October 24th, 2008
10:21 AM ET
12 years ago

Palin lays out policy agenda for special needs children

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/24/palin9.jpg caption=" Palin outlined policy for special needs children today in Pennsylvania."]
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (CNN) - In her first policy speech of this election cycle, Sarah Palin elaborated Friday on how a McCain administration would help children with special needs, a topic that has become a fixture of her stump speech in cities across the country.

Palin, speaking at a hotel in Pittsburgh, unveiled a three-point plan that would expand educational choice for parents, increase funding for children with disabilities and improve services available to parents, medical professionals and schools.

Under the plan, federal money would be used to give parents the opportunity to send their children to a public, private or religious school of their choice.

"Because even the best public school teacher or administrator really cannot rightfully take the place of a parent making these choices," Palin said. "The schools feel responsible for the education of many children, but a parent alone is responsible for the life of each child and how to make that life better."

She also proposed expanding funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which was signed into law in 1975 but has never been fully funded. The McCain campaign estimates that fully funding the program will cost an additional $45 billion over five years, money that Palin said could be found by cutting federal pork barrel spending.

"We've got a $3 trillion budget in this country," she said. "And Congress spends some $18 billion on earmarks for their political pet projects, and that right there is more than the shortfall to fully fund IDEA."

Although it was a largely non-political speech, the Alaska governor did not miss an opportunity to criticize Obama's tax plan, saying that the Democrat would unfairly tax families who set up financial trusts to care for their children.

"Understandably, then, many families with special needs children or dependent adults, they're concerned about in this race our opponent in this election who plans to raise taxes on precisely these kinds of financial arrangements," she said.

"They fear that Senator Obama's tax increase will have serious and harmful consequences, and they're right - because the burden that his plan would pose upon these families is just one more example of how many plans can be disrupted, and how many futures can be placed at risk, and how many people can suffer when the power to tax is misused."

UPDATE: The Obama campaign called the attack a “hypocritical” one. “This is a blatantly false, desperate political attack made by a campaign that’s out of touch, out of ideas and running out of time,” said Pennsylvania spokesman Sean Smith. “Senator Obama has consistently been clear that he would not increase taxes on families making less than $250,000 a year.

“As the Wall Street Journal reported, John McCain’s own health care plan would actually cut $1.3 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid that children with disabilities truly depend on, which makes this attack especially hypocritical. Senator Obama has a comprehensive plan to support families that have children with disabilities and empower all Americans with disabilities.”

Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. theogracias

    Special needs or not, ALL litlle babies need to be in bed late at night, NOT being dragged around in front of cameras by some ambitious maniac.

    October 24, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  2. vahe

    WOW !! palin you are so smart... finally you talk about special need kids thats really nice of you... not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 24, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Pat Kellar

    It is ludicrous to believe that Sara Palin and John McCain are the better ticket if your primary concern is the welfare of a child or adult with disabilities. The primary funding source for services to adults with disabilities is Medicare – which a McCain/Palin ticket plans to cut and cut deeply. According to the Wall Street Journal "John McCain would pay for his health plan with major reductions to Medicare and Medicaid, a top aide said, in a move that independent analysts estimate could result in cuts of $1.3 trillion over 10 years to the government programs".
    Many, many children with special needs live in smaller communities where there are not a variety of choices where their child can get the specialized educational services they need, and most parents and advocates believe that a child living in the parental home is vastly superior to living in a regional "specialized" school (often the only "choice" other than puiblic school). Again, look at the records of what McCain will support as president and what Obama will support as far as funding for programs that help those who cannot fend for themselves. In my mind the choice is real clear!

    October 24, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. This is sad

    Another fine example of you just stating over and over the same lies you have been fed. Sara did NOT cut the special needs budget, she increased it. My God, you folks please for the sake of the country do your own reading. Please do not just make your decision on skin color or making history.

