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. nancy

    Gee, she doesn't look any smarter after spending $150,000 on her family makeover. Guess it was all for naught. Palin.

    October 24, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Dieter Zerressen, Denver, CO

    She "chose" to go ahead and give birth to a special needs child. That's her choice HOWEVER now she expects the government to pay for it. The people want it both ways. She says we can pay for her plan by cutting earmarks yet Alaska gets more federal dollars (earmarks) than any other state. She can start by returning the money that was spent on the road to nowhere after the bridge deal fell thru (she kept the money). She's a bubble head.

    October 24, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Tafari

    This is only to get the pity vote!

    October 24, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. Ordinary Voter

    She increased funding for special needs children as Governor of Alaska. This is already an established fact even in the liberal media. It is nice, though, to see someone bring this issue up in the election.

    Also, these comment sections expose some very mean spirited people. Us Democrats are starting to make ourselves look like the republicans of 2000, and that wasn't a very pretty sight.

    October 24, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. FreeNLovIt

    Test or not test section was closed, so I decided to post here.

    This is not a no-brainer. In a crisis, McCAIN will GET HIS GUN out and SHOOT.

    In a crisis, OBAMA will try to negotiate with the killer before HE SHOOTS the guy the hell.

    Now, which one do you want? Obama will give YOU and EVERYONE a chance before he acts. As for McCain, it's more of the SAME.

    October 24, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. kc

    I give her credit for trying to help disabled children but saying that she understands children with special needs because she has one herself is a load of bull. A four month old with Downs is almost no different than a normal four month old. When she spends some time with a teenager with downs or autism then I'll start to respect her.

    Stop using your poor child as a rung on the ladder to your own success and start spending some time with him. Where's he's been this whole time? With a babysitter?

    October 24, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. Obama/Biden08inJesus'Name

    She cut funding for special needs children! This woman is a FRAUD!

    I am DISGUSTED by her!

    October 24, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. JW

    It's one of those safe, pet-project topics usually given to first ladies. She is unable to discuss larger, critical policy issues.

    October 24, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. Charlie Bradley

    Carole its not our hatred that shows through, its just that we're smart enough to call an idiot an idiot, and Sarah Palin is an IDIOT...she slashed the budget in Alaska for special needs childrens' education and other areas of that particular budget and she has the GALL to stand there and LIE through her teeth about being an advocate for the rights of children with special needs

    Also as someone else said, most PRIVATE schools DO NOT have programs for special needs children, and she wants to send them to one?! not only is this woman an embicile, she is unfit to be a MOTHER.

    October 24, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. Poetic

    She didnt mine cutting funds for special needs children.. that is until she had her own.

    October 24, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  11. No way no how no McLies

    Wouldn't raising taxes facilitate the implementation of certain programs, including those for special needs children?

    October 24, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. Amy from MIchigan

    There is no way the Republicans can increase funding to special needs families while cutting the taxes to big oil, big business, and the wealthiest among us, and continuing to spend 10 billion a month in Iraq.

    There aren't enough earmarks in the world to make this a possibility.

    October 24, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Mike in new york

    You are so pathetic. Stop thinking about yourself and your own personal agenda- what ever happened to 'Country First'

    October 24, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Ibsaa Dhugasaa

    wow good to hear her speaking about our issue instead of personality

    October 24, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. carepi

    First: she CUT funding for special need children,
    Second: McCain said SPENDING FREEZE.
    Third: It seems that Palin is getting ready for 2012
    Fourth: She is "for cutting pork", yet she spends $150k on clothes
    Fifth: She Supported the "bridge to no-where" after congress killed the project, she opposed it.
    Sixth: Pork counts for as she said 18 billion yet she wants to spend 45 billion.
    Seventh: She still does not know what the VP does.
    Eighth: Troopergate, yet she said she did nothing wrong.
    I can continue on, and on.....

    Game Over!

