Laura Bush campaigns for right-wing candidate running against disabled Iraq war vet

Published: Tuesday August 15, 2006

First Lady Laura Bush yesterday campaigned at a fundraiser for Illinois State Senator Peter Roskam, a controversial conservative running against a double-amputee Iraq war veteran, RAW STORY has learned.

While touting Roskam's mixed record on the environment, Mrs. Bush chose to omit the controversial conservative's voting history on gun control, abortion and other social issues.

In her speech, Mrs. Bush mentioned Roskam’s record of voting for tax cuts and his record on environmental issues. “In Wheaton, he and Elizabeth [Roskam’s wife] actually founded their hometown's curbside recycling program,” she explained.

According to the Illinois Environmental Council, Roskam’s voting record on the environment mixed. In 2003, 2004, and 2005 he earned ratings of 67%, 100%, and 40%, respectively, from the organization.

The First Lady also cited Roskam’s experience as a classroom teacher and his commitment to youth.

But Mrs. Bush did not mention Mr. Roskam’s stand on a variety of social issues. Roskam supports a ban on abortion and, unlike President George W. Bush, does not support exceptions for rape or incest. In 2003, the candidate received a 0% rating from the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council. In 2003, the Illinois Federation for Right to Life rated Roskam at 86%.

Roskam's record on gun control is also often cited as controversial. He is on record as opposing the 1994 assault weapons ban, and has pushed for fewer restrictions on concealed weapons. In 2002, Illinois Citizens for Handgun Control assigned Roskam the grade of F, while the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund gave him a grade of A.

The Illinois Family Institute, headed by Peter LaBarbara, rated Roskam a 100 in 2002. Citizen Action Illinois gave Roskam a rating of “mediocre.”

Roskam’s opponent in the race is Major Tammy Duckworth of the Illinois National Guard. An Iraq war veteran, Duckworth was piloting a Black Hawk helicopter when it was attacked and shot down with a rocket propelled grenade. Duckworth lost both of her legs in the accident.

Roskam had attacked Duckworth for her position on the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. Duckworth had stated that she would support a repeal of the policy if military leaders indicated that they would support the move.