USA Today reports that “Fighting cancer is new mission” for Lance Armstrong. Armstrong a member of Bush’s Cancer Panel since 2002, publicly criticized the cost of the war in Iraq, in comparison to budget for cancer research.
“Funding is tough to come by these days,” he says. “The biggest downside to a war in Iraq is what you could do with that money. What does a war in Iraq cost a week? A billion? Maybe a billion a day? The budget for the National Cancer Institute is four billion. That has to change. It needs to become a priority again.
“Polls say people are much more afraid of cancer than of a plane flying into their house or a bomb or any other form of terrorism. It is a priority for the American public.”
Alternet reports that, “Armstrong’s statement is significant because it represents a sharp turn from his previous statements against the Iraq invasion.”
When the war was launched out in 2003, Lance’s soft anti-war views sounded more James Baker than Ella Baker:
“I know George Bush well, having met him about 20 times, and I support him, but going ahead with this war without the support of Europe would be dangerous … it would be a mistake to engage in war without the backing of the United Nations and Europe,” he said. “If there’s going to be a war then we’ll be up against a billion Muslims — so it would be unreasonable for the United States to go it alone against such a huge part of the world.”
Why the change of heart for Lance?
This could be attributed to possible aspirations for political office. Armstrong in a recent interview laid out his views on a number of issues, describing himself as “against mixing up state and Church, not keen on guns, pro women’s right to choose. And very anti war in Iraq,” — which may lead some of us to wonder exactly what political party in our glorious duopoly would even allow him to stand as a candidate.
Perhaps Lance’s recent relationship with John Kerry has had some effect…
Update: Andy Borowitz has great satire piece in Newsweek, on Armstrong’s emerging political views — The White House seeks a conservative to replace cyclist Lance Armstrong.
While Armstrong has never officially identified himself as a Democrat and has been friendly with members of both parties, including President Bush, the fact that he was cheered on in his seventh Tour victory by 2004 Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry was not lost on conservatives, who immediately urged Bush to find a conservative cyclist to replace him.