Thursday, July 13, 2006

Go Pat Anderson!!

Posted on Wed, Jul. 12, 2006

Terri Schiavo's widower (WHAT?!?!) takes on politicians in privacy campaign

Associated Press
DENVER - More than a year after winning a bruising battle to disconnect his brain-damaged wife from a feeding tube, Michael Schiavo brought his campaign against government intrusion to Colorado Wednesday, demanding an apology from a Republican congresswoman he accused of interfering in his family's decision.

Schiavo, whose wife, Terri, died in March 2005 after a seven-year court and political battle that reached Capitol Hill, has formed a political action committee and has targeted races in Colorado, Florida and Texas.

He came to Colorado to support two Democratic candidates for the U.S. House, including Angie Paccione, who is challenging Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. Musgrave spoke last year on the floor of the House against allowing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube to be removed.

"I want to ask Marilyn Musgrave who gave her the right to speak about Terri," Schiavo said. "Who gave her the authority to bring Congress into my family decisions?"

He said most Americans disagree with what Musgrave did and believe politicians should stay out of family decisions.

"I think Marilyn Musgrave should apologize, not just to me but to the people who voted for her, people who sent her to congress to run the country, not our personal lives," he said.

He also delivered a letter to her field office in Loveland.

Musgrave, who represents Colorado's fourth district, spanning eastern and northeastern areas of the state, issued a written statement saying, "I have only compassion for Michael and Terri's family, and all those who have lost a loved one."

Pat Anderson, a Florida attorney who represented Terri Schiavo's parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, for three years and remains in regular contact with them said she found Michael Schiavo's political campaigning offensive.

"Somebody needs to tell this guy his 15 minutes of fame are up," she said.

Colorado GOP chairman Bob Martinez criticized Schiavo's involvement in Colorado, especially his planned fundraiser Thursday for Peggy Lamm, a Democrat seeking a seat from the 7th Congressional District.

"I can't help but believe that the majority of Coloradans were appalled to learn that Michael Schiavo is helping political candidates profit off his wife's death," Martinez said in a news release.

Lamm issued a statement Wednesday saying she was proud of Schiavo's support.

"He wouldn't even be here if it weren't for the shameful way the Schiavos were treated by the Bush Administration and the Republicans in Congress," she said.

Paccione welcomed Schiavo's support and vowed to fight government involvement in private lives.

"The government has really overstepped its bounds in invading our privacy, in our bedrooms, in our medical decisions, on our phone lines, and it's time for the government to stop doing that," she said. "Michael puts a human face on this congressional invasion of privacy."

Terri Schiavo, who was raised in the Philadelphia suburb of Huntingdon Valley, Pa., collapsed in 1990, her heart stopped and she suffered what doctors said was irreversible brain damage that left her in a permanent vegetative state.

Michael Schiavo said his wife told him she wouldn't want to be kept alive artificially, and in 1998 he asked a court to allow her feeding tube to be removed. Her parents, Bob and Mary Schindler, fought the request through a series of courts. Michael Schiavo won final approval to remove the tube in 2005.

At 43, Schiavo has remarried and continues to work as a nurse at a Florida jail. He co-authored a book, "Terri: The Truth" and said he is determined to develop his political career.

He also formed a PAC that has raised about $25,000 and contributed to candidates in seven races. Lamm's campaign received a $1,000 donation and PAC director Derek Newton said while the PAC and Schiavo endorse Paccione, a donation has not yet been delivered to the campaign.

He said he may also get involved in races in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Missouri and he vowed Wednesday to be involved in the 2008 presidential race.

Working 12-hour nursing shifts and maintaining a home life while traveling has been difficult, Schiavo said. But he said he is motivated.

"I'm not a political person, but I will stand behind anybody who believes that government should not be in our personal business, be it Republican, be it Democrat," he said. "I will do it because I am angry. Those people drug my name through the mud."

© 2006 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

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