NPR logo Nurses Union Questions McCain's Health, Palin's Qualifications

CA Nurses Association

Nurses Union Questions McCain's Health, Palin's Qualifications

Just in time for tonight's vice presidential debate, a nurses union is reminding voters that Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin would be "one heartbeat away" from the presidency. The nurses think this is not a good thing.

The ad by the California Nurses Association is quite a mishmash: Photos of McCain and Palin float in and out, to the pulse of a gospel-tinged song about being "one heartbeat away." There's audio of Palin wondering was a vice president actually does (the only spoken words other than the disclaimer). And attentive viewers who read the quickly disappearing text on the screen will discover that it's actually a negative ad, faulting Palin on a litany of issues, from creationism and censorship to earmark hypocrisy and abuse of power.

At one point, an image of McCain — does he look stricken here? — fades to black as a heart monitor flatlines. Ouch... And as if that weren't enough, the group's press release cites an actuary firm's assessment that "McCain would have a 1 in 4 chance of dying in office from natural causes."

In its own, more palatable way, the ad raises the same question posed by Brave New PAC last week: Is John McCain healthy enough to be president? The Brave New PAC ad was rejected by CNN and pulled by MSNBC.

This new ad from the nurses group is running in some of every advocacy group's favorite states: Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The California union and its national affiliate, the National Nurses Organizing Committee, have 80,000 members in 50 states. The association is an outspoken advocate for government-financed, Medicare-style universal health care. During the presidential primaries, the union ran advertisements criticizing the top Democratic candidates, including Obama, for not going far enough with their health care plans.