Saturday, August 2, 2008

FACT CHECK: McCain lied about support of MLK holiday

From Progressive Accountability:

FACT CHECK: McCain Opposed Federal MLK Holiday, Arizona MLK Holiday And Key Legislation Aimed At Equal Opportunity For African Americans

McCain Claim: McCain Defended Opposition Of Federal MLK Holiday By Saying He Supported Arizona’s State Holiday. During a press availability in Panama City, Florida, John McCain said, “I have supported hundreds of pieces of legislation, which would help Americans obtain an equal opportunity in America. I am proud of that record, from fighting for the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday in my state to sponsoring specific legislation that would prevent discrimination in any shape or form in America today.” [McCain Press Availability In Panama City, Florida, 8/1/08]

FACT: McCain Supported Republican AZ Governor’s Decision To Rescind MLK Holiday. ABC News reported, “In Arizona, a bill to recognize a holiday honoring MLK failed in the legislature, so then-Gov. Bruce Babbitt, a Democrat, declared one through executive order. In January 1987, the first act of Arizona’s new governor, Republican Evan Mecham, was to rescind the executive order by his predecessor to create an MLK holiday. Arizona’s stance became a national controversy. McCain backed the decision at the time.” [ABC News, 4/3/08]

FACT: McCain Supported Gov. Evan Mecham’s Decision In 1987 To Rescind Martin Luther King Jr. Day. As reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, “In a vote likely to haunt him for the rest of his public career, McCain voted against 1983 legislation establishing the third Monday in January as the federal holiday marking King’s birthday. Back home in Arizona, he supported Gov. Evan Mecham’s decision in 1987 to rescind an executive order creating a state holiday for King, but later reversed his position.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 6/16/08]

FACT: McCain Voted Against Creating Martin Luther King Holiday. In 1983, McCain voted against a motion to suspend the rules and pass a bill to designate the third Monday of every January as a federal holiday in honor of the late civil rights leader, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The motion passed 89-77. [HR 3706, Vote 289, 8/2/83; CQ 1983]

McCain Admitted His Opposition To The Federal MLK Holiday Was “A Mistake” And His Position Has “Evolved.” During a 2000 interview, McCain compared his evolution on this issue to former Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater. “I believe that Barry Goldwater, to start with, regretted his vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act,” McCain said. “I think that Barry grew, like all of us grow and evolve. In 1983, when I was brand-new in the Congress, I voted against the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King. That was a mistake, OK? And later I had the chance to … help fight for … the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King as a holiday in my state.” [ 4/18/00; Accessed 4/2/08]

FACT: In 1994, McCain Sided With Senator Jesse Helms and Voted To Eliminate Funding For Martin Luther King Commission. McCain voted in favor of a Helms amendment “to prohibit federal financing for the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission.” The amendment failed 28-70-2. [S Amdt 1738, Vote #127, 5/24/94; CQ Vote Description]

FACT: McCain Voted Against The Civil Rights Act Of 1990 FOUR Times. In 1990, McCain voted against a bill designed to address employer discrimination at least 4 times. According to the Washington Post, the “Civil Rights Act of 1990 is designed to overturn several recent Supreme Court rulings that made it much more difficult for individual employees to prove discrimination. The legislation, being fought by business, also would impose new penalties on employers convicted of job discrimination.” [S 2104, Vote #304, 10/24/90; Vote #276, Vote #275, 10/16/90; Vote #161, 7/18/90; Washington Post, 7/9/90]

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