Huckabee says he'll meet with Ryan White's mother - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Huckabee says he'll meet with Ryan White's mother

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's 15-year-old comments that AIDS patients should have been isolated have so alarmed the mother of Ryan White, an Indiana teenager whose life-ending battle with AIDS in the 1980s engrossed the nation, that she has asked for a meeting.

Huckabee says he's willing to meet with her. Huckabee says he wants to tell the family, "We've come a long way in research, in treatment."

The GOP front-runner in Iowa's January 3rd caucuses stood by his 1992 comments in a broadcast interview Sunday. That infuriated Jeanne White-Ginder, the late teen's mother and a board member of the AIDS Institute.

The disease can't be spread by casual contact, and White-Ginder says people have to stop living in "darkness."

White was 13 when he was diagnosed with AIDS in December 1984, having contracted the disease from the blood-clotting agent used to treat his hemophilia. He was barred from school the following year out of fear the disease was spread casually. He died in 1990 at age 18.

On Tuesday, the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group, and the AIDS Institute sent a letter to Huckabee asking him to meet with White-Ginder. The group says Huckabee's comments are, "completely beyond comprehension.

In response, Huckabee told reporters in Council Bluffs, Iowa: "I certainly never would want to say anything that would be hurtful to them or anyone else. I would have great regret and anxiety if I thought my comments were hurtful or in any way added to the already incredible pain that families have felt regardless of how they contracted AIDS."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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