The Clinton administration filed suit against the industry last year seeking
more than $500 billion in payments to make up for the cost to Medicare of
treating tobacco-related diseases. Republicans in Congress have tried to block
money to pay for the litigation, but the administration has vowed to keep it
"The lawyers I talk to don't feel they [the Justice Department] have a case,"
Bush agreed to talk about his tobacco policy as he waved to people who had
gathered at railroad crossings and in back yards to see the presidential
candidate's train pass by.
America in the grip of Bush's 'Iron Triangle'
The apex of the Iron Triangle [of G. W. Bush's most trusted advisers, is],
Karl Rove. Rove goes back nearly 30 years in Republican politics, 25 of them with the
Bush family. He moved to Texas to work for the then Congressman Bush in
1973. Talking to him is like meeting a robot; it is hard to detect any sign
of feeling other than devotion to and control over his current master, for
whom he has fought every political campaign. Even Tom Paulen, former
chairman of the Texas Republican Party, calls Rove 'a control freak'.
Rove was Bush Sr's emissary to his own son. He had the idea 'Dubya' should
run 'some time during the 1995 session', he told The Observer - and in this
he is more than a political strategist. Rove does not only form part of the
Iron Triangle; he welds it to other scaffolding in the Bush political
edifice. He is the centre of a nexus that connects not only the
gubernatorial machine to Bush Snr, but to the business and party interests
that sought out George W. Bush (rather than the other way round) to win back
the White House at, literally, any cost.
'I never dreamed about being President,' says Bush, 'All of a sudden, people
started talking to me about the presidency'. Karl Rove organised the
meetings in 1998 that began the Republicans' courting of this real-life
Forrest Gump - for a reason.
Clinton was regarded as an illegitimate President because he gave certain
quarters of American power a hard time - characterised by a new term in the
Wall Street lexicon during the aftermath of the election: 'Bush stocks'.
'There's been a sigh of relief,' said Larry Smith, an analyst with Sutro in
New York. Bush's proclaimed victory was greeted by a sudden leap in the
share value of big pharmaceutical companies, big insurers of health care,
and the big oil and tobacco companies.
While Rove was masterminding Bush's gubernatorial victory of 1994 in Texas,
he himself had another job with one of these companies: a paid political
intelligence operative for the Philip Morris cigarette company, reporting to
another Bush aide, Jack Dillard, ubiquitous tobacco lobbyist.
Unlike that of Clinton, Bush's record on tobacco does not displease the
industry; he decreed it impossible for the civil lawsuit against tobacco
companies to proceed in Texas. 'The prospect of Bill Clinton gone and a Bush
presidency makes the tobacco industry almost giddy,' says Martin Feldman, an
analyst of the industry for the consultants Salomon Smith and Barney.
Candidate George Bush Opposes Cigarette Tax Hikes:
GOP Front-runner Visits the Rich and the Unrich in N.C.
by ROB CHRISTENSEN, Staff Writer
Raleigh News & Observer, Friday, 8/27/99
RALEIGH -- From a $1,000-a-person dinner at a swank
suburban hotel to a gritty Raleigh inner-city neighborhood,
Texas Gov. George W. Bush brought his message of
"compassionate conservatism" to North Carolina on Thursday
for the first time.
Bush, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination,
promised to blend a conservative's belief in limited government
with efforts to harness public and private interests to help the
He also promised to support the federal tobacco program,
voiced opposition to any future cigarette-tax hikes, and said he
would consider Elizabeth Dole as a vice-presidential running
mate if he wins the nomination.
And he pledged to run to run a clean, positive campaign.
Bush said he would support the federal tobacco price-support
program "because it does not cost the taxpayers any money.''
He said that he is a free trader and that farm exports in general
would help all farmers.
On the question of smoking, he said states need to provide
ample warning about the risks.
"I don't think we should raise the cigarette taxes at the federal
level," he said. "I believe states ought to do a better job of
informing children of the hazards of smoking. But we have
recognized that there are some adults, once properly warned,
who choose to smoke."
Bush's presence in North Carolina drew protests from critics
of his refusal to participate in the presidential public financing
The N.C. Alliance for Democracy held a mock fund-raiser near
the hotel that featured 8-year-old girls, potential future
presidential candidates, according to the scenario for the
protest -- selling $1,000-a-cup lemonade.
Rob Christensen can be reached at email@example.com