Earlier this week, one of Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) top advisers, Carly Fiorina, argued for McCain’s free-market approach to health care by noting that “there are many health insurance plans that will cover Viagra but won’t cover birth-control medication” and that many “women would like a choice.” But, as ThinkProgress noted, Fiorina’s argument was undermined by McCain’s 2003 vote against legislation that would have required insurance coverage of prescription birth control. When asked about the disconnect on his campaign bus today, McCain nervously replied, “I certainly do not want to discuss that issue“:
Q: Earlier this week Carly Fiorina was meeting with a bunch of reporters and talked about it being unfair that insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. And –
McCain: I certainly do not want to discuss that issue. (uneasy laughter)
Q: But apparently you’ve voted against (McCain laughter continues)
McCain: I don’t know what I voted –
Q: Voted against coverage of birth control, forcing health insurance companies to cover birth control in the past. Is that still your position?
McCain: I’ll look at my voting record on it, but I have, uh, (5 second pause) , I don’t recall the vote right now. But I’ll be glad to look at it and get back to you as to why, I don’t –
Q: I guess her statement was that it was unfair that health insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. Do you have an opinion on that?
McCain: (after 8 second pause) I don’t know enough about it to give you an informed answer because I don’t recall the vote, I’ve cast thousands of votes in the Senate. I will respond to – it’s a, it’s a (nervous)
McCain’s stumbling answer is reminiscent of when he was asked in March 2007 about public funding for contraceptives and he could only reply, “whether I support government funding for them or not, I don’t know.”
UPDATE: MSNBC’s Morning Joe showed video of McCain’s answer this morning: