Governor Palin Spotlights Special Needs Children

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," September 9, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GOV. SARAH PALIN, VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To parents of special needs children across this country, I have a message for you. For years you have fought to have America be a more welcoming place to your sons and daughters. And I pledge to you that if we're elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.


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HEATHER NAUERT, HOST: Gov. Palin making it clear again today that if she's put in the White House with John McCain, families who have children with special needs will have someone in Washington to help. So will this pledge resonate with a lot of voters?

Denise Brewitt is the executive director of the Council for Children and Adolescents with Chronic Health Conditions. Her six-year-old son Ryan suffers from a rare medical condition himself.

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Welcome, Denise. You know, when I first heard Sarah Palin at the Republican convention saying, "You have an advocate in the White House," I thought women across the country, so many women whose children are affected by medical issues — thought that they would say, "Oh, my gosh, we're onboard with this lady." What was your reaction when you heard that?

DENISE BREWITT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS WITH CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS: I think that all of us are happy that we have the opportunity that for once, this would be a talking point issue in Washington and that the possibility of having someone in the White House that does have a child with special healthcare needs and desires - a mother who has the same desires as we do.

NAUERT: What are you hearing from other mothers who are in your situation about their take on Sarah Palin given that she said, "You will have an advocate in the White House."

BREWITT: I think they want to know what she really means. It is one thing to say that you have a child with special healthcare needs, but it's another to know what you are planning to do about it, especially being in the position that Sarah is in.

NAUERT: OK. What specifically would families like to hear from her?

BREWITT: Everyone wants their child to have access to the healthcare that they need, for the support and services. And I think we all know that Sarah Palin is in a position that she probably has all the resources available to her. But unfortunately, that isn't the case across America. There are many families who are not able to receive the services that their children need.

NAUERT: One of the things you had said earlier is that women, even if they don't necessarily agree with Gov. Palin's politics, those who are on the fence may really be more likely to vote for her as a result of her family situation and her interest in hearing from families who are in the same circumstances.

BREWITT: Having a child with special healthcare needs is a bipartisan issue. So I feel that if there was an individual on the fence, certainly knowing that Sarah was in the same position as we are, it would certainly cause us to open up — and, you know, open up our viewpoints and see what she has to say. I mean, it's getting people in Washington to talk about making a difference.

NAUERT: OK. I think that sounds like what we're hearing from her so far. Denise Brewitt, thank you so much for your opinion tonight.

BREWITT: Thank you.

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