    As an African American I am scared of Obama, he is going to set us back decades. Once he gets elected and fails which he will. The chances of an African American getting elected again will go to slim to none. Everyone will say "remember what happened last time"
    He will give all of the bigots a reason.

    October 24, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. GA4Obama

    Carole, you can't be serious!!! The only nastiness I've ever seen has come from YOU Republicans. Calls for the death of Obama and his beheading is disgusting. Sarah Palin is NOT qualified plain and simple! She has no clue as to what's going on around her. She should be ashamed of herself for acting like she cares about special needs children, when I have only seen her hold her own child four times in the public eye. She will never be able to relate to other parents with special needs children. She has two things going for her which a lot of special needs parents don't have and that is power and privilege.

    We're not falling for it Sarah. Obama/Biden 08'-12'

    October 24, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. Matt

    Hmmmm...we're spending $10B per month to ruin the lives of millions and yet she latches onto the $18B in earmarks that accounts for approximately 0.6% of the budget. Interesting. Do they let special needs children into the military?

    October 24, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Ken

    The latest news yet again highlights the hypocrisy of the McCain Palin campaign. They have gone above and beyond to try to convince Americans that Palin is not a typical politician, but just a regular person. In some cases they have succeeded as demonstrated by her total lack of competence and inability to function on this level.

    But as more information is disclosed, we find something more disturbing – she:
    – has been marred by the troopergate scandal where she was found to have some ethical issues;
    – claimed per diem from tax payers for spending time at home;
    – took Alaska's tax payers money to pay for her family's trips;
    – seems to be criticized for apparent cronyism;
    – and most recently, had $150,000 spent on her wardrobe for 2 months.

    These alone indicate that she is far removed from main street and is certainly more like a typical politician.

    October 24, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. Lisa P

    It seems to me that properly funding IDEA is a prime example of how the power to tax should be properly used - to fund services that any of us or our families might need one day but that those who need them now could never afford. That Palin would suggest funding it by pulling out the 30 year-old fantasy that there's loads of easily available dollars in the Federal budget now (you know, due to all that supposed waste, fraud and abuse everyone's been targeting for the last three decades) instead of honestly saying that this is something worth being taxed for doesn't speak well for her. Her anti-tax anti-government ideology pretty much guarantees that she won't actually solve this problem even if she wants to.

    BTW, did anyone else start to wonder why McCain kept on talking about autism in the third debate instead of Down's Syndrome (which is what Trig Palin has) or disabilities in general (which is what he started with, before switching specifically to autism)? That just seemed odd to me.

    October 24, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. Amy

    I have a sister who is developmentally disabled, so this is a cause that is near and dear to my heart. Putting all of the political spin and right wing and left wing arguments to the side, I do think it is important to point out something. ...
    Sarah Palin cut the Alaska Special Olympics budget by 50%. Special Olympics is a true godsend for children with special needs and their families for a variety of reasons that I won't get into here.

    I didn't get my info from the blogosphere or the liberal media. I RESEARCHED IT MYSELF AND LOOKED AT THE BUDGET FOR THE STATE OF ALASKA with my own eyes. It is available online and can be viewed in pdf format. It wasn't hard to find. I just "Googled" it. You can see what funding was proposed and LITERALLY what items got crossed out or had their budgets reduced.

    All i am saying is that whomever you support, primary documents like budgets and voting records and the congressional register are easily available on the internet.

    October 24, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. Troopergate-The Sequel

    Can we talk about that "abuse of power" issue ~ not to mention the question that swirls around the fifth child. The jury's still out...

    October 24, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. rick

    Why does Palin/McCain keep insisting on the Obama tax increase, when he has said time and time again that he'll only raise taxes for the rich ($250K and above)? Oh wait, yah McCain falls in that category, hmmm. Sarah doesn't why is she worried?

    October 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. Shawn_T

    Palin, add this to your agenda:

    'Women should not be allowed to carry their special needs children around like a sack of potatos, to political events, fr hours and hours, for sympathy votes.'

