GEORGE W. BUSH: Plugs Medicare Plan in Key States
Continuing to campaign in Florida, Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) met with cancer patients yesterday at Florida Hospital's Walt Disney Memorial Cancer Institute, explaining that his $198 billion Medicare plan would benefit them, the Los Angeles Times reports. After meeting Kay Talton, who has ovarian cancer, and her husband Jack, who has malignant melanoma, Bush emphasized his plan to offer seniors "full catastrophic illness coverage" after their medication costs exceed $6,000. Bush said, "We need to trust seniors to make choices in their life. We cannot have the government run the health care system. I strongly believe that is one of the differences of opinion I have with my opponent." The Times reports that Bush's meeting was part of "his latest effort to show he has 'real plans for real people'" (Finnegan, 9/13). Bush also said that if elected, he would oppose cutting back Medicare reimbursement for chemotherapy administered in a doctors office. He added, "Hopefully, that won't happen. It certainly won't happen if I'm president." The Clinton administration recently moved to make such cuts. Bush also made a campaign stop in St. Louis, Mo., where he touted his four-year, $48 billion "emergency aid" plan to provide seniors with prescription drug coverage (Boyer, Washington Times, 9/13). Bush's running mate Dick Cheney also touted the ticket's prescription drug plan, saying that the program "would provide a bridge between" what seniors would need immediately and the time needed to implement the plan (Garvey, Los Angeles Times, 9/13).
In campaign news of the bizarre, Bush asserted yesterday that the split-second, nearly invisible appearance of the word "rats" in a 30-second Republican National Committee ad was "not intentional." The ad, which was taken off the air yesterday "as previously scheduled," featured an attack on Vice President Al Gore's prescription drug plan and showed the phrase, "The Gore prescription plan: Bureaucrats decide," on screen. In a frame just before the ad ends, a fragment of the word "bureaucrats" -- the word "rats" -- appears in "large white capital letters, superimposed over the phrase: 'The Gore prescription plan.'" While GOP officials had learned of the frame two weeks ago, they determined that it "did not rise to the level of sinister plot" and did not remove the ad (Leeds, Los Angeles Times, 9/13). The ad's producer, Alex Castellanos, said yesterday that in making the ad, he "flashed bits of words, including the last four letters of 'bureaucrats,' to make the ad more visually interesting." Castellanos likened the technique to a "visual drumbeat," but said that the appearance of the word "rats" was "just a coincidence" (Hutcheson/Goldstein/Goldstein, Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/13). Bush aides noted that in an earlier segment of the ad, the word "with" is "momentarily highlighted and appears as the word 'wit' on screen" (Los Angeles Times, 9/13). Regardless, Bush yesterday said, "To put people's minds at ease, I will say loud and clear: This kind of practice is not acceptable. ... I am convinced this is not intentional. We don't need to play cute politics" (Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/13).