Scientists To Launch Campaign To Inform Voters About Alleged Bush Administration Misuse of Science
Scientists from a new political action committee on Monday announced that they would visit closely contested states in the presidential election over the next month to give lectures arguing that President Bush's administration "has ignored and misused science," the New York Times reports (Chang, New York Times, 9/28).
Scientists and Engineers for Change is the most recent group to allege that the Bush administration has disregarded science that "runs counter to the interests of his religious or business supporters" on issues such as public health, stem cell research, the environment and energy, according to the Washington Post (Weiss, Washington Post, 9/28). The group is comprised of at least 25 scientists, including former NIH Director Dr. Harold Varmus and nine other Nobel Prize winners, who plan to hold talks in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The group has no direct ties to the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), but several of the scientists previously have signed letters endorsing Kerry or criticizing Bush's policies concerning objective research. The group will operate on a budget of $100,000, which will pay mostly for traveling expenses (New York Times, 9/28).
Vinton Cerf, one of the chief architects of the Internet in the 1960s and 1970s, said, "The current administration isn't paying attention to science. It's paying attention to ideology" (Washington Post, 9/28). Cerf, who said he is a registered Republican, added that he joined the group "in the hope that we bring debate, science and technology into the political debate so that the electorate understands the importance that it has in our society." He added that the United States is "at risk of losing the edge" in science because of recent research cuts for the Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
However, Robert Hopkins, a spokesperson for the Office of Science and Technology Policy, said, "The president has been a strong and generous supporter of science, increasing federal R&D budgets 44% to a record $132 billion." Hopkins added, "I don't know where their accounting is coming from."
Dr. Douglas Osheroff, a Nobel laureate and professor of physics at Stanford University, is scheduled to deliver the group's first lecture on Tuesday night at the University of Oregon (New York Times, 9/28).
Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) on Monday at a New Hampshire rally criticized Bush for using television ads to misrepresent Kerry's health care reform plan, USA Today reports. Recent Bush campaign ads have said Kerry's plan would cost $1.5 trillion over 10 years and require a broad tax raise in order to pay for "a bureaucracy that would take decision-making power from doctors," USA Today reports.
The Kerry campaign disputes the Bush cost estimate, which the ads say is based on an independent analysis. Citing an analysis by another independent group, the Kerry campaign said its plan would cost about $895 billion. Edwards said, "They will absolutely lie about anything," adding, "There's not a single new government program in our health care plan" (USA Today, 9/28).