    October 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. patty ann

    Don't worry about Palin special needs policy. Didn't you know Obama is going to win and he is going to fix everything and the country will be soon dancing on top of the world. I am looking forward to my tax cuts too. I need hospitalization too and all the Aids and HIV and drug problems we have in this country they need to help too. We need a healthcare ran by our goverment that can run it and Obama that knows how to get it done. He is going to fix the economy. I can't wait. GO VOTE..Thank God for Obama.

    October 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. BB

    I admire Palin's interest in special needs kids (one of my interests). She really has what it takes to be a very effective PTA mom, or even a state ed. administrator. But, for cryin' out loud, there is still no way in a million years she should be the vice president ot the United States

    October 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. Chris

    The GOP are using Palin and her family as props for this election to win votes. It's a darn shame. I mean do you see Obama and Michelle dragging their kids around on the campaign trail? I mean shouldn't those kids be in school, where are the other family member who can take care of those children when she and the "Dude" are out on the campaign trail? I swear it's crazy.
    I mean i know folks like to be with their kids but, i would think it would be better to have them in a stable environment until this is over!!!

    But, I guess it's all about winning first with the Republicans!!

    October 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. Sue

    Guess Palin will use anything to get herself elected...or ready for a 20012 run for President. Too bad she has to use her own child's condition to try and get ahead.

    October 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Steve

    I only wish McCain and Palin had started making speeches like this weeks ago, instead of spending all their time bashing Obama. Had they done that, the might even be ahead, now. But now, Sarah and John, it's too late. The RNC is pulling ad funding all over the country. And you two, as late as yesterday, were beginning to bash your own party, trying to distance yourself from the trainwreck you helped cause.
    I always thought the Democrats were fractious and muddled. You two have taken disorganization to new heights. We've had eight years of this kind of chaos. We can't stand any more.

    Obama 08/12

    October 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. Gayle

    What happened the the spending freeze. She and John really need to talk. Wonder what he is saying now She has done it again gone against what I want to do dang..............................

    October 24, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Kelley

    Take those special needs and put some lip stick on it.

    October 24, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. knightgale who sings in Berkley Square

    I am voting for McPalin because they are white not because they are capable in fact I find obama to be much smarter and an intellectual but I will vote for the airheads, Palin/Geezer!

    October 24, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. TONY







    October 24, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Red, Red WHINE!!

    Isn't her child special, and doesn't she need her? Oh, that's right, our tax dollars are relieving her of her responsibility as a mother.

    I imagine if she is elected we'll be sending her special children, and special husband, on field trips around the world on our dime!

    Not fit to be a mother, not fit to be a VP (look how good she did with her daughter.....couldn't even teach or lead her right!)

    October 24, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. mary, colorado springs co

    Her attention to children with disabilities is admirable, but there are far more important priorities: the economy and the war, to name 2. She and McCain just seem to pick an item on talk about it, but don't seem to care about the current problems of this country. They don't seem to have any kind of a schedule of the more important problems the country is facing and explaining what their plans are.

    Neither McCain nor Palin are experienced enough for the Presidency/Vice Presidency. Write them off as a lost cause.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008/20QW

    October 24, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. tim

    Shes such a liar... now shes denying buying 150000 worth of clothes. What a bunch of crooked liars.

    Shes scary.... her church, her relations to the Alaska Independence Party. Shes claiming gender bias for this idiot move.

    Vote or DIE!

    October 24, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. KJL

    Palin is waving her "special needs child" like a flag, but now that genetic disorders can be diagnosed very early in pregnancy there is no reason why her poor little boy had to be born in the first place. I have a mentally handicapped sibling and can promise you that most of them lead frustrated lives, no matter how hard their families try, and frequently end up in institutions when their parents die.

    We must provide the very best care possible to everyone. This means NOT encouraging the birth defective babies. We have seniors, injured vererans, people who develop debilitating illnesses, and many others who need these resources.

    October 24, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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