AL GORE I: Attacks Drug Industry Ads, Dodges ‘Dog’ Gaffe
Continuing his attack against the pharmaceutical industry yesterday at a campaign stop in Sunnyvale, Calif., Vice President Al Gore accused drug companies of gouging seniors and pledged to provide affordable prescription drugs to 40 million Medicare beneficiaries, the AP/Investor's Business Daily reports (9/21). "Why should seniors be charged a much higher price than anybody else in America and anybody else in the world?" Gore asked, adding, "Drug companies are running up record profits, while seniors cannot afford the medicines that their doctors prescribe" (Seelye, New York Times, 9/21). He blasted the pharmaceutical industry for "spending hundreds of millions of dollars on television and on magazine advertising to persuade people to buy newer and more expensive medications when less expensive versions work just as well." He added, "I think that's just wrong -- when they're putting more money into advertising and promotion than they are into research and development and then charging seniors more than they can afford. We need to make some changes." In addition to assailing drug firms, Gore criticized rival Texas Gov. George W. Bush's (R) prescription drug benefit package, claiming that the plan "leaves out millions of middle-class seniors, nearly half of all seniors" (AP/Investor's Business Daily, 9/21).
Dog Days Persist
While Gore used several anecdotes in his speech, he did not repeat the personal story about his mother-in-law, Margaret Ann Aitcheson, paying three times as much for the arthritis medicine Lodine than he spent for the canine version of the drug -- an exaggeration that has "nipped at Gore's heels all week." Gore spokesperson Chris Lehane received a deluge of questions yesterday from reporters about the tall tale. "The issue is not about [Gore], the issue is about the American people, and that's not the point of this. The Bush Campaign has spent two years trying to find an issue. Apparently, they think dogs [are] their issue," Lehane charged. According to Bush, however, the gaffe illustrated that Gore tends "to make up facts to make his case" and will "say anything to be the president" (New York Times, 9/21).