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Frontrunners on the Terri Schiavo Case

The three frontrunning candidates all said that they thought the Republican-controlled Congress had made a mistake in weighing in on whether Terri Schiavo should live or die.

Here's an excerpt from each of their responses:

Romney: "I think we should generally make the family make the decision...The decision of Congress to get involved was a mistake."

McCain: "This is a very difficult issue...In retrospect we should have taken some more time and looked at it more carefully...we probably acted too hastily."

Giuliani: "The better place to decide in front of a court."

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 3, 2007; 9:31 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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The whole Terry Schiavo thing made me ill -- it proved how drunk with power the GOP congress actually was. Even if the husband was up to no good (I agree there were grounds for suspicion), it was still a local dispute.

Urging those involved in the case to decide differently is fine. Passing laws to affect the case if it appeals, and future cases, is fine. BUT THE DIRECT MEDDLING WAS CLEAR OVERREACH AND WAS ALWAYS WRONG.

The integrity of our government is more important than your morals, or mine, or any of our elected officials -- but the GOP deliberately put on a show to whip up popular support. That is why the Religious Right just does not get it. They think that forcing God's Law on others is more important than a functioning and FREE society.

America is only a Christian Nation in the minds of the Religious Right. Most of the founders were deists, not Christians. Talk about rewriting history. How many Christian sects or church denominations would they persecute if they could? How are they any better than the Taliban or the Iranian Mullahs? What part of Freedom of Religion do they not understand??

Posted by: toddpw | May 6, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I faced a decision in 2001 on my brother. I elected not to let him starve but authorized a feeding tube if needed. It appears Terri was incapable of feeling. The right wing saw a CAUSE just as they did when the little boy washed up on shore from Cuba. Better to let him stay with a distant relative who had been in the pyscho ward 4 times before he arrived and 3 times while he was here. HE WAS IN OUR CUSTODY AND HE WOULD JOLLY WELL ENJOY DEMOCROCY! Welcome to Republican America!
Facist goverment anyone?

Posted by: evelynjm | May 5, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

So, why did GW Bush, as governor of Texas, not once commute a death sentence? Do you believe every single person that he allowed to be executed was guilty?

Oh yeah, Jesus talks to Bush, so of course he can never make mistakes.

Posted by: Principle instead of feeling? | May 5, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

You people that take this case to bash Republican's should be ashamed. Terri had an adulterous hubby who obviously wanted her dead so he could move on with his life, most likely with the insurance money. Her family fought to keep her alive, as they thought there was still hope for her. This was a split in the family that congress attempted to ratify, in doing so they sided with life over death. They did the right thing. Why that question was asked I'm not sure. If it had been asked, it should have only been asked to McCain, Brownback, Hunter, Paul and Tancredo. They actually had votes on the issue, Guiliani nor Romney actually had a vote.

On priciple, the R's did the right thing. Something liberals can't handle...standing on principle instead of feeling.

Posted by: reason | May 5, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

This is a campaign issue? Yes, it was stupid when it occurred, but to perpetuate the stupidity causes me to wonder what are our priorities here? Note to Congress: instead of engaging in that media circus, you might have been dealing with truly national and international issues. That is your job, by the way. Note to Christine Hyde: autopsy results indicated that Ms Schiavo had little or no brain matter left in the areas where she might have felt discomfort. Note to Terry Mitchell: if the Schiavo's were legally married at the time, her husband was almost certainly within his legal rights... parents of married women do not get a vote.

Posted by: | May 5, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

3 cheers for Chick Dante'!!! A much needed reality check.

Posted by: Voice in the wilderness | May 5, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

No one knows what a semiconscious or unconscious person is feeling. Terri Schiavo probably died slowly suffering torments of thirst. There was no report of palliative care to ease her passing. Does anyone want this sort of thing to happen to people who cannot argue for themselves?
Being allowed to die of inevitable organ failure with constant palliative care given is one thing. Deprivation of sustenance is another thing altogether. Politicians are the very people who should worry about the laws surrounding the care of the most helpless people in society.

