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McCain and Huckabee Focus on Health Care and Financial Security at AARP-Sponsored Candidate Forum

SIOUX CITY, IOWA – The Divided We Fail issues of health care and lifetime financial security took center stage tonight during the AARP-sponsored Republican Presidential Candidates Forum at the Orpheum Theater in Sioux City. Senator John McCain and Governor Mike Huckabee shared the stage as well as their ideas and solutions to our nation’s top domestic issues before a crowd of caucus-going Western Iowans.

Dean Borg, host of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” moderated the 90-minute discussion solely focused on health care and financial security. Questions were also posed by Mike Gors, Editorial Page Editor for the Sioux City Journal and members of the audience. The forum was Web cast live at www.dividedwefail.org/forums and will be featured on IPTV’s “Iowa Journal” on Mon., Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m. CT.

AARP National President Erik Olsen, AARP members and volunteers from five states traveled to Sioux City to attend the forum. Olsen opened the program and explained Divided We Fail’s goal of greater discussion of these issues with nation’s leaders and the Presidential candidates. “Through this process, we seek answers, action, and accountability on these important kitchen table issues we care so deeply about -- not just for ourselves -- but for our families and future generations.”

A recent survey of AARP Iowa members who are likely to attend the 2008 Republican caucus found that 92 percent considered financial security issues to be important to their vote. Eighty-four percent indicated that health care would be either very or somewhat important to their vote.

“We applaud Senator McCain and Governor Huckabee for recognizing the importance of addressing these issues,” said Lisa K. Davis, National Director, Divided We Fail. “This type of rich conversation on health care and financial security is what Western Iowans, AARP members and the American people have been waiting for. We hope that the Sioux City Candidates Forum will serve as one of many where all candidates address these top domestic issues.”

On July 2, 2007, all of the 2008 Republican Presidential Candidates were invited to participate in a multi-candidate, nationally-televised debate in Sioux City. Governor Huckabee and Senator McCain were the only candidates meeting participation guidelines who accepted the invitation.

The Siouxland Chamber of Commerce and the Sioux City Journal worked with AARP and the Divided We Fail team to bring the event to Sioux City. Divided We Fail Team Members in Iowa include: AARP, former Governor Terry Branstad, Communications Workers of America of Central Iowa, DeWaay Capital Management, Des Moines University, Easter Seals, Iowa Association of Homes & Services for the Aging, Iowa Caregivers Association, Iowa Credit Union League, Iowa Health Care Association, Long-Term Care Guild of Des Moines, Marsh, Qwest Communications, SEIU Iowa, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, and Wells’ Dairy Inc.

Divided We Fail is a national effort by AARP, Business Roundtable and SEIU, three of the nation’s leading consumer, business and labor organizations to amplify the message that attaining health and financial security is vital for all Americans and these issues must be included in the national political debate from political leaders. Divided We Fail seeks to engage the American people, elected officials and the business community to find broad-based, bi-partisan solutions to the most compelling domestic issues facing the nation.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, http://www.AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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