BILL BRADLEY: Accuses Gore of Lying About His Health Plan
Democratic presidential contender Bill Bradley yesterday threw the latest punch in his health care fight with Vice President Al Gore, accusing Gore of "repeatedly lying about his record and intentions," the Washington Post reports. Speaking to the National Black Caucus of State Legislators in Baltimore one day after Gore addressed the group, Bradley said, "I think we've reached a sad day in our political life in this country when a sitting vice president distorts a fellow Democrat's record because he thinks he can score a few political points." Bradley was angry over Gore's latest round of attacks on his health care and Medicaid plans (Allen, 12/3). Gore told the black leaders Wednesday that Bradley's plan to eliminate Medicaid in favor of a voucher program "would leave millions of vulnerable Americans at risk," especially minorities. He also claimed that Bradley's proposal "would squander the surplus on a flawed trillion-dollar health plan that spends billions on those who already have health care coverage and does not dedicate resources to other investments such as Medicare" (Gore release, 12/1). Bradley complained, "I've been attacked for trying to make Medicare better, The idea is to try to think about this more thoroughly. If we can't do better than we're doing for people in Medicaid today, then we're in trouble (Post, 12/3). He added, "Why is one Democrat attacking another Democrat? Why is he trying to pit one group against another" (Waldron, Baltimore Sun, 12/3). But Gore said during an interview with New York television stations, "I haven't attacked him and will not attack him. I have discussed the issues and I'll continue to do that, whether it makes him sad or happy" (Post, 12/3). Gore spokesperson Chris Lehane called Bradley "a typical politician," noting, "He's attacking Al Gore because he can't defend his record" (Foskett, Cox News/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 12/3). Despite his charges against Gore, Bradley believes the "increasingly harsh" health care debate has not harmed his campaign so far. "I haven't seen any real evidence that the static is making a difference in people's receptivity. ... It's very difficult to attack something that nobody knows exists. If he just simply goes out there and says Bradley wants to hurt African Americans and Latinos with health care ... that's a fairly easy thing to refute," he said (Post, 12/3).
Gore Puts Daughter to Work
Meanwhile, Gore's daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff, took to the campaign trail in Chicago, addressing a group Generation Xers assembled at a North Side bar. She promoted her father's health plan and his support of abortion, noting that "many young people have no health care coverage at work and ... often take such things as family leave and abortion rights for granted," she said, "We want your time and spirit as we mobilize across the country." Schiff has played an "increasingly influential role" in Gore's campaign, chairing Gorenet, an initiative aimed at courting the under-35 crowd (Forte, Chicago Sun-Times, 12/3). The picture was not as bright in Massachusetts, where the "Senate's leading liberal," Edward Kennedy (D-MA), put off Gore's endorsement requests, saying, "I've not really .. made up a judgement" (Battenfeld, Boston Herald, 12/3).