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

Palin lays out policy agenda for special needs children

 Palin outlined policy for special needs children today in Pennsylvania.

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. Carole

    Obama suppoters, your hatred for other people is once again shinning through. You are so scard of Sarah Palin that you just cannot stop trashing her. You are a bunch of sexist, green eyed idiots. Talk about being negative – you left wing democrates take the cake. Nasty, nasty group.

    Sarah has values and I guess that makes you uneasy. She loves her family and I guess that bothers you as well. She is experienced, smart, talented and can hold her own with the "good ole boys". Ah, too bad. Well, I sure would like to dig into some of your backgrounds, I bet I would get sick looking at some of your "oh so perfect lives".

    McCain/Palin 2008

    October 24, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Kim

    Unless I am mistaken, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) applies only to public schools. Most private or religious schools do not serve students with disabilties, unless they do so on a completely voluntary basis. These schools do not have special ed teachers, aides, or ADA accommodations. Talk about huge funding needs-to require all private schools to start providing services under IDEA!! Does Palin even understand the IDEA is an unfunded federal mandate; meaning, states are responsible for all the educational funding and needs of special ed students? Show me what she has done as Gov. of Alaska for special ed students there. Oh, that's right. She hasn't done ZILCH. And frankly, I don't want my tax dollars funding anyone's private religious education (special ed or otherwise). Can you imagine the furor that the religious right will begin if tax dollars are going to fund Islamic education? Because it will if "free educational choice" is implemented.

    October 24, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  3. Bible Spice wears $5000 lipstick

    $150,000 for her wardrobe
    $20,000 for make-up artist (just 2 weeks in October!)
    $17,000 per diem for working from homw
    $22,000 for taking your family on vacations

    Sending her home on 11/05/08------ PRICELESS!

    October 24, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. Sue in Alabama

    Every time I think she can't possibly say anything More outrageous, SHE DOES!

    Obama/Biden '08-'12

    October 24, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. N from Nevada

    So what. Before she had her own special needs child, she cut the funding for programs for special needs children in Alaska. There is definitely a need for funding for research and resources for special needs children, but to use her own special needs child for political purposes to gain sympathy for a vote is horrible.

    October 24, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  6. Great Photo!

    Good cropping on that photo –

    Yes, "Try First" would be more appropriate for this campaign....

    October 24, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. OhioGirl82

    Palin did NOT cut spending for special needs children. That is just one more bizarre rumor. Please check Snopes and other fact checking websites. She increased funding for special needs.

    Why the nastiness? Why people? Does it make people feel better about themselves by pushing others down? Are you so uninformed and unable to think for yourselves that all you can do is name-calling?

    If you don't like her policies, state the policy and say why. Of course - it helps to get the info correct first, i.e., the special needs funding. That's how to have a civil discourse.

    October 24, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. RDS

    how would Obama's tax plan hurt these families. He's talked about providing universal health and lowering premiums and giving tax cuts to working families that make under a quarter million. I don't understand how that would hurt them. I have never just utterly disliked a politician but she is coming dangerously closed to being the first. I have never seen one person lie and pander more than her. 11 more days please Lord speed the days up!

    October 24, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. Nay

    She'll just cut the federal budget for special needs like she did in Alaska. Read about her folks, she is no friend to women (making rape victims pay for their rape kits) or special needs children (cutting the special olympics). She is a fraud and she and her husband hate America! They want Alaska to be it's own country. What a bunch of quacks. Keep country first, vote Obama/Biden '08. That's real patriotism for all of you fake, my-lapel pin-makes-me-a-real-American patriots.

    October 24, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Dazed and Confused

    Still no word on her $600,000,000 bridge from Wasilla to Anchorage. (Google it)....... to save the workers of Wasilla 13 minutes on their drive to the city. She is so not about American people. She needs this position to allow the AIP to take over Alaska as an Independent. This lady is a tool....... And as far as her helping give up your medical records and let us know when you had that baby boy....... Cover up from the MCCain/Palin Campaign.....

    October 24, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. Vik

    I know of a special needs baby that needs his mom right now, but she's too busy standing on stage with her preganet daughter to do much about it. It's sad really, dragging a preganet girl to rallies and prading her on stage. Palin, don't you think your children deserve more then this?

    October 24, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Winnie Hussein . . . in Montana

    Um, hold on. John McCain has already said that he will institute a spending freeze. Someone should tell this woman, who is making her FIRST policy statement just weeks before the actual election, that there won't BE any federal money for parents of children with disabilities. Geesh. This woman doesn't even understand what McCain, her own running mate, says. She also doesn't know what the job of a V.P. is, or what the Bush Doctrine is, or what a precondition is.

    MMMMM. this makes me so mad. My President and Vice President need to be a little smarter, a little better educated, a little calmer and more reasonable than myself.

