AL GORE: Goes to Drugstore with Connecticut Senior
To push his prescription drug benefit plan, Vice President Al Gore yesterday arranged a "photo op" with 65-year-old Shirley Kindle, who spends $506.34 a month on her medications, more than her monthly $496 Social Security check, the New York Times reports. Gore's campaign arranged for Kindle to purchase her medications at a pharmacy in East Hartford, Conn., backing up Gore's claim that the pharmaceutical industry is "out of control." Kindle said that to keep up her regimen of a dozen different drugs each month for diabetes and other ailments, she has borrowed money and "sometimes skips certain drugs altogether because she cannot afford them." Gore criticized the drug industry, saying, "They're going to the point where the margins are way out of line with what most other industries and most other lines of business believe is normal and adequate" (Seelye, 4/27).
Lashing Out at Bush
Gore also took the opportunity to attack his probable opponent, Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R), suggesting that huge contributions from HMOs and the tobacco and gun industries "influenced Bush to take positions sympathetic to the donors." Gore said, "Why is Gov. Bush taking the positions like the ones he's taking? Well, tonight we see one of the possible answers to that question. ... He's sitting down at a multimillion-dollar fund-raising event co-chaired by the National Rifle Association and Philip Morris and the HMOs. Similar[ly], he has opposed the national patients' bill of rights and the prescription drug benefit that I talked about here today, and the HMOs are there helping him in his campaign tonight." A Bush campaign statement fired back, asserting that "Al Gore once again showed his lack of credibility by criticizing Gov. Bush for tonight's completely legal fund-raiser. ... When it comes to the ethics of raising money, some may conclude that Al Gore is an imperfect messenger" (Chen, Los Angeles Times, 4/27).