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. Al

    Tony you have no shame. It's amazing to me that you guys can criticize Palin for being on the campaign trail instead of spending time with her children, but say nothing about Obama doing the same thing. Wow. Pathetic!!!

    October 24, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. nychag 4 obama

    How can she control the White House when she can't control her own house?

    October 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Shay

    Palin there are a lot of other important special needs that childern should benefit from except Down Syndrone. There are other parents that have special needs children that you don't address to the public. You and McCain only think about your family and not the American People.

    October 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. AJ from Houston, Texas

    Hey, she's right when she says people can suffer when there is a misuse of power. She's an expert on that one.

    October 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |

    You should have been saying this from the get go. Don't wait till the house is engulf with flames through out the house before you decide to throw water on it.

    October 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  6. tulsa

    Wait a minute. Isn't McCain going to freeze spending for everything but military and social security?
    How are you going to pay for this? Cutting earmarks? AND cut taxes? The math doesn't add up.
    The tax burden on the families of thes kids would be LESS under Obama's tax plan. Or did you just choose to forget that?
    Good try, but fear and smear, even when talking about a nobel cause, won't work.
    Obama REALLY cares about the people of this country. THAT'S why he will be elected.

    October 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. jim

    Sarah Palin needs to lay out an agenda for Special Needs Governors. She's a total nut job. How's that $180,000 wardrobe treating you Sarah? You know, your clothes cost more than "Joe The Non-Licensed Tax Evading 40k/yr Plumber's" house. Why not just wear that bikini from the Ms. Alaska contest, sell your wardrobe, pay off Joe's mortgage, and go take a hike into ANWR.

    October 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. Brandon

    So...they can use federal money to go to religious schools? Does the separation of church and state not apply anymore? The other parts of the plan look good though–I think it's something everyone could get behind. My question would be: how are we going to pay for this new program? Taxes? But I thought your ticket wouldn't raise taxes and would freeze spending on everything except social security and national security...

    Can we not see that all of these policies are intertwined? Taxes are what pay for all of these important programs that help our nation. So which is it going to be, Gov. Palin–help the needy or freeze spending? It's plain to see that you can't do both.

    October 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. Joe in NJ

    "Her hubby is joined to her at the hip on the campign trail and the baby is nowhere to be seen."

    Would you prefer the baby be dragged to every campaign event?

    "I think the most important thing is to have a full-time mother."

    I guess Michelle Obama should stay off the campaign trail then as well.

    October 24, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Brian

    Obama/Biden will do far more for special needs children than McCain/Palin.

    If Palin were smart, she'd vote for Obama. But then again, no one ever accused her of being smart.

    Obama/Biden '08!!!

    October 24, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. Amy

    Palin, fix your state's special needs first before got on national stage.

    October 24, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Franky



    October 24, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. John in VA

    I swear this woman could bash Obama giving you her apple pie recipie. You don't have to politicize 24/7, Sarah! As a former teacher I commend you caring for special needs kids, and you have nothing but respect from me for raising a Downs child, but the bashing and politicizing is going to be your downfall. My only regret is that they don't have early voting in the City of Richmond for me to send you back to Alaska that much sooner.

    October 24, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  14. APinPA

    Dear Sarah,

    It was determined from your response to "What does the VP do" that you are definitely NOT smarter than a 3rd grader... that means you are OFF the show now and invited to go home!

    A feminist/not feminist/feminist/ who is voting for Obama along with the rest of the educated public.

    October 24, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. tulsa

    Why don't you give some of that 150.000 the RNC spent on clothes for you on special needs kids?

    October 24, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |



    October 24, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. ConsciousAmerican

    How long did it take her to give a policy speech?

    October 24, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. linda., bella vista, ar

    So where have all these unfunded mandate GOPPERs been for years. Why don't they stand up for universal health insurance? Where was the funding for the Special Olympics in Alaska? Why the cut for federal funding for home health care of this disabled?

    Stem cell research is needed also.

    I come from the land of Sen. Harkin who has long lead the fight with the Kennedys on this issue.

    More of Palin Phd...pile it higher and deeper. If it smells like ...., it surely is.

    October 24, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. some dude

    She actually has the nerve to stand there and imply that Obama's tax plan
    will specifically target family's with "special needs" children?
    And after she just voiced her non-support for a sales tax increase in Colorado to help these kids??

    But her hair and makeup look terrif!!!

    October 24, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  20. Jude


    Unfortunately....we've built the ultimate bridge to nowhere...it took att the pork barrel spending so we can't afford your plan. We can't afford 4 more years of the same last 8. It is time for a change....the Obama/Biden type change. Its also time for you to go back to Alaska when this thing is over with.

    October 24, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Oakbrook, IL

    Good Luck to you Palin when you're back at home in AK after Nov. 4th.
    You and your family have a wonder life, ok?

    You're a great person, but you really really suck at politics. Take Politic 101 so that you can define what a vp does.

    Buh Bye Palin1

    October 24, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. jb

    Private Schools do not have to offer special education services, and rarely do due to costs...so Palin tell me how giving parents of special needs kids a "voucher" does any good if the private schools won't take their kid? It's to the point where I cringe every time Palin and McCain speak, because I know I'm getting ready to be lied to.

    October 24, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. JM

    You people are fools do the research. She actually doubled funding for special needs children in Alaska.

    October 24, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    As sad as she is and continues to be, unfortunately, I fear this will appeal to the close-minded "stay out of my sandbox" mentality of the PA folks (I have family with special needs kids living there and it is so easy for them to blame the schools for their fear of exposing their kids to anything that would make them more whole). Folks who have never seen the world outside their front door, may be attracted to this kind of false promise and folksy address, but facts are facts and it is easier for most to play the victim card, and the Repubs have stacked the deck in that regard in this election. I pray that Obama's SOLID lead in PA holds and that Palin's appeal to folks close-minded natures is too little, too late.
    OBAMA/BIDEN '08 & '12 YES WE CAN!!!

    October 24, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. TheRealThing

    Okay! Okay! Sarah, you’ll be hired for the job if you can tell us, the American voters, what is the duty of the Vice-President of the United States of America?

    October 24, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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