Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Breast Cancer Survivors Respond to Latest Deeds’ Attack Ad

RICHMOND- In a powerful conference call this afternoon, breast cancer survivors responded to the latest in a long line of false attack ads unleashed by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.

In a radio spot released Thursday afternoon, featuring actresses portraying two sisters having a conversation, the Deeds campaign includes the following false and incendiary lines:

Sister 2: Pretty good! Health care includes mammograms, cancer screenings...and the salary is what men at my level make.

Sister 1: So basically nothing Bob McDonnell supports?

(McDonnell)...was willing to let employers drop mammograms and cancer screenings from their health care plans.”

In the “fact” sheet released with the ad, the Deeds campaign tries to justify this over the top attack with only a note that , as Attorney General, McDonnell did not sign onto a routine National Association of Attorneys General form letter in April 2006 “in opposition to proposed federal legislation supported by President George W. Bush to allow businesses to provide health insurance that does not include coverage for state mandates, such as coverage in Virginia for cancer screenings, including mammograms, and immunizations.” The legislation died on failure to invoke cloture in the United States Senate. The 3-page letter contained the word “mammogram” only once.

On today’s call Betsy Beamer, former Secretary of the Commonwealth and a recent breast cancer survivor, and Stephanie Hamlett, a breast cancer survivor who underwent preventive surgery while working with Bob McDonnell, both expressed their deep disappointment with Deeds’ latest scare tactic.

Beamer noted, “I am a breast cancer survivor. I know firsthand how serious this disease is and I know firsthand how important a mammogram is. It saved my life. Many other Virginia women have not been as blessed as I have been. Every woman lives with the fear of being diagnosed with this disease. To launch this attack on Bob and in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and based on a simple matter of not signing on to a national form letter is beyond the pale. I’ve been around Virginia politics for a long time. While candidates and parties can disagree on issues, we shouldn’t disagree on simple decency and civility. There are certain lines a candidate, no matter how desperate, should never cross. This is one of them. It wasn’t anger I felt when I heard this ad. It was just a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Women who hear this ad won’t have the opportunity to find out the truth about this false claim. Mr. Deeds’ has taken his attacks too far.”

Hamlett remarked, “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998, and again in 2003. In 2006, while serving with Bob McDonnell, I had surgery to reduce my risk of recurrence and to reduce my risk of ovarian cancer, a risk that is elevated because of having breast cancer before age 40. As I went through surgery and recovery Bob was always there for me. When I heard this latest attack I immediately sought the opportunity to respond. Unlike the political operatives who made this false and negative ad, I actually know Bob McDonnell. I know who he is, as a person. Like every other breast cancer survivor I live with the daily fear of recurrence. This ad intentionally exploits those fears. It offends me as a woman, it offends me as a breast cancer survivor, and it offends me as a Virginian. I know Creigh badly wants to be governor, but does he really want to try to win like this?”

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