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The Four Words Not to be Uttered on the Campaign Trail

By Michele McNeil — July 17, 2008 1 min read
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No Child Left Behind.

Apparently, the McCain camp has decided talking about NCLB is not good.

During his speech to the NAACP, the Arizona senator made no mention of the law that will have to be re-authorized during his presidency if he’s elected.

And during a conference call yesterday following his speech, four of his advisers were asked why the presumptive GOP nominee didn’t mention NCLB.

Those advisers spent 3 1/2 minutes answering this question about NCLB by—again—not uttering those four words.

Instead, education adviser Lisa Graham Keegan talked about how teacher quality and data are McCain’s big focus and senior policy adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin said his speech was about the “future” (doesn’t McCain know he’ll have to deal with NCLB in the future?). And adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer answered the question by talking about the value of diagnostic data.

Separately, the advisers addressed the law briefly, when asked by a reporter what the senator means when he or his advisors say the law should be “fully” funded, especially when he wants to freeze discretionary spending. Holtz-Eakin said the senator wants to “continue the funding for NCLB.” Given that he said the funding, that, to me, means McCain does not want to devote additional money (up to the levels authorized by Congress) for NCLB.

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