More Women Troubles for McCain

Mark Berlin

As if John McCain hadn't already established himself as woefully unsympathetic to women's issues, yesterday brought another illuminating episode. A reporter asked McCain about health insurance companies that cover Viagra but not birth control. Earlier this week, McCain adviser Carly Fiorina said that she thought the practice was unfair. Not only did McCain dodge the question, but it was clear that had never even thought about the issue: When McCain was asked for his position on the issue, he said—with a nervous laugh–“I certainly do not want to discuss that issue.” The reporter pressed. “But apparently you’ve voted against—“ “I don’t know what I voted,” McCain said. The reporter explained that McCain voted against a bill in 2003 that would have required health insurance companies to cover prescription birth control. “Is that still your position?” she persisted. During the awkward exchange, with several lengthy pauses, McCain said he had no immediate knowledge of the vote. “I’ve cast thousands of votes in the Senate,” McCain said, then continued: “I will respond to—it’s a, it’s a…” “Delicate issue,” the reporter offered, to a relieved laugh from McCain. “I don’t usually duck an issue, but I’m—I’ll try to get back to you,” he explained. Apparently hoping to redeem his image as a misogynist, McCain is holding a "women-only" town hall meeting in Wisconsin Friday. Maybe by then this "maverick" will have had a chance to consult his handlers for a position. Of course McCain has a history of hostility towards the opposite sex. To learn the full extent of McCain's anti-women positions, make sure to check out Kate Sheppard's report, "McSexist: McCain's War on Women" in the new issue of In These Times.

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Mark Berlin is an editorial intern at In These Times.
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