    Oh, yeah, before I forget, isn't giving parents federal money to send their kids to school a redistribution of wealth? Smacks of socialism!

    October 24, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Lisa


    October 24, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Don

    While I don't agree with anything she stands for, I must admit this was the first time I've seen her when she didn't sound like a complete foaming at the mouth loony.

    October 24, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. No Palin No Way

    Bob Indianapolis IN, but see, she's got a child with Downs Syndrome. It's different now. it impacts her now, so it's suddenly very important.

    October 24, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Sam the Butcher

    Sarah the shopaholic. If everyone is getting tax cuts, where does this money come from?
    Under the Palin/Plumber/McCane logic: I don't have any children, why should I spread the wealth for children? That sounds like socialism to me. Might as well not pay my taxes.

    See how ridiculous that sounds. I'm all for helping out special needs children via multiple monetary donations. So is Keith Olbermann....Sarah's up there talkin' and talkin' (doing my Palin derogatory hand gesture she always uses) but when it comes time to put up - she CUTS funds in Alaska for Special Needs children.
    You can't make this stuff up. Palin is SNL comedy gold.

    October 24, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. suga

    why doesn't she sell her $150K wardrobe on ebay like she did with the jet and donate that to fund special needs education? also, why do they keep saying that Obama is going to raise taxes? he is going to CUT taxes for 95% of American families! Plus, I have a sibling with Downs Syndrome like her son and the little bit of money he gets from Social Security isn't even enough for him to have to pay taxes and the few jobs he's been given he didn't make enough to pay taxes on those either so even IF Obama raised taxes, guess what? it most likely wouldn't affect someone who gets a disability check any way.

    October 24, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Dennis

    I do appreciate Governor Palin actually talking about policy for a change. I didn't know she had it in her.

    While I support funding for children with disabilities, I find it ironic that she essentially is that funding from this program be at the sacrifice of other programs. Prior to this, she and McCain wanted to cut out the pork and relieve the taxpayer, now she is redistributing the wealth to her interest. Where have we heard that before?

    October 24, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. ER P

    As a retired educator and public school administrator, often dealing with special needs children, I find it appalling the way Sarah Palin is shamelessly exhibiting her children as props on stage on the campaign trail. What kind of parent would do this to his or her children?

    It is especially disturbing the way she is exploiting that poor baby to gain sympathy and support. It has the opposite effect on most loving parents and educators who truly put children's needs first...It saddens me and turns me off.

    As for the two older girls, aren't they supposed to be in school?

    A real parent for Obama.

    October 24, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Puffin

    I am soo tired hearing about ear-marks. Does not she understand that some earmarks help schools and hospitals as well? This obsession with ear-marks is to derail from real issues they cannot talk about because:
    a) they do not have any 'real' plan or;
    b) they do not want to talk about it.
    Which is more scary?

    October 24, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Noah

    Palin is not "using" her special needs son she is a mother who actually can relate to other woman and families like hers, and is thus an advocate for them. If it were up to any of you liberals you would have aborted that child the moment you heard it was disabled. Don't smear her because she is a strong CONSERVATIVE woman and not a liberal lemming.

    October 24, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. Dallas, TX

    Who's Obama trying to fool? This senator has been running for president since the day he stepped into office. He's voted present more than 50% of the time; he's not been involved in an decisive legislation since he became a Senator; why so that he couldn't be linked to anything negative. When he's voted, he's been the most liberal senator in the Senate; he's got no real experience.

    Now, he wants to give a tax break, give me a break, 44% of American's don't pay taxes, so where do you get 95% of American's will get a tax break.

    He's also had past relationships with some un-American like figures, Ayres and Wright. I don't care if he was just eight years old when Ayres was up to his terrorist acts; what I care about is that Obama has not fully disclosed his relationship with this man; he's not be forthright about this issues.

    And Wright, if Obama didn't agree or was concerned about Wright's sermons, how could he sit in church for 20 YEARS and listen to this "preaching" every Sunday??? Why only now did he distance himself from this man.

    NO thank you Mr. Obama, no thank you for higher taxes! No thank you for MORE government and over regulation to kill the free market in this country!!

    NO OBAMA!!

    October 24, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. Eric

    Not to sound mean but... really... at this time in history.... who cares? Yea its important to some... but with the economy tanking as it is "special needs children policy" is that the right focus for the campaign? It's not if they want to win....

    October 24, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  24. Molly

    Federal funding for a social program? This sounds like SOCIALISM!!!!

    October 24, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. S. Boatman

    This Is Coming From A Woman That Cut Funding For Special Needs Children In Her Own State! Now You Want Federal Funding For Tin Religous School Of Their Choice? No Thanks!

    October 24, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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