Posted by: Christine Hyde | May 5, 2007 6:12 AM | Report abuse

Terry Mitchell, her husband stayed with her for a long, long time; and in doing what he did he was only following her expressed wishes about such a situation. I certainly hope my spouse does the same for me and that she moves on with her life.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 5, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

How easy the situation were, if these candidates were accompanied by Mrs. Hillary Clinton, who, in this case, would have been just where she belongs. Unfortunately, she has a great lack of any real courage, and can't replace general Custor, who, according to many comments, is needed to lead GOP candidates to 2008 election.

Posted by: aepelbaum | May 4, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

You guys are still missing the the point in the Schiavo case. Mrs. Schiavo's husband wanted to have it both ways and the silly laws allowed him to do it. If he wanted to dictate her fate, he should have stayed by her side and not have moved on to another woman. If he wanted to move on with his life (read find another woman), he should have passed the right to dictate his wife's fate to her family.

Now what's so hard to understand about that?

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | May 4, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Interesting analogy, James. The Iraqi government and troops as to Terri Schiavo. Looks like these republicans may be as brain-dead as their causes. Will someone pull the plug and show some mercy here?

Posted by: Rich Evans | May 4, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Too hastily? Her husband waited 14 years for her to improve. It explains how McCain thinks we're going to win in Iraq if we keep waiting. Nice work, McCain. Self-marginalization suits you...

Posted by: James | May 4, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I have been a Florida lawyer for more than 30 years. In addition, I am imminently familiar with the Shiavo case.

What is realy scary to me is that after all that has been written, explained, and told about the Schiavo case there are still those who defend the unconscionable and unconstitutional intervention in what was really a routine family and legal matter by the US Congress. There were simply no unique legal issues presented in that case. And yet there are still a few dim bulbs, like some of the commenters above, who prattle on like they have a clue what the case was about. Oh, well, "stupid is as stupid does," I guess.

From a political standpoint, the Schiavo case was about Alito and Roberts. Nothing more, nothing less. The idea was to "energize the base" sufficiently (as shown by my Senator's breast pocket memo that fell into the hands of the media and exposed this ridiculous political sham for what it was). Once the base could be led to believe that it was the judges who were "killing" poor (already) dead Ms. Shiavo, the Republicans could gin up support for the Rasputin's of Jurisprudence known as Alito (after the withdrawal of Harriet Miers) and Roberts - both of the totalitarian school euphemistically named, "Federalist Society."

During final oral argument before one of the 19 Federal Judges who heard the case along the way, attorney David Gibbs made the statement in open court that at no time had a guardian ad litem ever been appointed for Ms. Shiavo. The Judge was astonished. Before rendering his final decision, his law clerks easily found in the record that a total of three guardians had represented the interests of Ms. Shiavo. If you are going to lie like that, you might as well tell the truth. But, Gibbs was not done.

Later, when asked by reporters whether he had been paid to represent the parents, Gibbs told interviewers that he received no funds from the Schinlders as if to say he had not been paid. The truth was that his family foundation has lots of money for right wing causes and the foundation paid him plenty to represent the Schindlers.

This is the legacy that our Republican Presidential Candidates are running from. Judging from the comments above, this is the legacy to which those in the Republican base want to return. If God is truly just (as I believe He is), then I hope that the Schiavo and Iraq and NSA spying and all the other Republican scandals of the last 7 years, form a rather dull pitard on which the fortunes of the Republicans will be collectively but agonizingly hoisted.

Posted by: Chick Dante' | May 4, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Terry Mitchell says in effect that federal law should be changed so as to override state law rules and nullify the family law rights of some spouses regarding incapacitated family members.

To go on and describe that hare-brained proposal as common sense merely demonstrates that sometimes common sense is neither common nor sense.

Sometimes it seems that conservative republicans are so desparate to find popular legitimacy that they compete with each other for leadership of the lemmings in their headlong charge over the cliff

Posted by: sam perkins | May 4, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I think John McCain is a loser and, too much like Bush to even be considered being elected President of these United States.

