Ryan White's mother wants a word with Huckabee: The Swamp
The Swamp
Posted December 11, 2007 9:13 AM
The Swamp

by Mark Silva and updated

There's at least one person looking for some elaboration in Mike Huckabee's stance on the isolation of AIDS patients: The mother of Ryan White.

Jeanne White-Ginder, mother of the Indiana teenager who lost his battle with AIDS in a case that gained the nation's attention in the late 1980s, has told the Associated Press that the only recently reported comments of Huckabee in 1992 that AIDS patients should be isolated are "so alarming to me." Huckabee, who was running for Senate in Arkansas then and is seeking the Republican Party's nomination for president now, said within the past few days that he stands by the statement -- as well as his belief that homosexuality is a "sin.''

In a telephone interview Monday with The Associated Press from her home in Leesburg, Fla., White's mother said: "It's very important to me that we don't live in the darkness" -- citing a time when people thought AIDS was transmitted through casual contact, such as by "kissing, tears, sweat and saliva." She said: "We have to treat this disease like a disease, and like Ryan always said, not like a dirty word.''

“I would be very willing to meet with them,” the former Arkansas governor said today while campaigning in Iowa. “I would tell them we’ve come a long way in research, in treatment.”

White was 13 when he was diagnosed with AIDS in December 1984, having contracted the disease from a blood-clotting agent treating his hemophilia. He was barred from school, in fear that the disease could be spread casually. He died in 1990 at the age of 18.

Huckabee, later elected governor of Arkansas, made his comments about isolation and homosexuality in a Senate campaign questionnaire for the AP in 1992. White-Ginder, who has declined to say what political party she belongs to, calls his comments "completely beyond comprehension,'' the AP is reporting today.

"It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents," Huckabee replied in the campaign questionnaire in 1992.

Asked about those comments over the weekend, the candidate said he stands by them but suggests they also may be misinterpreted. On Fox News Sunday, he denied that he was calling for a quarantine for the AIDS population, but didn't explain how isolation might be achieved. "I didn't say we should quarantine," he said. The idea was not to "lock people up."

Huckabee acknowledged the prevailing scientific view then, and since, that the virus that causes AIDS is not spread through casual contact, but said that was not certain.

"I still believe this today," Huckabee said Sunday, that "we were acting more out of political correctness" in responding to the AIDS crisis. "I don't run from it, I don't recant it," he said of his position in 1992. Yet he said he would state his view differently in retrospect.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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So, Huckabee says the "idea is not to lock people up"--so what does he want to do--ship them off to some deserted island?

"Stand By his statement": way to twist that a new one.

Yeah, Huckabee said he wouldn't try to say he didn't say that in 1992. As one of the few candidates with some real character, he "stands by" what he said once and won't retract it (like that means anything anyway).

What he has said is that he wasn't for putting AIDS victims in a quarentine or take any similar measure. Yes, Huckabee's stated "homosexuality is a sin", but that doesn't mean he doesn't have compassion on homosexuals who have AIDS.

To dig up dirt on Huckabee from 15 years ago, a "one-line" statement in fact, is pretty bizarre even in a Presidential campaign. He's spoken at length about AIDS and what he would do to transform the Health Care system here in America. Why don't we have a real dialogue on where he is on the issues, not a one-liner he said years ago?

Why does the media misrepresent what Huckabee actually said? He did not say that AIDS patients ought to be quarantined. He said that traditionally, that's what would have been done with an infectious disease such as this, yet political correctness wouldn't allow it.

Like it or not, his statement is absolutely true. In the past, we routinely quarantined persons who were thought to be a health threat to others. At the time he said it, most people still had concerns about how easily the disease could be spread. For example, I can recall a dentist in our area refusing treat patients who had AIDS.

We should not burn Huckabee at the stake simply for stating the facts. 17 years ago, the public at large will STILL very concerned about the spreading of AIDs.

For the media to paint this as you have is just one more example of liberal bias.

Come on. Like Gov. Huckabee was at war against poor little Ryan. This is getting unbelieveably ridiculous. AIDS is a NONCURABLE VIRUS. If you contract it, you are going to die much sooner in your lifetime than if you didn't and most probably die by contracting some really heinous opportunistic infections. Even in today's healthcare environment, people take extraordinary precautions to avoid contracting this virus. I think people with AIDS should be treated with as much compassion as anyone with a communicable disease, but PLEASE be realistic. In the 1980s and early 1990s almost 20 years ago, we knew much less about AIDS. He was trying to be prudent to protect the populace and prevent spread, not punish anybody. My bet is Ryan's mom is politically motivated and she is biased because her son had AIDS. I still would be very protective of my children around an AIDS patient. It is my job to protect them, and it was the governor's job to protect his constituents.

Mike Huckabee is by far the most sincere, compassionate candidate in the bunch. He's got my vote.

Keep in mind the facts. Back in 1992, very little was known about AIDS compared to what info we have now. As for Huckabee standing by his statement, we all say things in a time in place that if said at a different time and place would be wrong. Standing by a statement doesn't mean you believe what was said earlier is still true now, it just means you stand by what you said then when you had the facts of then.

Come on...this was not an attack against Ryan White. I believe Ryan's mother is probably both politically and personally biased in this case. AIDs is to this day an incurable disease and those of us who work in healthcare and understand the terrible and untimely death that awaits someone with AIDS still take extraordinary precautions when working with patients. He was just being prudent and trying to protect the populace and prevent further spread of a still largely understood disease at that time (nearly twenty years ago). Everyone including Mrs. White has surely said something in their lifetime that given more hindsight and knowledge might be different??? Maybe we have a word with her and dig deep into her background?

