AIDS mother still waiting for Huckabee meeting
US Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has been accused of breaking his word by failing to meet AIDS activist Jeanne White-Ginder.
The former Governor had agreed to a meeting last month after he was heavily criticised for comments he made 15 years ago that people with AIDS should be isolated from the population.
Ms White-Ginder is the mother of teenager Ryan White. He raised awareness about the disease in the early 1980s when he contracted AIDS from a blood-clotting agent used to treat haemophilia.
The candidate claimed he was misquoted, telling FOX news in December:
“I didn’t say that we should quarantine. I said it was the first time in public health protocols that when we had an infectious disease and we didn’t really know just how extensive and how dramatic it could be and the impact of it, that we didn’t isolate the carrier.
“I had simply made the point, and I still believe this today, that in the late ’80s and early ’90s, when we didn’t know as much as we do now about AIDS, we were acting more out of political correctness than we were about the normal public health protocols that we would have acted.
“Would I say things a little differently in 2007? Probably so. But I’m not going to recant or retract from the statement that I did make because, again, the point was not saying we ought to lock people up who have HIV/AIDS.”
A few days later on the campaign trail Mr Huckabee said he would be happy to meet with White-Ginder, yet over a month later and despite numerous calls to his campaign staff from A. Gene Copello, Executive Director of The AIDS Institute, no meeting has taken place.
“Is Governor Huckabee a man of his word or is this just more typical political double-speak?” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.
“It has been 29 days, Jeanne White-Ginder and the HIV/AIDS advocacy community continues to wait.”
Mr Huckabee has been one of the big stories of the Republican nomination race, coming from nowhere to take Iowa, beating his high-spending rival Mitt Romney into second.
He came a respectable third in New Hampshire, but it is yet to be seen if the party will choose the former Baptist preacher as their Presidential candidate.