August 27th, 2007
05:45 PM ET
15 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. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    Rick from Chicago,

    Come on – howzabout trying to be fair!! You conveniently failed to mention the Republican candidates who have chosen to be personna non grata. THEY ALL SHOULD BE THERE!!!!!!

    August 28, 2007 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. TriSurvior

    I commend Lance for wanting to help fight cancer, but he is in the wrong forum. Politics and government will never accomplish Lance's loathe goals. No matter how many promises they make.. Government has repeatedly proven itself incapable of accomplishing anything with speed, efficiency and/or accuracy. Much less the desired amounts needed from a 7 time tour de France winner.

    No Lance needs to bring his show over to the private forum. Where greed and selfness(human nature) drive different mechanisms, like innovation and progress. Lance should be highlighting those 600,000 deaths per yr to drug companies that are missing out on those profits. It may sound cold, but historically, that’s the only way to make quick progress. The private sector can spend 10 times more capital, more efficiently than the government ever could..

    August 28, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Thomas

    I'm going to hold a Presidential forum on my pet issue (don't worry, I'll find one that resonates), and I demand that all candidates show up. If they don't, I will say that they are meanie-heads for not coming to my event and not supporting my worthy cause. I will further insinuate that they must not care about people associated with my worthy cause by their blatant snubbing of my invitation to participate in my event.

    August 28, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. Ronald, Baton Rouge, La.

    Amazing how such a great city can produce idiots like Rick. Cancer affects African-Americans too but apparently that is lost between the ignorance and the gullibility, because according to you and our RI friend, showing up means that you care and it has nothing at all to do with securing votes.

    August 28, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  5. Michael B, Willow Grove, PA

    As someone who has worked campaigns, I fully understand Obama not attending to spend time with his family. The campaign schedule is endless, there are no breaks. There will be other forums, other opportunities to display his support for Lance and cancer research. Family is first, and Sen. Obama has two young girls – isn't that referred to as "family values?"

    August 28, 2007 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  6. Cable King Pittsburgh Pa

    Would you folks please get real with the Obama appearance thing – isn't he a smoker ????? You figure it out!

    August 28, 2007 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Jared Tualatin Oregon

    Lance Armstrong being upset about Mr. Obama not showing up to his Lance's latest self promotion means nothing to me.

    If he would have chosen this, instead of being in New Orleans then everyone would be saying he doesnt care about the Katrina survivors.

    Go ahead and check out how much money Lance makes off of his LIVEStrong program.

    Again, I could care less about a political candidate helping him make even more.

    August 28, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. David, Salinas, CA

    TriSurvior writes: “Government has repeatedly proven itself incapable of accomplishing anything with speed, efficiency and/or accuracy”

    The Manhattan Project, the Human Genome Project and the Apollo Missions to the Moon are all examples of governmental successes in large-scale science projects.

    The private sector will only do what’s profitable. Sometimes it takes government to do what needs to be done.

    August 28, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Marsha, Portland, OR

    It's bs that Obama couldn't have made it to the forum then to N.O. later in the day like all the other candidates. I'm from Louisiana originally, and I expect all the candidates to show that they care about rebuilding N.O. even though I no longer live there any more; however I believe cancer to be an equally important issue. He certainly could have appeared at the forum then flown down like all of the other candidates. His campaign certainly has enough money for the private charter.

    August 28, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  10. David, Salinas, CA

    Jared of Tualatin, Oregon writes: “Go ahead and check out how much money Lance makes off of his LIVEStrong program.”

    I did check, Jared, since I wondered why a highly paid athlete would make money from cancer research. What I found was that on October 17th, 2005 Lance Armstrong donated $1.5 million dollars of his own money to the foundation, making him the largest individual contributor.

    August 28, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  11. Jared, Tualatin Oregon

    I don't remember asking how much he donated. I asked how much he MADE off of LIVEStrong. Do you think that he is not on the pay roll? He started it, and works on the program. He did this for free? They've sold 65 million yellow wrist bands at a dollar a pop.

    And why should anyone care about an ATHLETES political opinion anyhow? Especially one that was using drugs to win.

    August 30, 2007 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  12. David, Salinas, CA

    Jared –

    We care what this athlete thinks because he is a cancer survivor who went on to win the Tour de France after going in to remission. His charitable organization raises money for cancer research, and I have no reason to believe he profits from its fund-raising.

    Do you have any evidence for your charges?

    August 30, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
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