Even White's mother said she wished AIDS was treated as a disease and not a dirty word...that's exactly what Huckabee was saying. He was pointing out that AIDS had not been treated as other diseases in the past...he used avian flu as an example. Even when not much was known about AIDS, the disease was not treated like others. Huckabee also mentioned the young lady in 1991, who spoke before congress, after getting AIDS from her dentist. So the 'books' hadn't been closed on how AIDS was contracted. To say Mike was trying to "lock up" or "send off" AIDS patients is simply trying to pull a 'straw-man' into the argument. (which is taking a point of the argument and taking it to the extreme) It's like telling a kid not to play in the street because they could get hurt and your opponent accuses you of wanting to keep kids locked up in the house and from going outside at all. That's what's happening to Mike. His oppenents (and the media) take what he said and pull it and stretch it to be nothing like what he originally said or intended. As far as Mike Huckabee thinking homosexuality is a sin...don't kill the messenger. That's what the Scripture clearly says...if you don't like it, take it up with God, Paul and Jesus...not Mike Huckabee.

Isolation depends on the manner of transmission. We still do lock up people who refuse to stop passing it. There continue to be those who arrested who give AIDS without notifying their "partner".

This is pretty low in my opinion.

To drag up a statement a guy said some 15 years ago...and then to call up a mother who lost her son and ask her to comment on that comment...shows exactly what is wrong with the media today.

People need to wake up to the game the media is playing. Go and visit and www.mikehuckabee.com and read what Huckabee has said about all of this. The guy is being honest with the American people...and the media is just playing their old games.

I am sure that Mr. Huckabee would be very happy to speak with Ms. White-Ginder to address her concerns about his statement, AIDS is a tragedy. We have all lost friends and loved ones to this horrible disease, and Ms. White-Ginder's courageous son Ryan especially touched the heart of our nation.








How ironic.
Her son contracted AIDS because standards weren't put in place for this very dangerous disease to cause a public health risk.

Her son died as a result.

Now she is MAD at what Huckabee said?

Lady, he was on YOUR side.

Did Elton John cloud your judgement?

Huckabee's statements are being misrepresented? Well, let's see: "It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population..."

Quarantine: v. To isolate in or as if in quarantine.

Yeah, I don't see any misrepresentation there. Yet another compassionate conservative who shows compassion only to those who fall within certain Christian guidelines...

Who really cares what Huckabee said 15 years ago!!! Go Huckabee!!! Go Ron Paul!!! The only 2 honest grass roots candidates!!!!

This is scary stuff I'm reading here. AIDS WAS being treated as a disease in 1992!! I was a nurse- I remember! Ryan White lost his fight in 1990: 2 years before Huckabee's comments. His "Hey, we all thought it could be spread casually back then" line just doesn't fly!
At BEST he used this deadly disease as a vehicle to diss Hollywood and bleeding-heart liberals. And Ryan White DIDN'T get AIDS because we didn't quarantine AIDS patients!

Remember, this is a man who thinks that religion has stood the test of time and science keeps changing, so he'll choose religion's answers over science's every time (from his Rolling Stone interview).

We've all come a long way since the 90s. But keep in mind that during that period we were getting information that David Acer, a Florida dentist with AIDS, had infected 6 people. Kimberly Bergalis, a young woman who testified before Congress, asked that Congress take action to protect people who might come into contact with infected health workers. People were being infected not just through unprotected sexual contact, but through blood transfusions when they had surgery or when like Ryan they were treated for hemofilia. He was victimized by the disease and by the frightened public. Terrible. The 1990s were a time when everyone was trying to figure out how to stop this terrible disease, how to cure it, how to deal with the terrible toll it was taking on people and the Country. We were still in the early stages of coping and protecting. Don't look back and second guess people's responses then in light of what we know now when we can do so much now to alleviate the suffering. Times change. People change.

It doesn't matter how or what Mike Huckabee says or said, the media is going to report what they want how they want, and his opponents will continue to twist and distort anything he says......and the only reason is..... he is ahead!

I love seeing all the poor, poor little Republics crying about how terribly unfair it is holding up Huckleberry to a true statement he made. Oh boo hoo hoo.

The Republics are masters of fear and smear, and hate turnabout. I especially love Holly Bush's attempt to smear a dead kid's mom.

"Maybe we have a word with her and dig deep into her background?"

The modern Republic party: How low can it go?

I've seen this casual comment several times now in response to this story:

"Back in 1992, very little was known about AIDS compared to what info we have now."

All I can say is, "wow". Maybe in the backwoods red states where the Huckabee voters live very little was known. In developed and educated (i.e., blue state) America, we knew long before then that it wasn't spread by casual contact. But GOP voters are congenitally programmed to live by fear and fear alone (Iraqi Sunni insurgents - headed to your town next!!!), so it takes them a decade or so longer to learn these things. Maybe the internet will help red staters get up to speed quicker these days.

I was 14 in 1992 and at that age new quite clearly from school, parents and the media that AIDS was spread through unprotected sex, intravenous drug use, and blood transfusions. Even in 1992, one would have been considered rather ignorant to believe you can get AIDS from kissing or holding hands or coughing.

Mike Huckabee is compassionate? What a joke! And here we go again with that ridiculous 'liberal bias in the media' nonsense. Your good old boy won't get elected but you can keep dreaming, and showing your ignorance.

We need to remember that people with AIDS are people too. Remember that and Ryan White would not have died in vain.

What Huckabee said before and the words he stands for now evidence a complete state of ignorance about the facts. I am sure he would be supporting some different point of view if someone close to him had ever been touched by AIDS or any other devastating desease.

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