This desperate attack is quickly and thankfully backfiring on Thompson. The Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin put out a release saying "It's desperate and disgusting for Tommy Thompson to play politics with the loss of human life and the 9/11 tragedy". Since then criticism has been steadily coming in from Wisconsin bloggers, Russ Feingold and others both in and outside our state.
Perhaps some of the most jarring comments about Thompson's disgusting ad came from first responders and other advocates for 9/11 workers and victims. "I don't think he's right and he never should have brought something like that up, because it's not true," said Judy Wolff, a Red Cross volunteer from Holmen, Wis., who got ill after spending three weeks at Ground Zero.
John Feal, a 9/11 advocate who lost half of one foot at Ground Zero and runs the group the FealGood Foundation also gave some harsh criticism. He turned the issue against Thompson saying, "When we went to Tommy Thompson in the Bush administration, to get health care funding ... they kept fighting us." He wasn't the only person that was unhappy with Thompson's response to 9/11. New York area members of congress said in a statement, "Tommy Thompson didn't make 9/11 health a priority when he was HHS secretary..."
Tommy Thompson's 9/11 problems didn't end when he left the Bush administration because he then started to cash in on the tragedy. He got involved with Logistics Healthcare and scored a contract to treat 9/11 responders. In fact, according to his own financial disclosures, Tommy actually got wealthy while running Logistics. Although he made a ton of money, he continued to get blasted by the same people that criticized his time at HHS.
Here is an additional sampling of the criticism against the Tommy-led company related to their contract to help 9/11 first responders. It all comes from a Wisconsin State Journal story on November 16, 2008.
- Thompson's health care company enrolled less than 75% of eligible first responders five months after the start of the contract.
- New York Rep. Towns accused Thompson's health care company of overseeing "one of the worst-managed programs I've seen."
- Red Cross ended up paying medical bills that Logistics Health was supposed to cover.
- An executive with a first responder organization said, "I lose enough responders with cancer and leukemia and suicide. I don't need to lose them because they couldn't get their medications" (from Thompson's health care company).