Posted by: Charles L. Greenhill | May 4, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Last night's debate proved that John McCain has lost his luster and dulled his edge. He was so busy blowing with the wind that he almost knocked himself over. The colorful 2000 McCain would have made the race interesting given the grayscale candidates of 2008. The Republican candidates remind me more the three stooges than the three fates!

Posted by: Bill | May 4, 2007 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Cornellian wrote: "Schiavo's husband did make the decision as he was entitled to at law, and the Florida courts said so repeatedly. The issue was none of the federal government's business."

I say it's a sorry law then. A person who has abondoned his/her spouse to take up with someone else should automatically forfeit any authority over their care. That's a common sense change that everyone should agree with.

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | May 4, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

The once resolute and `M A V E R I C K` McCain sure can blow with the wind. He has gotten so pathetic. It is a shame. I used to like him. And, sadly for him this stupid war will be an anchor on him during his next defeat for the Republican nomination. It is ironic that Bush will cause him to lose TWICE -- once when McCain was against him and again when McCain was WITH him. HA!

Posted by: FRANK | May 4, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

The once resolute and `MAVERICK` McCain sure can blow with the wind. He has gotten so pathetic. It is a shame. I used to like him. And, sadly for him this stupid war will be an anchor on him during his NEXT defeat for the Republican nomination. It is ironic that Bush will cause him to lose TWICE -- once when McCain was against him and again when McCain was WITH him. HA!

Posted by: Frank | May 4, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Schiavo's husband did make the decision as he was entitled to at law, and the Florida courts said so repeatedly. The issue was none of the federal government's business.

Posted by: Cornellian | May 4, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

BTW, as Chris pointed out, Romney said, "I think we should generally make the family make the decision...The decision of Congress to get involved was a mistake."

But isn't that what some members of Congress were trying to do when they intervened? They were trying to make sure her familty DID get to decide. Ultimately (and unfortunately), her family's decision was overridden by the courts in favor of her estranged (and adulterous) husband.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 4, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

People don't seem to get it. This was NOT an issue of the government trying to override a family decision. There was a conflict in the family that needed to be settled. Mrs. Schiavo's real family wanted her feeding tube kept in, while her adulterous husband, who had already taken up with another women, claimed she told him one time that she would never want to be kept alive that way. Government officials were just trying to protect her interests and those of her family. They did the right thing and should be proud of it instead of backing away.

Posted by: Terry Mitchell | May 4, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"McCain: 'This is a very difficult issue...In retrospect we should have taken some more time and looked at it more carefully...we probably acted too hastily.' "

I am reminded of the fact that many want HRC to apologize for her support of the Iraq War resolution. Shouldn't thinking R's (is that an oxymoron?) demand an apology from McCain for stupidly getting caught up in "Schiavo fever?" Just the fact that he was involved this idiocy made me lose respect for him.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | May 4, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

Posted by: anonymous | May 3, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Nonsense. Never underestimate the ability of Democrats to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. By all rights they should have it if they manage to run a credible candidate. A lot of people say Hillary is too divisive. I say she should easily be able to win one more state than John Kerry. If someone like him could come within one state of winning, surely she can. I'm rather hopeful that she does.

Posted by: Vince | May 3, 2007 9:51 PM | Report abuse

So now the Republicans are sorry for the Schiavo catastrophe? Funny, they didn't feel that way before the poll numbers came back showing that even middle America was horrified by their overreach into private family matters.

Posted by: Hillman | May 3, 2007 9:50 PM | Report abuse

The Republican candidates for president--you have to laugh when you consider what will happen to the GOP in November 2008. All they need is General Custer to be reborn to lead them into that election.

Posted by: mikeasr | May 3, 2007 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Can anyone believe that those posturing so-called Presidential candidates are the best and the brightest that America can offer?

If so, heaven help us.

Posted by: mithras | May 3, 2007 9:44 PM | Report abuse

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