Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Giuliani rejects medical marijuana use

Yahoo! News
Giuliani rejects medical marijuana use
By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer

Presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani said Tuesday that people who want to legalize marijuana for medical purposes really just want to make the drug available to everyone.

"I believe the effort to try and make marijuana available for medical uses is really a way to legalize it. There's no reason for it," the former New York mayor said during a town hall-style meeting at New Hampshire Technical Institute.

He also said there are better alternatives.

"You can accomplish everything you want to accomplish with things other than marijuana, probably better. There are pain medications much superior to marijuana," he said.

"We'd be much better off telling people the truth. Marijuana adds nothing to the array of legal medications and prescription medications that are available for pain relief."

After a speech at the first of several stops in the first-primary state, the early front-runner in the race for the Republican nomination fielded questions. None dealt with the unpopular war in Iraq.

Instead, voters wanted to know about the failed immigration bill and Giuliani's views on climate change and health care.

Giuliani said promises of universal health care are hollow and simply not manageable.

"If you try to do socialized medicine, a la Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama or Michael Moore, you're going to end up with a disaster," he said.

He urged voters to press other candidates for specifics and to move beyond lofty language.

"We tried that before. We tried that with the `War on Poverty' and we tried that with welfare. Look what happened. We tried a simplistic solution and look what happened. We locked people into poverty. It was a tragedy."


NEW YORK (AP) — The leading Democratic presidential contenders will participate in a forum on gay issues next month, sponsored by a major gay rights advocacy group and televised on a cable channel aimed at gays and lesbians.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards have agreed to appear in the live, one-hour forum in Los Angeles on Aug. 9. The program is sponsored by the Human Rights Campaign and will be broadcast on the LOGO cable channel. LOGO will also stream the forum live on its Web site.

Sens. Chris Dodd and Joe Biden declined the invitation to appear at the forum, citing scheduling conflicts. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich have not yet said whether they'll attend.

Former Alaska Gov. Mike Gravel was not invited to participate because he did not meet a $100,000 fundraising threshold, HRC spokesman Brad Luna said.

Luna called the forum "a historic opportunity for us," noting it was the first time major presidential candidates had agreed to address gay issues before a television audience.

The candidates will appear one at a time to field questions on gay marriage, HIV/AIDS, hate crimes and other issues. HRC president Joe Solmonese and singer Melissa Etheridge will host the forum.

In the Democratic field, only Kucinich and Gravel support marriage rights for gays and lesbians. The major contenders oppose gay marriage but support same-sex civil unions that confer most of the same legal rights.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Four supporters of Barack Obama were getting a rare chance to dine with the Democratic presidential candidate Tuesday night, with one change to the guest list.

Florida firefighter Jennifer Lasko, chosen from among thousands of small-dollar donors, declined her invitation after local media reported that she used to be a man named John.

Aides to the Illinois senator said they weren't aware of Lasko's sex change before inviting her, but they encouraged her to attend after the news reports surfaced. Lasko decided that she did not want the attention that the dinner would attract.

"We would have loved to have her at the dinner with Senator Obama and the other guests," said Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki. "We hope they have the opportunity to meet at another time."

The campaign invited Christina Cheatham, a rising senior at Georgia College and State University, to take Lasko's place. Cheatham entered the dinner contest with a $5 donation and was rewarded with an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, including a site-seeing tour and dinner at a steak restaurant.

She said she wanted to ask Obama about health care first, but also taxes, abortion and other topics that are important to her friends and family.

"I have a really, really long list of stuff," she said from her cell phone during a visit to the National Archives. "I'm not sure it'll all come up."


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, missed a campaign stop in South Carolina on Tuesday to be with her mother, who was injured in a fall at her North Carolina home.

The wife of the former North Carolina senator was to open the campaign's headquarters here in this early voting state, but campaign manager David Bonior showed up in her place.

"Her mother fell yesterday in the bathroom and hit her head and she went to the hospital. So she's doing fine, but she wanted to be with her this morning," Bonior told a crowd of about 90 people gathered outside the headquarters.

Elizabeth Edwards' mother, Mary Anania, 83, lives in Chapel Hill, N.C. with her husband, Vincent.


Associated Press writers Beth Fouhy in New York and Nedra Pickler in Washington contributed to this report.