relations company.

    July 10, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  13. JOEL

    HOW IS THIS ONE ONE VIAGRA A DAY KEEPS OBAMA AWAY .

    July 10, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  14. BigTallMatt

    Wow, way to miss the story, CNN. If you didn't do such a good job cherry picking your quotes, you'd notice that the main focus of the question was actually about including birth control in women's health care plans. The mention of Viagra is simply an analogy drawn to outline the disparity in men and women's coverage. That McCain decided to dodge the question, while at the same time showing ignorance of his own Senate voting record, probably has much more to do with avoiding his antiquated stances on women's rights and less to do with whatever his history of Viagra use happens to be.

    July 10, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. Greig Campbell

    John McCain is not much of a striaght talker on this issue, eventhough he has voted against Senate measures that would require insurance companies to cover birth control medication. Maybe CNN should also show John McCain 's exchange with the Vietnam Vet yesterday, which again demonstrate s McCains shiftyness.

    July 10, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Biz

    I am pretty sure he can't live without it....

    and perhaps is ashamed to talk about it.

    July 10, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. seth

    I really want someone so old, prude, and lame to be my president.

    July 10, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  18. Newsdiva

    McSame on viagra??? I think I just threw up a little bit in my throat.

    July 10, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  19. Nicole in NE

    I never understood why birth control isn't in health insurance, it is a perscription – and America obviously has a problem with unplanned pregnancies. Along with education, we need to make these perscriptions easier to get and easier to afford.

    July 10, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. THE O

    I don't even want to think about this guy naked! YUK!!!!!!!!!
    Cindy is a GILF thought he he he he!!! sorry had to say that....

    BARACK THE VOTE!!!!!!!!

    BARACK / SEBELIUS 08

    July 10, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. Dude

    McCain's health plan is more of the same... sky-rocketing premiums (even if you are healthy and file no medical claims). He would like my wife and I to spend $250 month on health insurance premiums while incurring a $10,000 deductible... HSA/HDHP.
    Moving on, it seems that prez bush and mccain himself are taking credit for the GI Bill . Do not be fooled, mccain is against it... which is unbelievable. An actual Vietnam Vet called out mccain in Denver, and got the best of John. Of course, very little attention has been paid to the exchange.
    Last, big mac would like to send more cigarettes to Iran in an effort "to kill civilians." Not funny and should not be a joke that a presidential nominee tells. How stupid can you be?

    July 10, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  22. proud army and navy mom

    so my does mcbush want to keep our troops in harm's way if he "respects human life born and the unborn"?

    Why, when he and all the world knows that bush, cheney, rumsfeld, rice and others lied about the reasons for invading another country, thereby placing our sons and daughters lifes in jeopardy, does he insist that it was and is the right thing to do.

    Mcsenile couldn't respect human life and believe the war is the right thing. So what does he really believe? He believes that he wants to be president and he will say or do anything for the title. He's so fake..

    July 10, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  23. jamaal kansas

    is it just me or does this old guy just make your skin crawl everytime he speaks? no one is listening to old mcshame but the paid Republican bloggers on this site that probaly support Obama but are just trying to get a check in these finacial hardship times

    July 10, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. Tiffany

    Respect human life! Why not stop the pregnancies before they happen by making sure birth control is an option. McCain has a horrible record against woman's rights. It would be nice if his wife came out from behind him and said what she really thinks.

    July 10, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. tammy

    This is why, though I won't vote for obama, I can't vote for mccain. All women should have the right to decide what happens to their bodies. Imagine, women deciding whether a guy could have viagra. I liked mccain when he didn't push this issue. I can't vote for this. This would be a vote for female oppression.

    July 10, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
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