    October 24, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  16. Trish Hussein - PA

    What a hypocrite! Any woman with a special needs child of that age should not be running for a political office of any kind! That's not sexist, that's just common sense! Every day I tell my two daughters, "Sarah Palin is NOT who you should model yourselves after." At least she's good for something. An example of how NOT to be as a woman.

    October 24, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. Carla in Colorado

    Anyone interested truly in an advocate for individuals and children with disabilities? Anyone interested in a concise, comprehensive plan? Go to: http://www.barackobama.com/issues and look up "disabilities". Obama is the advocate we want in the White House – Sarah Palin wants "celebrity status" – not reform.

    October 24, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. S. Boatman

    This Woman Cut Funding For Special Needs Children In Her Own State In Half! . . . I Guess She Has To Pay For Those New Clothes Somehow!

    October 24, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |

    Sarah Palin will stop at nothing to draw votes.. even using her poor little children. This lady obviously don't have her family best interest at heart. If she had campaign or started a program in Alaska for special needs children months ago, I would say OK but this last desperate attempt shows how wicked Palin really is. I take offense to her using the kids. Obama said his kids will never be in the media spotlight again and they haven't. Obama allowed one interview with the kids and that was it. Didn't Palin vote against funding for special needs children several times? What a hypocrite!

    Palin go back to being a mom and don't exploit the kids.

    Wow! McCain / Palin are really poor miserable fools at the end of a rope.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 24, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. mn

    Sarah Palin has had a "special needs" child for about 7 months.
    She has spent the last 7 WEEKS campaigning with her husband almost constantly. I am wondering how much she really knows and understands about what it takes to raise a special needs child from birth to adulthood and beyond(special needs children need help all of their lives). Perhaps she should not boast her experience until she has had to go through some the actually hardships she has yet to encounter with a special needs child. It insults me to hear her talk like she knows everything there is to know about raising a special needs child when she hasn't even begun to raise her own.

    October 24, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. Jim

    I hear she's also come out against the drowning of kittens and setting old folks on fire.

    What an empty suit.

    October 24, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. Phoenix

    As a teacher I am tired of this woman behaving as if she is the only person with a special needs child. Special needs children have been struggling due to the TAX CUTS implemented by the current Republican Administration. We do not have the funds nor the programs necessary to successfully fulfill these needs of these particular students, but again, many Americans are being seduced by the term tax cuts instead of doing research and discovering what is really being cut besides taxes.

    October 24, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. Emily

    Sarah, Sarah, what an evil woman you are. You needed to be protected from witches, who by the way are on the whole a very decent earth friendly people. Who is going to protect us from you? You are
    a disgrace to your supposed Christian beliefs. If you are a Christian, I'm glad I am not.

    October 24, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. Sounds good but not possible

    IDEA applies only to public schools. You can't provide parents with vouchers to private schools because, by nature alone, there are allowed to be very selective about their enrollment and are not required to provide services under IDEA. As someone with a Masters and Ph.D in Special Education her plan is completely laughable. By the way her running mates contention that her child with Down Syndrome makes her an expert on Autism is ridiculous. Please don't let this lady talk over your head with these empty issues. She, over the course of her executive experience, has cut Special Education funding by more than 60%. For those of you who do not understand the Special Education system, please research. Learn how NCLB requires students with documented learning disabilities to achieve on the same academic levels as kids two to three standard deviations higher on the IQ scale, learn how underfunding of NCLB has left many school districts with unmanageable goals and shorter budgets. Governor Palin please save these ridiculous ideas for those who do not understand education or those who are just interested in hearing your voice.

    October 24, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  25. Tolu

    Governor Palin, you may lie to yourself, but you can't lie to the world. Show us a record of "special needs" support that is at least 2 years old, OR stop this appalling exploitation of your child's condition.

    Senator McCain, unplug your ears; the fat lady is singing, and this bitter, bitter melody is just for you.

    October 24, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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