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. CnoMorePalin in N.C.

    She NEEDS to spend more time with her child that has special needs.

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Jeff W.

    Isn't it funny that she makes this a priority because it directly impacts on her but she charges people for rape kits and opposes abortion. Of course, she also opposes science and places all her bets on magical thinking.

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  3. Give us a break!

    “Because even the best public school teacher or administrator really cannot rightfully take the place of a parent making these choices,” Palin said. How interesting that Republicans think the government doesn't offer the same thinking for a womans right to choose whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. Sounds good but not possible

    Yes Kim you are correct.

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Former BO & Dem Supporter -- NOW BACK!!!!

    The best thing that she could do for special needs children is to stop dragging her special needs child all over the place...talk about cruel. My aunt had downs syndrome (lived to 65 yrs. of age) and was taken care of PROPERLY by the family until she had to be placed in a nursing home. Her mother wasn't running around campaigning politically, keeping her up at all hours and being hustled back and forth...shameful in my opinion what she does to her child.

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. suzyku

    This woman has absolutely nothing to say that I would consider credible! She doesn't have a thought of her own, only scripted talking points and someone else's points of view! If this is the best the republicans have to offer they are in serious trouble! Both she and mccain are dishonorable, lacking integrity and ethics. No thank you!

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Christians for Obama

    Gov. Palin is a joke to most of us reading these comments. But, for reasons I will never understand, she is extremely popular with the Republican base! Do NOT underestimate her ability to motivate the base to vote!

    So keep praying for an Obama/Biden victory, but remember that God does not cast a ballot.


    CNN – please don't leave me in moderation purgatory again

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. Already voted for Obama

    Now that she has a child with special needs she is all about the government spending money to help them. Too bad she voted to cut funding for people with special needs before she had this baby. Just goes to show that she is unable to put herself in someone elses shoes.

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. PA Voter

    Those that attack Palin's agenda for special needs children, obviously, have healthy children. You don't relate to seeing a mother suffering by seeing her child being dependent on her for the rest of their life; you don't relate being told that your child will not be 'normal'; you don't relate to seeing your child play with 'different' children; you don't relate to look for ways to pay for special healthcare; you don't relate.... Please be more tolerant... Not all children are the same, but they are God's children and someone needs to fight for them.

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Purple Alaska

    McCane/Palin = "Domestic Terrorism"

    But it won't work...Not this Time.

    We've simply had ENOUGH!

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. hooverguide

    We, the people, are wondering about the possibility of speech boot camp for anyone aspiring to become vice president. Generally speaking, this individual should be capable of uttering at least three complete sentences with connecting ideas in one outing.

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. Myrna Ulrich

    To "Palin Quit Using Your son" Kudos for Speaking Out for a lot of us that have autistic/Special Needs children and Grands.. My Grandson in Hawaii who is 8 is autistic and Special Needs, IT has not been a easy road for him or his Parents !! My daughter in law is a Excellent stay at Home Mom and Does a LOT with him while My son who is a doctor is at work !!! These children are very Special and should be treated with dignity and Respect and NOT trophy Cases Like Palin has done !!! Shut Up and go back to attending to YOUR own childs needs........ Obama/Biden Spporter in Wisconsin

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. Amy

    How convenient...they'll increase funding for pet causes to pander for votes but freeze everything else. I guess certain segments of our population are more important to the McCain campaign...although not Vets since McCain voted against the new GI Bill.

    That's not change...just more of the same!

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. thomas

    WOW! Sarah really does understand America's priorities. I suggest that we just declare Sarah president and forget about all of this election nonsense.

    October 24, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. pray2008pray

    Carole you are so right.


    October 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Rick D in Chicago

    I think it's admirable that Gov. Palin has taken on this policy. All children, not just special needs children, deserve more and better than what they receive right now.

    I wish the McCain campaign, and Gov. Palin, would have focused on this issue and all issues from the beginning. I, and many others, would have a great deal more respect for the campaign had it done so. But the campaign has been so blindly focused on Barack Obama that it's difficult, even in this 11th hour, to know what the McCain campaign is going to do for the average person. There is more to running government than fighting earmarks, buying bad mortgages, and increasing funding for special needs children.

    John McCain, let's hear something besides anti-Obama rhetoric come from your campaign.

    October 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. Junius

    How about supporting the Special Olympics in your own state Palin. Instead you cut money to help fund that program. A program that you kid might be in later on in life. Stop lying, actually stop talking because everything you say is a lie!!

    October 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    McCain was never in charge of calling the shots in the Cuban Missile crisis, he lied. He was on his aircraft along with other service men waiting for their orders which never came. What else is McCain lying about in his military experience?

    October 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. Lou in Iowa

    I have a son who is a dependent young adult due to mental disability. Recently I saw Palin carrying her special needs baby around a stage, in the cold, to score political points. There was simply no other reason for him to be dragged up there. It made me furious – you just don't manipulate your child's disabilities for your own gain.

    October 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    CNN why aren't you reporting on Palin's interview with Brian Williams where she wouldn't say that bombing abortion clinics or killing abortion doctors was a terrorist act? This lady is a total air head as all she had to do was say yes but wasn't intelligent enough to figure it out.

    It doesn't matter where you stand on the abortion issue anyone with a half a brain would consider bombing clinics with women and workers inside would be a terrorist attack.

    October 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Joseph

    So how in the heck would this happen when McCain enacts his freeze on all government programs except the military?

    Seriously – HOW?

    No wonder we can't take McCain's campaign seriously.

    October 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. maxine

    did anyone notice the new specs, I wonder how much and who paid for them.

    October 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. Julie

    She really looks nice today.....oh that's right, they spent 150,000.00 on her new look.
    Maybe she should of said lets give to a special needs program!!!

    October 24, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. jean brandt

    When Palin's Down's Syndrome son is in his teens, THEN maybe she may have some credibility on the issue of special needs children. Her child is a baby and her time and experience with a specials need child is minimal. She's no spokesperson for special needs parents and won't be for a long, long time.

    October 24, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. idiots for McPalin

    She only spouts lies! Nothing is real with this lady. She says she didn't abuse her power by firing Monhegan and then she says she did not spend 150K on wardrobe, then she says she is against the Bridge to Nowhere. when does she stop lying? And on top of it she cuts spending on special needs children and then says she is for it to make her look good. She is just pure evil. And CNN, why would you let Drew Griffin spin Palin to look innocent and good? Drew is one of the worst reporters on your channel. CNN is just like Fox even worse.

    October 24, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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