Republican John McCain sits on the board of directors for a group called "Project Vote Smart" yet McCain is among the majority of presidential candidates who’ve failed to fill out a questionnaire from the group. Project Vote Smart president Richard Kimball calls their questionnaire the "political courage test" and McCain has co-signed a letter urging candidates to take it.
"When we called to find out why the heck he didn’t do it when he’s one of the one’s signing off on the letters requesting candidates to do it, his campaign told us that the test went to his prior staff which he, as you know, dismissed…and it wasn’t transferred to the new staff that he hired," Kimball says.
Democrats John Edwards, Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel are the only three presidential candidates who have appeared in nationally televised debates to have filled out the Project Vote Smart questionnaire.
Kimball says McCain’s new staff promises McCain will complete the test and submit it past the deadline."But we don’t know and we can’t treat him any differently than we do any other candidate," Kimball says. "So, yeah, it’s a little embarrassing for all of us here."
Project Vote Smart was launched in 1996 and maintains a website that features candidate answers to a variety of questions, seeking information about what the candidates think on about 20 different issues.
Kimball says unfortunately, candidates in both major political parties are reluctant to answer the "political courage test" because they’re afraid their opponent will use the answers against them. "Intentionally stripping citizens of the one absolutely crucial component in the struggle to self-govern and that is their right, the public’s right to abundant, accurate, relevant information about who these people are and what they’re likely to do for us or to us if they get elected," Kimball says.
Find more on-line at www.votesmart.org or call 1-888-Vote-Smart.