Bush Would Halt Tobacco Suit / He'd End U.S. Effort, Retain Deal With States

Philip Morris is the #1 contributor to the Republican Party. If you wonder what kind of influence their money can buy, read the following articles.

by GIL KLEIN / Media General News Service
Richmond Times-Dispatch, Sunday, 8/6/00


ABOARD THE BUSH CAMPAIGN TRAIN, Mich. -- A Bush administration would not continue the Justice Department's suit against the tobacco industry to recover Medicare costs, Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush said yesterday during an interview with Media General News Service.

"I think we've had enough suits," the Texas governor said on the rear platform of his campaign train as it traveled across rural Michigan.

"I don't think you can sue your way to policy," he said. "We've had this giant series of lawsuits that the industry settled where the states ended up with a lot of money. I think what we ought to do now is work on preventing children from smoking and at the same time keep the compact [between the states and the industry] in place."

George W Bush
Photo Source: CNN 12/6/2000

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 alive.

"The lawyers I talk to don't feel they [the Justice Department] have a case," Bush said.

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.

source: http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,406082,00.html

Presidential 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 disadvantaged.

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 system.

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 robc@nando.com

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