John McCain: Peterborough, NH Town Hall 12:00 PM
Teams from Act Up New York/Housing Works arrived in Peterborough, NH this morning to a packed town awaiting the McCain Campaign.
Two bird-doggers were able to be present during the town, the remainder of the team covered the “outside”: candidate entrance/exit and media relations.
Congressman Todd Platts (R-PA) was walking around the room talking to several people, during which time I shook his hand: mentioning that he should also support ETHA - he got a Platform or two to take with. Thinking I was with the One Campaign, he was eager to talk but became less eager when I said that I was not.
The event started with country music, followed by a bag piper. It was very patriotic and most of the town hall was spent speaking about the war, border closure and pork-barrel bills that “wasted billions of dollars” in places like Alaska (he mentioned Alaska several times).
The ONLY health care concern spoke about was the ability for New Hampshirites to get "out of state" insurance policies: to aid in a more “portable” system guaranteeing coverage out of state and also making out of state plans accessible to New Hampshirites.
The Question I was able to get in (#5 or 6):
"Senator McCain - as a person who works for an AIDS Service Organization, I know first hand that treatment is essential to save the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS. There are over 1 million people living with HIV/AIDS the United States, most of them receiving care through Medicaid. Medicaid requires, however, that people get sick (an AIDS diagnosis) before they can begin treatment.
Since you are senator now: will you sign on to the Early Treatment for HIV Act, currently in Congress, so that we can ensure that all people with HIV have access to life-saving treatment at diagnosis instead of waiting until they are sick?”
McCain (not directly quoted):
"Thank you for the question. I don't know much about treatments, but I do know that we have spent billions of dollars on research for treatments and medications and transmission and problems in the prison system. We don’t have a solidified solution. He applauds the Bush administration's work. He went on to talk about the Marshal Plan. (hmmm). McCain said that he would "be happy to speak with me after the meeting" and then turned the microphone over to the "One Campaign" - who applauded his efforts during their one minute schpeal" ...... end of story.
I have never been to a McCain event and this was my first bird-dog - so in that case I was pretty satisfied for getting picked to ask a question - but the answer was lacking - and it's clear that he needed to read his AIDS Vote Platform and Candidate Questionnaire - then he would have the information he said he didn't have.
On that note: Vernon W of Housing Works was able to get a personal handshake with Sen. McCain and shared briefly the importance of early treatment and supplied him with an AIDSVote Platform.
Contribution made by Dennis Weakley