McCain meets human face of “earmark” spending

May 1, 2008

ALLENTOWN, Pa. – Republican presidential candidate John McCain frequently rails against “earmarks,” the special spending projects that members of Congress procure for thmccainthis.jpgeir home districts, often with little or no oversight. 

But Wednesday he admitted he sometimes admired the results. 

On a visit to an Allentown hospital during a week-long campaign swing featuring health care issues, the Arizona senator met a woman with ovarian cancer who was treated in a $80 million clinical trial program funded by an earmark. 

McCain praised the woman’s treatment and later said some earmarks were clearly worthy. 

“It’s the process I object to,” McCain told reporters. “We need to start over from scratch.” 

McCain told reporters that wasteful spending projects had drained away money that could have been used for infrastructure improvements that would prevent tragedies like last year’s deadly bridge collapse in Minnesota. 

He has promised to eliminate earmarks and make spending projects compete for funding in congressional budget deliberations. 

“When you earmark in the middle of the night you have no budgetary constraints,” he said.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria. (McCain listens speaks during a news conference at Miami’s Children Hospital in Florida April 28, 2008.

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