It’s time to call them out on this endless BS:

Karl Rove lambasted the Obama campaign on Fox News Sunday for its recent ad criticizing Sen. John McCain for his supposed inability to use a computer.

Asked by Chris Wallace to comment on negative campaigning by Sen. Obama, Rove said that McCain’s injuries suffered in a Vietnamese prison camp were responsible for his computer illiteracy.

“But they then say he doesn’t …send e-mail. Well, this is because his war injuries keep him from being able to use a keyboard. He can’t type. You know, it’s like saying he can’t do jumping jacks,” Rove said. “There’s a reason he can’t raise his arms above his head. There’s a reason he doesn’t have the nimbleness in his fingers.”

Please. If anything, this excuse is horribly offensive, not just because it is a baldfaced lie, but because it ignores thousands of people with physical disabilities, some far worse than those of  the Arizona senator, who can and do use computers all the time.

Perhaps he has not heard of the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP).

CAP supports Wounded Service Members (WSM) by providing needs assessments, assistive technology and training throughout all phases of recovery and transition to employment…Established by the Federal government, the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP) is a centrally funded program that provides assistive technology (AT) and reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities. CAP’s mission is to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to information and employment opportunities in the DoD and throughout the Federal government.

There is an entire section on dexterity limitations and assistive devices:

Disabilities that impact the range of motion, from minor to major finger movement and include: quadriplegics, paraplegics, individuals with multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy, and individuals who have developed disabling conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. Below are a number of assistive technologies that CAP recommends as appropriate accommodation solutions for people with this disability.


CAP covers the cost of training for Federal agency employees to learn to use all types of assistive technology accommodations. CAP provides personnel who teach the user how to operate the assistive technology in conjunction with the hardware and/or software while in the user’s office environment. CAP customers also have the option to request self-paced tutorials. Customers may request both on-site and tutorial training. If training is needed, please indicate on the CAP Request Form which type you are requesting at the time you are requesting the software or hardware.

Given the senator’s power, privilege (and comprehensive health insurance), he’s entitled to benefits many civilians in his circumstances are not. Moreover,  this smear perpetrated by the McCain campaign and surrogates like Rove against the disabled who are able-bodied when it comes to computer literacy is disgusting.


Note From Autumn: While in the US Navy my right wrist was injured, and due to this injury I lost about 10% of my range-of-motion in that wrist, as well as developing osteoarthritis in it. My limitations combine in such a way in my wrist that I have what to others appears to be severe carpal tunnel syndrome, but it’s really a condition that mimics that syndrome. So to compensate, I use a keyboard that is designed specifically for people with range-of-motion and/or severe carpal tunnel issues. Below is a stock photo of the keyboard I use.

FlexPro By KetronicIf I couldn’t type at all, they have voice recognition programs I’d be using to “type” my messages on screen for me. Both ergonomic keyboards and voice recognition programs would have been provided for me by the government because I was a veteran who went through the VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation program.

Someone as financially well off as Sen. McCain, who’s spouse and he can afford seven houses, could definitely afford either a special ergonomic keyboard or a voice recognition program.

This “injuries while a POW” argument for why McCain allegedly can’t use a keyboard, as put forward by McCain’s campaign surrogates, is pure bullsh*t. It’s offensive to those physically disabled veterans like me who actually have and compensate for our service-connected physical disabilities.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding