Bradley criticizes Gore's 'Beltway' mentality
By Kevin Landrigan/The Telegraph of Nashua
November 9, 1999
Web posted at: 3:03 p.m. EST (2003 GMT)
NASHUA, New Hampshire (NHPrimary.com) -- Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley accused Vice President Al Gore Monday of letting the "Beltway perspective and failure on Capitol Hill push him away from his past support of national health care.
"The Beltway perspective says that if you try something once and fail, move on to another issue that polls better or is safer to talk about, Bradley said in a speech given to the American Public Health Association in Chicago.
"The Washington reality says that it is easier to campaign against your opponent than for yourself that negative politics may not be pretty, but that it will always be successful because people in this country are so cynical about the political process they automatically believe the negative over the positive.
The remarks were the first time Bradley fired back at Gore, who has criticized his health care proposal repeatedly for three weeks.
In 1993, Gore supported President Bill Clintons plan to guarantee health care coverage for all, a plan that Bradley described Monday as "too complicated and too top-heavy.
The Republican-led, U.S. House rejected it.
"The lesson Al Gore learned from the health care defeat was that big, bold things cant get done in Washington so lets look to small, symbolic things, Bradley said.
"But that was the wrong lesson. Indeed, big rhetoric followed by small actions contributions to the disillusionment people have with politics.
Within hours, Gore fired back that a new analysis of Bradleys national health plan concluded that it would cover only 1 percent more people than Gores own plan, but cost more than three times as much, or $1 trillion over 10 years.
Emory University professor Ken Thorpe concluded Gores plan to guarantee health care for all children by 2005 would cost $312 billion over a decades time.
"In short, he (Bradley) offers a flawed, trillion-dollar plan that will cost the American people even more in the long run, Gore said in a statement.
And Gore renewed his challenge to debate Bradley on their health care plans.
"To this day, we have not had a single debate on the issues of importance to Americas families. Given his comments today on health care, I ask him to stand again. How about it, Bill? Gore asked.